And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Acts 2: 17-21
I have always found it striking that Christ decided to call as His Apostles the plainest of men. As His Vicar he chose Peter, a humble fisherman, whose courage failed him when Christ needed him most. In human terms Peter’s desertion of Christ, along with that of the other Apostles except for John, is just what we would expect. Christ had taken these men from their lowly lots in life, and told them that they would be the chiefs of what He called His Church. Christ was the linchpin. When He was executed these former apostles would quickly scatter and resume their previous lives as best they could, the dreams of glory inspired by Christ forgotten in the horror of His execution. In human terms that is just what should have happened, but it did not.
At Pentecost we recall the great miracle by which the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles, granting them the charism of being understood speaking in the native tongues of all who heard them:
“Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
It meant that the Gospel of Christ was not to be stillborn, that it would be preached throughout the globe, and that the start of this mighty movement would be by a group of men of no special talents, common human clay, receiving inspiration and courage from God. Common human clay is a pretty good description of me, and no doubt for most of us. What I can still accomplish for the cause of Christ is a question I will be asking myself this Pentecost.