God is a Trinity of three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) who share one nature, one divine essence. This mystery is the highest and greatest revealed truth of our Christian faith. Everything we know and understand about being Catholic and Christian flows from this mystery. This day being Pentecost, we focus on how God the Father, through His Eternal Son, sent to His people the gift of the Holy Spirit as a means of grafting us into His very own divine life.
This day is historic, both because these events really happened and because it marks an immense change in the operation of God’s relationship to humanity. To perceive this change, we first understand that God created us as free beings, with our own souls endowed with the ability to reason and to choose. Second, we understand that, though we are different and separate from God, God is always pouring out His grace on all people. That is to say, God desires to be a part of every human life, and so, He operates in each and every human life because He loves what He has created. That love is the Holy Spirit, who keeps each of us in existence, prompts everyone to do what is good and avoid what is evil, invites us to know truth, and leads us to love and desire genuine beauty.
For most of human history, before the advent of Jesus and the day of Pentecost, God’s love and action on the human soul was external. God’s love and divine life did not enter our beings and so, we could not enter into heaven and into his presence. The Jews did believe in an afterlife for the good and righteous and a separate one for the damned, but heaven was closed to humanity for we were different from God. But let us remember, God loves what He created. He was not satisfied to allow humanity to remain separated from Himself. In His eternal plan, He sent the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, to become man in the person of Jesus Christ – God and man, two natures in one person. In Him, the Divine Life of God was joined to a human soul without suppressing His humanity and without diminishing His divinity. In Jesus Christ, God created the bridge by which He would bind all of feeble humanity to all-powerful divinity in order that all of us may have a share in his Divine Life.
This day of Pentecost, then, celebrates the moment when that bridge, that binding became possible for all of us. On this day, the Divine Life of God entered the souls of the disciples of Jesus gathered in the “Upper Room” and the souls of all who were baptized that day after hearing Saint Peter preach. Because of Pentecost, all who are baptized receive in their souls the Holy Spirit who is the very Love, the very Divine Life of God who does not want any of us to remain separated from Himself. Because of Pentecost, all who receive the Sacrament of Confirmation receive in their souls the seal of the Holy Spirit and the grace to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, on order to courageously witness to the Truth even unto death. Because of Pentecost, all who go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation have the assurance that their sins are forgiven and that the Divine Life of God is restored in their souls. Because of Pentecost, we have the supreme dignity of being called to Holy Communion, the supper of the Lamb, Who makes us worthy to receive the consecrated bread of heaven which has truly become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. And because of Pentecost, we are all one family in the Body of Christ. We belong to God and one another. We are all siblings, equal in the heart of God, and we must treat each other according to the same love we have received from God.
May we truly live these holy and miraculous realities and celebrate them joyfully as true children of God until the day we see Him face to face.