Receive the Hoy Spirit
Pentecost Sunday B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

Every Pentecost Sunday we celebrate an event that is both miraculous and marvelous. It is a day of joy for all Catholics. We commemorate that day on which the love of God was poured out on our Church for the first time and we celebrate the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit in our community and in us. Filled with the Holy Spirit we observe this day with great solemnity for it is a great and important feast. It is the day that our Church was born.

From the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven until Pentecost Day nine days went by. On a day like today, just about 2,000 years ago, while the apostles were gathered together in the Cenacle, they suddenly heard a loud noise like the wind of a hurricane and tongues of fire were seen to descend on the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was the way that the Holy Spirit made His presence known. From the time of the Old Testament, God has always manifested Himself through natural elements, such as wind or fire.

The Holy Spirit filled all of the disciples present with His gifts and grace. We know that the Holy Spirit can also show Himself to us at any time and in different ways. The Church constantly experiences the grace-filled presence of the Spirit. He protects her, conserves her, sanctifies her, and strengthens her. He keeps the Church triumphant in spite of the persecutions that have occurred and the lies that have been told about her throughout twenty centuries of history. The Catholic Church has always been, continues to be and will always be a work of the Holy Spirit and we feel His presence when in our Church communities there is mutual respect, unity, and aid.

Pentecost, fifty days after Passover, was one of the principal Jewish feasts. If it was possible, the Jews who lived outside of the Holy Land gathered together every year in pilgrimage and with great joy in Jerusalem. On Pentecost Day our Church was born. The Catholic Church was founded by Our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is not a human construct as are the sects that today abound everywhere. It is not a work of human beings who, at a certain moment in time, decided to found a church. The Catholic Church is a work of God. And, as the Second Vatican Council said, “only through Christ’s Catholic Church, which is the all-embracing means of salvation, can anyone obtain the fullness of the means of salvation.” (Unitatis redintegratio 3)

The Pentecost event was miraculous and unique. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were filled with courage, knowledge, and strength. Peter and the other apostles, impelled by the Holy Spirit, began to preach the word with strength and determination. Pentecost Sunday was not the only time that the Spirit gave His gifts to Jesus’ followers. He continues to choose and bless holy women and men so that they may become the new and reinvigorating lifeblood of the Church. In this way, our Church is ever ancient and ever new.