Pentecost (A) Acts 2:1-11
Pentecost day is called the birthday of the Church. The Apostles had already received the Holy Spirit on Christ’s first appearance to them after his Resurrection; when they were given the power to forgive sin. But on Pentecost day the descent of the Holy Spirit was a public manifestation intended to impress and amaze the crowds of local and foreign Jews who thronged Jerusalem on that great festive occasion. The Spirit arrives suddenly with the sound of a strong driving wind. Followed by the appearance of fire which is distributed into flames that rest on each of them. The loud noise and flames of fire signified the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The first signs of the power of the Spirit the Apostles are given the gift of foreign languages and a new superhuman courage to proclaim their faith. It’s not surprising that the people were amazed at the Apostles speaking in these multiple languages because they knew that the Apostles were simple men from Galilee, with little education. Where did they learn all these languages from countries scattered throughout the Middle East? It was a miracle brought about by God, the consequence of Jesus’ mission on earth with these same men who had become known to be his chosen followers. The crowds now begin to realize that this Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified, but whom God had now raised from the dead, was truly the promised Messiah and, what’s more, the only Son of God.
Today was the day chosen by God for the opening mission of his Church, not only with the gift of tongues but the dynamic change brought about on the Apostles themselves. From this day forward they were men dedicated to one purpose and one purpose only, to bring the good news, of Christ to the whole world as Jesus told them to do when he ascended to the Father. When Peter, representing the eleven, preached Christ, crucified, and raised from the dead by the power of the Father he was presenting the core of our Christian faith. He and his fellow-Apostles would all give their lives gladly to spread that faith throughout the Roman Empire.
From this point on in the New Testament, including the inspired letters of the disciples we hear the story of the growth of the infant Church as it began to spread.
Every year we go through this liturgical cycle, which presents to us God’s mercy and infinite love, as we learn and hopefully grow from the inspired word of God, During Advent we tried to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Son of God to dwell as a man among us Christmas recalls our minds and hearts that great and mysterious act of love — the Incarnation. Lent prepares us spiritually for the sufferings endured by Jesus for us and our salvation. Easter then is the feast of triumph, Christ’s triumph over death and our guarantee to our final triumph and union with him. Pentecost crowns Jesus Christ’s work among us as he and the Father sends their Spirit, the fruit of divine love, to be with his Church. All that closes today with this great feast of Pentecost; which was the solemn, public manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifier, the third person of the Blessed Trinity as protector and guide of the Christian Church.
The Holy Spirit comes to stand with the Church, directing and effectively aiding its leaders to preserve, explain and spread the gospel of hope and love which Christ had brought to the earth. This annual series of feast days that we live year after year should help us to refresh in our souls the Infinite love of the Blessed Trinity for us poor finite humans, and how our God has planned the work of our salvation. A work which opens for us a future of unending happiness.
May the Holy Spirit today fill us all with thanksgiving for all that God has done for us.
© JOSEPH MEILINGER 2022