When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The first reading clearly shows that something stupendous happened to our fathers in faith on Pentecost—so stupendous that it changed the rest of their lives. After the Ascension the apostles spent much of their time working and wondering what to do. They had no compelling mission, only the memory of Jesus recently departed. They did not yet have the personal and intense conviction that Christ lives and lived in them.
Together again on Pentecost they were suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit. In an instant they were filled with the conviction that Jesus lived in them, had given them a message and a mission. Now with their hearts on fire, they burst upon Jerusalem and, later, the world with the message of Jesus Christ.
Such an experience, though unique, is mirrored in smaller ways in the lives of all of us. We experience our own moments of conviction and conversion. Do we realize this? Do we make the most of them?
Come Holy Spirit!
Your gifts are not rationed or exhausted
but lavishly bestowed
on those who ask for them.
Set us on fire with holy desire.
Let billions of our tiny flames come together
in new cenacles of prayerful praise and petition.
Come Holy Spirit!
Lift us from dark discouragement.
Enlighten us with new ways of living.
Ignite us with holy longing.
Unite us in lively faith.
Strengthen us in enduring hope.
Empower us in joyful love.
—J. Michael Sparough, SJ
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