Feast of Pentecost
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This great feast marks the birth of the Church as we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit onto the disciples gathered in Jerusalem. Just before Jesus returned to the Father having fulfilled his mission, he told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until he sent the Holy Spirit upon them. So, they waited.
In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles the coming of the Holy Spirit is described for us. First, a great roar of wind, then tongues of fire over the heads of those gathered, finally they all raise their voices in praise of God and in testimony to what Christ has done for us. They made such a ruckus that many of the people visiting Jerusalem from many different countries gathered around the building the disciples were in to see what was happening. And they were amazed at what they heard and even more amazed because they heard the testimony of the disciples about Jesus in their own languages. And many were converted on that day.
In the second reading Paul continues to reflect on the impact the Holy Spirit had on whole of the Christian community. Through the Holy Spirit every member of the community is united with one another and with Christ, making them the living body of Christ. Every spiritual gift, form of service and good work is the result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the community. It is the Holy Spirit who enlivens every member of the community and empowers them to be witnesses to what Christ has done and is doing for us.
And in the Gospel, we are reminded that our witness is to bring the peace and forgiveness of Christ into our world.
We remember this glorious moment of God’s intervention into human history and celebrate the living community that came from it. We also pray for the grace to be who we are, today’s faithful witnesses to God’s love for the world and Christ’s living presence in it.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.