Sunday, May 24, 2015, is the Feast of Pentecost. The readings will be Acts 2:1-11; Galatians 5:16-25; and John 15:26-27, 16:12-15.
For the Jewish people, the Feast of Pentecost was originally a celebration of thanksgiving for the harvest. It later commemorated God’s gift to the people of Israel of the law as given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. That defining moment in the relationship between God and the Jewish people was proof of God’s care for them and of God’s desire that Israel be a ‘great and holy nation.’ This Sunday celebrates the event that gives Pentecost its meaning for Christians. As the disciples gathered to celebrate the Jewish feast, they experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in a sound “like a strong driving wind” and in the appearance of “tongues of fire.” Their lives were changed forever. The Holy Spirit enabled and empowered the disciples to proclaim the mighty acts of God in a way that was understandable and effective for all people. The Holy Spirit entered into the community uniting them, animating them, and forming them into the Church.
The Holy Spirit is a unique “person,” of God, described as the “fruit” of the love that flows continually between God the Father and Jesus. That Spirit continues to reside in and among the members of the Church, fulfilling Jesus’ promise not to leave us orphans and enabling the Church to be fruitful.
As a Church we have immersed ourselves in 50 days of Easter. We have remembered Jesus’ death and resurrection and celebrated the proof of God’s limitless love for us. Next Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, and we recall that through the gift to us of the Holy Spirit we are empowered, like the first disciples, to live and proclaim the love of God.
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