Destiny Discover
Pentecost Reflection

By Jerry Creedon

“The Spirit is a-movin’ all over, all over this land” (Carey Landry)

The disciples were all together. Huddled maybe, as can be inferred from the words “in one place.” Suddenly the quiet of the group was disturbed and the tension in the room abruptly broken by the roar of a violent wind and the flash of fire. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” This is the dramatic story of the first Pentecost, as told by Luke in a mere four verses of the second chapter of Acts of the Apostles. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost has exercised such powerful influence over the Christian imagination that it is somewhat startling to realize just how slender and spare an account it is. It is tempting to be distracted by the symbolism of the event, the sound of a strong wind blowing and the tongues of fire. Luke’s point, however, is not the pyrotechnics of theophany, but spiritual transformation.

What happened to the disciples at Pentecost was what Jesus had promised his apostles after his resurrection: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). Pentecost changed everything. Togetherness was no longer simply being gathered in one place. It was community, where people listened to one another, understood each other, even when they did not all speak the same language. Togetherness now meant that each belongs. We have St. Peter’s word for it. In the first recorded sermon of the infant Church, the leader of the Apostles announces that the Spirit of Pentecost is given to everyone without distinction or discrimination. “I will pour out my Spirit upon all humankind,” women and men, young and old, poor and rich. Togetherness now meant sharing; making sure that no one in the community was in need. “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses, sold them and brought to the apostles the proceeds of what was sold, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:34-35; 2:44). Togetherness now meant gathering to encourage one another, to pray and break bread, celebrate Eucharist. It meant having “one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32), in other words, being friends to one another, being there for one another, making room for one another. Togetherness came to mean above all, being witnesses to the ends of the earth to the Risen Christ, to his life, his teaching, his values, and the truth of his promise to be with us to the end of time. Togetherness is more than people living together and working together for a common purpose however noble. It is something far more important: people living for each other. It is hands we can reach for and hearts to keep us warm.

Our prayer this Pentecost is that togetherness still means all the things it came to mean at the first Pentecost, that our Catholic education community and each of its members will continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, attentive to the Spirit’s voice, guided by the Spirit’s wisdom, on fire with the Spirit’s love, and, oh, so careful not to extinguish the Spirit, for the Spirit breathes where it will. “Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.”

Pentecost Reflection