The culmination of Salvation History. Ever since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden, God has made incremental steps toward humanity. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David: through each period of Jewish history the mystery of God became a little more accessible and relatable. In Jesus, it became tangible, engagable. God lived and moved among his creation as a man.
The son’s mission was twofold: to finally redeem man from Adam’s sin and bestow upon him the fullness of life. His death and resurrection accomplishes the former while the coming of the Holy Spirit accomplishes the later. Thus the Son’s mission doesn’t end with the Resurrection and Ascension. The movement of the Son, ultimately, isn’t an upward thrust drawing us out of this world and up into God. It is, in fact, a downward hurling of the Spirit into us and so into this world. Yes, the Son had descended into the womb, the river, to the netherworld and had risen and ascended again, yet his final act isn’t in an ascending but a plunging motion, a swan dive into the heart of man.
(Let us recall that the Father, the Son and the Spirit are one. We are not polytheists—believers in multiple Gods. We are staunch monotheists. We say in the creed that we believe in One God and we mean it. As Jesus said to Philip, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. So when the Father sends his Spirit at the Son’s request into the apostles and all the baptized, it is the one Godhead that arrives—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—to dwell within man.)
Pentecost, the full and lasting descent of the Divine into the Human is a mystery beyond comprehension but not beyond experience. While it is a fact of baptism, it is nevertheless, a reality to which the believer must assent. For once the Spirit comes in Baptism, he doesn’t arrive like a static stone or a stagnant puddle, but like rivers of living water or like a fire to which your will (hopefully) plays the part of the log.
+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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