Pentecost Sunday, Year B-2009
- Her poor I will fill with bread (Ps. 132:15)
While affirming that salvation is from the Jews, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that the hour is coming when she will worship the Father neither on Mount Gerizim nor in Jerusalem (Jn. 4:21-24). He explains: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
Anointed with the Holy Spirit to bring the good news to the poor (Mt. 3:16; Mk. 1:10; Lk. 3:22; 4:18; Jn. 1:32), Jesus surely ushered in the hour of true worship. And when he gave his Spirit—on his death and glorification on the cross (cf. Jn. 7:39; 19:30), at his breathing on his disciples and bidding them to receive the Holy Spirit, as recounted in today’s gospel reading, or on Pentecost when, according to Acts 2:33, the resurrected and exalted Jesus poured forth the Holy Spirit visibly and audibly and thus was fulfilled the prophecy that in the last days God would pour out his Spirit on all people (Acts 2:17)—the hour came for all of humanity to worship God, who is Spirit, in Spirit and truth.
It does not matter now that one is a Parthian, Mede, Elamite, Cretan or Arab, or that one is a resident of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, or Rome. Even the Samaritans, with whom Jews do not associate, are now empowered to worship God in Spirit and truth.
It does not matter now either that one is not wise by human standards nor influential nor of noble birth; in fact, God chooses the foolish of the world, the weak of the world, the lowly and despised of the world (1 Cor. 1:26-30). The last of the lay person belonging to the body of the faithful—with many parts but baptized into oneness in the one Spirit—has the supernatural sense of faith, too, along with the bishops (1 Cor. 12:12-13; cf. Lumen Gentium, 12). Enabled, like all believers, to have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit (cf. Ibid., 4), the foolish, the weak, the lowly and despised of the world—the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters—keep, better than many as St. Vincent de Paul observed, the living faith and the practice of true religion (P. Coste, 11, p. 201). While they get exhausted in order to feed others, including missionaries, and are attentive to the needs of orphans and widows, the poor themselves live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Otherwise, how else can one explain their simple faith that is not given to delving into, or dissecting, things, their submissiveness to orders and their patient endurance?
The poor thus do not just work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life (cf. Jn. 6:27). Made wise by God’s decrees and guided by him to what is right and to his way (Ps. 19:7; 25:9), the poor have food that many people know nothing about, the same food that satisfied Jesus, namely, doing God’s will (Jn. 4:32, 34). They are thankful that, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus was conceived and shared in humanity, so that humanity, through the same Holy Spirit, may share in divinity. They also proclaim the Holy Spirit, as does today’s Sequence, “the Father of the poor” indeed who comes “with treasures which endure.”