Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3-7 & 12-13; Jn 20:19-23 (Year B)

“You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.” The responsorial psalm at Pentecost rightly emphasises the creative power of the Holy Spirit. The spirit given at Pentecost was not for the Apostles alone. It was promised for ourselves and all creation in every time and every generation. St Paul was to describe the spirit as the fulfilling of Christ’s work. “And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here. It is all God’s work” (cf 2 Corinthians 4:16ff).

The all-embracing gift of the Pentecost Spirit is reflected in the reaction of the diverse throng that had gathered in Jerusalem. They were bewildered to hear the Apostles speaking in a way that reached beyond linguistic differences to touch mind and heart: “We hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.”

Our words about Christ the Risen Lord are empty without the Spirit of Pentecost. Without that same spirit we might well hear the words of the Lord, but inwardly remain unmoved. St Paul insisted on a spirit that transforms both speaking and hearing: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.”

He understood the Spirit as a shared understanding that would bring unity to the rich diversity of those who would respond to the Gospel. “There is a variety of gifts, but always the same spirit. In the one spirit we were all baptised, and one spirit was given to us all to drink.”

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