Sunday, 14 July 2024



Birth of the Pilgrim Church

The events at Easter in Jerusalem took place during the Jewish feast of Passover, the feast which reminded them of their deliverance out of Egypt. We recall the story of the blood of the lamb and the angel of death.

The Jews, to follow Passover, had then inaugurated a feast called Pentecost (meaning 50 days), to mark the end of the Feast of Passover and to mark, significantly for us, the time of harvest. So, fifty days later, the Jews remembered at Pentecost the giving of the Law (the 10 Commandments) to Moses on Mt Sinai.

Jewish legend spoke of what happened that day on Sinai, as Moses watched in fear and awe. It spoke of a mighty wind, turning to fire, then a voice proclaimed the Law.

In a further refinement to the legend, the fire split into 70 tongues of fire, corresponding to the 70 nations of the known world at that time. The Law was being proclaimed not just to Israel, but to all mankind.

This was the time chosen by the Father to send the Holy Spirit down, 50 days after the Resurrection, and 10 days after the Ascension. God's time has come, it is a new era of the Holy Spirit. The dispersion of the nations at the Tower of Babel has been undone, and the scattered nations are reunited by a new language of the Spirit. Not only does each disciple speak in tongues, but the disciples are heard by every people from every nation, each in his own language.

There follows, this time not a proclamation of the Law, but a altproclaiming of the Good News about Jesus, his death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.


This is how St Luke describes Pentecost, and the upper room in Jerusalem, in the Book of Acts, and we notice the similarity to Mt Sinai:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.


It was the beginning of the pilgrim Church . . .

Christ lifted up from the earth, has drawn all men to himself (cf. Jn. 12:32). Rising from the dead (cf. Rom. 6:9) he sent his life-giving Spirit upon his disciples and through him set up his Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation.                     Lumen Gentium 48

Novena Prayer to the Holy Spirit

During the Nine days before Pentecost Sunday

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created

R. And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

On the Feast of Pentecost