Happy Pentecost! Happy Birthday!
The fifty days of the Easter Season comes to its joyous conclusion with today’s Solemnity of Pentecost. (
from the Greek word Pentekoste, “fiftieth’)
It has its roots in the Jewish feast of weeks (
Shavuot) that closed the period of seven weeks begun at Passover. The Jewish emphasis was on harvest and first fruits, and celebrated the revelation of the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Church kept this feast as a celebration of thanksgiving and rejoicing in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (
Acts 2:1-41); it is seen as the “Birthday of the Church.”
How grateful we should be for the gift of the Holy Spirit that dwells within the Church, making her One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic! St. Augustine tells us “What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.” St. Irenaeus affirms that where the Church is, “there also is God’s Spirit—and every grace.” It is the Holy Spirit who illumines and sustains us on the journey of faith.
Most of us experience the Church within our own parish community and so we pray today that the Holy Spirit will deepen within us a love of the Church Universal and indeed for our own parish. May our parish be, in the words of Pope Francis, “a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey.” What do visitors witness or experience when they enter our parish church? Do we help our church to be a reflection of the holiness of God? Does it give all who enter a sense that the Holy Spirit is at work here? Our bulletin has a few verses that form a welcome invitation to a parish church. May it reflect our sentiments and desire as a parish.