May 25, 2020
And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:1-8)
The concept of speaking in tongues can be confusing. The disciples in today’s reading, and the Apostles at Pentecost, are suddenly able, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to speak the language of whoever may be listening to them.
This is very difficult to understand. I’m sure if I had asked about this as a child, I would have been told, “It’s a mystery” – the catch-all phrase used by adults when they didn’t understand something either.
Perhaps what is really going on is that the followers of Jesus, once given the gift of the Holy Spirit, had the courage to speak the universal language of Jesus Christ, the universal language of love.
When I went to Haiti, I was unable to speak Creole, the language of the Haitians. But we certainly communicated. They certainly understood a smile, a hand taking theirs, a hug, and a nod acknowledging that we were there to help them.
Filled with the Holy Spirit and motivated by the love of Jesus Christ, we are all capable of being understood. We are all capable of speaking in tongues, as long as it is the language of love.