First Reading: Acts 2:1-21
2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Peter Addresses the Crowd
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Jesus did not abandon his apostles, even when departing from this world to return to his Father in heaven. Ten days later, at Pentecost, one of his most significant promises — the promise to send the Holy Spirit in abundance on them — was extraordinarily realised. After Pentecost the apostles were never again the same. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit impacted dramatically on their convictions and on their enthusiasm to carry out Jesus’ wishes. The effects were immediately noticeable to the watching and listening crowds. It became obvious that God was working powerfully through the Church. At Pentecost the Church earnestly began its mission to the whole world. This mission centres on preaching about the saving name of Jesus and about the wonders of God. God’s greatest wonder is that, through the suffering and death of Jesus the Messiah, people are saved from the consequences of their sins: alienation from God.
The sacrament of confirmation, which celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives and is the sealing of the graces given in baptism, is our personal Pentecost experience when we are transformed into witnesses to the teaching and example of Jesus and his Church. We willingly take on the responsibility to share our Catholic faith with others. The Feast of Pentecost is a wonderful celebration of the missionary Church. Let us reflect on our missionary efforts in our homes, schools and workplaces. How are we willing to demonstrate that we are serious about our confirmation (Pentecost) responsibilities? In what ways do we explain the authentic teaching of the Church? How do we experience Pentecost as a promise realised in our lives, leading us to make the urgency of the gospel message of salvation a reality for everyone we meet?
Thought for the week…
“They are filled with new wine.”
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the Earth.