The Descent of the Holy Spirit is the Mystery of Unity. Let us live as members of the One Body of Christ.
Jesus has risen; his disciples and his Blessed Mother huddle together in the Upper Room, waiting as He told them to do, waiting for something they do not understand. There is a rushing of wind and tongues of flame, but like the burning bush they are not consumed. The flames part and touch each of them, and they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they go forth proclaiming the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection.
In that moment the disciples become more than just eleven frightened men: the Spirit binds them together, forms them with Mary into a new body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and the Church is born. The apostles are now members of the Body of Christ, His hands and feet in this world, and immediately they go about His business.
How does this new Church grow? The wind blows where it wills; God can raise up children of Abraham from these very stones, as He showed with St. Paul on the road to Damascus. But most usually it spreads from person to person: through baptism, through the Eucharist, and through the laying on of hands, the means by which the Spirit is passed from bishop to confirmand to this day.
The Church grows person by person, growing larger with each passing generation. The apostles go on missionary journies; their appointed successors nurture it in the cities where they live. Adults come to the faith, bringing their families along; babies are born and baptized. And in each of these the Holy Spirit dwells, binding them together into one body, building them up into a great temple whose head and capstone is Jesus Christ.
There is one Spirit, one Lord, one Baptism; and so there is only one Body. When there is division in the Church it is like a sickness, one member warring against another; but this is contrary to the Spirit. Let us allow the Spirit to heal our wounds, and live as members of one body.
Copyright 2015 Will Duquette. All rights reserved.