How can we spread the word of God if we do not understand each other? Fifty days after Passover, the Apostles were gathered together to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, which at the time was a big harvest festival, the Festival of Weeks. Then suddenly, during the celebration, a loud sound filled the room: “the rush of a mighty wind.” And tongues of fire appeared and one lay on top of the head of each Apostle. In that instant, the Holy Spirit gave Apostles the gift to be able to fully speak and understand different languages.
Why is this miraculous event so important? The Apostles would travel, spreading the Word of God as best as they could to anyone who would listen. But language barriers limited who could understand the message they were sharing. The Holy Spirit broke down those barriers so the Word could be spread throughout the world, beginning with the large crowds of people that had traveled to Jerusalem for this feast day. The people were so intrigued that they were hearing their own languages, that they gathered and stayed to hear what the Apostles were saying. But they didn’t hear just words being translated, they heard, understood and began to believe the meaning behind the words. Thousands of people were baptized that day.
In today’s society, with all the technology we have available at our fingertips, we might think learning a new language is easy. Many of us know enough English and Greek to call ourselves bilingual. And perhaps we have had the opportunity to learn a few more languages throughout our lives. And if we really want to learn something quickly, in any language, there is always Google Translate. So if we can now all speak each other’s languages, why is it so hard for us to understand one another?
It is because we are not speaking from our hearts. We have stopped listening to each other. We are translating our words in the easiest way possible, not thinking about what the words mean to others. How can we expect people to listen to us, to follow us, and to follow the Word of God if we don’t try to understand the language that is in their hearts? The Apostles opened their hearts, let the Holy Spirit in, and were able to truly communicate with the people. We too must open our hearts to the Lord. Only He can teach us the one language that can unite us all: the language of love, hope, truth, understanding, and faith. The Language of God.
Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads, grandfathers and godfathers!