Two months after the Resurrection, and perhaps more significantly for the Apostles, just days after the Ascension, the Apostles and their associates and very likely Our Blessed Mother, were waiting for the next phase to begin. They had discussed this for days and nights on end. What form was this spirit going to take? Would it be apart from them or would they all be infused with it? Would it dialogue with them or would it speak through them? Would it come and go or would it be in a sort of temple awaiting their visit?
As devout Jews, they were very much aware that since Jesus had used the Passover weekend to live out the dramatic days of his Passion and Resurrection, the chances were that the promised spirit would be manifested on the next sacred day of the Jewish calendar.
As a matter of fact, the next sacred day would occur Fifty days later when they would celebrate the gift of the Torah at Sinai, This was the traditional time of solemn renewal of the first covenant between God and man; a simple covenant based upon God's testament that he would be their God and that they would be his people.
It was on this day that the Spirit, the promised Spirit of God descended upon the Apostles. It was on this day that the Church was born. Thus the New Covenant sealed during Passover by the blood of Jesus, the Messiah, would be made manifest through The Holy Spirit on the most appropriate date in the Jewish liturgical calendar. Clearly the parallel timing of these events was not accidental.
It has always been the understanding of the Church that it all points to the Divine intention that Christianity was to be the logically evolved, universal extension of Judaism.
This was the GOOD news with which the Apostles greeted Jews and foreigners alike. It all came together for them once the Holy Spirit had opened their eyes and they wanted so much to share the all inclusive nature of divine love and mercy.
But it did not work out that way. It appears that People, in general, do not want to be part of an affiliation that is inclusive.
Is it not evident that we, Catholics included, prefer to be exclusive? One of the few? One of the chosen few? One of the beautiful few? One of the wealthy few? One of the victorious few? One of the powerful few? One of the elite? Even on the parish level!
The message of Pentecost is that God's arms open wide for everyone and that Jesus is the universal Saviour or Messiah and remains with us through the Holy Spirit. That is the GOOD news. But even after all these years, by and large; it is not yet, the WELCOME news.