Thought of the day
Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentecost Sunday - Solemnity - Year C

Pentecost, the fulfillment of Passover

      The Jews celebrated Passover, as you know, with the sacrifice of a lamb, which they ate with unleavened bread. This sacrifice of the lamb symbolized the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the unleavened bread symbolized new life purified from its former yeast… Fifty days after the Passover they celebrated the moment when, on the mountain of Sinai, God gave them the Law written by his own hand. To the Passover’s prefiguration there succeeds the Passover in its fullness (1Cor 5:7): Jesus Christ is sacrificed and causes us to pass from death to life. In fact the word “Passover” means “passing” as expressed by the evangelist it when he says: “The hour had come when Jesus was to pass from this world to his Father” (Jn 13:1)… 

      Therefore the new Passover is celebrated, the Lord is raised from the dead, he makes us pass from death to life… and, fifty days afterwards, the holy Spirit, the “finger of God” (Lk 11:20), comes down upon the disciples. Yet see how different are the circumstances. In the former case the people stood afar off: fear, not love, ruled over them; God came down on Mount Sinai in the midst of fire, striking the people with awe…. Here, to the contrary, when the Holy Spirit descended, the disciples were “all gathered together in one place” and the Spirit, far from terrifying them from the top of the mountain, entered into the house where they were (Acts 2:1f.)… 

“There appeared,” Scripture says, “tongues as of fire.” Was this a fire that stirred up fear? Not at all. These tongues “came to rest on each one of them… and they began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Listen to the tongue that speaks and understand that it is the Spirit who writes, not on stone but in the human heart (Ex 31:18; 2Cor 3:3). Thus “the Law of the Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2), written on the heart and not in stone, is in Jesus Christ, in whom the Passover has been celebrated in all truth.

Saint Augustine