The first Pentecost was an exciting moment for the early Church. Fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and 10 days after His bodily Ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit came into the world, descending upon the apostles.
The Catholic Church traces its history to Pentecost; with the gift of the Holy Spirit upon him, Peter, our first pope, preached and converted some 3,000 people.
It was a dramatic arrival for the Holy Spirit. He descended upon the apostles with wind and tongues of fire, giving them the gift to proclaim the Good News by simultaneously speaking in multiple languages. This astounded onlookers from many different countries gathered in Jerusalem. In fact, some bystanders thought the apostles had a little too much to drink — but Peter spoke up saying this was truly the work of the Holy Spirit.
Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, God remained within the people then, just as He does today with us. The Holy Spirit is here with us, on the job 24/7 to call us and guide us on the journey toward eternity.
Do we allow ourselves to give the Holy Spirit the room to work in our lives? It’s possible, if we have the ability to surrender our heart to Jesus. When we give the Holy Spirit the freedom to come into our lives and surrender our lives to Him, then we are excited to share the Good News with others.
“It’s so spontaneous,” Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert Hermann said. “That’s how the Spirit should be released in all of us. Once the Holy Spirit turns us loose, then it is no longer a ‘chore’ to evangelize; it’s something you can’t stop from doing.”
One way we can make room for the Holy Spirit is to analyze the gifts we have been given. Baptism opens each person to certain spiritual gifts, talents or charisms that help in the building up of the Body of Christ on earth. When we are baptized, we receive His Holy Spirit in a deep and spiritual way. The archdiocesan Catholic Renewal Center offers a spiritual gifts survey designed to help individuals discover where the Holy Spirit is working in their lives and the spiritual gifts each person has received.
Pentecost closes the Easter season, but it doesn’t mark an end. In a sense, it’s always Pentecost, with the omni-present Holy Spirit guiding us as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with His eucharistic presence at every Mass. Our Ordinary Time becomes extraordinary.
“When we come into the silence of the Tabernacle, the eucharistic presence of Christ comes out and into our hearts to absorb all of the things that are distractions in our lives — our anger, our resentment, the memories of what happened yesterday,” Bishop Hermann said. “It’s in that quiet that we become aware of the person of Jesus. If we can teach people who use the eucharistic presence to become quiet and absorb the noise in our lives — that’s when God can speak to us.”