The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God's chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15--21; Deuteronomy 16:9--11).
In today's First Reading, the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).
The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see Jeremiah 31:31--34; 2 Corinthians 3:2--8; Romans 8:2).
The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which he made all things, as we sing in today's Psalm.
In the beginning, the Spirit came as a "mighty wind" sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as "a strong, driving wind" to renew the face of the earth.
As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with his Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today's Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).
Like a river of living water, for all ages he will pour out his Spirit on his body, the Church, as we hear in today's Epistle (see also John 7:37--39).
We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a "new creation" in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity--fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.
Ps 104:1, 24, 29--31, 34
1 Cor 12:3--7, 12--13
Scott Hahn is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The Creed, Joy to the World and Evangelizing Catholics.
Recent articles in the Faith & Family section
The Paradigm for Bishop-Led Church ReformFather Roger J. Landry
Possible to confess online?Father Kenneth Doyle
What's happening in collaboratives now?Sister Pat Boyle
Is annual confession mandated?Father Kenneth Doyle
Stephen Hawking: great scientist, lousy theologianBishop Robert Barron