Happy Pentecost, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today marks the end of the fifty days Easter season, and the end of the long celebrations of Christ’s glorious resurrection. Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the liturgical Ordinary Time again in the Church, with the seventh Ordinary week. But Easter does not end here, but it in fact continues and we should always rejoice in the resurrection of the Lord and continue to carry on the Easter spirit that is within us, to be witnesses of Christ’s resurrection and glory.
Pentecost is a very important day in the history of the Church and indeed is a crucial event that all of us who believes in Christ must treasure and understand. For Pentecost, as many of us would have known from our early days that it marks the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles in Jerusalem, when the Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit promised by Christ our Lord finally arrives and inflames the hearts of all the disciples, and teach them all that they need to know about the Lord.
Pentecost, through the Holy Spirit’s entry into the hearts of the disciples, transformed them from the weak, ordinary human that they were, to be the powerful champions of God and His presence in this world. Through the disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the believers in Christ, which once was cowered in great fear and confusion by the death of Christ, exploded outwards and began the work of salvation of all mankind, which continues even to this day.
Today marked the birth of our Church, the Roman Catholic Church. This Church had begun on that day, with the conversion of more than three thousand souls to the cause of the Lord. That because Peter, the leader of the Apostles, filled with the flames of the Holy Spirit, rose up to defend the Lord and preach the truth to the people, without fear that once gripped the hearts of all the disciples. Gone were the fear and confusion, and with the Holy Spirit giving them all the knowledge of the faith, all were clear to them, and they preached the Gospels of the Lord, the Gospel of truth, and many accepted the Lord that day.
As Christ had once told His disciples in His sermon, He told them that the Holy Spirit brought with It various gifts to those whom the Spirit was willing to come and dwell within. The Holy Spirit gives courage to the hearts of mankind, and they encourage those who had been paralyzed by fear, and that was why the apostles suddenly became so forthcoming in proclaiming the truth of God, when they were just moments before so fearful of capture by the Jewish authorities that they were gathered in a locked room.
The Holy Spirit also gives the gifts of tongues, that is the ability to speak in various languages, and this was told in the first reading today that the apostles spoke various languages, praising the Lord, and were heard by the visitors from all over the world that were at the time gathered in Jerusalem for the Festival. This gift allows the disciples to preach to the people in their own native tongues and therefore greatly enhanced their ability to spread the Good News of the Lord to the peoples of various countries, and this itself also played a crucial role in the birth and growth of the Church of God.
The Holy Spirit also gives guidance to those who have uncertainty in their path, and this Holy Spirit becomes truly the Advocate, guiding the apostles in their missions throughout the Mediterranean, for the next few decades, particularly in the missions and travels of St. Paul the Apostle, who brought the Word of God to many people, Jews and Gentiles alike, that many of them became the believers in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, many became the children of God and be saved.
The Holy Spirit remains at work in our Church today, and is evident in the many works of evangelisation by our courageous and tireless missionaries that preach the word of God in many areas of the world today, bringing the light of God to many in various nations. We too can play our part, as we too have been given the Holy Spirit through our own baptism and strengthened in our own confirmation.
We can help the process of evangelisation, by reflecting Christ in our actions, our words, and all our deeds, that through us, the light of Christ can be seen by those around us, and then they may believe and become followers of Christ too, just like all of us. But do not seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit with greed, just like what some ‘Christians’ like to do. Some like to claim the gift of tongues and languages, blabbering in unintelligible words, as if they truly speak in tongues. Be warned, brothers and sisters, the gift of the Holy Spirit does not always mean external displays and shows such as these, as if we are not careful, instead of the Holy Spirit, we may be dealing with the devil.
Rather, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us use the Holy Spirit within us, and the subtle gifts that It has given us, that is mainly love and hope. Love that inflames our hearts to zealously spread the Word of God to all those around us, through our words, and through our actions. The Holy Spirit also gives us hope and strength of mind, to be always ready and willing to evangelise in the Name of God. With these gifts in our hands, let us become modern missionaries of Christ, spreading the Good News to all nations.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, many people have yet listen to the Word of God, and many also have no chance of receiving the baptism of the Lord, because either they had no access to the Word, or no access to God’s message, or the Scripture, or because of external pressures and prejudice against the faith in the Lord that prevents many from becoming the children of God.
Let the Holy Spirit transform us and through us, let the Holy Spirit do His work in our world, to renew this world, bring the light of Christ into it, and make this world worthy of the Lord our God, when He comes again in His glorious Second Coming. May God strengthen us all with the Holy Spirit that He has sent through His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave the Holy Spirit as the breath of life, to His disciples, and from His disciples to our bishops and priests, and from them to us.