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Pentecost: the “birthday” of the Church

Pentecost: the “birthday” of the Church

Linz – 50 days after Easter, Pentecost closes the Easter cycle. At the heart of the festival, which falls on May 28 this year, is the sending of the Holy Spirit, the energizing and energizing power of God that is given to help people.

According to biblical tradition, the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, who encouraged and enabled them to preach the good news of Jesus—even in foreign languages. Therefore, Christians celebrate on the day of Pentecost the beginning of the proclamation of faith by the Apostles, the “birthday” of the Church, so to speak.

“Pentecost” means fifty in Greek (Greek pentekoste). First of all, Pentecost in Judaism was a harvest holiday that was not fixed until much later: the conclusion of the covenant was celebrated on Mount Sinai, where Israel received the Ten Commandments of God. To celebrate this, people made pilgrimages to the Temple in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Pentecost became a festival of pilgrimage. From the fourth century, Pentecost was celebrated as a separate festival rather than simply a conclusion to Easter.

more than a dove

Christians understand that the Holy Spirit is the divine life force that strengthens and sustains. It is the love of God that came upon man. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the event of a loving encounter. In Christian Trinitarian theology, it is one of the three divine persons and illustrates the nature of God as relationship. In ancient Greek, soul means “pneuma,” which means neutral. In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is called “ruach” and is feminine. In some representations of the Trinity of God, the Holy Spirit is thus depicted as a woman, and thus also personifies the feminine aspect of God.

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The Spirit of God is given to all believers through baptism as a constant support and influence in the gospel.

Pentecost is also closely linked to the idea of ​​leaving and crossing borders, as biblical texts show: people who do not understand each other, who are strangers to each other because of language, race, class and gender, discover what they have in common and call them “sons of God” (cf. Acts 2 : 1-13).

Free from bitterness

The images in the Bible correspond to representations of the Holy Spirit. The power of God’s spirit is depicted as fire, storm and gust of wind, and is often depicted as a dove. Even in ancient times, the dove was a symbol of love, peace and meekness. Namely, people assumed that the dove had no gallbladder and was therefore devoid of bitterness and evil. In the biblical account of Jesus’ baptism, Jesus is said to have seen the Holy Spirit descend from heaven “like a dove.”