There they were, practically paralyzed with fear. Over the past three years, they talked and traveled with the greatest of teachers. They witnessed miracles, learned life’s deepest truths from him, and grew spiritually sharper and more formidable. Yet their current circumstances reduced them to cowering in the upper room, unable to move and barely able to believe.
These disciples, these followers of Jesus, knew that their leader was brutally murdered in arguably the most gruesome and painful method of execution ever created. They had heard rumors they could also be sentenced to this same form of brutality.
So, despite the fact that Christ had promised the Holy Spirit would be sent to them, (read John 14:26 and again in John 16:7), all they knew at that moment was anxiety and confusion. The only semblance of a plan for the future was to remain hidden away from others. It seems they were too filled with terror to know what else to do.
“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit… ” (Acts 2:2-4a). Their lives would never be the same as the gift of the Spirit gave birth to the Church.
The power of the Holy Spirit had come upon them. This power was made manifest with new insights into the events and teachings of Jesus. Instead of feeling frightened, they had been changed with a newfound courage.
Having been seized by the power of the Spirit, they now had been fully transformed by the Holy Spirit. The disciples did not attempt to discreetly escape from the house and inconspicuously blend in with the crowds. On the contrary, with boldness and defiance they stormed out and announced their presence by pronouncing the Good News in different tongues. They did not quietly and tentatively whisper about the life of Jesus; they loudly and prophetically professed the Good News to any and all who would listen.
It is because the disciples embraced their vocation that 3,000 people accepted their message and were added to the faith that day. But what if the Holy Spirit had not come upon them? Would you and I have ever heard about Christ? Would you and I even be Christians today?
In a similar way to what those disciples of the past did, we, as disciples of the present, are called to respond to the Holy Spirit in our lives. Through our Baptism and Confirmation, we have received this same gift of the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to pass on the faith now, just as the disciples did then.
Even though there may be times we feel too weak and worried, too unprepared and unqualified, we are still called to be a Christian. The word Christian means to act as one who follows Christ; for it is when we trust in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we discover the gifts we need to exit our upper rooms and enter into the world. After all, if we share our Catholic faith with those around us today, the Good News can be shared with future believers – the next generation of disciples.
For additional reading and reflections on Pentecost, click on the following links:
- RCL Benziger: Celebrate the Easter Season
- RCL Benziger: Meditation Booklets – Easter To Pentecost
- USCCB: May 15, 2016 – Pentecost Sunday – Mass During the Day
- USCCB: Teaching The Spirit Of Mission Ad Gentes: Continuing Pentecost Today
Scott Mussari is the Director of Faith Formation at Saint Columban Church in Loveland, Ohio, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter!