Peter [said] to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the Apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:38-47)
Today the Church commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. On the 50th day after His Resurrection and the 10th after His Ascension, Jesus sent the promise of His Father to the chosen ones He had commissioned to preach in His name to all nations. The mission of the Holy Spirit was to bring to the Apostles’ minds whatever Christ had taught them, and give them the courage to preach penance and the remission of sins in His name.
No sooner had the Holy Spirit come down upon the Apostles than all their darkness of mind disappeared. Like Saint Peter in the passage above, they began to speak with such clarity, power and effect that, on this very day of Pentecost, 3000 souls were added to the nascent Church. So great was the fervor of these converts that it even overcame the love of worldly goods, which, as we all know, if still paramount in the hearts of men.
As the Acts of the Apostles testifies, the first Pentecost was a powerful event – really the Birthday of the Church! May our celebration of the Feast Day serve to renew the Church now, bring her clarity in our troubled times, and inspire each of us to strive to live the ideal exemplified the day the Church was born!