A Reflection for Pentecost

“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” Pentecost fulfilled this promise. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and nothing was ever the same again.

This event is often referred to as the “birthday” of the church. It took Pentecost–and the power of the Spirit–to embolden the apostles to begin their ministry of preaching and baptizing. Conversions began to happen and the early church began to grow.

And all of this took place without Jesus’ earthly presence among them.This is one of the most encouraging elements of the practice of our Christian faith. We believe that through the Holy Spirit, God dwells within us and empowers us. We believe that even though we never walked with Jesus and the apostles, we are nonetheless companied by the same Spirit who is always available to us! We only need to stir up this Spirit within our souls by praying sincerely, “Come, Holy Spirit!”

The special hymn of today’s feast, called the sequence, does just this. It also expresses well the package of “benefits” that come from the presence of the Advocate among us: “You, of comforters the best; You, the soul’s most welcome guest; Sweet refreshment here below; In our labor, rest most sweet; Grateful coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe.” And not only do we receive these personal blessings, but the Church herself also receives a tremendous gift. As Jesus said, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit… will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” It is only through this divine guidance from on high that the Church has the power and privilege to teach and guide us who are still here below.