Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”. John 20:21-23
Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday is the marking of the moment when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of the Lord, descending from the Heavens like great tongues of fire that rested on each of them. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples great strength and courage, and they went forth out of their hiding place in Jerusalem, and openly preached the truth about the salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ to all the people assembled in Jerusalem at that time.
The people assembled there coming from very diverse places, all spoke various and intelligible languages. Yet, the moment the disciples spoke to them and gave testimony of truth about Christ, they could all understand what these disciples were speaking about, and they seemed to hear them speaking in their own native languages.
The Holy Spirit gave the disciples not just the gift of speaking in tongues, but also the gift of miracles and power over evil spirits, allowing them to heal the sick and perform various other miracles. Through their testimony, fervour and faith, it was told that the very day of the Pentecost itself, three thousand people were baptised by the Lord, and from then on, the Church began to grow and flourish. This is also why the celebration of the Pentecost marked the beginning of the Church, and we mark and celebrate it as the Anniversary of the Church that we collectively belong to.
From that day onwards, the disciples, no longer afraid or in hiding, went forth boldly to fulfil the mission that the Lord had entrusted to them. The Church went forth into the world actively proclaiming the Lord and His Good News that still remain true even to this present day. The Holy Spirit has guided the path of the Church and its leaders, leading the Apostles and their successors, the Popes, bishops and priests throughout the many centuries and ages past, to the present day.
Almighty God, your love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us, which we have received, and which bears rich fruit in our lives. Your Spirit indwelling in our hearts is constantly at work in our lives, perfecting us in imitation of Jesus. In holiness alone can we stand before you.
The everyday expressions of goodness and kindness, of faithfulness and self-control, of patience and gentleness, are all manifestations of the Spirit that you have given to us, Lord God. We can recognize the Spirit’s presence in the routine happenings of our life, and this spirituality projects humanity at its best.
Lord, your Manifested Power through your Spirit at Pentecost, brought about a wonderful bonding among people, united in admiring and praising the marvels of God. In spite of differences in language and culture the Spirit brought about a communion among them, a great unity in diversity. Jesus taught that only the Spirit can lead us to the complete truth, which can sanctify us and bring us in righteousness into your Magnified Presence through Christ our Lord. Amen