Pentecost Sunday Reflection

By Christine Griffith, Coordinator of Weddings and Sacramental Preparation

This coming Sunday, Christians throughout the world will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.  Pentecost Sunday, considered one of the greatest feasts in the Christian liturgical calendar, comes fifty days after Easter Sunday and ten days after the Ascension of our Lord. 

The Day of Pentecost marked a turning point in the early Christian church.  Pentecost, a Jewish feast, was celebrated fifty days after Passover, and pilgrims had come to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate the event.  We all know the familiar story of what occurred on that Sunday.  The Apostles and the Blessed Mother were gathered in the Upper Room, the same room where they had seen Christ after His resurrection and the same room where they celebrated the Last Supper.

“And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues of fire, distributed and resting on each of them.  And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4). 

Christ had promised His Apostles that He would send His Holy Spirit, and on Pentecost they were granted this gift.  The Apostles went out and began to preach the Gospel in all the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke and many were converted and baptized that day.  From an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the Church was started.  This is also true from a spiritual perspective since the Spirit brings the Church into existence and enlivens it.

This Saturday evening at 7:30pm, at a vigil Mass for the Feast of Pentecost, nine University of St. Thomas students will receive this same gift of the Holy Spirit as they celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation.  They, too, will experience this tangible encounter with the risen Christ just as the disciples did on that first Pentecost two thousand years ago.   With the graces of the sacrament, they, too, will be able to go out and spread the Gospel and continue the work of Christ, just as the disciples did. 

As we celebrate this great feast day, perhaps we should ask ourselves how we are exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Are we spreading the Gospel and continuing the work of Christ within our families, our Church, our communities and our world?  Let us use this time to ask God to fill us anew with the Holy Spirit so that our lives may be truly become witnesses to His Gospel.