The Solemnity of the Descent of the Holy Spirit
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Sunday, June 5, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Descent of the Holy Spirit. This feast is also known as Pentecost – this word comes from the Greek word “Pentecoste” – meaning “the fiftieth”. Indeed, Sunday of the Descent of the Holy Spirit is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday. Throughout this entire time we, the Church, celebrated with a special joy Jesus’ resurrection, his appearances, his Ascension to the Father in heaven, and finally, Pentecost. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s Paschal Mystery was brought to completion.
St. Thomas Aquinas says that the Holy Spirit interiorly perfects our spirit, communicating to it a new dynamism so that it refrains from evil, not simply out of fear of punishment, but for love. “The first gift of love is love itself, and all the other gifts emanate from this supreme gift, as from their source. Therefore, the Gift of love of God is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not give himself to us without pouring charity into our hearts” (Luis Maria Martinez).
The extraordinary meaning of the Easter season was highlighted by some elements of the Church’s liturgy: white vestments of the priests and deacons, lit Paschal Candle that symbolizes the Resurrected Jesus, and the statue of the Resurrected Jesus on the left side of our church’s sanctuary. These and other elements of the Easter celebrations and art are intended to draw our attention to the most important and vital element of our faith: Christ saved us by His offering on the cross, conquered death and is resurrected and opened for us the gate to eternal life in heaven.
On Monday, after Pentecost Sunday, we will return to our ordinary occupations: work, schools, vacations, other activities, and also our Sunday Masses in the Ordinary liturgical season. But there will be nothing ordinary in our celebrations. The Holy Spirit will stay with us. The more we call upon Him the more powerfully He will be present in our life – Sunday after Sunday, week after week.
Fr. Mark Jurzyk