This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost. The Solemnity of Pentecost commemorates the Holy Spirit appearing to the Apostles fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus.
‘And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ – Acts 2:2-4
Through the Holy Spirit, they began preaching about Jesus, and how he had been raised from the dead. Many people became baptised as a result of this preaching and became the beginning of many Christian communities. Pentecost is also now commonly known as the ‘birthday of the Church’.
There are four symbols of Pentecost. These are fire, wind, a dove, and the breath of God. The following points have been summarised from our unit The Holy Spirit of the Secondary resource.
- Fire – fire can be both comforting and destructive. Comforting in the sense of warmth, destructive in the sense of power. Fire will burn away the old so that the new can grow.
- Wind – although we cannot physically see wind, we can feel the effects of it. Just like with God. Whilst we cannot physically see him, we see and feel the effects of him working through our lives.
- Dove – the dove is often a sign of peace and hope within Christianity. Due to this symbolism, the apostles were able to feel a sense of peace through a scenario that would’ve otherwise been terrifying for them.
- Breath of God – breath is essential for life, and so fundamental to our being that we at most times hardly realise it’s there. This is what the Holy Spirit is like. It breathes life into all things. It’s life-giving, sustaining, and continual.
As mentioned in the bible verse above, the apostles began to speak in other languages. This is referring to speaking in tongues, or glossolalia. This is a form of personal prayer, although not everyone is able to speak in tongues. It is seen as a phenomenon as it allows only some believers to communicate with God, through the Holy Spirit, in a way that is far beyond human understanding.