Pentecost Sunday 2022

Dove on back wall behind altar

At the beginning of my reflection, I would like to ask you a question: What is your first association when you hear the word ‘Pentecost’? What do you associate this word with? I remember from my lectures when I studied in the seminary that the word ‘Pentecost’ means ‘fiftieth’. It refers to the solemnity celebrated on the 50th day after Easter. Pentecost is considered as the birth of our Catholic Church, but I was wondering how can we link our past and present life to that great and solemn day. When I was thinking about today’s solemnity the day of my baptism came to my mind. Obviously, I wasn’t aware what was happening on that day 40 years ago, because I was a little baby. My parents still have a lot of photographs showing myself receiving the first sacrament of the Church. I wasn’t aware what was happening; however, I can imagine the smiling faces of my parents, godparents, grandparents and other family members around the baptismal font in the small village where we lived for many years as a family, just literally next door to the parish church. Many times, while I was growing up, I observed that interesting piece of art called in Latin ‘baptisterium’. Now, you might ask: Why am I mentioning these things since today we are not celebrating the feast of the Lord’s Baptism, as it was celebrated sometime after Christmas. Indeed, it was a long time ago, but the day of our baptism was for me and for you the first experience and the first touch of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Personally, I am very grateful to my parents, godparents and many other people for their act of faith expressed on my behalf, and for allowing me to begin my spiritual journey in the power of the Holy Spirit. Also, when I hear the word ‘Pentecost’, I am thinking about my confirmation day, when I received the fulness of God’s Spirit. I remember that enthusiasm I had in my heart to share the faith with my friends and colleagues at school and in many other places.

With the word Pentecost many beautiful memories come to my mind when I spiritually but also physically felt the same reality that Jesus was talking about in the Gospel: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me. Let the man come and drink who believes in me. As Scriptures say: from his breast shall flow fountains of living water. On this Pentecost Sunday I am thinking about my daily prayers, when the Holy Spirit expresses my pleas and my deepest desires in a way that could never be put into words without His help. Pentecost takes me back to my ordination to the priesthood, when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon me almost 15 years ago, on the 14th June 2007. On that day the fear of an unknown future completely disappeared from my heart. Pentecost reminds me of the blessed Mother of God, whose feast we will be celebrating tomorrow – the feast of Our Lady, the Mother of the Church. She who is full of the Holy Spirit helps us to say ‘Yes’ to God’s will.

As you may know, the story of Pentecost comes from the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples of Jesus were gathered together, locked in the upper room, out of fear of the Jews. Suddenly the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. I think that if I have lived in the Palestine two thousand years ago and had a chance to ask the Apostles about their memories of that day, they would have said that it was a completely unexpected experience. The Holy Spirit totally changed their lives. That spectacular event transformed their way of thinking and acting. They came from the fear of the Jews to spiritual courage, which enabled them to proclaim Jesus’ message even to their enemies. Their lives took on a new meaning from that moment on.

Today I would like to give you a little homework. I would like you to spend some time on your own – just about 3 or 5 minutes, asking yourself the following question: What comes to your mind on this Pentecost Sunday. How do you experience in your life the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His power? What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life? Let us ask the Holy Spirit to kindle in our hearts the fire of God’s love once again. May we always accept the power of the Holy Spirit within us that will help us to become more courageous witnesses to God’s presence in our lives.

Fr Gregory