Traditionally, many young Catholics are confirmed on Pentecost, but due to the current situation, Confirmation was not possible this time and so it will be done at another time of the year.
Karachi (AsiaNews) – Pentecost, which refers to the fiftieth (day), is a day of liberation for Jews. For Christians it represents the liberation brought by Jesus, the paschal lamb who sacrificed his life for us to be free from slavery.
In his homily, yesterday, on the feast day of Pentecost, the Archbishop of Karachi Card Joseph Coutts (pictured) said that Jesus guided us as Moses guided the Jews.
For Jews, the fiftieth day after Passover is a great feast, basically a harvest festival, when the first fruits, wheat and other things, are brought to the Lord. At that time, at Pentecost Jews travelled to Jerusalem in great numbers, bringing offerings to the Temple.
On that day, the disciples of Jesus were, to use a modern term, in lockdown, praying in a locked hall. Fearful of persecution by the Jews who did not want to hear that Christ had risen from the dead, they shut themselves away. But the Holy Spirit descended upon them, transforming them. The fear went away, and they were full of the Spirit and went out into the world to spread the Good News, the same news they once feared, that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.
With the descent of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that transforms, Christ's promise was fulfilled. This Spirit was given to unite us in one faith, one Lord and one Baptism, so that we be called the Church and anyone who received the Baptism could join the Church.
Pentecost is the birth of the Church. The seeds were already there when the Apostles began to preach. The time of fear and doubt was over and they went out to preach. Of the twelve Apostles, eleven became martyrs, giving their lives preaching the Gospel.
What does it mean to receive the Holy Spirit? Unfortunately, some Christians have reduced the Holy Spirit only to the ability to speak in tongues. It is true that it is a gift and a sign of the Holy Spirit, but it is not the only gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit fills us with gifts like courage, strong faith, hope, love, forgiveness and compassion. Why say that if I speak in tongues it means the Spirit of God is in me only when I feel enmity, even to the point of killing someone. In fact, the Holy Spirit is at work when I can forgive others because Jesus came to give his life. I do not want to kill others; instead I want to forgive and accept them, forgive them as my brothers.
Thanks to the Spirit all those who are deeply in Christ are part of His church. Christ is the head of the Church, and we become one in him. For this reason, we call the day of Pentecost the birthday of the Church.
Today, we celebrate it and thank God for the Spirit, because we have been baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
This day is also a day of Confirmation. Many young Catholics in the local parish would have been confirmed, because it is traditional to have Confirmation on the day of Pentecost; unfortunately, this was not possible due to the current situation and so it will be done at another time of year.
Cardinal Coutts thanked the small group of worshippers who attended the Mass. During the service, he reminded them of the safety regulations against COVID-19, that the lockdown has not been lifted and that everyone must follow precautionary measures. He also noted that, as indicated in newspapers, wearing a mask in public was mandatory for everyone.