There is once again cause for rejoicing today as we say “Happy Birthday to the Church!” Today’s feast of Pentecost is heavily tied to the Jewish Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), 49 days (7 weeks, or “a week of weeks”) after the second day of Passover, to celebrate the harvest and the giving of the Law. Just as the Jews use this feast as a reminder of being God’s holy people, the Christian Church sees the feast of Pentecost as the “starting date” for the institutional Church. This is also an occasion when we are privy to hear the Sequence, “Holy Spirit, Lord of Light, from the clear celestial height, Thy pure beaming radiance give…,” also called by its Latin, “Veni Sancte Spiritus.”
After receiving the Holy Spirit, the Jews who had come from all over the area and staying in Jerusalem understood the Galilean men. This event would be similar to Inuits speaking to people from Saudi Arabia, China, the United States, Nigeria, Japan, Brazil, Russia, Honduras, and having never studied these languages, being understood by the native speakers. Talk about the power of God!
Too often, Christians shy away from talking about the Holy Spirit, but the Third Person of the Trinity is as much a part of it as the Father and the Son. This is brought up in the second reading, because regardless of the language one speaks, Christians are united through one Spirit, for we are all baptized into one body of believers. Yet, it also must be noted being part of Christ’s Body means being willing to forgive those who have wronged us and whom we have wronged (John 20:23). Let us pray today for the ability to be united as Christians under the banner of the Cross.