Pentecost literally means the 50th day after Easter Sunday, and on Pentecost, we celebrate the coming down of the Holy spirit upon the apostles gathered in prayer.
There are conflicting reports on the exact day of Pentecost. John the Evangelist says the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles on Easter Sunday. The Lord appeared to them, breathed upon them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But according to St. Luke, the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles on the 50th day after Easter Sunday.
Though both stories are conflicting, the real conflict lies in our understanding. When the Lord breathed forth the Holy spirit on the apostles, they remained sad and afraid that what happened to Jesus Christ, would also happen to them. It was only after 50 days that the apostles finally realized that the Holy Spirit did, indeed, descend upon them and they became courageous.
From this, we can see that Pentecost is not only a celebration of the coming down of the Holy Spirit, but also of man cooperating with the Holy Spirit. When man does not cooperate with the Holy Spirit, he remains afraid. In other words, Pentecost and salvation, for that matter, can only happen if we cooperate with the grace God gives us.
Like the apostles, we, too, receive the Holy Spirit – in baptism, confirmation and each time we receive the Eucharist. But if we do not experience the tongues of fire, it is because our cooperation with the Holy Spirit is lacking. If we could only burn with the zeal and the openness of the apostles gathered on that 50th day after Easter, then we would feel the tongues of fire at work in our hearts. We would see the whole world burning with fire from the Holy Spirit.
Let us set the world on fire with the love of God. Set the whole church on fire with your openness to the Holy Spirit, so that people will no longer see just you, but the fire of God’s love burning within you.
OUR GIFT…OUR MISSION
Jesus In My Heart