They were astounded (Acts 2, 7)
We are given a share in the divine breath so that we may be created anew according to the full stature of Christ.
God blew the breath of life into the nostrils of the human figure made of clay. Were another human being there to see the figure become a living human, there would surely be a joyful exclamation like Adam’s when he found himself face to face with Eve for the first time (although he would later set a precedent that would give rise to something not at all surprising, namely, blaming the woman always).
God astonishes as he sends his Spirit to the Christian community. Astounding are the unexpected noise that is similar to a strong driving wind as well as the phenomenon of people of varied languages hearing, each one of in his own language, what is being said by a group of Galileans.
And for those gathered in a conclave, what a surprise, first, and then joy, to see Jesus standing in their midst. And even more pleasantly surprising, the Teacher gives them the greeting of peace. And he does not only forgive them for being less than faithful; he breathes on them his Spirit to entrust his mission to them.
Indeed, God is “the God of surprises.” He guides the Church “with the newness of the Holy Spirit.” He wants us to be new in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may be bearers of surprises.
To be a new creation in Christ is to let his love impel us. Because of his great love, “he indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
And to live for him is to love as he did: to hand over the spirit for others; to be imbued with a love that wishes even the guilty peace and well-being. To love in this manner is to elicit the amazement that is needed more than ever in a society or Church that is increasingly polarized, with much acrimony between traditionalists and progressives, haves and have-nots, between different races, cultures or religions, all of them skillful in the blame game.
They surprise, indeed, those who, giving witness to Jesus and to the Spirit, manifested fundamentally in unity, prove themselves devoted partakers of the table of the Word and the table of the Sacrament by their being of one heart and mind, which leads them to have everything in common. Rightly did St. Vincent de Paul wish that God would give the spirit of love to the missionaries so that all their “houses will be one single house and all the members will have but one heart and one soul” (SV.FR VII:184).
Come, Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of your love.