Today the Catholic Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday, the day on which we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, an event generally thought of as the event that marks the birth of the Church. What that descent looked like is not something we can speak about with certainty. Acts describes a sudden “noise like a strong driving wind” followed by what appeared to the disciples as “tongues of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.” John says simply that Jesus breathed on the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
However it happened, we know that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and, through the power of that Spirit, able to do marvelous things, far more (in the word of Ephesians) that they could ask for or imagine. In the Opening Prayer of the Pentecost Sunday Mass, we pray
God our Father,
let the Spirit you sent on your Church
to begin the teaching of the Gospel
continue to work in the world
through the hearts of all who believe.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
As we pray those words, let us also pray that our hearts be open to receive the gifts of the Spirit so that we too, like the disciples, may do marvelous things in the name of our God.