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  • Pentecost 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson May 19, 2018 - Category: Spirituality - 425 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Holy Spirit  #Come Holy Spirit 

    We enjoy celebrating special occasions in our lives, especially birthdays and anniversaries. The Church also loves to celebrate. Liturgy is basically a celebration, it is a fellowship. And today we have a reason to celebrate because Pentecost is the “birthday” of the Church. Christ established his Church on the first Pentecost.

    Both the Jews and the Christians now celebrate Pentecost. The word Pentecost comes from Greek word “pentecostes” which means “fiftieth.” The feast received this name because it was celebrated fifty days after the Feast of the Passover. It was originally a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest. Later, the Jews added to the Feast of Pentecost the element of Yahweh’s Covenant with Noah which took place fifty days after the great deluge. Still later, they made this feast an occasion to thank God for His Sinaitic Covenant with Moses which occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Exodus from Egypt. For Christians, it is a memorial of the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and the Virgin Mary, an event that took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus.

    To have the better understanding of the passage let us look deeper in to it: the apostles were in a room with closed doors because they were afraid of the Jews. It might be the same room they used during the last supper. The word “closed door” has also a background in OT. It could also mean the “closed gate of Paradise” after the Fall. (Gen 3:24) Christ passed through it, meaning Christ overcame Sin, and Eden was opened again. The “feeling of fear” was transformed into the “feeling of Peace” because of grace. The opening of Paradise was also symbol for new life and the recreation of new Eden.

    Christ breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit”. The word “Breathe” that is used here is a translation from the Greek word “Ruah” meaning “air” or “wind.” It is the same word used during the time of creation, when Yahweh formed Adam from soil and “breathed” on him and he came into life. Unfortunately because of the great Fall, that life was lost. During Pentecost that very same life, was given back to us, thus recreating humanity once again, God’s re-creation of the new world and his new people –the Church.

    Note that the verses, “breathing out of the Holy Spirit” (giving a new life) and the “giving of the authority to forgive” comes one after another (v. 22-23). Sometimes, when couples have some misunderstanding, it becomes so hard for them to sit down and begin to work it out together again. Maybe because there are still a lot of pains in their hearts that make them very hard to forgive. But without forgiveness a fresh new start is next to impossible. Forgive first, only then you can start a new relationship of love.

    The “giving of Peace” and the “sending of the apostles” come together in the single verse (v. 21). When Christ sent his apostles into mission, he made it sure that they already had Peace in their hearts. It is very hard to work with a heavy heart. Even how hard we try to do our best to finish a certain work oftentimes we cannot simply do it well. We will just waste our time and effort if we will do it with disturbed minds and hearts. Perhaps each morning, before we do any work we need to sit down a little bit, and ask ourselves: “Why I am afraid, disturbed and worried? What should I do to calm myself and receive peace? Then you pray. After you resolve those issues deep within, only then can you go back to work and everything will be alright.

    An old beggar lay on his deathbed. His last words were to his youngest son who had been his constant companion during his begging trips. “Dear son," he said, “I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and a dirty bronze bowl which I got in my younger days from the junk yard of a rich lady.” After his father’s death, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had given him. One day a gold merchant dropped a coin in the boy’s bowl and he was surprised to hear a familiar clinking sound. “Let me check your bowl,” the merchant said. To his great surprise, he found that the beggar’s bowl was made of pure gold. “My dear young man," he said, “why do you waste your time begging? You are a rich man. That bowl of yours is worth at least thirty thousand dollars.” We Christians are often like this beggar boy who failed to recognize and appreciate the value of his bowl. We received the Holy Spirit when we were baptized, and He sealed us in the sacrament of Confirmation but we fail to appreciate the infinite worth of the Holy Spirit living within each of us, sharing His gifts and fruits and charisms with us. On this major feast day, we are invited to experience and appreciate the transforming, sanctifying and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit within us. This is also a day to renew the promises made to God during our Baptism and Confirmation, to profess our Faith, and to practice it.

    So dear friend, as I said in the beginning we love celebrations, especially birthdays and anniversaries because those are moments of beginnings, the start of life and relationships. We celebrate Pentecost with great joy, because He did not only restore the old relationship through forgiveness, but He also gave us new life – A new beginning.

    Image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr/CreativeCommons