What does the Pentecost Event have to do with the Church today?
1. The Pentecost Event shows us what it truly means to be a Christian.
The word Christian does mean “Christ-like”. Being a Christian means following Jesus and accepting his teaching, but it also means evangelization. Evangelization may not mean vocal preaching, necessarily, but it does involve embodying and living out those principles that Jesus showed us and taught us. As Lumen Gentium states: “Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness…” (#39). We are ALL called to participate in the life and mission of the Church, whatever our talents and abilities are or wherever they lie. (Prager)
2. The Pentecost Event shows us how we, as Church, can deepen our faith.
The early Christian community “…devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” (New American Bible, Acts of the Apostles 2:42) The Pentecost Event reveals how we can start to make our faith deeper and fuller: by educating ourselves in what the Church teaches and practices; by participating in the sacramental (communal) life of the Church, especially the Eucharist; and by developing a deeper and more vibrant prayer life. (Prager)
3. The Pentecost Event can enable us to “see” the activity of the Holy Spirit in the entire Church and the Spirit’s involvement in the Church’s mission.
The Holy Spirit is at work through all the baptized since we are all called to holiness (see #1 above). The Holy Spirit enables the entire Church, using the myriad talents of the ordained and laity in tandem, to advance the mission of the Church:
From my perspective the Church’s mission is a vocation, a calling; all the baptized are called to “do something” and this “doing something” is composed of four parts:
- Spreading the Good News of our salvation through Jesus; that through the Paschal Mystery we have been saved, we can achieve eternal life.
- Being a prophetic voice to others, calling others to change their lives and lifestyles; the Church is called to have a counter-cultural impact. We are supposed to run counter to much of what the prevailing culture often says is good, right or just.
- Being a sign of Christ to others, being of service, ministering to others, as Jesus did; we’re supposed to be living out and embodying those values and principles that Jesus taught us and showed, by which Jesus lived.
- Regular and active participation in the sacramental life of the Church, especially the Eucharist. However, I would also say, for our time, the sacrament of Reconciliation is an important one, as well, depending on how one lives their life.
We have been called as Church to put this mission into action wherever our talents and abilities lie. Some of the baptized can preach some cannot; some can teach others cannot, but we all have talents that can be utilized to advance the Church’s mission. For most of the faithful, it most likely lies in how we live our lives on a daily basis at home with our family, in interaction with our neighbors or at work with our colleagues. (Prager) A lot will say what good can that do? Well, those of us in “the real world” are often the only place that others can see positive examples of what it means to really be a Christian, that’s what it can do.
The one question we might want to ask ourselves is: Do others see Christ in my actions and in me?
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC), states: “…to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindle faith in us.” (CCC, #683)
So not only are we an Easter people we’re also a Pentecost people, the two events are inexorably tied together – the Holy Spirit given to us by the risen Jesus continues to guide and sanctify us as Church. (Prager)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Vatican, 06 Nov. 2002. Web. 18 March.2016 < http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM>
Lumen Gentium. The Vatican, 06 Nov. 2002 Web. 25 March 2014 <http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html>
The New American Bible. The Vatican, 06 Nov. 2002. Web. 12 Feb. 2014 <http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM>
Prager, Edward. My Intended to be but Never, Ever, Ever to be Published Tome. n.p.