Solemnity of Pentecost
– We have come to the second most important feast of the Liturgical Year: the Solemnity of Pentecost, which marks the end of Easter season. Easter and Pentecost are intimately connected.
– Originally this was a Jewish Feast, one of the three main festivals in the Jewish calendar. On this feast, the Jews praised God for:
- THE COVENANT God had established with them on Mount Sinai;
- The TEN COMMANDMENTS, which they called THE LAW; and
- THE GRAIN HARVEST they had just completed.
– In His wisdom, God chose that very day to fulfill Jesus’ promise of sending the Holy Spirit to the apostles. God chose that day to:
- Ratify THE NEW COVENANT, not just with one nation but with all mankind, a covenant we signed when we were baptized;
- Proclaim THE NEW LAW, consisting of a single command: to love one another the way Christ himself loved us; and
- Start A HARVEST OF SOULS with the three thousand persons who believed in Christ upon hearing Peter speak. That harvest has been going on ever since (we are part of it), and will go on for as long as there is a person yet to be saved.
– Today is our Pentecost. We have gathered here to gratefully receive the Spirit whom the Lord means to communicate to us in this Eucharist.
The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world
and that which contains all things
understands what is said, alleluia.
COLLECT (OPENING PRAYER)
O God, who by the mystery of today’s greatest feast
sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation,
pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit
across the face of the earth
and, with the divine grace that was at work
when the Gospel was first proclaimed,
fill now once more the hearts of believers.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. – Amen!
FIRST READING (Acts 2:1-11)
– Luke opens chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles with a detailed narration of the event we are celebrating today: the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and disciples gathered in the Upper Room.
– On Pentecost Day, the Holy Spirit worked on two fronts: carrying out an incredible change in the hearts of the apostles, and gathering the crowd around their house at the sound of the wind.
– In his narration, Luke mentions as many as fifteen different linguistic groups in the crowd; and though the apostles spoke Aramaic, each one present there heard them as if they were speaking in each one’s mother tongue.
– The meaning of that miracle is that while sin had brought division among mankind, the Spirit brings, invariably, union and love.
– Pentecost marks the birthday of the Church, the feast of Unity. Let not dissension block the action of the Spirit in our community.
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