Pentecost Sunday 2023
Happy Birthday to the Church! Today, Pentecost Sunday, is considered "The Birthday of the Church"
Why the Birthday? Because on the first Pentecost the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to all the members of the Church, the followers and believers in, Jesus Christ. (Just to back track a little: Pentecost refers to five weeks, 50 days from Easter Sunday.) Until the gift of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the first Christians were huddled together, praying? Yes! Out announcing the Good News about Jesus? No, they were hiding for fear of death and persecution for their belief in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. They were praying, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, awaiting the next move they should make as followers of the Man from Nazareth. As they were praying they heard a sound like wind blowing. Then miraculously "tongues as of fire" descended on each of them! Then they began to speak to a crowd of people, Jewish believers in the the God of Revelation, who came from various parts of the Roman Empire. The book of The Acts of the Apostles," in the New Testament of the Bible, relates the story of the "Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and Mary."
With the strength and boundless enthusiasm that accompanied the gift of the Holy Spirit, the doors where the Apostles were sheltered were thrown open. No longer cowering for fear, Jesus' followers began to loudly proclaim who Jesus is with boundless enthusiasm! That same day the Apostle Peter, who not long before had denied that he even knew Jesus, was the first to proclaim, to Jews and to all who would listen that Jesus is the One to adore and listen to. In the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, beginning with Chapter 2 and following, we read the first history of the beginnings of the Church.
We who are Christians and Catholics today are the spiritual descendants of that first believers in Jesus who left the protection of the closed doors to move out of their comfort zone to let people know the person who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life." Jesus had told the disciples when he ascended to Heaven, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you".
Today, my friends, we celebrate the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit. Let's invoke the Holy Spirit that we too can burst open the doors of our fear to talk about Jesus; to let people know that you are a believer in Christ; to speak up when some people around you may revile the Church, her pastors, and all of us believers. We are called to be humble, not arrogant; convinced, not petulant; prayerful and pleasant. Let our lives proclaim "The Good News!" Amen!
PS Now may be a good time to read the beginning chapters of "The Acts of the Apostles."