Dare to Open the Locked Doors

by Susanna Mak
Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11

1 Corinthians 12:3B-7,12-13

John 20:19-23

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind … there appeared to them tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:2,3). Is it a bird? A plane? Superman? If people gathered in that large crowd had cell phones, what images would they capture and what outrageous comments would they share on their social media platforms? What would it feel like to be there in person to see the power of the Holy Spirit unfold on the day of Pentecost?

In truth, we have already received the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Whether there are tongues of fire dancing above our head is another story! Honestly, I don’t recall any strong wind, loud noises, or dancing fires during my own Confirmation; yet, in the quietness and serenity of the chapel, my heart was filled to the brim with peace and joy, and most importantly, a conviction to live up to the name with which God had called me. I am deeply grateful for being chosen; to know and love God, to have a faithful companion and teacher, Jesus, journeying with me, and to have received the precious gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.

While opening our eyes to recognize that “Jesus is Lord”, the Holy Spirit also reveals to us who we are in the eyes of God (1Cor 12:3). We are God’s beloved children, endowed with “different kinds of spiritual gifts”, and “as a body is one though many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body” (1Cor 12:12). We all belong to the one body of Christ and each one of us is an integral part of the whole. God gives each one of us unique gifts so that we may perform “different forms of service” and “different workings”, all for the benefit of each other and making God’s kingdom a reality in our midst (1 Cor 12:5).

Indeed, evangelization is a difficult endeavour; however, if we are in possession of such great treasures of faith, hope, and love, how could we keep them to ourselves? “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked”, the first words Jesus said to his friends were, “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19,21). Indeed, the Spirit gives us peace, first and foremost, tiling the soil of our heart to receive the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Let’s not forget the “Advocate” promised by Jesus is here to be with us forever (Jn 14:15). This is the same Spirit that empowered the disciples “to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:4).

Therefore, with peace, joy, and renewed courage in our heart, we dare to open the locked doors and venture out into the world. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn 20:21). As Jesus commissions the disciples, so are we commissioned to bring the Good News to the four corners of the world; to heal the broken-hearted, to restore hope to the hopeless, to bring peace and joy to a fragmented world, and to love as God has loved us.

If I were there on the day of the Pentecost, I would use my cell phone to capture the lightless of the tongues of fire dancing over the disciples’ heads, the expression of joy, peace, and courage on each of their faces, the different reactions of those in the crowd; I imagine some would look on with disbelief, amazement, or shock, while others with anticipation, hope, and joy. Most of all, I would definitely record what “mighty acts of God” the disciples were proclaiming in so many different languages. I imagine that even though I may not fully comprehend everything that was proclaimed but, like Mary, I would hold and “treasured all these words and pondered them” in my heart (Lk 2:19).