|Pentecost (Painting from an altarpiece, |
On the feast of Pentecost the Jews celebrated the day on which God had given the Law to Moses. However the first Pentecost after the Resurrection was the day on which God gave his new law – the law of love. This law was not primarily a list of rules and regulations like the laws that were given to Moses, but the same personal love that God had showered on Jesus. It was this love that enabled Jesus to practise to perfection the New Commandments that he taught his disciples. Namely, to Love God with their whole hearts and minds, and with their whole being, as he did, and to love others as he did too, and still does.
What had been given to Jesus throughout his life on earth, had been given in full measure after his Resurrection, and in such a way, that he would be able to give it to others to inaugurate a new era – the Kingdom of Love. After the Resurrection the unique and transcendental love that Jesus had received from God enabled him to love not just one person, or even a group of persons, as he had done before, but every person alive at that time and in time to come, who would believe in his love and who would freely chose to receive it. So when the crowds who had gathered on the first Pentecost, demanded to know how they could receive the love of the Holy Spirit, St Peter told them that they should repent.
Justice and Peace, Goodness and Truth.
When he told them to repent, he was telling them, in language that they understood, how to turn to receive this love that had already begun to change him and his friends, as they could see for themselves. In other words they had to turn away from the adolescent world in which they had been living, where self-seeking, self- indulgence and self-absorption was the norm, in order to turn to be filled with the love of Jesus, his Holy Spirit.
This love would take them out of themselves and into the new world order that Jesus had come to inaugurate. In this world, love would transform them, by enabling them to enter into the risen Christ to experience the fullness of love that deep down every human being yearns for more than anything else, because it is this that they were born for in the first place. The fruits of this love – justice and peace, goodness and truth, and the flowering of all the virtues, would be seen embodied in his followers, as they had been embodied in his life on earth.
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