Today we commemorate the powerful day of Pentecost. However, I think we can get lost when we focus on the past and not understand it within the context of the future. Let me give you an example. This was also the week we commemorate D-Day which was the battle on the English Channel shores of France for the liberation of Europe. We commemorate that day, but we many years later lose a sense of its significance. It was when the Allies were able to begin the move to liberate France and destroy the NAZI’s. Less than a year later the war in Europe ended as NAZI Germany fell.
Had that moment not happened, our world would be in a darker place today.
But the commemoration of Pentecost is different. For we can look at that Day almost two thousand years ago and unlike D-Day we have a direct connection to it, each and every one of us.
That day, the Apostles living in expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit promised to them by Jesus, but completely unaware what that meant, experienced the power of His descent upon them as they heard a powerful wind and saw tongues like fire coming upon them.
Suddenly they were infused with the power of the Holy Spirit and began to preach the Gospel in ways that they never were able previously to preach. Their preaching converted thousands of people that day.
We are talking somewhere around the year 33 AD.
So, we are watching the power of the Holy Spirit lead the Apostles to preach the Gospel and leading others first with the Jews and later with the Gentiles to change their whole understanding of the meaning of their very existence. They embrace the hope of eternal life.
They learn to repent and embrace Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light.
But I said that there is a difference between commemorating that event and commemorating another such as D-Day.
Here it is:
Everything that happened to the Apostles with the coming of the Holy Spirit and a change in their whole way of understanding the world around them, happened to you. All that power that came upon them at Pentecost came upon you at your Baptism and Confirmation.
It is all there. How do I know that? Because that is the message of St. John Chrysostom who preached: upon you no less at your baptism the Spirit comes. But since then we have no need of sensible vision, faith sufficing instead of all. For signs are “not for them that believe, but for them that believe not.”3
This means that everything that happened to the Apostles, happened to you at your Baptism and Confirmation. The fire of the Holy Spirit came upon you. If you did not feel anything that is fine, your faith brought you the truth, it did not have to be proven to you further.
What do we do with this? We ask the Lord to further manifest our faith so that we can live as he calls us to do through the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
If the Apostles were given such power then the power is proportional to the message. The power indicates that the message was urgent. Indeed, it was. Remember, forty years later the political entity called Judah ceased to exist.
Then the message of the Gospel grew not only to many of the Jews but to the gentiles as well.
Today, the message is no less urgent. People are using the term post Christian and calling people to live in a new way of being in which we glorify our own thought over the thought of Christ.
That is a dangerous way to live, for when we live our own thought as the truth, then we drift far from the real truth. This not only leads us astray but far astray. When nations and ideologies reject the truth for their own truth, then humanity becomes redefined and unity turns to division and even oppression.
But that is not what Christ teaches. He teaches that only way to salvation is through an intense form of love which we can learn only through the Holy Spirit. That love brings the fullness of humanity for it is creative love.
We have an urgent mission to bring the real truth for the real truth alone can bring us to salvation, for it teaches us who we truly are.
We are living in a time now when living by the leadership of the Holy Spirit is urgent. For if we do not follow His words then we will get lost in a false reality of what it means to be human. That will lead us not only away from the Kingdom of Heaven, but away from a world of peace and the fullness of human life.
You and I need to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit that manifested himself upon the Apostles to manifest
himself upon us so that we may do the Lord’s work for the salvation of the World. That ultimately is our mission at Baptism. If we don’t then another “truth” will take its place, a truth that is not rooted in peace, a truth that is rooted in division and self-glorification of a few over the many. It is a false truth that will bring great pain and division.
Today is the day we remember that our role in co-operating with the grace of the Holy Spirit through our quest for holiness and our prayer and work began at our baptism. You and I have the same mission and in a sense the same power as the Apostles. Let us all ask God to remove from us any obstacles to that power. Let us ask the Lord to show us the mission he gave us at Baptism to be Holy parents, Holy workers, holy people that all might be saved in Christ.
Let us do all we can to manifest His presence and power in our lives.
Cover : Pentecote, Jean Recote II Public Domain