The significance of Pentecost is that it compels us to preach the Gospel

May 22, 2023

When a surprise emits joy and excitement, we naturally desire to prolong these emotions for as long as possible. It is even more so when the content of the surprise was so unexpected that you would like to relive the whole experience over again. The irony of this human experience is that Jesus evoked joy, excitement, fear, and hatred when he performed a miraculous act. Joy when he healed the paralytic and turned water into wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana. Fear and hatred when he healed on the sabbath and called himself the Son of God, the bread that came down from Heaven in his Eucharistic discourse and proclamation in St. John’s Gospel. 

The spiritual transgressions of Jesus Christ were, in short, pathways created by the Son of God to help us know and understand our Father in heaven. If we gradually progress from Jesus’ death on the cross that destroyed sin and death, then journey three days later; when he rose from the dead revealing that death has no power over him and the gates of Heaven await us if we choose; culminates in his Ascension forty days after his death fulfilling his mission as the new Adam who came to bring salvation to the world.

Our reception of the Holy Spirit

The entire salvific event of Jesus’ life serves as our preparation to receive the Father and the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit-the breath and voice of God. As the entryway into the Christian life, the sacrament of baptism introduces us to the Holy Spirit; we receive the life of the Holy Spirit or, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.[1] When the disciples receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they are compelled to speak in their native tongue, where they are given utterance.[2] In other words, they were prompted to proclaim Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Significance of the Pentecost event is that it propelled the disciples to continue the salvific work of Christ and not remain silent. Again, the Catechism beautifully describes the spiritual aftermath where the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun.[3]

Compelled to preach the Gospel

If you can breathe, you are compelled to preach the Gospel. If you can use your intellect and will, you must preach the Gospel. If you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord, Savior, and King, you must preach the Gospel. The Pentecost sequence demonstrates the value of proclaiming a message. In this situation, the message is the salvation of mankind through the death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, echoes the necessity to preach the Gospel:

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good to edify him. Christ did not please himself, but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me. For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may, with one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.[4]

St. Paul VI, in a homily entitled: We Proclaim Christ to the World (November 29, 1970), reminds his audience that;

Not to preach the Gospel would be my undoing, for Christ himself sent me as his apostle and witness. The more remote, the more difficult the assignment, the more my love of God spurs me on. I am bound to proclaim that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of him, we come to know the God we cannot see. He is the firstborn of all creation; in him, all things find their being. Man’s teacher and redeemer, he was born for us, died for us, and for us, he rose from the dead.

All things, all history converges in Christ. A man of sorrow and hope, he knows us and loves us. As our friend, he stays by us throughout our lives; at the end of time, he will come to be our judge, but we also know that he will be the complete fulfillment of our lives and our great happiness for all eternity.

I can never cease to speak of Christ, for he is our truth and our light; he is the way, the truth and the life. He is our bread, our source of living water who allays our hunger and satisfies our thirst. He is our shepherd, our leader, our ideal, our comforter and our brother.

He is like us but more perfectly human, simple, poor, and humble, and yet, while burdened with work, he is more patient. He spoke on our behalf; he worked miracles; and he founded a new kingdom: in it, the poor are happy; peace is the foundation of a life in common, where the pure of heart and those who mourn are uplifted and comforted; the hungry find justice; sinners are forgiven; and all discover that they are brothers.

The image I present to you is the image of Jesus Christ. As Christians, you share his name; he has already made most of you his own. So once again, I repeat his name to you Christians, and I proclaim to all men: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, Lord of the new universe, the great hidden key to human history and the part we play in it. He is the mediator — the bridge, if you will — between heaven and earth. Above all, he is the Son of man, more perfect than any man, being also the Son of God, eternal and infinite. He is the son of Mary, his mother on earth, more blessed than any woman. She is also our mother in the spiritual communion of the mystical body.

Remember: |it| is Jesus Christ I preach day in and day out. His name I would see echo and re-echo for all time, even to the ends of the earth.

Let us not underestimate the significance of what Pentecost proposes, the earnest desire to perpetually preach the love of Jesus Christ to all humanity. Our baptismal identity compels us not to be silent but to proclaim the Word of God with rigor and vigor.


Send me, Lord, wherever you please, for when you send me, then I am quite sure that you will help me —in whatever situation I find myself— to fulfill what you ask. Amen.


St. Francis De Sales


[1] CCC 1229

[2] Acts 2:4

[3] CCC 767

[4] Rom 15:1-3

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