Birthdays have always been super exciting to me. I always make sure to remind people on New Year’s Eve that it’s 10 days until I’m another year older. It’s not that I’m trying to get a few more presents, I’m just kind of hooked on the excitement and anticipation (okay, and the presents). Which is why I love celebrating Pentecost.
Here’s a little history lesson to fill you in on what Pentecost is. The word comes from the Greek word ‘Pentekoste’, which means 50th (feel free to read that in the voice of the old guy from My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and its celebrated 50 days after Easter. Pentecost is also a Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Weeks, and it was during this holiday that Jesus’ Apostles were gathered.
Jesus had died and resurrected, and since then had been appearing to his followers all throughout Jerusalem. They loved having Jesus and they took it pretty hard when he told them he was heading home. To comfort and encourage them, he said, “it’s best for you if I go away. If I don’t the Holy Spirit won’t come but if I do go away then I’ll send him to you.” (John 16:7)
So the Apostles were expecting something. They weren’t sure what it was but Jesus had promised to send the Spirit. The book of Acts describes what happened that day.
With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were inspired with an insane amount of courage and gifted with incredible skills to preach, heal, perform miracles and evangelise. The Church was born and Christianity began to spread throughout the world. The final words of Jesus were coming true. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit falls on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). This was all possible because of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And so, in the Catholic faith Pentecost isn’t just the birthday of the Church, but it’s a celebration for everyone. (Two birthdays – awesome!)
The sad thing about birthdays is that they only last one day, then you have to wait a whole year till the next one. The birthday of the Church is one day, but it’s gift? It’s gift is never ending.
The Bible says its for "you and for your children". That’s us, you and me. The gift that was given to the Apostles, the gift that catapulted Christianity across the globe, the very gift that Jesus promised, is given to us.
My mum used to remind me to ‘say a little prayer to the Holy Spirit’ when I was nervous about something; an exam, public speaking, whatever it was. But the more I’ve learnt of the Spirit, the more I call on Him. Not just when I’m nervous but in so many ways, whenever I want to do something big, something huge. When I need that gift to be a witness, not just to my friends and family, not just in Brisbane or Australia but ‘to the ends of the earth’