As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the season of Easter reaches its final climax. This Sunday we celebrate and experience the powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the whole church and on all those who call themselves disciples and followers of the risen Lord.

Last Sunday when we celebrated the Ascension of Jesus, he promised his followers that he would send them the Holy Spirit and that they would be filled with power from high. Theirs and our waiting is over. Today with the whole church we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. This is not something that happened a long time ago to other people. It is happening today, here and now. Today each of us is filled with and anointed with the Holy Spirit.

The first followers of Jesus weren’t strong, courageous or even very faithful. They betrayed Jesus. They denied and deserted him when we he needed them the most. After his death they hid themselves away in fear. They had lost all heart and hope.

Then the strangest thing happens to them. The house shakes with the sound of a mighty wind and the sight of fire! These frightened and frail men and women are transformed. Through the Holy Spirit, they are given new hope, new heart and new purpose. Their fear and silence is replaced by courage and conviction. They leave their hiding place and make their way into the streets and proclaim the good news of the resurrection. They become new people with a new message. At this very moment the missionary church is born.

We are no different than these ordinary men and women. Through our baptism and confirmation, each of us has been filled and anointed with the exact same Holy Spirit. Just the first followers of his proclaimed the good news about Jesus; we too are called to do the exact same today. Just as these men and women were transformed into energetic and outspoken witnesses of Jesus, so too must each of us today.

There is nothing gentle, mild or gentle about Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is powerful, life-changing and energetic. The Holy Spirit challenges us and calls us to change. Oscar Romero, the Latin American Bishop who was murdered in 1978 said, ‘The Spirit makes all things new; we are the ones who grow old and want to keep everything to our aged way of doing things… the Spirit is never old, the Spirit is always young.’

As celebrate the birth of the missionary church, we pray that each of us will be refreshed and renewed by the Holy Spirit. May we do what Pope Francis asks of each of us, ‘Go out again and again, without hesitation without fear and proclaim this joy which is for all people…’