Pentecost: The Promise Fulfilled

This Sunday, as we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, we give thanks for the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world.  At his Ascension the Lord instructed the apostles to remain in Jerusalem to await the Holy Spirit.  And so, they had gathered in the upper room and spent their time in prayer “along with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers”.  (Acts 1:14).

On the day of Pentecost, the writer of Acts describes what happened as: “And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance”.  (Acts 2: 2-4)

images2Pentecost, which means fiftieth in Greek, was also the name of a feast celebrated by the Jewish people at the time of Jesus.  It commemorated the giving of the law on Sinai.  Today it is celebrated as Shavuot.  The Hellenistic Jews gave it the name of Pentecost because it was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover.  We continue with the name of Pentecost as we celebrate this feast on the fiftieth day after Easter.

Let us give thanks for the fulfillment of the promise made long ago.   Come Holy Spirit!