Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Feast of God's Embrace

We share some excerpts from Father Abbot's Pentecost homily:

Mesopatamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Rome. These names belong to the Jewish diaspora- all those places where Jews spread after being exiled from Jerusalem. Luke’s point here is that everyone in the Jewish world was capable of hearing the Good News, even if the accent pointed to Galilee. So it is the broader Jewish world that is being referred to. We already know from the later readings in Acts, which we have been hearing throughout the Easter Season, that the Good News was also heard and accepted beyond the limits of Judaism and the Jewish diaspora into the Gentile world. This is what Paul’s missionary journeys are all about.  In other words, the embrace of God’s Spirit knows no limits or boundaries. God’s embrace is infinitely wide and boundless.
            Pentecost is the Feast of God’s embrace. On the Cross, Jesus was incarnating, fleshing-out God’s forgiveness, embracing the universe. And this ‘fleshing out’ did not stop at the Cross. For as we heard in the gospel, “On the evening of the first day of the week” Jesus came and stood in the midst of the shattered and broken disciples and embraced them with his forgiveness and peace, continuing to incarnate God’s forgiving embrace. His death did not break this embrace. And this forgiving, universal embrace does not stop here either. For he breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven.” In other words, continue to incarnate, flesh out this forgiveness that you have received. Continue to embrace all with this forgiveness.
My brothers and sisters, to live such a life of universal embrace and forgiveness is impossible on our own. But it is not impossible in and through the Spirit of God that has been poured out within and among us.