Today we celebrate Pentecost, which comes from a Greek word meaning fiftieth. Both Jews and Christians have a feast called “Pentecost.” Within the Jewish tradition, Pentecost celebrates the day God gave Moses the Law on Mt. Sinai. It is celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. For the Church, Pentecost recalls the fiftieth day after Jesus rose from the tomb. On Pentecost day, Jesus fulfilled his promise by sending the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles while they were at prayer in the Temple. The Acts of the Apostles describes Pentecost with dramatic words, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. 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 fi re, 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 2:1-4).
We often refer to Pentecost as the “birthday of the Catholic Church.” We are told in our first reading today, when the Holy Spirit came and rested on the Apostles, they were all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and were then able to boldly leave the Temple and preach in the streets without fear of anyone. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles to speak in tongues, a symbolic manifestation of the unity and universality of the church, for which Jesus prayed on the night before his passion. Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit would remain with the Church, to lead and guide her until the end of time.
With the celebration of Pentecost today, we have now concluded the Eastertide (50 days) which began Easter Sunday. At the end of the 5pm (Sunday) Mass this weekend, we will remove the Paschal Candle from the altar as a symbolic end of the Easter Season.
I thank everyone for your participation in liturgies and personal prayers, especially during the Eastertide. Special thanks to those who participated in the Novena to the Holy Spirit over the past nine days. May we be strengthened with the gifts of the Holy Spirit on this day, and may God continue to bless our parish community with peace, love and unity as we conclude the Eastertide and move into Ordinary Time.
Thank you and remain blessed,