This week the eyes of the world where trained on Jerusalem as Donald Trump moved the American Embassy to the disputed capital of Israel. At the same time a massacre was unfolding on the border, as live ammunition was turned on a civilian demonstration. Many have registered deep disquiet at the terrible loss of life with 60 dead and over a thousand injured.
Today our eyes are once again trained on Jerusalem. For it was here, in the upper room at Pentecost that the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit. But unlike the conflict of the present day on that first Pentecost the Holy Spirit brought about a new unity and harmony to humanity.
After the tongues of fire had descended upon the disciples they were able to speak to everyone in Jerusalem, no matter where they from. People from every country and traditions were able to understand them. What happened at Babble was overturned instead of a confusion of languages all were united in one common tongue. That was the gift of the Holy Spirit to undo every and any opposition and divisions and overcome all and every barrier to create unity and love in the human family.
In the world today there are many places like Jerusalem where the prospect of peace seems slim and non-existent. Places like the Korean peninsula, Syria and the Ukraine. We despair of peace ever being achieved. But there are many examples of how suddenly and unexpectedly peace can break out! Many thought we would never see the fall of the Berlin Wall, peace and reconciliation in South Africa or the end of the troubles in Northern Ireland. But it happened.
For us the light of the Holy Spirit always brings hope and fresh vision to the world. For he brings to us the wisdom of God, the light of justice, the temperance of mercy and the hope change. And he alone can renew the face of the earth.
Today as we recognized the new beginnings the Holy Spirit always brings to life we pray for ourselves that we may always be instruments of peace in the world, that we may speak the language of unity and understanding, of tolerance and acceptance of others. Examples of just how courage and mercy can change and challenge the most adverse and intransigent situations.
Like the Israeli mother who on being informed that her teenage son had been shot dead by Palestinians while doing his national service. Told the government and army do not dare make my child’s death an excuse to kill others. Let the killing stop here. So that my son’s death was not in vain.
She went on to work with Palestinians and Israelis to found an organization that works for peace in the Holy Land. Today on Pentecost Sunday we allow our hearts to hope that peace and reconciliation is always possible. For He who renews all things helps us to speak with one voice and common purpose as He did so many centuries ago the language of unity and peace.