(From “The Great Themes of Scripture” by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM)
After the ascension in Luke’s Gospel, the apostles experience the absence of Jesus’ presence and power. They recede to the Upper Room where they had known His love before and perhaps He seemed close and real there.
Mary is in their midst. They pray. They’re scared, and the doors are locked. They do not know at this point if they have been fooled. Maybe we wanted it so much we created it, they must have thought. Maybe we did it ourselves. Are you sure that was really Jesus who you saw on the road, Peter? You can’t believe those women; they get emotional. How do we know that they really experienced Jesus?
Perhaps it was then that Mary communicated to them her own experience of Jesus. Again and again she had pondered in her heart what He was to be, what His life was to mean. No doubt they shared again and again during those forty days. Yet it was jumbled and confused. There is no talk yet of conviction or power.
But they are praying together and sharing as a community. They’re gathered together in faith, waiting upon the Lord. They’re listening to the Lord, suffering with the Lord, knowing that no person who has put trust in God has done so in vain.
And they are not disappointed. The power comes. By no effort of their own they are made into persons of faith, of conviction, into those who can say, “Jesus is Lord!” That is the dividing line, the day of Pentecost. Finally they are purified. They are free to believe in the power of the Lord. They receive the gift of the Spirit. God had not changed, they had, by the Spirit’s gift.
The Spirit is always unmerited favor. She always does it first. God is experienced as intimacy and warmth and fire, as love-power. She is surprising, elusive and free.
So the Church has always been afraid of the charismatic, has always feared those who speak of the Spirit because they cannot be easily organized. The Spirit blows where the Spirit will, like the wind: It comes from and goes where you know not.
Source: John Bookser Feister (Editor), RADICAL GRACE – DAILY MEDITATIONS BY RICHARD ROHR, 1993, pages 193-194.
Jakarta, 25 May 2012
A Christian Pilgrim