May there thus be repeated in the Christian family the spectacle of the Apostles gathered together in Jerusalem, after the Ascension of Jesus to heaven, when the newborn Church was completely united in communion of thought and of prayer with Peter and around Peter, the shepherd of the lambs and of the sheep.
The image of a “new Pentecost” is still potent today. In the reflections that follow I wish to explore how we might pursue a “new Pentecost” today.
To renew the experience and spirituality of Pentecost today, we need to closely examine the first Pentecost (Acts 2), which testifies to the variety of wonders that the Holy Spirit brings about. First, the Holy Spirit transformed the first disciples into bold and outward-looking evangelizers. In a sense, the manifestation of speaking “in other tongues” points to their destiny to be witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They are already receiving the promised power from on high and witnessing to people from a variety of cultures and areas. For this reason, the Church has understood Pentecost to be the reversal of Babel (Gen 11).
Second, the Holy Spirit transformed each believer into one who participates in the life of Christ, and one who now knows Jesus as the Risen Lord. This is seen above all in the communion that we read of in verses 42-47: these believers are now of one heart and mind, united in the teaching of the apostles, in prayer, and in the breaking of bread. They had “glad and generous hearts” (2:46). Most startling of all is that they readily gave away their possessions to provide so that no one had any need. This demonstrates that the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to become people “for others.” We are told that God is love, so the authentic sign of Christian love is in living and abiding in generosity, mercy, unity. This is only possible because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, through whom God’s love is poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5).
A new Pentecost would therefore consist of transformed and bold evangelizers who are eager and ready to go out to the ends of the earth, and who live in communion with the whole community of believers. This means that we must be generous just as God is generous, merciful as God is, self-effacing just like the Lord Jesus (cf. Phil 2:6-11).
Opportunities for a New Pentecost
Where might the Holy Spirit wish for an experience of a new Pentecost? Of course, the whole Church would benefit from this, and for that reason we invoke the outpouring of the Holy Spirit again and again. But there are specific areas that we might consider in working for a new Pentecost. First, we should always pray that all the ecclesial movements will experience a new Pentecost in the sense that we all become active and bold evangelizers. This will always be at the heart of Pentecost, for it is at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit, whom we know as our Paraclete/Advocate/Consoler (cf. Jn 14:15-17), descends upon the church and transforms each believer into a bold witness.
Second, we should pray for a new Pentecost in our relationship with the local church, with our parish and our diocese’s ministries. The ultimate sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence is in that remarkable conclusion to the Pentecost narrative. So we know that we are experiencing and responding to a new Pentecost the more that we resolve to be more generous in our parishes and our diocese. Just as the first disciples generously shared their goods to meet any needs, so too should we be generous with our time, our talents, and our treasure so that our brothers and sisters do not go lacking. If there is need for catechists or RCIA sponsors, we who have felt the closeness of the Holy Spirit cannot stand idly by, but need to go into God’s vineyard too (cf. Matt 20:4)! If there are opportunities to introduce or strengthen devotions like Eucharistic adoration and the Rosary in our parish, we should offer our services. Just as the first disciples had fellowship with “glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:47), we too should approach the Sunday Eucharist and the activities in our parish as with glad and generous hearts, for we are being invited to enter more fully into the communion of the Church.
Finally, we need to mimic the missionary dynamic: through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples became witnesses “to the ends of the earth” according to the promise of the risen Lord (Acts 1:8). Of course, at this point in history, the Gospel has touched virtually every continent and land, but the Church has become painfully aware that even evangelized countries are in need of new evangelization. Many areas are today undergoing what the seven Churches of Asia Minor did (Rev 2-3): in some areas, it is as if the lampstand is being taken away because of lukewarm faith, the loss of our first love, or worse. So perhaps God is calling us to reach out to those areas and to work for a new Pentecost.
We can interpret “the ends of the earth” metaphorically too. Pope Francis has been especially effective at pointing the Church to love and serve those who are on the margins because they are poor, alienated, or oppressed. There are people who are hurting because of addiction or traumatic experiences. A new Pentecost would impel us to reach out to those at “the ends” of society.
Pentecost is a dynamic event, and it points to the role of the Holy Spirit as the agent of change, the one who makes communion possible, the one who makes every aspect of Christian life possible. He mysteriously binds us together in Jesus and impels us out of ourselves in loving service. He leads us to profess faith in Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12:3) and brings about our adoption (Rom 8:14-17). He searches everything, even the depths of God (1 Cor 2:10). As we invoke the Holy Spirit and prepare to welcome him a new on the Feast of Pentecost, we should ask: where is the Holy Spirit searching today? What is the Holy Spirit saying to the Church (cf. Rev 2:11)? We can do no better than to echo that marvelous prayer by Pope John: “Renew your wonders in our time, as though in a new Pentecost, and grant that Holy Church, united in unanimous and intense prayer around Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and guided by Peter, may spread the Kingdom of the divine Savior, a Kingdom of truth, of justice, of love, and of peace. Amen.”
 John XXIII, Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis. Trans. Joseph Komonchak. http://jakomonchak.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/humanae-salutis.pdf. Accessed online June 1, 2014.
 Thomas Hughson SJ, “Interpreting Vatican II: A New Pentecost.” Theological Studies 69. 2008. Pp. 3-37.
 Unless otherwise specified, all scriptural citations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition