Happy Pentecost! This season commemorates the days following the day the Holy Ghost came down from Heaven and breathed His life into the Church, inspiring the Apostles and the disciples with a determination to preach the Gospel. This is a season to renew our efforts on our spiritual journey, strengthened with the Holy Spirit, so we, like the Apostles, can spread God’s message of repentance, redemption, and new life to all people.
Let’s go back to that first Pentecost, that is, to the fiftieth day following the day of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead.
The Apostles, Mary Jesus’ mother, and some others “were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). Jesus “commanded them that they not depart from Jerusalem” but to “wait for the promise of the Father” which would be sent to them (Acts 1:4), specifically “…the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you…” (Acts 1: 8). Fifty days after the Resurrection, the Jews were celebrating the Pentecost, the fifty days after their Passover. At the same time, the Apostles and disciples were gathered together, when suddenly, “…there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming…and there appeared to them parted tongues of fire: and it sat on every one of them.” (Acts 2:2-3). The Holy Ghost, the promise of the Father, had come! Those present all began to speak in many languages, so that it aroused the attention of people outside. There were many people from many different nations outside the place where the disciples were congregated. When they heard the disciples, they were amazed, “…because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue.” (Acts 2:6). They began to ask each other how it could be, for, “…are not all these that speak Galileans?” (Acts 2:7) Some even suggested that drunkenness was at the bottom of the disciples problem. Peter then stood up, faced the crowd, and assured them that he ad his companions were not drunk, but that God had foretold the events which were unfolding. Peter went on to describe the prophesies of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, as well as the signs God had shown to the very people to whom Peter was speaking which were proof to Jesus’ Divinity. The Holy Ghost was really at work that day, because through Peter’s powerful message, about three thousand people were baptized and received into the Church!
This causes us to wonder, “Who is the Holy Ghost?” (also called the Holy Spirit) We should all know that the Holy Ghost is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. In “My Catholic Faith”, it says, “The Holy Ghost is the eternal mutual love that the Father and the Son bear to each other; but instead of being a mere feeling, He is a Person, a Being, God.”(Morrow 76) God’s presence was literally bestowed upon the Church on the day of Pentecost. That explains a lot about what happened as described in the book of Acts, doesn’t it? The Holy Ghost, God Himself, came down to the people gathered in the upper room, and gave them His power.
Now you’re thinking, “Well that’s all very good, but where is the Holy Ghost today? I don’t see anyone speaking in tongues or making bold speeches and converting thousands.” He’s still here. He may not manifest Himself in great displays of power and glory, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t make Himself known in other ways. The Catechism of the Council of Trent states, “…the Holy Ghost is called a gift…Whatever gifts and graces, therefore, have been conferred on us by God…we should…acknowledge as bestowed upon us by the grace and gift of the Holy Ghost.”(Catechism of the Council of Trent 94). The Holy Ghost is with us still every day. What a wonderful thought! Everything good which comes our way is a gift from the Holy Ghost, because the Holy Ghost Himself is God’s gift to us! With that thought, let’s celebrate this Pentecost by receiving into our souls the gift of the Holy Ghost, and thanking Him for all of His gifts to us every day.
The Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims version, Loreto publications, 1941
The Catechism of the Council of Trent. TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. 1982
Morrow, Louis. My Catholic Faith. Sarto House, 2011