By John F. Di Leo -
The feast of Pentecost is the celebration of one of the most important moments in church history. It commemorates the day when, after the Resurrection of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gave the Faithful a special ability to speak to crowds of different nationalities in their own languages.
Now, we don’t know exactly what happened that day – whether the Apostles instantly learned other languages, or their audiences instantly learned to hear them in their heads as if they had. All we know is that the leaders of the Church were suddenly, miraculously, able to reach people, and this was new. They were used to being the Lord’s followers – He did the speaking, not them – and now they were called upon to take on the role of the preacher themselves, and spread the Word.
There was to be a bit of an ongoing debate in the years to come – should we just preach the Word to the Jews, so that all Jews understand that Christ is “our” Messiah? Or should we reach out to everyone, the gentiles too? The way this particular Pentecost miracle worked out – the Apostles being heard and understood not just by Jews, but by everyone within earshot, whatever their ethnicity and religion – helped to settle that debate. The message was for everyone on earth, and the order was clearly to get to work spreading that message.