Dear Friends in Christ
Pentecost was one of the three major Jewish festivals. Many Israelites would go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to adore God in the Temple. It was an ancient thanksgiving celebration for the harvest, fifty days after Passover. In this context, with Jerusalem teeming with pilgrims, God brought the New People of Jesus Christ into existence. Having prayed for nine days after the Ascension, the Holy Spirit is poured-out upon Our Lady and the Apostles in the Upper Room. There are visible signs of this outpouring: fire, wind and tongues which help us recognise the powerful action of God in the world. The Apostles are transformed from being timid and reticent, into forceful teachers and preachers of Jesus Christ. They are the first evangelisers, and they are models for us today. The world into which the Church was born on Pentecost was very similar to our own: the Apostles faced a world far from God, absorbed with things of the flesh and indifferent to the Word of God. Pentecost is not an isolated event in the life of the Church. The Paraclete continues the work of strengthening and sanctifying the People of God. In Confirmation we are sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit so that we can have the charisms, and can produce the fruits of being disciples of Jesus Christ. Like those who were Confirmed last month in our Parish, the Holy Spirit is active in each of us. We depend entirely on the presence of the Holy Spirit in our souls for everything good. On this Pentecost, we renew our faith in the Church born on this Day; the Church which is the font of grace and means of salvation for us and for the whole world. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful!
Msgr Kevin Hale