I’m always glad when Pentecost falls during May, because May is dedicated to Mary, and Mary and the Holy Spirit belong together like water and wine, like bread and butter.
When we look at the lovely statues of Mary in our churches, she is always pictured as young, with a seamless serene, beautiful face. But have you ever seen a statue of the Mary of Pentecost -- the older Mary with strands of gray in her hair, and a face full of character, showing frown lines and laugh lines that only years of hard living bring – a face a bit more leathery without recourse to Neutrogena products!
Mary was about 50 at Pentecost -- give or take a few years. Fifty would have been old then in a culture and time when many were dead before 50. Early on in her life, Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and then at Pentecost, Mary and the Spirit of God met again: good friends bonded by love.
Like Mary, when we are young and untried and daring, we are invited to say Yes to God. But, like Mary, once is not enough. So, when we have grown older – when we’ve had a chance to experience great joys or see our world crumble around us, we are again asked to say Yes to God.
It’s not hard to believe that, as a young woman, Mary was like you and me, expecting life to unfold reasonably, gently, easily, one nourishing event after another. But the wind of God took Mary and Joseph to far-flung places: Bethlehem and Egypt and Nazareth and Jerusalem. Mary was in Jerusalem again when the sky darkened on Good Friday, the curtain of the temple was ripped in two and misery seemed to mark the end of Jesus’ life. Mary was there. Did she recognize the Spirit in that moment?
Fifty days later, the Pentecost wind of God that blew over the disciples and it was not a gentle breeze. It tore down and built up and gave life and changed life. It took people’s breath away and breathed newness into them.
What will we do, what will we become when the ruah Yahweh – the wind of God sweeps through our life in these years after our first Yes to God? That is to be seen.
Meanwhile we pray: Come, Holy Spirit. Fill us. Open us. Breathe us free. Blow through us. Be in us. Make us new and ready to be one with You and The Risen One and The Father/Mother of us all. Amen.
~ Sister Joan Sobala