How to Celebrate Pentecost Sunday followed by the 9th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus, when departing from this world to return to his Father in heaven, ten days later, at Pentecost, one of his most significant promises was extraordinarily realized.
After Pentecost the apostles were never again the same. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit impacted on their enthusiasm to carry out Jesus’ wishes. The effects were immediately noticeable to the watching and listening crowds.
The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and given the gift of speech. As they spoke, their listeners – many of whom were foreigners – could hear and understand them in their own languages. The apostles now acted as members of a united and committed community. Although Christ had established the Church while still on earth, at Pentecost it became manifest in the world for the first time. It became obvious that God was working powerfully through the Church.
Jesus’ fundamental promise to his apostles was that they would never be without his presence and his help. He knew that they would be unable to contribute successfully to the universal mission that he had given them unless he sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would bring courage to his disciples, and restore unity and harmony between people. There is evidence of this in John’s Gospel when Jesus, after rising from the dead, said to his apostles:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained’ (Jn 20:22-23).
The Feast of Pentecost is a wonderful celebration of the missionary Church. Let us reflect on our missionary efforts in our homes, schools and workplaces. How are we willing to demonstrate that we are serious about our confirmation (Pentecost) responsibilities? In what ways do we explain the authentic teaching of the Church? How do we experience Pentecost as a promise realized in our lives, leading us to make the urgency of the gospel message of salvation a reality for everyone we meet?
Adapted from John Littleton
Journeying through the Year of Matthew, Gospel Reflections.
Here is a reflection by Deacon Stephen Fraser of the Auckland Catholic Diocese.