First Reading: Acts 2:1-11; Psalm: 104. R. v. 30; Second Reading: Gal 5:16-25; Gospel: Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15



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The Solemnity of the Pentecost marks the memorial of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary and the apostles in the form of a tongue of fire, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ. Pentecost brings to mind two crucial points in the Church’s life. The first is that it marks the end of the Easter season. The second is that this solemnity reveals the goal of Easter. At the end of this Mass, the priest may process along with the Paschal candle to indicate the end of the season of Easter. The Paschal candle can only reappear again at Baptisms and Christian funerals.

In our first reading today, the Virgin Mary and the apostles received the Holy Spirit and witnessed to the salvific mission of Christ. This is a testament that the goal of Pentecost is that the apostles should become bold witnesses to the Paschal Mystery of Christ. The mission of Christ therefore, did not start and end with his life, passion, death, resurrection and ascension; but should perpetually continue in courageous witnessing to this salvific event. This is the primary goal of Pentecost. So, we can say that the Paschal Mystery of Christ culminates in the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.

Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, the witnessing of the apostles through courageous preaching that led to the conversion of three thousand Jews to the Christian faith marks the official inauguration of the Christian Church. So, we can also say that the Church was born on Pentecost.

Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were in shock and crippled by fear concerning all that had happened in Jerusalem; but they were reinvigorated when they received the Holy Spirit, that they began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. The miracle of the unity of tongues cancelled out the confusion of tongues wrought by God at the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:1-9). So, at Pentecost, God was reconciling all tongues in the mission of witnessing to the Risen Lord.

On this day that we celebrate the solemnity of the Pentecost; there is a very important message that we must not miss out on. The Holy Spirit did not come to reveal anything new or anything contrary to what Christ had taught. In Christ is the fullness of all divine revelation. The mission of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into a deeper understanding of all that Christ taught us; to lead us into all the truth. Jesus re-echoes this in our gospel reading of today; “When the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; . . . he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak.” (Jn 15:26. 16:13).

So, when the apostles received the Holy Spirit, they did not teach anything contrary to what Christ had taught. They understood and witnessed to the gospel in consonance with the theology of the gospel of Christ. We must therefore be careful of preachers who claim to be led by the Spirit but are misguided in their understanding and teaching of the Scriptures.

The Spirit that the apostles received today is not a dormant Spirit; for they immediately swung into action and matched out to share the fruits of the Spirit to the whole world. This precisely is the message of today. The Holy Spirit is our animator. When we receive the Spirit, we are animated to share with others the fruits of the same Spirit. At our Baptism and Confirmation, we all received the Holy Spirit just as the apostles did. How docile are we to share with others the fruits of the Spirit that we have received? Drawing from our second reading of today, the Church lists the fruits of the Spirit as: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control, and Chastity.

In our responsorial psalm, we pray: “Lord, send forth your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” We can renew the face of the earth when we cooperate with the Spirit that we have received by living out the fruits of the Spirit that has been given to us. Are some of these fruits of the Spirit visible in our lives? If yes, we can keep growing in them and ask God for the docility to respond where we are found lacking.    

As revealed in the miracle of the unity of tongues, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit abhors disunity. To this end, Christ gave his apostles the power to forgive sins to make reconciliation possible when he said; “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn 20:22-23). This authority to forgive sins is conferred directly on the apostles and their successors. But on a wider scope, it is a clarion call that part of the Christian vocation is the call to be agents of forgiveness and reconciliation. Therefore, as recipients of the Holy Spirit, we are duty-bound to be merciful and forgiving towards others.

As we celebrate today the solemnity of the Pentecost, we pray as the Psalmist; “Lord, send forth your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” We pray that we may cooperate with the Holy Spirit in making our world beautiful by living out the fruits of the Spirit and by becoming agents of mercy and reconciliation. So that the goal of Easter may be realised as we perpetually continue to witness to Christ in our world.


Come, O Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Make us fruitful instruments to witness to the message of salvation. Amen

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