It was the Jewish Feast of Pentecost one of three pilgrimages” feasts that brought many people to Jerusalem. Pentecost was the celebration of the First Fruits of Harvest and the celebration of the Commandments given by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai.

The Apostles and about 120 disciples were in Jerusalem – not to celebrate the Jewish Feast – but rather, they were hiding and waiting in the Cenical – the room of the Last Supper – just as they hid and waited on the night of Easter. On Easter night, right into the midst of that frightened group, Jesus came and stood: “PEACE BE WITH YOU” HE SAID. That first Pentecost, the Apostles were waiting again, this time for the power of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised would make everything clear to them.

As we heard in the first reading, the Holy Spirit came to them in the sound of wind and in fire as Jesus had promised. “Suddenly from up in the sky, there came a noise like a strong, driving wind which was heard by all through the house where they were seated. Tongues of fire appeared which parted and came to rest on each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Peter – the clear spokesman for the Apostles threw open the windows and began to preach a message of repentance and forgiveness. The pilgrims from various parts of the world, were able to understand Peter as he spoke there was no language barrier. By the power of the Holy Spirit, each one understood Peter in his or her own language, and 3000 people were baptized that day!

At Pentecost – the birthday of the Church – the Apostles were changed men. They were ready to carry-out the command of Jesus:

“Go, and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

They knew what He meant when He said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive; they are forgiven them; whose sins you hold bound they are held bound.”

It was only when the Apostles and the disciples received the Holy Spirit that they were able to take the Good News of the Gospel into the world. It was the Holy Spirit who led them, guided them, and filled them with the courage and wisdom, they needed to do what they were called to do. It was the Holy Spirit who opened the hearts of the people to listen to their message and accept it.

For the Apostles, life drastically changed with Pentecost. Before Pentecost, the Apostles had been timid and fearful – lurking behind locked doors in terror of their uncertain future. After Pentecost, the fire of the Holy Spirit inflamed them, and they were filled with boldness. Before Pentecost, the Apostles were hesitant and confused in their Faith. After Pentecost, The Holy Spirit opened their minds so that they could believe firmly and speak eloquently about the wonderful works of God. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church was wonderfully born.

As the Church moved out from the Upper Room, great signs and miracles happened as recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus: the sick were healed, the dead were brought back to life, demons were cast out, the widows and orphans were cared for, and the Church began to flourish.

The 120 Disciples became 3,120 on the day of Pentecost then 5000 then millions so that today, Jesus is proclaimed in countless languages and in all places. It must have been very exciting to live in the Apostolic Church as described by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, but the signs and wonders did not cease with the death of the last Apostle. The Holy Spirit is alive and is directing the Church today. He guided it through the persecutions of its infancy Period. He guided it through the Dark Ages of illiterate clergy. He guided it through the separation of the Eastern Orthodox

Churches from Rome in 1054.  He guided it through the fracture of the Protestant Reformation as Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli broke from Rome. He guided it through the turmoil of Councils and He is still guiding the Church today amid attacks from the media and from within the Church. So we need not fear.

On this Birthday of the Church – this Feast of Pentecost – we ask for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and for a fresh awakening of the gifts that each of us received at our Confirmation so that what happened in the Apostolic Church will happen to us here and now. The Holy Spirit is calling us to take the Church more seriously. The Holy Spirit is calling us to rise from the ranks of Sunday Catholics and become alive in our Faith.

The Holy Spirit is calling us to stand up for and live the teachings of the Church. The Holy Spirit is calling us to learn more about our Faith, defend our Faith, and spread our Faith by living it to the full. The Holy Spirit is calling us to re-examine our Faith in light of the Sacred Scripture, and discover that the Catholic Church alone comes from Jesus Christ and His Apostles; and that we alone have the fullness of the Faith given to the Church by Christ when He was personally present here on earth.

Without the Holy Spirit, you and I can bear no fruit. Our lives are in vain. We need the Holy Spirit of Pentecost! May He always be welcome in our lives.