Pentecost is the fiftieth day, “the last and greatest day of the feast.” In the New Testament, this story is told only in the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 2:1-12). On this day, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the form , “as of fire” and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3) From this event, some observations can be made:
– This fulfills the promise made by the risen Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, “And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
– This was in the upper room, where the risen Lord came to the disciples through locked doors.
– There were twelve apostles, Matthias having been elected to replace the traitor Judas, as “a witness to [Jesus’] resurrection (Acts 1:22).”
– There were about one-hundred and twenty people present. Perhaps this was a symbolic number, for ten people were needed for a prayer group, hence, twelve apostles plus ten people for each apostle. The Spirit comes upon this gathering of communities.
– “As of fire,” the fire indicates the light of faith and the warmth of love.
– By the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles are transformed from frightened followers to fearless witnesses. To be a Christian means to be a witness to life, to the Resurrection, this can be done only by the grace of God.
– Bystanders from every nation heard the apostles in their own language. The scripture does not tell us that the apostles spoke simultaneously in a variety of languages, but that the listeners heard them in their own language. What we appropriate, then, is the witness of the apostles to the resurrection and faith in Jesus. This is the wellspring of our faith, which we profess always in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”
– Can we accept this witness in our lives without fear?
– Today is seen as the birth of the Church, and the East sees it also as the beginning of ordination.
– Mary, the Mother of the Church, is present.
“We have seen the true light, we have found the true faith, and we worship the undivided Trinity, for the Trinity has saved us.”
Meditation by Archpriest David Petras