Pentecost (from the Greek: “fiftieth day”), like Easter, was originally a Jewish agricultural feast, Shevuot or the ‘Feast of Weeks’ (Tob 2:1) which occurs 50 days after Passover and commemorated the giving of the Law on Sinai.
We speak of Pentecost as the ‘birthday of the Church’ because the Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-41) (CCL 1076). Now, with the presence of the gift of the Spirit, Christ lives and acts in and with and through his Church, through the sacraments and through you and me. Hence for us, as for Luke, Pentecost means the start of a mission to the entire world – a mission in which all of us have an important role. Just as by the power and activity of the Holy Spirit, Mary carried and gave birth to Christ, and the Apostles and early disciples brought Christ into their world, so, by the same Holy Spirit, we have been anointed to bring Jesus into our homes, our work places and to all whom we encounter.
Fr Philip Sainter