The Solemnity of Pentecost

solemnity of the pentecost

We celebrate Pentecost Sunday in commemoration of the birth of the Church.  The Holy Spirit descends upon the Apostles fifty days after the crucifixion, while they are gathered in an upper room with Mary, mother of Jesus.  They change from frightened, confused disciples of Jesus to men of courage and conviction.  The Holy Spirit also called the Advocate, removes their confusion.

Jesus tells his Apostles He will not leave them orphaned.  He will send them an Advocate to lead and guide them.  Just as each of us has more than one type of relationship (mother, daughter, sister), God also shows Himself to us in different ways:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Father is the creator of everything.  Jesus is the Son, sent to redeem the world from the slavery of sin, and the Holy Spirit guides and shows us the way to the Father and Son.

The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, tells us that the Holy Spirit gives the disciples gifts of grace through which they will undertake the evangelical mission of the Church.  On the day of Pentecost, they receive the miraculous “gift of tongues,” so that everyone from every country understands their inspired message of salvation.  The preaching of Peter and the other apostles converts thousands.

The liturgical color of Pentecost is red, a reminder of the flames that “rested on the apostles.”  Another symbol for the Holy Spirit is the dove, usually emitting golden rays of light. 

The Solemnity of Pentecost ends the Easter season.  The effects of Pentecost have been the subject of our reflection throughout the fifty days of Easter.  In today’s Gospel passage from John, read every year on Pentecost, Jesus gives the Spirit on the evening of Easter day itself.  Thus, in a certain sense, the liturgy draws the whole fifty days of Easter into one.

After Pentecost, we remove the Easter candle from the baptistery and light it only for baptisms and funerals.

“The love of God is poured forth in our hearts

 through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”

Romans 5:5

 May the Holy Spirit inspire new life in each of us!

 

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