June 8, 2014 – Pentecost Sunday
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” Thus, Luke, the assumed author of the Acts of the Apostles, summarizes the incredible happening in that gathering place filled with the disciples of Christ. Each of us receives the Holy Spirit through the various sacraments as well. Today is considered the birthday of the Church. It was on Pentecost (which means “fifty,” an English transliteration of the Greek word for “fifty” Pentekostos) that the Church as we know it was launched.
Prior to this day there was no “Church,” per se. Jesus’ followers were gathered as a community on this day, and the Holy Spirit descended upon them and filled them with the talents and skills to fill the Body of Christ and to become the Church we now know. In both Hebrew and Greek the word for “spirit” is the same as the word for “breath” and “wind.” We can understand how a “strong driving wind” directly from God filled the house and the disciples in a way that allowed them to transform a following into a Church.
That same strong Spirit fills us. It is through living as stewards, from pursuing stewardship, that we can take that Spirit and strengthen our parishes and Church, to be participants engaged in building the Kingdom of God. As we hear St. Paul write in our second reading from 1 Corinthians, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”