THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
PENTECOST MESSAGE 2011 FROM THE SUPERIOR
Foundation of SOUTH WEST NIGERIA
My beloved Confreres,
Greetings in the name of our Jesus Christ who in fulfillment of His promise sent the Holy Spirit to be with us. Today as we celebrate this feast in the various zones of our Foundation it is important to remind ourselves that it is an occasion of thanksgiving to God for the successes He has granted the Congregation in its various apostolate, in Nigerian and in the whole world. It is also an opportunity to thank you my highly supportive Confreres for your solidarity. We recall with delight the vibrant faith being expressed in the increase of vocation to the Priesthood and in the other apostolates of the Congregation in Nigeria South West. But this year’s Pentecost celebration is a wonderful period to take stock of the life and ministry of our young Foundation since 2nd October 2010, to rededicate the Congregation to the Holy Spirit, and for us to rededicate ourselves to the Spirit, goals and charism of our Congregation, for the task ahead.
Let us view this year’s Pentecost against the background of the Tower of Babel story in the Old Testament. Prior to the building of the tower, all the people spoke the same language (Gen. 11:1). But when pride began to take hold of the people and they began to build the Tower, God “confused the speech of all the world and scattered them all over the face of the earth” (Gen. 11:9). The coming of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, on Pentecost reversed this situation. After the descent of the Holy Spirit on the first disciples, the people of different languages in Jerusalem understood what the disciples were saying. The Paraclete is the Spirit of truth primarily because he communicated the truth. He gives the church an accurate and full understanding of the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself is the truth (14:6); now the spirit of truth leads the church into all the implications of the truth.
As we celebrate our feast today the Spirit of truth invites us to a fuller understanding of the truth that in Jesus Christ there is no North, South, East or West. The implication is that our diversity is our strength and not weakness. Language which was a dividing element in the Old Testament has become in Christ through the Holy Spirit a uniting factor of an inestimable value.
In other words, Peter the apostle, for instance, spoke on the Pentecost day, everyone from different language groups that gathered there in Jerusalem heard him in their own language. The miracle of Pentecost was a miracle of mutual understanding, a restoration of that precious gift that humanity lost at Babel. One might be tempted to ask if there is such a language that one could speak and everybody would understand in their own mother tongue. The answer to this question is yes. That language is love. Love is the language that all men and women understand irrespective of ethnic background. Everybody understands when you smile and show care. It is the language of the Children of God, the only language we shall speak in heaven.
With one heart and one soul let us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit seek out the truth, beyond the routine and superficiality of our daily lives, and live it to the full. With love we shall overcome every difficulty and challenges of our mission.
I wish you all a very happy celebration.