Today is Pentecost Sunday! The solemnity marks Christ’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Easter. The Gospel reading (Jn 20:19-23) recounts Jesus giving His disciples the power to forgive sins. Following the Resurrection, Our Lord breathes on the disciples, sending them the Holy Spirit.
Studying the word, “spirit,” we see that it comes from the Latin word for “breath”. This is no coincidence. As mysterious as it sounds, God sent His Holy Spirit to breathe life into Adam. He even sent His Spirit to breathe life back into a slain army (Ezekiel 37:9). And today, as He did several millennia ago, God sends His Spirit to refresh, enliven, and sanctify the faithful. From the very breath of God, we receive our life in His Church.
Pentecost marks the consecration of the Catholic Church, and as such, it can be considered the Church’s birthday. After the Ascension, the Holy Spirit came down to prepare the faithful to continue Christ’s mission on earth. The same Spirit is preparing us to carry on His mission today. Knowing this, and taking our strength from God, let us go out boldly to preach the Good News in word and in deed!
The Catechism teaches us:
767 “When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church.” Then “the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun.” As the “convocation” of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.