May 15, 2016 — Pentecost Sunday — Mass During the Day
Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost. One of the most ancient feasts of the Church, Pentecost is mentioned and explained in both the Acts of the Apostles (today’s First Reading) and in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. The name comes quite simply from the Greek word, Pentekoste, which meant “the 50th day” as Pentecost is 50 days after Easter Sunday (counting Easter).
Pentecost is often called the “birthday of the Church” as it was on this day — with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and about 120 followers of Christ, including our Blessed Mother Mary and other men and women — that Christ’s mission on earth is completed.
However, that mission continues with us. We, too, have received the power of the Holy Spirit through Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, and other sacraments. It is this Holy Spirit that allows us to be the Lord’s Disciples actively working in today’s Church and today’s society. Nevertheless, we must accept and recognize that fact.
In a homily given on Pentecost Sunday 20 years ago Pope St. John Paul II said, “In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke describes the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This divine gift is light and power, light to proclaim the Gospel truth and power to infuse each of us with the courage of witnessing to the faith.” Living out this call is the essence of stewardship.