Episode 20 – What happened at Pentecost?

Reminder: Book Study begins in 2 weeks!

In the Acts of the Apostles, we’re reminded that Jesus tells His disciples ‘for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the holy spirit’ Act 1:5. And in John 14:26 we’re told ‘But the counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you’. 

Advocate – counsellor 

The apostles knew, because Jesus had told them that the Father would send the advocate… counsellor.

They waited in the upper room, possibly afraid, unsure of what Jesus meant when he said he would send them the holy spirit. Then when they received him they didn’t sit back. They were set on fire for the Lord, and were interiorly compelled to go out and share the good news. Holy Spirit is the only one that can instigate conversation. Faith is a gift from God, and even today it’s the Holy spirit that makes people come alive and be on fire for Jesus. It’s HS that ‘builds, animates and sanctifies the church’ 145 (compendium) ‘... he restores to the baptized the divine likeness that was lost through sin and causes them to live in Christ the very life of the Holy Trinity’. 

We note that they spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit came upon them. This fact has led some communities to believe that unless one has received the gift of tongues, you’ve not got the Holy Spirit. This is wrong. The prophet Isaiah enumerates the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and St Paul makes it clear, that it is the gifts of faith hope and love – connected with the gifts of the Holy Spirit,  which make it clear that one has received the Holy Spirit, and the evidence of such gifts is found in the fruits of the spirit, also enumerated in Paul. 

We view Pentecost as the ‘birthday of the church’. Yet at the same time we say that the Church was born from the side of Christ. So which is it? Well…both! The Church was born from Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Everything the church needed to exist was secured by Christ’s victory on the Cross. The feast of Pentecost is the birth of the missionary dimension of the Church, where members are inspired to engage with the graces won by Jesus from the Cross. Pentecost is the birth of the call each Christian has to be a living icon of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  ‘They held steadfastly to the apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread and prayers’ Acts 2:42.

Aspects of Pentecost that stand out for Stina and Padre

Stina: Multiple tongues but one and the same message. We know that tongues of fire rested on each of the Apostles and they began to speak in different languages to the people they encountered, and the people understood them in their own language. God could have chosen so many ways here. He could have chosen to gift them all the same language, and have that one language be the vehicle for the Church to be witness to Jesus and have all the others they encountered understand, or to be selective about who would understand. But that’s not the case, even at the birth of the church, God chooses to encounter people, with the Holy Spirit, through the apostles in multiple languages – He meets people where they are at, in their world, in their native language.

As a multilingual person, that means so much to me. When you’ve been brought up in one language at home and another in the world, and then have to learn a third language which is a universal language across the globe, a necessity to make something of yourself. There is a richness that gets missed. A richness that is so integral to culture and meaning making. What we see in Scripture is that God doesn’t go for the one universal language and expects people who hear Him to learn to understand that or tough luck, He goes instead for the language they learnt in the home, amongst their family. The language through which they began to see and understand the world. He went for the language they live and breathe, to breathe true life into the world. I find that so beautiful. Our God is so generous, and so detailed, and so personal!

Padre: For me, its the tongues of fire. The manifestation of the Spirit was not merely an internal reality. It was such a palpable reality that the Holy Spirit was seen to rest upon their heads as fire. It brings to mind the words of John the Baptist, that he baptised with water, but One will come who baptises with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This is the fire of the spirit which burns brightly now inside the apostles so powerfully that it has a physical manifestation. Also, as a Mariologist, it would be remiss of me not to mention that Mary was present there, and she as a perfect disciple, received a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was fitting she should be present – she was there at the birth of her Son, and so she is present at the birth of His Church’s missionary impulse. 

T.B.G (Truth, Beauty, Goodness)

Padre: Divine Renovation – By Fr Brett Brannen

Stina: This day reminds me of two of my friends, who have both been brilliant accountability in my faith. One I met on Palm Sunday, the other I met on Pentecost Sunday of the same year. A year where I had prayed God would send me solid female friends because all my friends had left the faith and I needed community. So on those two days, I celebrate the gift of friendship He granted me, and thank Him for it, and thank the women for being SUCH a blessing in my life! 

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