Solemnity of Pentecost - Year B ~ MAY 19, 2024

Solemnity of Pentecost – Year B ~ MAY 19, 2024


Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost: descending of Holy Spirit upon the disciples. It’s a celebration of birth of Universal Church as well. This is the new beginning for disciples and for us as well because this is the day when disciples received Holy Spirit and became fearless witnesses to Jesus’s love.

St. Paul in writing to Romans opens the mystery of our new beginning: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For this reason, the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s lawindeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, Abba! Father!  it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christif, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him (8:5-17).

St. Irenaeus writing against the heresies of his time, explains the mystery of the Pentecost: When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God. He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy. So, when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with humans, to living in men and to inhabiting God’s creation. The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin and gave them new life in Christ. Luke says that the Spirit came down on the disciples at Pentecost, after the Lord’s ascension, with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the new covenant. So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the first fruits of all the nations.

This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God. Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven. And like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above. Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord, and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to his Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to his own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning.

If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God. Since we have our accuser, we need an advocate as well. And so, the Lord in his pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having himself bound up his wounds and left for his care two coins bearing the royal image, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit. Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us, and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.

The Solemnity of Pentecost encourages us to leave our old ways of life and strive for new beginning. Just imagine if disciples would have stayed behind the closed doors of the room, then what would have happened: no more Christian faith neither the mention of Jesus’ name? Though there was fear, but Holy Spirit made the disciples to open the door from inside to go out but not someone came to open the door for them from outside. In similar way, Holy Spirit invites us to open the closed doors of our hearts from inside to let Jesus come in as St. Paul says, “even we don’t know how to pray but the Holy Spirit intercede for us and teaches us to call God; Abba, the Father”. To make it understand more deeply about our new beginning, let me share with you the following interesting story:

The Creator created people, gave them words for communication and thinking, settled them in the fertile valley at the foot of the mountains, gave them longevity and started to observe, how they will aspire to the development. The time passed, but people did not develop. They did not go beyond their village and did not climb up the mountains. Their eyes did not look at the sky and did not look in the Heart. So, they became old. The Creator decided to find out, what was the matter.

He became a man and came to them as a traveller. Before sunset people gathered at the square to talk with the traveller. He described told them about a life beyond the horizon and suggested:

Do you want me to lead you there, and you will see how people live in these places?

Oh, they answered sadly, it is too late, we became old.

Then come with me to the mountains to look at the world from the top!

Oh, they suspired, it is too late, we have no energy.

Look at the sky, the traveller said them, and I will tell you about the life in the Kingdom of Heaven!

They answered again: It is late; our mind will not understand your story.

The traveller became sad. He decided to cheer people. Let’s sing a song, he said and was going to sing first, but people noticed that the sun went down.

It is late, they said, it is time to sleep, and they went to their huts.

The traveller shouted at them: People, when life is continuous and infinite, it is not too late for any achievements!
But they did not turn back. Then the Creator told himself: I will take away all words of limitation from people: “late”, “not”, “impossible”, “far”, “high”, “hard”, “will not understand”, and will place in their hearts the joy of infinity. Maybe they will perceive my Law: nothing is too late because there is no end, there is only the beginning! He did so and waited for the morning: will people change, and will they go with him to the mountains? Are we going to follow our new beginning with the Holy Spirit?


Remember the words of the Psalmist (139): Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you”.

There are some very interesting facts in the Scripture Readings today:

  1. Jesus is giving peace to his disciples and to the whole world which we could see in the First Reading, it is being fulfilled in the lives of the disciples. They were afraid and remained behind the closed doors but the peace of Christ which came through Holy Spirit, made them brave.
  2. Jesus breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit, the same way as God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became living being. By receiving Holy Spirit disciples became fearless living being and went out to speak about Jesus and converted many to Jesus.
  3. Through the Holy Spirit, not only disciples but everyone received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. All these gifts bring us together to serve the Lord and build his Church. There are various gifts in the Church to serve the Lord.
  4. The Holy Spirit unites us together: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body; though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body.and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
  5. Through the Holy Spirit we all are called to serve the Lord and have the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Holy Spirit renews the face of earth and helps us to recognize our relationship with the Lord. We must listen to Holy Spirit who intercede for us to fill us with his love who died on the Cross for us to give eternal life, otherwise we will be like the man in the story:

One day an old Soul-wound decided to destroy her host. She came to him in a dream and said: Look at yourself and around you. How do you live? After all, you have only problems- inside and outside. So, what,  the host answered, but I have a wonderful woman. I love her and she loves me. But what can you offer her, except for your own problems? She will leave you soon,  The Soul-wound said. No, she wont!  The man said,  after all, she loves me. Think about it  is it possible to love you? You are a loser! The Soul-wound exclaimed. That is the thing! If I wouldnt have any problems  inside and outside, I would have some doubts about her being with me. But now Im sure of her sincerity. Ok, then think: if she is so wonderful, do you deserve her? Doesnt she deserve a better life, than with you a mentally wounded loser with lots of problems? After waking up from his own tears, the man called his loved one and told her that he doesnt deserve her love, and he is leaving her forever.

But the pain was so big that he couldn’t survive the breakup.

In heaven, an angel met the arriving soul and escorted him straight to the gates of hell. Unhappy and amazed he asked: How come you have brought me here? After all, I committed the biggest sacrifice for love! The angel turned to him and answered: The Soul-wounds only serve the Devil. You will stay with the one that you have listened to.

On Pentecost we have the final fulfillment of the mission of Jesus Christ and the first beginning of the messianic age of the Kingdom of God mystically present in this world in the Church of the Messiah. For this reason, the fiftieth day stands as the beginning of the era, which is beyond the limitations of this world, fifty being that number which stands for eternal and heavenly fulfillment in Jewish and Christian mystical piety: seven times seven, plus one. Once again it must be noted that the feast of Pentecost is not simply the celebration of an event which took place centuries ago. It is the celebration of what must happen and does happen to us in the Church today. We all have died and risen with the Messiah-King, and we all have received his Most Holy Spirit. We are the “temples of the Holy Spirit.” God’s Spirit dwells in us (Rom 8; 1 Cor 23, 12; 2 Cor 3; Gal 5; Eph 23). We, by our own membership in the Church, have received the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit” in the sacrament of chrismation. Pentecost has happened to us.

The Divine Liturgy of Pentecost recalls our baptism into Christ with the verse from Galatians again replacing the Thrice-Holy Hymn. Special verses from the psalms also replace the usual antiphonal psalms of the liturgy. The epistle and gospel readings tell of the Spirit’s coming to men. The kontakion sings of the reversal of Babel as God unites the nations into the unity of his Spirit. The troparion proclaims the gathering of the whole universe into God’s net through the work of the inspired apostles. The hymns “O Heavenly King” and “We have seen the True Light” are sung for the first time since Easter, calling the Holy Spirit to “come and abide in us,” and proclaiming that “we have received the heavenly Spirit.” The church building is decorated with flowers and the green leaves of the summer to show that God’s divine Breath comes to renew all creation as the “life-creating Spirit.” In Hebrew the word for Spirit, breath and wind is the same word, ruah.

Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit: through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of Man, Glory to Thee (Troparion). When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, he divided the nations. But when he distributed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity. Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-Holy Spirit! (Kontakion).

Let me finish my reflection with this story by an unknown author to remind us that we are all called by the Lord through Holy Spirit to conversion and mission.

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor, and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer. It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have lots of fun, but they don’t know the meaning of the celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts, and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, beautifully wrapped gifts. But do you want to know something? I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor, and they didn’t remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside they closed the door in my face, and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn’t surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn’t invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: “Santa Claus, Santa Claus” as if the party were in his honor! At midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know no-one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left. Every year it gets worse. People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.

I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart. I want to share something with you. As many didn’t invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I’m still making the final arrangements.

Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend, and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don’t answer the invite will be left outside. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.
See you soon. I Love you!


Let us renew our faith and begin anew with commitment to serve the Lord faithfully.

“Come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts with the fire of God’s Love”.