THIS Sunday the Christian world celebrates Pentecost - the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles.

Pentecost fulfills God’s promise to send his Spirit, made both in the Old and New Testaments. In the book of the prophet Joel who lived about 800 years before the birth of Christ, we read God’s words, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (Chapter 2, Verses 28-29). Again through the prophet Isaiah (Chapter 44, Verse 3), God promised, “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.” And in the book of Ezekiel (Chapter 36, Verse 27) he said, “I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”

At the dawn of the New Testament, John the Baptist declared, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).

Jesus himself taught his disciples on several occasions about the Holy Spirit and his coming. He said that he will ask the Father to give us another Advocate, the Spirit of truth who will be with us, and who will be in us (see John 14:15-17).

In the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we see the promise coming to pass. The apostles were all together in one place when suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rush of a violent wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, like that of fire, appeared among them and rested on each of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak about God’s deeds of power in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit on that beautiful day of Pentecost is an experience not intended to be exclusive to the apostles. It is a promise available to “all flesh” Jesus, teaching about prayer, once said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

St. Paul writes that the Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people (Ephesians 1:14). Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him (Romans 8:9b).

With the Holy Spirit comes the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). To each one he manifests himself for the common good - be it the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, various kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:5-10).

This Pentecost Sunday let us ask Jesus to send us his Spirit, for with the Spirit dwelling in us, we experience communion with Jesus and the Father. Let us ask for this gift of entering into the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - the Holy Trinity, Three Persons in One God.