Acts 2: 1-11 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?  Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Languages of Love

“…in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” Some things don’t change in the Church. In every age and place, the Gospel can speak through local languages to speak to individual hearts. Isn’t it fitting that on this Pentecost Sunday, when we celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit, that the proof of this Holy Spirit’s power and efficacy in the disciples isn’t through feats of superhuman domination or dazzling transformations of their appearances, but through the very human and very simple practice of preaching – speaking a language that can speak to the heart of their listener? The Spirit still wants to speak through you to the heart of your neighbor today; it wants to speak through the languages of presence, mercy, love, forgiveness, and hope that spring from God’s power.

What languages of love will I let the Holy Spirit speak through me this week?

—Fr. Garrett Gundlach, SJ, is a Jesuit priest of the Midwest Province studying Arabic and interfaith dialogue at the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon. 


God of wide diversity and intimate unity,
Our Church is at once so large and so small,
So near and so far, so old and so renewed-
And I, with all of my uniqueness, am called to be a part of it.
Help me to recognize and give thanks for this diversity,
The wideness of your presence across years, decades, centuries and millenia,
The wideness of your presence across counties, states, countries, continents and planets,
The way all of this wideness comes together in a special unity,
The same unity of a family gathered around a table.
We are all your children, gathered together as one.
Help me to not let this diversity deter, intimidate or scare me,
But instead to encourage me, to live and to share my gifts
As fully as I can to enrich the whole as it enriches me-
Help me to speak your Gospel in words and ways that only I can,
Because you speak to individuals through individuals,
Through uniqueness to uniqueness,
What an infinite marvel of infinite possibilities for love,
For the sharing of your million-faceted Gospel.
Thank you for letting me be a part of this!

—Fr. Garrett Gundlach, SJ