Pentecost A


Pentecost A

Acts 2:1-11 Psalm 104 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23

         Today, we celebrate Pentecost. The word Pentecost is based on a Greek word meaning 50th. The reason for this title is that in the Old Testament the Jewish feast day of Pentecost took place the day after seven weeks, the 50th day. The Hebrew title for this feast is Shavuot, meaning weeks. These seven weeks of 49 days took place immediately after the feast of Passover, during the which the Jewish people celebrated being delivered out of Egypt where they were slaves. On Pentecost, the Jewish people celebrate the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:18-20, 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10) Before giving the Law to Moses, God “descended upon [Mount Sinai] in fire.” (Exodus 19:18) 

         Similarly, Pitre comments, the Acts of the Apostles describes the disciples gathered together on the day of Pentecost and “suddenly… tongues as of fire” descended upon each disciple. (Acts 2:3) This time, though, God did not descend upon a mountain but descended into the hearts and minds of each of the disciples to transform the disciples by giving them the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives the disciples the ability to follow the Ten Commandments that were given to their ancestors.[1]

         At baptism we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift was further strengthened within us at Confirmation. When we face difficulty in following the Ten Commandments do we go to the source that will help us to persevere or do we try to rely upon our own strengths while viewing God as secondary.

         Today, on Pentecost Sunday may we recognize that God is not secondary to our lives but primary. If we wish to follow the Ten Commandments and to love as Jesus loves this is only possible by relying upon the Holy Spirit, relying upon grace by participating in the life of the Trinity. This does not mean that God will replace our nature but rather wants us to join our efforts with the divine help, the divine grace that God gave to us at Baptism. 

         Gradually, by relying on God’s grace and cooperating with our whole selves – hearts, minds, and bodies – we will be become ever more transformed into an image of Jesus Christ shining forth God’s presence in the world. In accordance with God’s mysterious providence, for some this transformation will not be as noticeable as it is with others. What is important, is to work with grace, to participate in the life of the Trinity so that we become transformed into images of Jesus Christ in the world according to the God’s timing.

May God Bless You and Happy Pentecost Sunday

[1] Brant Pitre, “Pentecost and Speaking in Tongues (Year A),”

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