Roman Catholics officially mark the end of the Easter Season on Pentecost Sunday, 50 days after the resurrection of Christ. Also known as the Feast of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus Christ as He had promised.
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:4)
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told the apostles that they would be “baptized with the holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). So together with Mary, they “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer” (1:14). And sure enough, the Holy Spirit came—with wind and fire and with a new boldness to preach the gospel.
Pentecost tells a beautiful story about God’s power and the apostles’ transformation. But they didn’t receive the Spirit just that one day. They were immersed in the Spirit again and again. The Book of Acts records at least seven times that the apostles were “filled” with the Spirit (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:8; 7:55; 13:9, 52). And this doesn’t count all the other times that never made it into the Bible!
The same is true for us. Although we received the Holy Spirit in Baptism, we too need more of the Spirit’s power and gifts to follow the Lord and proclaim the good news.
Jesus knew how much we would need the Holy Spirit, and so even long before his Ascension, he encouraged his disciples to pray for this gift: “If you . . . know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit?” (Luke 11:13). And John’s Gospel assures us that God “does not ration his gift of the Spirit” (3:34). There is always more that God has for us!
Today, follow the apostles’ example. Believe in God’s promise of the Spirit and then pray for it. Keep praying, not just on this special feast, but every day. You might even ask a few faith-filled friends to pray with you for a new outpouring of the Spirit in your life. You may not see wind or fire, but the Spirit will come to you in new, unexpected, and even extraordinary ways—not only for your benefit, but for the good of his body, the Church!
“Holy Spirit, make your home in my heart, today and every day.”
Almighty ever-living God, who willed the Paschal Mystery to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days, grant that from out of the scattered nations the confusion of many tongues may be gathered by heavenly grace into one great confession of your name.