God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Pentecost in the times of Corona

Pentecost – and the coming of the Holy Spirit marks the end of the Christian Easter time and for many the birthday of the church. Looking at the feast I think we often misunderstood the feast as going out and making people Catholics or Protestants or any other denomination. In the times of Covid-19, where we understand how connected the world is we might be able once again to get a hint that this is falling much too short. Going out and proclaiming the gospel is much more than bringing people the Catechism of any church – the message of Pentecost underwriting the Easter gospel is the message of universal love and of universal togetherness; in a sense opening the doors of churches for a universal message:  we are part of something much bigger, we are glued together through a cord of love, hope and faith as human mankind – it transcends creed, race and nations and is the underlying factor of our existence.
The Mystics, the Sufis, Kabbalists, the Buddhists and Hindus anyhow understood that oneness is the keyword to understand the world and the universe. The message of unconditional love, of brother- and sisterhood, the message of life’s fulness being much more than walking the earth for a while as a human being is written in capital letters over this feast of Pentecost.

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?””

What does it mean?

We are used to defining us by belonging to a creed, to a nation, even to race, to a society, but maybe the double pack of Covid-19 and Pentecost can remind us, that there is only one race in one world; and this human race is being part, not master of a wider world. The brutal and senseless death of Georg Floyd in Minneapolis though the unashamed open action of a white police officer in broad daylight has opened our pentecostal eyes how far we are away to understand the question of one race and a dignity for all. And only if we have taken this very first step of understanding the one race matter, we are able to open up to a sensitivity which allows us to see the fundament of oneness on which all the diversity of societies and religions stand. If we want to really hear each other, if we really want to understand each other, if we really want to touch each other’s life we have to feel our feet grounded firmly on the oneness of the world and the inner connection which exists in the universe.

Every creed, every form of society and every nation, every community remains important as a guiding tool and a place to feel home, but only when the uniqueness is connected to the diversity by the sense of an underlying oneness this world as we know it will have a chance to prosper and develop as a home for all.

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HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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