Today we celebrate the “birthday” of the Church – the coming of the Holy Spirit upon those gathered in the upper room fifty days after Easter and ten after the Lord’s Ascension into heaven.
We refer to this Feast in that way because it is the Holy Spirit Who completes the Lord’s plan and, in the process, turns Jesus’ disciples into true Apostles. They are transformed from frightened, uncertain, and doubtful people “hiding out” in the safety of the Upper Room into the bold, zealous, and fearless proclaimers of the Good News to the ends of the earth. The Spirit brings unity within diversity, as St. Paul reminds us, and, as if undoing the chaos of the Towel of Babel in the Old Testament, allows the gift of tongues so that each hears the Word proclaimed in his own language.
The best thing about Pentecost, though, is that it didn’t end where it began. Like all the feasts we celebrate in the Church, it is not just a reminder of a real, though static, event in history, but rather an ongoing and living reality within our midst. When we pray for the Holy Spirit to “come and renew the face of the earth”, that is – literally – as history has shown, what can happen. It has to have a starting point, though. And that starting point is ME.
Our world today is purposely divisive. We lack many traits and characteristic of good society. People often forget, regardless of their status or level of agreement, how to act toward one another. Our world today needs a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is WE who have to make it happen.
Luckily, it’s not as complicated as it seems. First, simply live your faith. Individual witness still makes the biggest difference and the biggest impression. Secondly, don’t think you can do it alone. Remember to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help. Make this your prayer on this great feast:
Holy Spirit, You know me better than I know myself. Grant me those graces, gifts, and blessings that You know I stand in most need of in my life at this timeand the strength to use them according to Your Will. Amen.
Fr. Eric Orzech