REFLECTION: Oscar Romero brought a new Pentecost to the church

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

A couple of very significant coincidences happened today. We are celebrating the feast of Pentecost. But also, tomorrow precisely, May 24, is two months in 1980 after Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot to death in the tiny chapel about the size of this chapel. Today, as I mentioned before we started, he is being beatified in El Salvador. A quarter of a million people are there to celebrate this extraordinary and marvelous event.

Oscar Romero muralSo it’s appropriate that as we listen to the Scriptures today and celebrate this feast of Pentecost, we do it with the background of the life and martyrdom of Oscar Romero, truly a saint for our time. As we heard in the Gospel lesson, Jesus actually gave the gift of the Spirit to the disciples on Easter Sunday night, not 50 days later on this feast of Pentecost. But St. Luke, for the early church, was trying to bring out the deepest meaning of this giving of the Spirit, so he devised what we heard in the first lesson today, a story about the feast of Pentecost and what it means for this new community of disciples of Jesus still functioning or practicing as Jews.

They were gathering for the Jewish feast of Pentecost. So Luke rightfully sees how this feast of Pentecost in the Jewish calendar also is a very important feast for this renewed community of disciples of Jesus — Jewish people still practicing their Jewish religion, but followers of Jesus. As you hear Luke’s account, you begin to get the depth of the meaning of Pentecost for the community of disciples of Jesus…

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