A dark, gloomy, barricaded room full of cowards. Hardly the obvious birthplace for Christ’s Church! And yet, it is here that the first Pentecost happens. There is no sign of Resurrection joy in the Upper Room on “the evening of that day”! But that didn’t stop the Holy Spirit carrying out his mission in there. Darkness is no match for the Spirit’s power! Its into this darkened room and into the darkness of these cowards’ hearts, that the light of Jesus’ resurrection shines. For where does light shine best if not in darkness! So where else could the Spirit’s mission be more effective than in the very thick of human experience in all its darkness.
The mission of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was to light up the darkness of the disciples’ hearts, to open their eyes to recognize the Risen Jesus, to strengthen their hope once again, and to transform their sorrow into a lasting joy. The disciples after Pentecost are changed men, they are men on fire with the Holy Spirit, they are men with a mission, they are men who break free of their self-made prison, men who have been empowered by the Spirit with all the gifts they will need as they go forth with courage to preach the Gospel of the Risen Jesus to all the nations.
Being a disciple of Jesus was never meant to be easy. The Christian Way poses as many challenges to us today as it did for the disciples at Pentecost. Living the Christian vocation in today’s world brings upon us its fair share of opposition and even of scorn. Often, we feel tempted to batten down the hatches and huddle together, afraid to break free of our comfort zones, reluctant to engage with an increasingly hostile world. But remember, the Holy Spirit doesn’t shy away from the forces of darkness. Darkness is no match for the power of the Spirit. For the Spirit searches the depths of everything and the Spirit is forever finding ways of shining afresh the light of the Risen Jesus into our world. And that same Spirit is God’s gift to each one of us this Pentecost Sunday. At Pentecost, God’s Spirit unleashes his gifts upon us so that we too will shine the light of the Risen Jesus into the darkness of the world around us.
Pentecost makes of us men and women on a mission, Christians filled with zeal, pilgrims on the road to heaven with hearts burning with love for the Risen Christ and for each other. The descent of the Holy Spirit shines new light into our hearts, and fills them with fresh hope so that we too can go forth with courage and bring the Good News of the Risen Jesus to all the nations. The Spirit is willing to work His mission in and through each of us. All we’re asked is to have courage and welcome God’s Spirit in.
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love”.