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apentecostToday Christians celebrate the great feast of Pentecost (from the Greek for “the fiftieth day”), the commemoration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that enlivened the disciples of Jesus to spread the message of God’s love for the world. Lest we think that Christians are the only ones who celebrate faith at this time – 50 days after Easter, we need to look further back to recognize that there is a linkage to the Jewish festival of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, which falls fifty days after Passover. In speaking of this connection, Fr. Dwight Longenecker writes from the Christian viewpoint: This [feast] was kept as a commemoration of Moses receiving the Divine Law on Sinai. The Christians understood that as the law came down from heaven to Moses for the people of God, so the Holy Spirit came down on the church. The age of the Mosaic Law was therefore fulfilled and completed by the new age of Spirit and Grace. (CRUX, June 3, 2017)

This morning, then, as I give thanks for the workings of the Spirit in my own life and throughout the centuries of the life of Christianity – amazed often that we have endured – I remember also the fidelity of the Hebrew people who carried their tradition from the days of Mosaic Law to the hearts of faithful Jews today. My prayer is that the Spirit will be instrumental in drawing us and all the peoples of the world into deeper respect and understanding that in essence our humanity makes us all one. May it be so!