Happy Solemnity of Pentecost. We have reached the end of the Easter Season. As the Magnificat antiphon from the Liturgy of the Hours states for today: “Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, alleluia; on this day the Holy Spirit appeared before the apostles in tongues of fire and gave them his spiritual gifts. He sent them out to preach to the whole world, and to proclaim that all who believe and are baptized shall be saved, alleluia.”
At the first Pentecost, after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was manifested, given and communicated as a divine Person to the Church, fulfilling the paschal mystery of Christ. Each year the Church celebrates the memory of the Pentecost event as the beginning of the new “age of the Church,” when Christ lives and acts in and with his Church.
In the Byzantine Liturgy, the troparion, or post-communion antiphon, of today’s feast of Pentecost expresses what Pentecost means to us: We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith: we adore the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us.We have received the Holy Spirit not only at Pentecost but also in the sacraments, especially in Baptism. God is love and therefore his Holy Spirit is a gift of love to us. In our baptism, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a gift of love that takes away our sins. The communion we have with the Holy Spirit in the Church then restores the likeness to God in us, the baptized, that we had lost through sin. As that Byzantine antiphon states: in receiving the Holy Spirit, we have found the true faith and we adore the Trinity who has saved us. The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, thus builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church.
May the indwelling of the Holy Spirit allow us to proclaim boldly our faith in Christ Jesus and to be his witnesses to all we meet in our daily lives. That is our call as baptized and confirmed Catholics. We live in a world that badly needs to hear the Good News proclaimed by Jesus Christ: may we be evangelizers and witnesses to that Good News to all.