The Significance Of Pentecost
PENTECOST is a very important feast in the Catholic Church and indeed all of Christendom. This is because it marks the descent of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Blessed Trinity, on the Apostles and Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. This happened fifty days after Easter. If you could recall, before the Ascension of Christ into heaven, He admonished His disciples to wait patiently for the Holy Spirit, who would come to energise and embolden them and also remind them of all the things He (Christ) had told them while on earth. Who is this Holy Spirit? He is known as the giver of life that proceeds from the Father (Nicene Creed). This life has its origin in the Father and is given to us through the Son. It is made our interior personal procession by the Holy Spirit. Through Baptism, the Sacrament of faith, the Holy Spirit enables us personally to be reborn as children of God and sharers of divine life.
The Holy Spirit’s coming on the disciples is very symbolic because it marks the commencement of the Church, as it were. After the ascension of Christ into heaven, the disciples and other believers were afraid that now that their leader was gone, there would be no one to protect them from their enemies. However, on the Pentecost day, while they were in the upper room praying, there was a loud noise and the Holy Spirit descended on each of them like tongues of fire and they began to speak in different languages to the astonishment of all. Now armed with divine light that enables us know the Father, the once timid disciples began to proclaim the gospel with renewed vigour, accompanied by signs and wonders.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, meaning ‘he who is called to one’s side or ‘counselor’. His purpose is to teach Christians all things and bring them to a remembrance of all that Jesus said and did (Jn. 14, 26) Thus, the Holy Spirit is the personal presence of God’s love dwelling in our hearts, producing fellowship with the Son and making us adopted children of the Father.
It is instructive to note that though it is over two thousand years that the Holy Spirit descended down on the early Christians, He is very much with us today, and would continue to dwell with us till the end of time. (Jn. 14: 16). It is through the Holy Spirit that the work of evangelism would continue to thrive to all corners of the world. It is through the same Holy Spirit that God makes His words to be alive in us everyday. Indeed, without the Holy Spirit, the Church would be dead and humanity doomed forever.
Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
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