Pentecost: the gift of tongues and the action of the Holy Spirit

by | Festivity, Spiritual life

At the heart of the feast of Pentecost, the gift of tongues occupies a prominent place as a sign of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church.

The gift of tongues, as described in the Pentecost accounts, consisted of the supernatural ability of the apostles to speak in languages they had not previously learned, enabling people from different regions and cultures to understand the Gospel message in their own language. This event demonstrated the divine presence in the nascent Church and foreshadowed the Church’s call to be a witness to Christ among all nations.

Pentecost, derived from the Greek “pentekoste”, meaning “fiftieth”, is a Christian festival that marks the end of the liturgical period of Easter. Celebrated fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Pentecost commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, as recounted in the book of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.

In the past, Pope Francis affirmed that Pentecost is the “birthday of the Church”, because with the coming of the Holy Spirit it is observed that the Church was born. During last year’s homily, the Supreme Pontiff affirmed that “the Spirit is the One who, at the beginning and at all times, makes created realities pass from disorder to order, from dispersion to cohesion, from confusion to harmony”. He who gives the world harmony by renewing the earth”, but specifies “not by changing reality, but by harmonizing it; this is His style because He in Himself is harmony”.

The Gift of Tongues in Christian history

In the Christian liturgy, the feast of Pentecost represents a key moment in the history of the Church, marking the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the beginning of their mission to bring the Gospel to all nations. This event, narrated in the Acts of the Apostles, is a celebration of the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.

In the history of the Church, the gift of tongues has been a continuous gift of the action of the third person of the Blessed Trinity, manifesting itself in different forms throughout the centuries. From the earliest days of Christianity to the present day, there have been numerous testimonies of people who have experienced the ability to communicate in unknown languages in order to bring the Gospel message to those who have not yet heard it.

Pentecost in the Christian liturgy

This celebration marks the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit as a comforter and guide for the Church. The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in the form of tongues of fire, empowering them with extraordinary gifts to proclaim the Gospel in different languages and cultures.

On this Pentecost, let us remember the gift of tongues as a sign of the continuing action of the Holy Spirit in the Church. May we open our hearts to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to communicate the Gospel to all people, bringing the light of Christ to the farthest corners of the earth.

Join the global community of believers and discover nearby churches to celebrate Pentecost together! Download now the Mass Schedule application and help us spread the message of Christ.