Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel.
The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).
On this weeks programme we are joined by Patrick Hederman OSB who is the abbot of Glenstal Abbey to reflect on the feast.
Dom Patrick takes us back to the Upper Room where the disciples and Mary were sheltering in fear. When the Spirit arrived, it went to each of them as a tongue of fire over their head and for each of us today, the Holy Spirit is hovering over us asking us for our permission to land and enter into our hearts and lives.
The Holy Spirit is often the most ignored person of the Trinity. It was necessary for Jesus to leave us, despite the fact that the disciples wanted to cling on to his human presence so that the Holy Spirit, the manifestation of the Divine Love could come to us. But it was not as if the Spirit was never there before, it was the Holy Spirit who brooded over the waters at Creation, it was the Holy Spirit who organised Christs arrival on earth and prepared the womb of Mary at the Annunciation and the Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan. It is almost as if the Holy Spirit was the director of the play in which Christ had the main part.
We have to really believe that the Spirit is in our hearts so that when we pray or want to pray, we don't have to make things us but rather we have to lower ourselves down into the conversation of love of the Trinity which are occurring all the time in our hearts so we can partake in the conversation of love.
Pentecost isn't just something that happened 2000 years ago. It is still happening today, the Spirit came on the disciples and then drove them out into the streets of Jerusalem and across the world to spread the message of the love of God. Are we listening personally to the Spirit, as a community are we in dialogue to discern what the Spirit is calling us as a community to do and finally are we open to going out and sharing with the world what the Spirit has shared with us all.