Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
And Thou shall renew the face of the earth.
Today’s celebration is a great feast, a feast of togetherness, unity and understanding. When Pentecost day came, they were all together (Acts 1:1). They were together for the feast, a Jewish harvest feast held fifty days after Passover to honour the giving of the Law, the Ten Commandments. Christians keep this day/feast fifty days after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to honour the giving of the Holy Spirit and the initial mission of the Church which has permanent validity. This mission is borne on this day John Paul II states:
“After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the apostles have a powerful experience which completely transforms them: the experience of Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit makes them witnesses and prophets (cf. Acts 1:8; 2:17-18). It fills them with a serene courage which impels them to pass on to others their experience of Jesus and the hope which motivates them. The Spirit gives them the ability to bear witness to Jesus with boldness.”(Redemptoris Missio, 24)
The reality of Pentecost constitutes baptism of the Church. It is a feast of unity, of understanding and of human communion. Can unity really exist? The world is growing further and nearer with the development means of communication, geographical distances seem to disappear but understanding between persons is now becoming superficial and difficult. Inequalities are becoming clearer in our communities; persons prefer to be closed up in our own “I,” in our own interests. In this situation can we find unity that we need and live it? The account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-11 answers this question. Only with the gift of God’s Spirit can there be unity either in our churches, families, countries and communities. The Spirit gives us a new tongue and a new heart, a new capacity to communicate. This is what happened on Pentecost, they were not only celebrating the Jewish harvest feast but also unity and understanding was born. We must live according to the Spirit of unity and truth. This truth is transmitted in the Church and the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
– in the Scriptures he inspired;
– in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
– in the Church’s Magisterium, which he assists;
– in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
– in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
– in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
– in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
– in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.” (No.688)
The Spirit of truth will teach us what a church is, what a parish is and how to live unity and understanding. For us Christians it is also a feast of transformation.
Joy and Peace