Come Holy Spirit
5 June, 2022 Pentecost Year C
Listen to Reflection
Today’s feast of Pentecost brings the liturgical season of Easter to a close. With the Risen Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples, the plan of salvation is brought to its conclusion.
In the Book of Acts, Luke recounts the events of that first Pentecost day, fifty days after the resurrection (hence the name Pentecost), when the Holy Spirit descended on the assembled disciples in a rush of mighty wind and tongues of fire. They were all “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and began to speak in various languages. Luke’s readers would have recognised the resonance with the story of Moses and the people of Israel on Mt Sinai when the voice of God divided into seventy tongues and all the nations received the Law in their own tongue.
John’s gospel reading recalls that the risen Christ appeared to the disciples who were huddled in fear behind closed doors following Jesus’s death. Jesus first greets them, “Peace be with you.” (How much they needed that!) He then commissions them: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Finally, he breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
The disciples then take up the mission given to them by Christ. Hence, on this feast, we celebrate the birth of the Church. It is born of the mission – a mission to the whole world – which Jesus gives to his disciples and which they take up in the power of the Holy Spirit. Inspired and indeed emboldened by the Holy Spirit, they then go forth to preach the good news of Jesus, crucified and now risen.
It is the same mission and the same Holy Spirit which is given to us in our time.
The Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. It is the Spirit of God, the Giver of Life, the life-giving force in the work of creation, and the life-giving force at work in our lives. It is the Paraclete, our Advocate, our Counsellor.
And with the descent of the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost, God as Trinity is revealed in its fullness. As Christians, we believe that the One God exists in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is that Trinitarian faith that we affirm each time we make the sign of the Cross, and each time we recite the Creed.
Today is truly one of the great feasts in the Church’s calendar, a red vestments day to remind us of those tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit. How blessed are we, people of the Trinity, people of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity of life, light and love. As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, let us give thanks for the gift of faith that is given to us, the hope that is in us, and the love that animates us.
And in a world threatened by war, conflict, climate change, environmental degradation, and political upheaval, let us pray: “Come Holy Spirit, renew the face of the Earth.”
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