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Holy Spirit in Action

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Tradition and faith count 12 days between the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the Magi, the three kings from the east who bring gifts and adoration to a child whom they call the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1). Isaiah had foreseen wise men arriving to worship a local kid destined for greatness.

It took a while for them to find him, because his family was lying low due to persecution by a tyrant named Herod.

In Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1964), the script is lifted directly from the New Testament. Pasolini opposed the stalinist cynicism of the communists as well as the corruption of the Christian Democrats following the death of Alcide De Gasperi. Not a believer, Pasolini made a film that is stunning in its portrayal of the faith of ordinary people, despised by political elites of right and left. It depicts a revolutionary spirit that can redeem the world.

The Holy Spirit is the force of this redemption. The fruit of the Holy Spirit called the Spirit of the Lord in Torah, includes charity, goodness, and several other qualities. It gives the priest, cop, poet, nurse endurance to help those who depend on them — which means all of us. Servants of others are touched by grace and act without pride or thought of reward, and are fittingly represented by this ninth day’s ladies dancing.