What is Pentecost?
Pentecost is the celebration of the beginning of the New Testament, the birth of a new nation of God, a day to commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit and things "being re-created." It is a day to celebrate the birth of the Church and the beginning of the life and mission of the early Apostolic Church. It is a celebration of all lay people in the world.
Pentecost was celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover because it was 50 days from Egypt (Passover) to Mount Sinai (Exodus 19: 1). Thus, the festival was named the week's feast as it was celebrated seven weeks after the Jewish Passover, which marks fifty days. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning the fiftieth day after the Passover (2Ch 12: 31ff; Tob 2: 1). Thus, the Pentecost celebration completes the Mystery of the Passover by concluding the Easter season!
Pentecost in the Jews’ Community
The Feast of Pentecost has been taking a different shape throughout history. For the Jews, it was a wheat day/harvest day/barley day. The Jews considered Pentecost as the feast of thanksgiving to God as it was God's command to the Israelites after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. On this day, the people had to carry various gifts. "No one shall appear before the Lord empty-handed: Every one of you shall bring a gift, according to the blessings you received from the Lord" (Deut. 16: 16-17). Since then, thanksgiving for the harvest has become a custom in many lands near the sea. People from all over came to Jerusalem to thank God for the grace and blessings of the new harvest.
But later, the Jews used the day of Pentecost to commemorate receiving God's commandments on Mount Sinai. In all cases, Pentecost was a day of great rejoicing in the Jewish community.
Pentecost and the Holy Spirit
The Church believes and teaches about the Holy Spirit, the Lord who gives life: from the Father and the Son. Worshiped and glorified with the Father and the Son: who spoke through the mouth of the Prophets! At the Feast of Pentecost, the Church celebrated her birthday when the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles, and they went out to spread the Good News.
When did Holy Spirit fall on the Apostles?
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles and filled them with strength and courage. They went out to the temple, where there were people of every language, family, and nation who came on pilgrimage and thanked God for their new crops. The Jews thanked God for the blessings of the new harvest as they commemorated the rebirth of their nation of Israel and the Ten Commandments from God. The apostles began to preach the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to people from various countries who heard and understood in their languages, and many people were baptized. In this celebration of Pentecost, the Church thanks God for the gift of newly baptized Christians on Passover night. We celebrate the coming of God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, who has no beginning or end. He is our comforter, sanctification, guide, and teacher.
Gifts from The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit bestows people with various talents such as; wisdom, intelligence, counsel, strength, education, worship, and reverence for God. Other Holy Spirit gifts include; prophecy, Healing, teaching, and speaking in tongues, each according to his purpose. We must know all these gifts as gifts from God that reach us through the Holy Spirit.
Let us recognize that these gifts are gifts to serve, build and benefit one another, guided by the greatest gift of all, namely love. Thus, we are responsible for making good use of these gifts from the Holy Spirit. He gives us for the benefit of all, for if we do not make good use of them, we will be judged on the last day, as the Apostle Paul tells us through the First Corinthians (1 Cor.12: 3b-7, 12-13).
The Sin of Blaspheming
Let us beware of the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by pretending that everything we have is ours. Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men" (Matt. 12:31).
When does an ordinary person receive the Holy Spirit?
With our Baptism and Confirmation, we are all filled with the Holy Spirit; we must speak only one language, the language of love for all, a language that no one can understand. Love is long-suffering, kind, not jealous, not arrogant, not rude, not always seeking its sound, not evil, but the truth (1Cor. 13:4-6). Let us allow the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts and souls and dwell with us in our families and communities. To teach us to live in love, burn our hearts and make us pure, remove all habits in harmony with the devil's tricks, burn our wickedness, and burn the spirit of revenge.
Let Us Pray
May the Holy Spirit kindle in us a fire of love, give us the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, teach us to pray well, and bring down the gift of truth and true love. May He remove all the cripples that afflict us and bring us calamity, give us the strength to comprehend our weaknesses so that we may all be one body in Christ and see the image of God in each other by loving them as Christ commanded.
The Pentecost celebrations have been a meaningful experience for me. It has opened my eyes to the power of faith and the importance of celebrating our traditions. While I may not fully understand the spiritual significance of the day, I have learned to appreciate the joy and celebration it brings. Through participating in the Pentecost celebrations, I have been reminded of the beauty of our faith, shared by countless others around the world. I am thankful for the opportunity to celebrate and be part of the Pentecostal tradition.