On this solemnity we joyfully recall the sending of the Holy Spirit upon those whom our Lord had told at His Ascension to wait and pray in Jerusalem. The disciples had faithfully listened and had spent the next nine days in prayer. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles went out into Jerusalem to announce the good news to fellow Jews who had come to Jerusalem from many different countries speaking vastly different languages.
Have you ever wondered why there were so many people gathered in Jerusalem from so many lands? They had come to celebrate the Feast of Weeks, commanded in the Pentateuch. This festival had connections to the harvest and was a time to offer the first fruits of the harvest to the Lord. But it was also traditionally related to the whole purpose of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt. The feast of Pentecost remains a time to recall the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai.
How fitting that the Lord send us His Spirit precisely as the Chosen People were celebrating that gift of the Law. As the Law was given for the guidance and sanctification of children of Israel, so too is the Spirit now given for the guidance and sanctification of all who seek to follow the Lord. Just as the receiving of the Law was a continuous challenge, so too is openness to the Holy Spirit to be a never ceasing habit of every Christian. This week as the readings turn from the Acts of the Apostles to the book of Tobit, let us ask for openness to the Spirit for guidance in the midst of the challenges of life.