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All Issues > Volume 12, Issue 3

<< Sunday, May 26, 1996 >> Pentecost
Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104

View Readings
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23

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"Tongues as of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each of them." —Acts 2:3

Can you imagine a big batch of flying, fiery tongues entering the room? Why not a group of flying noses or fiery gall bladders? Why did God send fiery tongues at the first Christian Pentecost?

Fiery tongues are a Jewish tradition associated with the renewal of the covenant. Fire is the most powerful means of purification. So fiery tongues express the covenant with Yahweh to love Him alone with all our hearts—with hearts purely, exclusively committed to Him (see Mt 5:8).

At the first Christian Pentecost, Jesus' disciples spoke not only in the fiery tongues of the covenant but also in foreign tongues. The disciples spoke in languages they didn't know (Acts 2:4, 6, 8). This was a sign of the reversal of the division from the tower of Babel. These foreign tongues were also fiery in that they began to purify us of the pride that divided us.

Peter continued to speak in fiery tongues when he prophesied and preached in the fire of the Spirit so as to lead 3,000 people to the purifying waters of baptism (Acts 2:41). Peter and John spoke in fiery tongues when they healed the man lame from birth (see Acts 3:6ff). Fiery tongues are the way in which the Spirit is renewing the face of the earth (see Ps 104:30).

Do you speak in fiery tongues? Do your words purify, transform, and unify? On this Pentecost, ask for the fiery tongues of the Spirit.

Prayer: Father, may I speak in my native fiery tongue and in foreign, fiery tongues. Come, Holy Spirit!
Promise: "Then He (Jesus) breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit.' " —Jn 20:22
Praise: Alleluia! The Holy Spirit, God Himself, lives in me! (1 Cor 6:19; Jn 14:17) Alleluia!
(For related teaching, order our leaflets, Speaking in Tongues and How To Praise the Lord in Tongues.)
Nihil obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 10, 1995
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 13, 1995
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 12, Issue 3
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