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Pentecost Sunday

“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.”  (Acts 2:1-2)

When I sat down to write this reflection for Pentecost, I started by looking up the readings for Pentecost Sunday. They are full of signs and wonders, promises and gifts, peace and new life. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Tongues of fire. Spiritual gifts. One Spirit. One body. One Lord. I love the readings for Pentecost, but there is so much good stuff there, that I didn’t know where to start writing. I decided to try poking around online.

It turns out that if you open Google and type in the word spirit, you get a list of local liquor stores and a dictionary page with 14 different meanings. There was one definition that stood out. It said, a spirit is a “vital or animating force,” and that, spelled with a capital letter, Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit. That definition had a link that led me to another definition: “the third person of the Christian Trinity.” You’ve probably known all this since you were a little kid in Sunday School, so I still didn’t know what to write about. Just for the fun of it, I checked Amazon and found books that explore the power, the purpose, the promise, the gifts, and the mystery of the Holy Spirit: over 50,000 books!

So, what can I say here, in 300 words, that so many different writers took a whole book to say? Perhaps I could tell you what they can’t tell you; perhaps I can tell you what the Holy Spirit means to me. The dictionary was right when it called the Spirit an “animating force.” He brings new life, a better, fuller life with more joy and less fear. Being open to the Holy Spirit means discovering gifts I never knew I had. It means taking the occasional leap of faith, when God sets an opportunity or a possibility or a challenge in front of me. It means worrying less and trusting more. Receiving the Holy Spirit means peace and hope and Christmas carols in the middle of Summer. It means going to Mass all week, not just on Sundays. It means random acts of kindness and loving your enemy as well as your neighbor.

And I think it means writing it all down and sharing it with friends, and with people I have never met. If you want to share what the Holy Spirit means to you, feel free to leave a comment.

Pentecost is the Birthday of the Church. A day to celebrate the Holy Spirit, who came to the first disciples like the “rush of a mighty wind,” and comes to us today whenever we open our hearts to receive Him. 

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia, Alleluia.


  • “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”  Psalms 104:1-34
  • “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God”
  • Readings for Pentecost Sunday: Acts 2:1-11. 1Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13. Romans 8:8-17. John 20:19-23


1 thought on “Pentecost Sunday

  1. I never really related much to the Holy Spirit until we had that Life in the Spirit Seminar. That really opened my eyes and my heart more to the Holy Spirit. I realize that when certain things happen in my life, it could be the work of the Holy Spirit.

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