According to the Gospel of John, on the evening of Easter – the first day of the week, the risen Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples. While the doors were closed, Jesus appeared to them, and with the blessing of peace, he breathed on them with the declaration: “Receive the Holy Spirit” ( cf. Jn 20, 19-23).
According to the author of the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples on the day of Pentecost- fifty days after the Passover. The Holy Spirit came while they were fervently praying, in the presence of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is a gift that the Risen Lord gave to his disciples from the moment he rose from the dead. Pentecost is considered the birth of the Church. The Church has been established since Jesus gathered those who believed in Him, and that community of believers was solemnly introduced to the whole world on the day of the Pentecost. The universality is expressed in Peter’s preaching in language understandable to pilgrims from all over the world. It was the Holy Spirit who worked in the letter of Saint Peter, and opened the hearts of pilgrims, helping them to understand the Truth that Peter preached; and the same time to accept to join this new community. On that very day, the number of new converts reached three thousand (Acts 2:41). From the moment the Risen Lord gave the Holy Spirit to the apostles, the Holy Spirit has always been present in the Church. Since the day of Pentecost that year, the Third Person of God has always been at work in believers. The gift of Easter evening was the same Fire that came upon the apostles. The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ gift of peace to the whole world.
The Pentecost day reminds us of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church and invites us to always live according to His guidance. “Live by the Spirit!”. Saint Paul repeated this to the Galatian believers. Life in the world is a constant battle. It is a battle between darkness and light, between sin and holiness. The believer who wants to be perfect must choose to live according to the Spirit, that is, to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Amidst the chaotic sounds of the hustle and bustle of life, it is necessary to have a quiet soul and goodwill to listen. The Holy Spirit is still speaking to us. He is the “language” of God. The image of tongues of fire resting on the apostles shows that He is both fire and language. Fire for warmth. Language to teach.
Life is a hard and cruel battle. To help the Galatians better understand this struggle, Paul listed the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit. There are 15 vices listed, while only nine are called fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Second Reading). These prove the harshness and hardships of life. Living in the world, people are torn between sin and grace. Many people have failed to overcome themselves, and have fallen into the whirlpool of earthly ambitions, extinguishing the Holy Spirit’s fire to let go of the whirlwind of passion.
Thus, to receive the Holy Spirit is to practice His fruits in our concrete lives. These fruits are listed by Saint Paul as follows: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us these fruits, and He is these fruits to the fullest extent. He is the gift of peace that the Risen One has given our world.