Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

When the Holy Spirit Comes. Pentecost Sunday Year C

Breakfast with the Word Pentecost Sunday Year C

 

Acts 2:1-11, Romans 8:8-17, John 14:15-16,23-26

 

 

 

 

The Holy Spirit is the power of every Christian. Without the Holy Spirit, we are nothing. The Holy Spirit makes us what and who we are. The church cannot celebrate any sacrament without the invocation of the Holy Spirit.

 

On this day, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were transformed.

 

Today is exactly the fiftieth day after the Easter celebration. It marks the day the Holy Spirit visited the apostles in the Upper room in Jerusalem. It is an event that marked the birth of the Church. 

 

 

All this while, the apostles have been praying and waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 24:49, Jesus asked His apostles to stay put in Jerusalem until they are clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit, that, when the Holy Spirit comes, they will receive power (Acts 1:8). Then Immediately Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives.

 

Now when they arrived in Jerusalem, they went straight to the upper room. There, they remained together constantly in prayer. (Acts 1:12:14). 

 

The apostles teach us that for us to receive the Holy Spirit, we need to prepare for Him spiritually. The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is not a force, nor power nor just an imaginary experience. 

 

 

The Holy Spirit is a person, just like the Almighty Father and the Son Jesus Christ. So, we need to prepare for His coming.

When the Holy Spirit comes, you will feel His mighty presence. He also needs our relationship just like the Almighty father and Son do. Before we proceed, let understand the meaning of what we are celebrating.

 

 

What is Pentecost?

 

 

Originally, Pentecost has nothing to do with the descent of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was one of the Jewish feast days. In Hebrew, the Jews call it Shavuot meaning “weeks”. It is known as the Feast of Weeks. 

 

 

Shavuot was originally a harvest festival. The Jews celebrate the feast of the first fruits which they do during the Passover and then the feast of the wheat harvest, which they celebrate 50 days after the feast of the first fruits or the Passover feast. 

 

In Leviticus 23:9-11, during the Passover, God tells Moses saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, when you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath, the priest shall wave it.” 

 

Now, this is the first firstfruits offering, known as the harvest of barley, then the next is that of the Shavuot, which in Greek means Pentecost.

 

Therefore, Pentecost means the fiftieth day. In Leviticus 23:15-16, God tells Moses “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD.

 

This time, it is the wheat harvest. This one occurs seven weeks after the first offering (50 days, the day after the completion of the seven weeks).

 

So, Pentecost comes 50 days or seven weeks after the Passover event. It was now while the Jews were celebrating this feast that the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles.

 

This is the reason, the first reading says “when the day of Pentecost came”, it was referring to that day, the Jews gathered to celebrate, lo and behold, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. 

 

So, today, the feast of the Pentecost is now linked to the descent of the Spirit of God, since the Holy Spirit chose to come down on the apostles on this day. Today also is seven weeks or 50 days after the Easter celebration. 

 

 

The Events of the Pentecost Experience.

 

The first reading of today reported significant things that happened on the day the Spirit of God descended on the apostles.

 

These events that happened on this day also have some significance in the lives of the apostles, the church and all of us. Let us take them bit by bit.

 

(i)The Mighty Wind.

 

Luke reported that on this day there came from heaven a sound of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting.

The spirit of God was first depicted as wind or breath during the creation of man. It represents God’s first breath (Ruah) into the man. 

The spirit of God is what gives man life. One specific thing about the wind is that you cannot see it but you can feel its presence. Despite how light it may seem, wind has force. It blows where it wants and wherever the wind blows, significant things happen there. 

 

 While talking about the Spirit in John 3, Jesus says “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). The wind renews and reinvigorates. 

 

In John 20:22, before giving out His spirit, Jesus breathed upon them saying “Receive the Holy Spirit. This indicates that there is an indwelling and recreation. 

 

Secondly, as God breathes life in man, as He makes His breath enter the dry bones of Ezekiel 37:1-10 to make them alive again, so also the wind represents the breath of God breathing new life into the Church. As the wind is spiritual but carries a force, it signifies that something spiritual but with high spiritual energy is happening in the life of the apostles. 

 

(ii) Tongues of Fire

 

Luke reported today, that there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. The fire was on them but not burning them.

 

 This is exactly what happened in Exodus 3:1-17 when Moses encountered God in the form of a burning bush. The burning bush experience signifies a time of change, a time of salvation for the Israelites. It is also a replica of the pillar of fire, leading the Israelites at night in their desert wanderings (Ex. 14:19–20; Num. 11:25; 12:5; 14:14; 16:42; Deut. 1:33).

 

The fire could also be a resemblance to Isaiah 6:4–7, where the prophet’s tongue is cleansed with a lump of burning coal. In these experiences, there was a movement from former ways to new ways. One thing that is significant in these fire experiences, is that they led to transformation. 

