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Sunday, June 4, 2006
The Solemnity of Pentecost!

Today is one of the most holy days in the year - Pentecost Sunday!
"And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak" (Acts 2:1-4).

As the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 1, illustrates, there were 120 people praying for the Holy Spirit. And just as the Heavens opened and a dove descended in the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and Mary, the Mother of God. How truly remarkable and breathtaking to see tongues of fire fall onto you. But alas, that is what happens. Yet, the same Spirit is within those that have been Confirmed in the Holy Church. We have the Holy Spirit and we have the responsibility to go out and beacon beacons of the light of Christ.

The word "Pentecost" means "fifty days" because today's celebration is fifty days after the celebration of Easter. Today ends the season of Easter. It's also very important that the Feast occurs today. When we read the Old Testament we realize that it mirrors and foreshadows the New Covenant in Christ. In the Old Testament this day was to celebrate Moses's receiving of the Law. Yet, today we remember the receiving of something even greater - God!

It was through God the Father that the Jesus Christ, the Son, was made man. And it was Our Lord Jesus Christ that sent the Spirit of God. But, it doesn't stop there! The Spirit sends us!

So let us go forth today and remember to love God on this marvelous solemnity and henceforth. And the account of the Descent of the Holy Spirit holds another important lesson- prayer is necessary. After praying fervently for 9 days did Mary and the apostles receive the gift from on high. And it was when Jesus was praying after his baptism that the Heavens opened. And it was during prayer when Jesus was transfigured on Mt. Tabor. And we can also assume it was during prayer that the Archangel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she was to be the Mother of God. Today we recall that the Holy Spirit descended during prayer. Let us keep the importance of prayer in mind.

It was through the Spirit that the apostles, the men that ran in fear during the Crucifixion, were given the courage to bring Jesus Christ to the whole world. They would not just bring Him to the people of Judea but to gentiles - to the whole world. Now, with the Holy Church, everyone is called to Communion in Christ Jesus Our Lord and Master.
One final question: why the miracle of tongues? In answer, recall the story regarding the tower of Babel. Puffed up by pride, men attempted to build a tower that would touch the heavens. To punish their sin, God confused their speech. Sin causes confusion and division. Now Christ came to gather all men into His Church and thereby to unite them to Himself. This should result in creating but one family of nations again. To this blessed state the miracle of tongues points.

Yes, even we as individuals have a gift of tongues which all men can understand. It is the gift of love infused into us by the Holy Spirit. Love unites, love is a common language, by means of love we can speak to all nations.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Photo Source: "Pentecost" by Jean Restout, 1732, Oil on canvas, 465 x 778 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris


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