When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.
Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
In this first reading of the Mass of Pentecost we hear of the Holy Spirit descending on the disciples and filling their hearts. They become capable of preaching the Good News to all people everywhere.
The nations of the known world, or at least the Jews and God-fearers from all the nations of the known world, are gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost. Luke names most of them, starting in the East and ending in the West – from the rising of the sun to its setting… And these people are the first to hear the Good News from the disciples.
- What do we know of the marvels of God, and what do we share of this, and how?
Pentecost. Cathedral of the Spilled Blood. St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris