By Sister Bernice Lindsey, OSB
When you think of the month of May what comes to mind? What does this month mean to you? May is the 5th month of the year, 25 percent of 2021 has passed.
For me, the month of May signifies the Month of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
The Ascension on May 13th is the ascent of Jesus Christ into heaven the 40th day after his Resurrection. And May 23rd is Pentecost; this is what I would like to focus on at this time.
Pentecost, the birthday of the Catholic Church. Happy birthday to all of you who are the body of this Church. We are all familiar with our own birthdays, and we celebrate them because they mark the day of the year in which we entered this life. But did you know you have a second birthday?
Because you are part of the body of the Church, Pentecost is the Church’s birthday, and yours as well. And like any birthday, it is a cause for celebration.
The word Pentecost is Greek, and it means “50th day.” Fifty days after Easter Sunday we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their followers, and the beginning of their Earthly ministry to make disciples of all nations.
Pentecost is also a Jewish holiday, which the Jews use to celebrate the end of Passover. Jews celebrate the gift of Moses at Mt. Sinai on this day. But we, as Catholics, celebrate the birth of our Church.
At Pentecost, the Apostles and their followers were gathered in a room. Jews from all over the world were gathered with Peter, the leader of the Apostles. At that time, a great wind blew, and a flame appeared as a tongue of fire which split itself into many individual flames above the heads of all those present. The Holy Spirit came upon these people and each began to speak in tongues. Despite the fact many had no common language, they were perfectly able to understand one another.
In our country, and in our world, there are many languages spoken. How do we work to understand others who speak with a different tongue (language)? Do we get angry and feel that they should be speaking our language, or do we, with patience, accept and try to understand? Perhaps we could try to learn their language?
Questions for reflection:
How do you celebrate the birthday of the Catholic Church, or do you?
What is your belief in the Holy Spirit?
Do you call on the Holy Spirit for guidance, support, or help?