 

Also, fire is a substance that transforms. Whatever you put in fire must transform. Fire as a substance brings change. Fire changes anything brought to it from one form to another.

 

 

 The tongues of fire on the apostles are a sign of total transformation. With this experience, the apostles were now sanctified, they are no longer how they were before.They were changed.

 

You could Imagine Peter, who could not defend His master Jesus in front of a maid but denied Him three times, now was able to convert three thousand souls immediately after the Pentecost event. So, the lives of the apostles were transformed. 

 

(iii) They spoke In Different Languages.

 

 Luke reports that during this experience they began to speak in different languages as the Spirit gave them the power to express themselves.

 This is not a form of abracadabra nor making any form of sound. They were speaking in different languages. This is antithetical to the event of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, where the inmates were speaking and no one was hearing.

 

Here as they speak, they understand each other. First, this is a sign that the Spirit of God is not an author of confusion, wherever He is. He is a spirit of order.

 

Second, He makes the impossible happen just like the angel Gabriel told Mother Mary In Luke 1:34-35. What happened that day ordinarily is a case of impossibility. Hence, with the presence of the Holy Spirit, the impossible becomes possible.

 

 Thirdly, just as the tower of Babel led to many languages, the apostles also spoke in different languages which everyone understands.

 

Therefore, first, the Pentecost event is a pointer that salvation belongs not only to the Jews but to others. Thus indicating that the major work Jesus assigned to His disciples is to be witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

 

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There, the church is born, which is now the mother of all different nations, different languages but one body in Christ.

 

As they understand each other despite speaking different languages, we also have to understand each other as brothers despite having different languages and origins.

 

Second, it indicates that the spirit of God gives us gifts differently and individually. These gifts, God give to us are not for our enrichment or aggrandizement as many people do today but for the building of the body of Christ.

 

Therefore, The Church of God unites us under one head. Paul refers to this in Ephesians 3: 4-5 when he says ” Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God”

 

Also, In 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, Paul says “We were baptized into one body in a single Spirit, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as free men, and we were all given the same Spirit to drink.

 

These point to the fact that though we are many, with different gifts, languages etc we are under one head and hence we work for the same Lord Jesus.

 

This particular manifestation of the Spirit, God grants to each one, is for the general good. Thus on this day, the Church is born.

 

 

What Happens When the Holy Spirit Comes Upon You.

 

 

When we receive the Spirit of God, significant things happen. When the Spirit of God comes upon you, there is always an effect.

 

In 1 Corinthians 12:3-13, Paul says that for each individual, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given for a particular benefit. 

 

Therefore, the Spirit of God comes with a positive effect. You can never encounter Him and remain the same. When the Holy Spirit comes, these happen:

 

 

1. You must be transformed: When you encounter the Spirit of God, your life must change. Before the Pentecost, the apostles could not even go out because of the fear of the Jews but after the Pentecost, they were even able to defend themselves even in times of persecution.

 

Before, Peter was a fearful apostle and as well denied His master three times in the presence of a maid but after today, Peter converted three thousand people at a go. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, your life will transform into something better than you were before. You will become very courageous to preach the word.

 

2. You shall receive Power: In Acts 1:8, Jesus promises the apostles that when the Holy Spirit comes on the apostles, they shall receive power.

 

When the Holy Spirit came on the apostles they received great power and anointing from God. Before the Pentecost, remember that they could not drive out a demon in Matthew 17:16-20 but after the Pentecost event, even the Shadow of Peter was able to heal (Acts 5:12-32). Therefore, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you shall receive spiritual power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

3. You will love and remain in Unity: When the Holy comes upon you, you will love peace, unity and togetherness. When the Holy Spirit comes, you will live in love.

 

You will detest division. Just as the Holy Spirit makes them speak in different languages despite their Jewish backgrounds, is how the spirit will make us welcome, embrace and treat everyone as brothers and sisters despite our race and individual backgrounds. 

 

 

4. You Will detest Sin: When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will stop to glory in sin. You will see that whenever you do not go for confession, you will become uncomfortable. Your soul will be yearning for the Lord. You will desire God more.

 

In the second reading, Paul says “In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you”. The spirit of God makes you always desire the spiritual. 

 

 

5. You Will become Living witnesses: When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will love to preach the message of salvation to people. You will desire to touch lives. When the Holy Spirit is in you, your life will become Godly, and you will become a living witness. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His apostles “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Therefore, the Holy Spirit makes us living witnesses.

 

 

6. He Will teach You: When the Holy Spirit comes upon you He will teach you deep mysteries of God. The Holy Spirit will surely teach youWho imagines what Peter preaches in Acts 3 that could lead to the conversion of three thousand people. The point is that the Spirit of God is behind Him.

 

Therefore, If you need the inspiration to work, write or do anything, seek the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in the gospel “but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything”.

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

1. Before the Holy Spirit dwells on the apostles today, He didn’t come by chance nor by accident. There was a preparation for Him. The apostles prayed, expected and hoped for the advent of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit did not disappoint them. Therefore, to encounter the Holy Spirit, we have to get ready and prepare for His coming.

