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Pentecost Sunday, Year C

Pentecost Sunday - Mass During the Day 


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The third and final element I want to highlight here has to do with the speaking in tongues, because this is one I get questions about all the time.  The reason being is that if you look in the letters of St. Paul, especially in 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14, Paul will talk about speaking “in tongues.”  He used the Greek word glossolalia.  Glōssa meaning tongue, lalia is to speak.  So speaking in tongues is something Paul will talk about.  And Paul, although this is debated too, seems to be referring to a kind of supernatural speech, an undecipherable language that requires a gift of the Holy Spirit even to be able to interpret it, or to be able to understand it.  Now if that's what Paul's talking about, and again that's debated, but let's just consider that to be the majority interpretation for now, and it is, there is a difference between what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians and what Luke is describing here in Acts, because in context, what Luke appears to be describing here is not an indecipherable language, like a spiritual language, but rather a supernatural gift of being able to speak in other human languages and be heard as such so that the gospel can be proclaimed to all nations.  You can actually see this if you look carefully at Acts 2:8 there when it says — if you go back to the reading — each of the people gathered says “how is it that we hear each of us in his own native language.”  And the Greek there is idia dialketō, we get the word dialect from that.  So they are each hearing them in their own dialect, they're hearing them in their own language, even though they have been from all these different nations here.  So what appears to be going on here is that the Apostles have been given the gift of speaking in tongues, which is just the Greek word for other languages, like a foreign tongue means a foreign language, so that the good news can be proclaimed to all the nations of the world.  So that appears to be what is going on here in Acts 2, which I mentioned this in previous videos, but just as a side note, is a kind of undoing of the Tower of Babel, in which humanity was divided through the multiplication of languages; so now the Holy Spirit is going to reunify humanity through the church...


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