Today we are celebrating the great feast of Pentecost. This is the birth of our Church. The word Pentecost signifies fifty days after the Easter. It has Jewish roots, for them the Pentecost is the fiftieth day after the Passover but later on it became a harvest festival. Usually the Jews make a pilgrimage which is connected to the harvest festival. Then later on, it became the celebration of the promulgation and the revelation of the Law of Moses. For us Christians, Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit after Easter as the gift of the Risen Lord. We remember that ushers in for the Church a great harvest also. Instead of the promulgation and the revelation of the Law of Covenant we have the new covenant in the Spirit.
In the first reading from the Acts of Apostles, Luke gives us a detailed narration of the foundation of our celebration today: the coming down of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and disciples gathered in the Upper room. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit a radical change occurs among them. The gifts of the Holy Spirit transformed them. Before they were very much afraid to go out that’s why they locked themselves in the room. But after receiving the breath of God, the Holy Spirit which comes through Jesus Christ, they became courageous and able to proclaim the Good News. These simple and original Disciples of Christ could speak now in a foreign tongue that’s why the Jewish people who came from different nations gathered around Jerusalem at that time were amazed with them. How did this come about that these simple followers of Christ could speak our native tongue? A miracle indeed! The barriers separating the people through language have collapsed because of the Holy Spirit.
Another manifestation of the gift of the Holy Spirit is unity regardless of differences. Aside from understanding one another even they do not have the same language but they began to work together as a community for the common good of all. They have different ministries and apostolates but their services are being rendered to the One God. They belong to the One Body with many parts. Jesus is their head and all baptized Christians through the Spirit are parts of the Mystical Body.
As we celebrate this feast let us allow the Holy Spirit to work among us. We have to be open to many possibilities of seeing the horizon of dialogue among the different cultures, races, nations and beliefs. Let us always remember that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not only confined to a certain place, individual or group. The gifts are freely given for those who are willing to grow in faith in Jesus Christ.
(from the Collect of Pentecost)
O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast
sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation,
pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit
across the face of the earth
and, with the divine grace that was at work
when the Gospel was first proclaimed,
fill now once more the hearts of believers.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.