pentecost in a pandemic
It is May. Actually May is ending and we are about to start June. We are day 72, 40, or 76 into the pandemic, depending on where you live in the United States. Perhaps what is true for all of us is that we are behind locked doors. Literal locked doors if we are bound by civil laws or fear of the Covid-19’s lurking presence. Or figurative locked doors if we don’t know how to address our masked friends and co-workers.
Locked doors are also where the apostles found themselves that Sunday morning. They had heard the stories of His Passion and Crucifixion. They had also seen the resurrected Christ and eaten breakfast with Him. Yet, they remained behind locked doors for “fear of the Jews” (Jn 20:19). Suddenly, Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them and said, “Peace be with you”. Not once but twice: Peace be with you.
Later, we find the apostles together again in this Upper Room. This time, it is not fear that brings them together. It is Mary (Acts 1:14). It is prayer (Acts 1:14). The Holy Spirit comes as a driving wind and tongues of fire. It is Pentecost.
In both instances above, the apostles were behind doors. In the first, Jesus appeared among them, although they were only expecting trouble and death. He came to them because He loved them and wanted them to let go of their fear. In the second, the apostles had Mary among them. And so, the Holy Spirit came to them because He loves Mary and wherever Mary is, gifts upon gifts are outpoured.
On this Solemnity of Pentecost and time of pandemic, let us ask ourselves: What are our locked doors? Why are we behind it? Who is behind the locked doors with us?