 

This is why the church in her wisdom encourages a nine-day novena to the Holy Spirit before the Pentecost. If you desire to encounter the Holy Spirit, you have to show the hunger for Him and pray for His indwelling. He will not also disappoint. Whoever calls the Holy Spirit, He also answers.

 

The Holy Spirit is always willing to have a relationship with us. Let us seek for Him. We have to desire Him so that we can also have a wonderful experience like the apostles.

 

 

 

2. We live in a world torn by conflicting interests, jealousy, aggressiveness and so many forms of enslavement. These are the consequences of our sinful nature. Left to ourselves, we would have been unable to withstand these destructive forces, unable to stand against temptations and remain strong during times of crisis, that is why God sent us the Holy Spirit.

 

In the gospel, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit ‘the advocate”. He says “I shall ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever”.

 

 ADVOCATE defends or maintains a cause or proposal. An advocate is a person who represents another person’s interests as a lawyer does.

 

Therefore, the Holy Spirit will speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is our defender, intercessor and protector, who is ready to defend us when we are defenceless. 

 

 

3. We need the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes, our lives will change. Instead of seeking Him, many Christians today have neglected the Holy Spirit in many ways. Many people now fake the gifts of the Holy Spirit and use them to dupe people of their hard-earned money.

 

 

 Many self-acclaimed ministers give fake prophecies to entangle their gullible followers. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work, they have taken the position of the Holy Spirit. That is why sometimes, it looks as if what we do is not real. 

 

 

4. In Ephesians 5:18 Saint Paul says “Do not fill yourself with wine excessively. The drunken path is a reckless path. It leads nowhere. Instead, let God fill you with the Holy Spirit”.

 

But instead of seeking the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we seek the indwelling of sin. We have become so unworthy of His presence. 

 

 

Sometimes, we do not even appreciate the gifts of the Holy Spirit God blesses us with. We misuse these gifts and sometimes use them for our aggrandizement. There are so many aberrations Christians commit today with the name of the Spirit of God. We now act as the Holy Spirit and perform fake miracles, disguising them as the power of the Spirit of God.

 

Sometimes, we have profaned the presence of the Holy Spirit in ourselves and others through sinful living and desires, thoughts and actions. This is a time to seek the Spirit of God with our whole hearts. 

 

5. Like the apostles, when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He will surely transform us. As the Holy Spirit empowers the apostles, He will surely empower us through His indwelling.

 

The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies, changes and cleanses every evil. Therefore, we need this flame of love where there is hatred. We need this fire in souls that have lost faith in God, those who have abandoned God and hearts that are darkened in sin and sickness. 

 

6. We need the light of the Holy Spirit to shine in the hearts of those who no longer see human beings as being created in God’s image that they kill as if human beings are chickens.

 

We need this light to shine in the hearts of those who have refused repentance, those who only go to church for the sake of going and hearts that have hated the gospel, dejected Jesus and neglected God.

 

When the Holy Spirit takes absolute control of these people, there must be a change.

May we experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit today. Amen. 

 

 

 

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21 Comments
  1. Yolanda Malebatsane says

    Amen

  2. Uzoma Daniel chidera says

    Amen ,Holy spirit come and leave in me forever

  3. Charles Ndubuisi says

    Amen 🙏 🙏 🙏

  4. Kaycee Omeke says

    Amen
    Thank you Fr

  5. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu and family says

    Amen Amen Amen. Happy Pentecost Sunday Fr

  6. Clareth says

    Amen

  7. Mbama Christiana says

    Amen and Amen.
    Happy feast day Padre.

    1. Chisom Egwudike says

      Amen! Holy Spirit, be my comforter…..

  8. Dorothy Mary Iyinbor says

    Amen thanks Padre

  9. KORIE JENNIFER says

    Amen and Amen.

    Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, enkindle in us the fire of Your love. Amen

  10. Dr Nicholas Onyia A. says

    May the Holy Spirit, the power above all powers, renew us in the spirit of our minds for great works in God’s vineyard according to our different callings, in Jesus name, amen. More unction to you, fr.

  11. Danny Hansel says

    Holly spirit you are welcome.

  12. Mailoushi James says

    Amen, remain blessed Fr.

  13. Ekwem Emmanuela Chiamaka says

    Amen

  14. Mirian igwe says

    Amen 🙏🙏🙏

  15. Obizolu Assumpta says

    Amen

  16. Enibe Jacinta Amara says

    Amen

  17. Michael Jones says

    Amen

  18. Julie says

    Amen

  19. UCHEM AUGUSTA DABERECHI says

    Well articulated!

    Thank you Father. May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire you with more wisdom and knowledge.

  20. Helen says

    Amen🙏🏼🙏🏼

    Come O Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of Your faithful…….

    God bless you Padre; thank you 🙏🏼

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