|Irish Pastoral Centre Boston|
By Sr. Marguerite Kelly, mfic
In Greek, Pentecost means “fifty days” or seven weeks, which is why the feast has been called the “Feast of Weeks.” It was a communal celebration of God’s abundant fidelity to the Jews in the giving of the fertile land. They were gathered to give thanks and have a share in the crops.
What we hear from the Acts of the Apostles is the account of the same fidelity of God to bring about a new crop and a new sense of the Earth being a blessing place.
With the coming of the Holy Spirit, there was to be no more serious sitting around. There was an interior fire that was lit and needed to be spread. People from various distant regions came, heard and were invited to listen and then return with that fire and that spirit.
For the Jewish believers, Pentecost was a harvest celebration. For the Christian community, it is the celebration of God’s planting the Holy Spirit to bring about a harvest of planters. The Gospel of John presents a picture of Jesus’ sending the Spirit and the results are the same. Instead of serious sitting, there is an even more serious sending. Furthermore, Paul writes in our Second Reading, “There is One Spirit which is to be made visible or manifested in different works and this Spirit is to produce all of them in everyone.”
When God came looking for Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis, they were hiding because they had denied who they were and lusted to be like God. In today’s Gospel, when Jesus comes looking for His disciples who had denied who they were, He finds them hiding as well. It is Resurrection time and Jesus greets them with “peace”. He passes on to them the very mission that He had received. Then He breathes upon them and offers them the same breath or Spirit that brought about order from the chaos as recounted in the book of Genesis. He is telling them that as He was sent into the world to bring order into the lives of all, so were they. They are the incarnations of the Spirit who are sent to bring order out of chaos.