The feast of Pentecost is the birthday of the Church: the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles was the spark that made them into the Body of Christ, a living organism that spread rapidly throughout the world and is still growing today.
They tried to describe the experience in several different ways in the readings we hear this weekend: a mighty wind, tongues of fire, the ability to speak new languages, Jesus himself appearing among them, peace, forgiveness, but what happened to them in that upper room was beyond words
Whatever it was, it changed them from frightened victims of persecution into fearless preachers of the Good News that Jesus died and rose again to save the whole world. The new believers they gathered that day passed on the message down through the ages and throughout the world until it came to us, and now it’s our turn to pass it on.
That’s what we’ve been doing during the last few months as more than 60 families have been preparing their children to receive the two great sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion on these last two Saturdays. All the sacraments are moments in which we meet Jesus, really present in our lives. In Confirmation we receive the same Spirit which was poured on the followers of Jesus at the first Pentecost, filling us with joy and with the power to be witnesses to others of the wonder of being loved and forgiven by God. In Eucharist we relive the Last Supper Jesu s had with his friends before he died and rose again, the meal in which he took bread and wine, blessed them and gave them to his followers saying ‘This is my Body, given for you; this is my Blood, poured out for you and for many, so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me’. As we obey his words and do this in memory of him again this Pentecost weekend, let’s pray for all those new witnesses to God’s love who received Confirmation and Communion among us this weekend, and let’s rejoice in these signs that the Body of Christ is alive and well, as we pray to be more open to the Holy Spirit every day.