Theo-musings of Westminster Theological Centre faculty and friends. It made things easier for them because it was their native language. The experience of linguistic diversity leads many to wish for unity—or rather, homogeneity. That desire for intelligibility is understandable, but the desire for that language to be English can also betray ethnocentrism.
Especially from where I come in the U. Yesterday the church celebrated its founding linguistic event—Pentecost—an event that many hail as the definitive reversal of Babel.
Whereas at Babel, God confused languages, at Pentecost, God brought people of all languages together and united them. At Babel tongues were confused. At Pentecost, tongues were understood. You get the idea.
Though this is not factual, it does express an important Catholic truth: All future reflection on the mystery of the Catholic religion and its expressions must be found in the faith of the apostles, either explicitly or implicitly. The Holy Spirit blew upon them, enlightened their mind and startled their heart. God is in control of nature, as He is our own humane nature if we let Him. Fear has caused a rebellion against our humanity vocation to represent God throughout the world. What is the significance of this amazing event? Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. During that feast the Hebrews presented to God the first fruits of their summer harvest as an offering of thanksgiving.
But Genesis never states that the confusion of languages was a bad thing. Notice the language in Gen At Pentecost, God embraces language diversity.
Joel Green helps us here:. By confusing languages God was merciful, not punitive. So God gave humanity a push toward its original purpose, to fill the world, cultivate it, build cultures, and grow.
Linguistic diversity is a natural outgrowth of this process, and one which the Spirit rubber stamps at Pentecost. Isa Isa , 21, In the first vision, the nations come to receive instruction from Israel. In the second, they come to worship, and some even becomes priests.
Listen to it. Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.? They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.? Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
Genesis The Tower of Babel. The event is so well know in history that we now use in the word? What are the similarities and differences between the Tower of Babel event and Pentecost? One obvious similarity is that God bestowed different tongues of languages upon the people involved. But the huge and important difference is this: with the Tower of Babel event God intervened to cause miscommunication where at Pentecost the various languages are meant to facilitate communication.
How so? Yet, the people who came to Jerusalem for the ancient feast of Pentecost, which celebrated eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the harvest of first fruits Ex.
These people say in the last verse of the Epistle? Unlike Pentecost, the different languages given by God at the Tower of Babel event were meant to hinder communication so they could not finish building the tower.
The days of spiritual preparation, following Jesus' ascension, culminated in the events of Pentecost. The first verse tells us that on that day, just. What are the similarities and differences between the Tower of Babel event and Pentecost? One obvious similarity is that God bestowed different tongues of.
Was God afraid of their power or what they could do if they worked together? No, it was to defeat their pride which just like He defeated the pride of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The people of Babel wanted to be like God but without God or apart from Him. So, He humbles them to save them. And He will do this time and time again to succeeding generations up to and beyond our own.
Are we really that different than the ancient people of Babel trying to make a name for ourselves? Each one of us, at various times, has built a skyscraper within our heart to stand above and look down on everyone else. But you know what they say,? The higher you go, the greater the fall.? One of the lessons for us today is humility. If we want to acquire the Spirit of God, and the Saints agree that this should be one of our main goals in life, we must be humble.
This is why we kneel as we read the special prayers of Pentecost. This is why daily prayer and weekly worship are so important, because they are actions of humility before God in which we express our utter dependence upon Him.
In conclusion, let us hear again the words of the Kontakion of Pentecost:. When He dispensed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. This same Spirit, which descends upon us at our Chrismation, which descends upon us at every Divine Liturgy, is also calling us to unity. Division and divisiveness are not qualities and characteristics of the Holy Spirit.
Dividedness is the result of demonic spirits, stirring things up because of the human passion of pride.