Pentecost

Pentecost


The Jewish feast of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, was celebrated fifty days after the Passover. It was originally a thanksgiving for the harvest  and was one of the three great feasts when all the men of Israel had to present themselves before God (Deuteronomy 16:16). By the time of Jesus, however, it was kept as the anniversary of the covenant between God and Israel. It was a fitting day, therefore, for the Holy Spirit to come upon the apostles, not only because there were plenty of people in Jerusalem for the feast. but also because the sending of the Holy Spirit was the final fulfilment of the covenant and of God's promise not only to Israel but to all humanity.

The dramatic signs that marked this event - the mighty wind, the tongues of fire, the overcoming of the language barrier - demonstrate that, by this act God was bringing to completion the salvation of all human beings. For the reconciliation between God and humans was fully achieved by Christ's sacrifice of his life, and the significance of it was fully revealed by his victory over death. To bear the saving effects of this sacrifice and this victory to all people, Jesus commissioned the twelve apostles. Constituted but not yet empowered, the apostles waited in the upper room for what was to be the final act of the Paschal mystery and the first act of the Church.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!