CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) – On that first Pentecost the early followers of Jesus gathered as their Lord had instructed them, expecting the fulfillment of the promise he had made to send the Holy Spirit. We refer to Pentecost as the “birthday” of the missionary church for a good reason. Their encounter with the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room changed them.
They were filled with the same Holy Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead. The Apostle Paul would later explain the experience. Even though he was not at that first Pentecost, he certainly experienced the same encounter, and came to know of its powerful effects! (Romans 8:11)
The Holy Spirit equipped and empowered the early followers of Jesus to go from being a frightened group of followers to a being a band of brothers and sisters of whom it was said “they turned the world upside down” Acts 17:6) They were able to carry forward in time the ongoing mission of Jesus Christ – until he returns to complete the work of redemption. Everyone, across Christian confessional lines, is able to proclaim that ancient but ever new faith today because of their holy boldness and life witness.
Every year, this celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in Liturgical churches and communities, presents us with an invitation to experience the very same encounter. It is the Holy Spirit which makes it possible for us to live lives of sacrificial love, holiness and service in a world that God still loves – a world into which He still sends His Son, through the Body of Christ, the Church – of which we are all members. (John 3:16) It is the Holy Spirit which will lead us in truth (John 16:13) and empower us to do the works of Jesus in this hour. (John 14:12)
In the Third Millennium, we are being commissioned to carry forward the very same mission of those first disciples who gathered with Mary the Mother of the Lord. Jesus promised his followers, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
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