Cardinal John’s Newsletter 1 June 2017

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Dear Friends,
This coming Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, we will hear a reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the story of Pentecost. Part of the reading says:
“Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astound-ed, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travellers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
Those cities which are listed are much more than an amusing way to make the Sunday reader become tongue-tied or confused. The names listed, from Parthians through to Arabs, represented international visitors from around the Mediterranean world and beyond, who had come to Jerusalem to worship. We know that many of these international visi-tors went on to accept the Gospel. They provide us with an example, even today, of how nations and believers from all over the world heard the Gospel, believed it, accepted it and lived together as fellow Christians.
Our parish and school communities today are made up of people from many different countries. We speak dozens of dif-ferent languages and express ourselves very uniquely – even in prayer – but we have all been baptised and we have all re-ceived the same Spirit. Our parishes and schools are deeply blessed and enriched by the presence of people from all over the world.
At Pentecost “they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” We may also be con-fused at times if all we see and hear is a person from another country. We have all been gifted with the same Spirit. It does not matter where we come from. The Spirit is God’s Spirit and that is what unites us in speaking a language we all understand, the language of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
As we prepare for Pentecost Sunday we pray that the Spirit of God lives forever in our hearts, that the Spirit of God both comforts and disturbs us, and that above all the Spirit moves us always – no matter what part of the world we come from – to speak the language of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness and self- control, the language of the Holy Spirit.

With every blessing

+John