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Happy Birthday to Our Church!

Happy Birthday to you!  Happy Birthday to you!  Happy Birthday to our Church, Happy Birthday to you!  And many more!!

Most scholars believe that Jesus died between the ages of 33 – 39 but lean towards the earlier date.  Keeping that in mind, the Church is 1,988 years old this year!  Try blowing out all those candles!  But wait, it is the holy spirit who would blow them out with no issue, no problem with the “rush of a mighty wind”!  In fact, the Holy Spirit could light them all with the “tongues of fire” at Pentecost!

The empty tomb and the many appearances of the risen Jesus attest to the truth of His Resurrection.  Jesus stayed on this earth for forty days after His Resurrection which represents a period of preparation that we have seen in the bible many times.  Such as the forty days and nights of the great flood, the number of days Moses was on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments and the period Christ fasted in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry.  Jesus spent forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension specifying instructions to the Apostles for their upcoming mission.  After those forty days Jesus ascended into heaven that we just celebrated last Sunday. 

Despite all they had witnessed and all they had been taught, the Apostles still believed that Jesus would reestablish an earthly kingdom for his people.   Their unawareness or lack of insight remained because the Holy Spirit had not yet descended upon them.  And as Jesus told them, the Paraclete, the advocate, could only happen after His Ascension into Heaven. 

So, ten days after the Ascension we have the Jewish feast of “Shavout” which is the name of a Jewish liturgical celebration of the “Feast of Weeks”.  This feast of weeks was originally a harvest feast and commemorated the revelation of the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai.   This pilgrimage feast drew Jews from all over the known world to Jerusalem.

Acts 2:1-4 states, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they (the Apostles) were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

“Filled with the Holy Spirit”!  This indicates an outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the soul, so the person shares more intensely in the redemptive mission of Jesus.  Into the souls of the Apostles at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit strengthened, enabled, and guided them to fulfill the mission Jesus had given them.  That divine mission was to take the Gospel to all corners of the earth!

The Apostles started that mission at Pentecost in which Jews at that time were drawn from all parts of the known world to Jerusalem for the feast of Shavout.  Many speaking in different languages.  The Apostles, being filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak, and preach in other languages.  This miracle of so many Jewish pilgrims from so many different nationalities being able to understand the preaching of the Apostles in their own language is a sign of the universality of the Gospel message and the desire of Jesus to bring His message of salvation to all!  

What should Pentecost mean to us!  First, it is the birth of our Church!  Second, and with the birth of the Church, Jesus gives each of us a mission.  That divine mission is to take the Gospel and evangelize Jesus’ message with bringing salvation to every person – and to all of us!

Blessings on our Church’s Birthday on Pentecost Sunday, 23 May 2021, – Dcn Jim