And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2: 2-4)
Christ had promised His Apostles that they would not be alone…Even though He would be ascending into Heaven, without them, He promised them that when He left, His Paraclete would follow (the word Paraclete means: one called to help...) As the Apostles and Mary where gathered in the upper room praying…nine days after Jesus’ Ascension and fifty days after Easter, the Feast of the Pentecost… the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and Mary, baptizing them and filling them with the Holy Spirit. They became emboldened with the Holy Spirit and regained the zeal they had lost when Christ had left them. Immediately, the Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages of the Jews who were gathered. When all was said and done…with the aid of the Holy Spirit …the Apostles were able to convert and baptize about 3,000 people that day.
In a way, the Pentecost..or rather…the descent if the Holy Spirit, is God’s final movement towards man…it completes what was begun in the garden of Eden, which continued with the overshadowing of the Blessed Virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit…in which the Word was made Flesh….to be offered up as a Sacrifice for mankind…with His death on the Cross. The Holy Spirit came to fill the apostles and Mary so that they would more clearly understand all that had happened…all that He had told them…(although, Mary most likely already had a much better understanding of this all along…) they would in fact become Disciples of the Divine Truth…
The Feast of Pentecost is also considered the ‘birthday of the Church,’ because on Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the inhabitants of the upper room, Christ’s mission was complete, and the New Covenant was inaugurated. God had equipped His Church…The Apostles…with His Holy Spirit so that they could begin their new ministry…which was to go out into all the nations and make disciples of all men.
As a historic event…this is huge! It meant that with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Church would spread far throughout the lands…it meant that Christianity would become universal…God had sent His Spirit into His followers so that they go and share this Good News…It really is beyond our comprehension…Think of this: God, who is eternally great… and all good, sent His breath…His Spirit into man…And He continues to send It into each one of us! Through no merit of our own! Remember, when we are speaking of the Holy Spirit…we are talking about the Third person of the Blessed Trinity...it is not just a force of God…but God Himself …It really is quite amazing! At the moment of our baptism we are united with Christians throughout the world…universally united…brothers and sisters in the Spirit of Christ!
With this Feast of the Pentecost, we are celebrating the fact,the knowledge, that God did not create us merely as creatures that need simply to obey Him…No, He created us so that we might become close to Him…love Him…in a kind of love that will consume even the most hardened of hearts…He wants each of us to be with Him…and so He sent the Holy Spirit so that we may live our ordinary lives here on earth, in extra – ordinary ways…empowered with the gifts of the Spirit.
By enabling us to partake in this Feast of Pentecost, He is inviting us to join together…in communion with other faithful Christians to seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that we may help overcome the sin that is in the world…the sin that threatens to destroy our chances of being with God in Heaven…So, let us pray: Come Holy Spirit,Come!
O God, who on this day
didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people
by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit:
Grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgment in all things,
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the same Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen.
– From the Book of Common Prayer