Pentecost - Receive the Holy Spirit

The story of Pentecost found in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles recounts the descent of the Holy Spirit. First, the apostles heard “a noise like a strong driving wind” and then “there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them” (Acts 2:2-3). A large crowd gathered at these sights and sounds, and the Jews “from every nation under heaven” heard each apostle speaking “in his own language” (Acts 2:5-6). Then Peter, the rock upon which Christ built his Church (cf. Mt 16:18), testified to the risen Christ. And “about 3,000 persons were added that day.”

If only all conversions could be that easy. If only we could all witness the birth of Christ’s Church and hear the first pope, Peter, testify to the divinity of Jesus and his saving power. “Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).

We continue to receive that gift, as the Holy Spirit continues to dwell among us and change hearts and minds, just as it was 2,000 years ago. “And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday we affirm our belief in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit who is with us today. Through the experiences of adversity and conflict we are called to invite the peace and calm of the Holy Spirit to take root in our lives. Many would suggest that we live in a world of chaos. Optimists would propose that the world is full of positive opportunities ready to be embraced. No matter how we view the world, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and in the Church offers us a new way of looking at reality.

The Spirit creates order in the midst of chaos and brings the seven gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. When conflict arises in our relationships we seek the wisdom of God and pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with wisdom. In the midst of war and the news of young people losing their lives protecting our freedoms, we seek an understanding that will lead us to the goal of peace, and we pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with understanding. When society lures us into the world of pluralism we seek the counsel of God and the truth that will set us free, and we pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with counsel. When we incur insults by making a stand for what is right and give witness to the gospel, we pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with fortitude. When our lives are not black and white, and we face difficult decisions, we pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with your knowledge. In encountering your presence in worship and in the presence of others may we reverence You, and pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with piety. Finally, as we contemplate the many wonders and gifts the world has to offer, may we reverence the Giver of the gifts, and pray: Come, Holy Spirit, gift us with the fear of the Lord. Amen!

Prayer

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. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.