Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
May 11, 2008
The Holy Spirit is Very Much Alive
The feast of Pentecost which we are celebrating this weekend, is an age old feast. Many Catholics mistakenly believe that the feast originated on that day when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in that upper. In actuality the feast comes down from the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The reason so many people were in Jerusalem that day was because all the Jews who were able, had traveled to the city to celebrate the feast. When we think about it we have to admit that God really knows how to work a crowd. What better time to send his Spirit than a time when there are thousands of people to work with?
As previously mentioned, Pentecost was originally a Jewish feast. It progressed from being a feast celebrating the harvest to being a feast commemorating and giving thanks for the gift of the Torah or the Law which God gave his people. As the word suggests, the feast was celebrated fifty days after the celebration of the Passover. With the advent of Christianity, the feast was celebrated fifty days after Easter. Regardless of the time and reason for the celebration in history, the feast has always maintained the essential component of celebrating a new beginning. This became especially true with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Although the feast of Pentecost is centuries old it is nonetheless vitally important to us today. There is probably no other time in history when God’s people have needed his spirit living among them more than they do today. The need for a new way of thinking, a revitalization of the spiritual, and the experience of a fire burning within our hearts, is needed if we are to live fruitfully and passionately in love with our God.
Unfortunately, for many Catholics, the feast of Pentecost has become less and less important. There are perhaps many reasons for this but nonetheless it is a sad turn of events. The fact that we celebrate Pentecost at the end of 40 days of Lent followed by an Easter season of 40 days plus 10, could be a possible deterrent for needing more celebration. Perhaps we are so overwhelmed with liturgical celebration that we simply see Pentecost as “the end”.
Perhaps this year would be an excellent time to take a fresh look at the important feast. What does it really mean to be open to the Spirit? What does it mean to be visited by the Spirit? If we are to experience the gifts the Spirit is willing to bring, we must be fully aware, conscious and alert. Even more importantly we must believe that the Spirit has the power to change our lives for the better. Do we believe? Or are we so jaded and calloused with the society we live in that we have come to the point of believing that there is no hope. If we have no faith we cannot be open and if we are not open we will not open the windows and doors in anticipation of the visit.
As all important feasts such as Christmas and Easter, Pentecost is followed by eight days of special celebration called an octave. During this time we can continue to focus on the new life the Spirit wants to give us. Let’s not pass up this opportunity. This is a chance for us to grow in Wisdom and Understanding, in Courage and Knowledge, in the Desire to Pray and in Awe of our Creator God. What more could be want? Come Holy Spirit, Breathe New Life Within Us?
Lorette P. Nault