Fifty days after the death and resurrection of Christ (his passover), ten days after his ascension into heaven, today we celebrate Pentecost, a solemnity inspired by the feast of Shavuot, which the Jews celebrate (also fifty days after their Passover) to commemorate the giving of the Tablets of the Law (the Torah) to Moses by the Lord on Mount Sinai.
It is a great day in our Church, since today we celebrate its birth. In fact, it is from this crucial moment, the day of Pentecost, that the apostles are going to begin the mission entrusted to them by the Teacher. Having received the Holy Spirit (the third divine person) promised by the Lord, they were no longer afraid, they had overcome everything that prevented them from announcing the Good News and the wonders of the Lord. It is understandable, since the fulfillment of this promise (the gift of the Holy Spirit) comes to reinforce—like the miracles during his life and the different appearances after the resurrection—the faith of the apostles. It was what the Lord wanted and he succeeded …
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In fact, they had this peace that he had desired for and given to them; they achieved this union into which he invited them, and they answered this time with fervor and passion to the call that he had set forth. In short, they were transformed into disciples who were ready for the mission. From now on, the painting was ready to be presented to the general public, as it received the finishing touches. So the mission began and was already spreading to all the towns. All listened in their native language to the wonders of God; all had received the graces of the Holy Spirit and became members of one body. From now on, they were all united (Jews, pagans, slaves, free people) thanks to the Spirit.
So it was a new reality, a new life, a new way of being that carried the day. And it is what we are offered today by remembering that first Pentecost and living it (since it is renewed once again). The Lord gives us his Spirit; it comes in our reality that is not so different from that of the disciples before that memorable day. In fact, they were confined, full of doubts, uncertainties, asking questions regarding the future; like them we are afraid, we have lost our usual rhythm, largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is as difficult for us as it was for them who were fishermen, men accustomed to the crowd ...
And that is the reason why, on this day that was special for them and should be so for us, we are called as they were called to face our fears and live our lives fully—even if we are confined, even if we have to respect public health guidelines. The Lord tells us that he sends us his Holy Spirit and that he is with us to accompany us. So we are not alone. Through this gift of his Spirit, he tells us in the midst of all our difficulties that he remembers us, does not forget us, that he is in our lives, and that he keeps his promises. As he did with the disciples, he gives us his peace and sends us on a mission to proclaim his wonders. So, we must be certain that he will help us overcome difficulties, redirect our lives, and organize ourselves to respond to the new demands of the mission. If he has done it for the apostles, he will also do it for us—that must be our faith!
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And it is the whole meaning of what we celebrate today: knowing how to entrust ourselves in Him. To come to understand that just as he was with his disciples he is with us through his Spirit, through his Church and its members. What we have to do, therefore, is to open ourselves to his grace and let it work in us—the grace of his Spirit. Let us trust him, let us give ourselves into his hands since everything depends on him. He is the captain of the boat!
This reflection for the Feast of Pentecost was written by Fr. Widely Jean, C.S.C., who is a member of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Haiti. After having completed his theology studies and formation in Chile, Fr. Widely took Final Vows in Haiti on September 8, 2019, and then was ordained a priest on February 22, 2020. He currently works at the College Sainte Eugene de Maznod in Fort Liberté as the Assistant to the Director.