WelCom May 2023
Pentecost occurs 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and ten days after his ascension into heaven. Because Easter is a moveable feast and Pentecost depends on the timing of Easter, Pentecost can fall anywhere between 10 May and 13 June. This year, Pentecost Sunday is 28 May.
At the Easter Vigil, 50 days before Pentecost, the Church calls upon the power of the Holy Spirit to come down into the fullness of the font of baptism. In the prayer of blessing the Church invokes the same Spirit who in the first moments of the world’s creation hovered over the waters. The same Spirit who guided the children of Abraham to pass dry-shod through the Red Sea, the same Spirit who was seen in bodily form as a Dove as Jesus was baptised, the same Spirit in whom the candidates are baptised, ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’
While we recall the events of the appearances of the Risen Lord through Eastertide, the liturgical season of Easter, we are given a generous period to reflect upon the presence of the Risen Lord to the disciples and the gifting of his Spirit to them, and to us, the Church.
At the Vigil Mass for Pentecost, the Presider addresses the faithful gathered with words which recall the nature of our ‘waiting’ for the Spirit as well as the fruits of having received the Spirit. ‘We have now begun our Pentecost Vigil, after the example of the Apostles and disciples who with Mary, the mother of Jesus, persevered in prayer, awaiting the Spirit promised by the Lord.’ And ‘Let us meditate on how many great deeds God in times past did for his people and let us pray that the Holy Spirit, whom the Father has sent as the first fruits for those who believe, may bring to perfection his work in the world.’
Pentecost is a wonderful opportunity for us to meditate on the many great deeds God has done for us, God’s people, both collectively and individually. We know that in the fullness of time, having sent the Holy Spirit upon the prophets of old, God sent his Spirit upon Mary of Nazareth following her, yes! This same Spirit who hovered over the waters of creation, was with Mary, and they brought Jesus into the world. This same Spirit is at work in our lives too.
May we take time to notice, to remember, and to celebrate when the Spirit is with us, and when we participate in divine life through invoking the Spirit’s presence in our days. This may be through the simple blessing of our daily food, it is in the epiclesis of the Mass, when the Spirit is invoked, it may be when we lay our hands over our children and ask a blessing upon them, it may be when we ask for the Spirit’s guidance as we discern a future decision or path. It is the same Holy Spirit who is at work today, as was at work at the dawn of creation. This is an awesome reality. We are awesome realities, for through baptism received we are Temples of this Holy Spirit! The One who sanctifies dwells in us. And in our gestures and in our words as we enflesh the life of Jesus in this day, we participate in the divine mission entrusted to God’s people. Happy Easter! Happy Pentecost!
Patrick Bridgman is parish priest of Te Awakairangi and Liturgy Adviser in the Archdiocese of Wellington.