The Feast of Pentecost 2022
In the Church calendar, today’s Solemnity ranks up there with Christmas and Easter. So significant is this day that we are actually given a variety of options for readings and liturgical prayers on today’s Solemnity.
Did you know the instruction for this feast day originates in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy? The people of Israel were to gather for a festive celebration 50 (Pente) days after the feast of the unleavened bread? The book of Exodus speaks of this as an agrarian harvest Festival (Ex 34:22). Wheat, bread, and fruits were brought before the Lord as an act of thanksgiving. The book of Deuteronomy instructs that for this festive day, “you will make merry in the presence of the Lord” (Dt 16:11). Moreover, it goes on to state that no one should be excluded, not sons nor daughters, slaves, aliens, or widows. Think about how radical that statement is in light of today’s divisions. And think about on the day of Pentecost the power of the Spirit is poured out upon everyone, regardless of religion, race, education, gender, sexual orientation, age, or economic status…. As Paul says, God shows no partiality. So why do we? The origins of this feast day are about a time of intense celebration for what the Lord has given.
As we jump to the New Testament God chooses this prescribed feast day as the significant day for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It says to us that in a unique way, God honors calendar days. And it is important to God that we celebrate these distinctive days
50 days ago Passover was about revealing a new covenant that was established through the death of Jesus. So what happens after that covenant is established? Do we have any responsibility?
The answer of course is yes… Paul will say we are no longer slaves to the law or to the rules that bind us all together. The Spirit poured out upon us gives us all freedom, not to do what we want, but to work hard at rooting our lives in the gospel. So going back to the origins of this agrarian feast, if we are working on our roots and the soil in which we are rooted we will notice our fruits are different. The challenge is not to judge another person’s fruit or the quantity/quality of their fruit, but to focus our energies on plunging our roots into the deep rich soil of the good news we call Gospel.
In doing so it is the only way the plant and the tree are healthy. How can a plant be healthy if its roots are poor or it exists in polluted soil?
With all the work we have been doing through this visioning process as Passionists here in Holy Cross Province, we continue to rediscover this exact truth with our Passionist Charism. We realize we are at our best when we are Charism-centered. Growth, unity, collaboration, meaning, and hope are all fruits which we can build on our own but naturally grow and ripen when we take more time to sink our roots into our Passionist Charism.
Fr. David Colhour, C.P. is the local superior of St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.