To fully appreciate the significance of the celebration of Pentecost you need to remember the origins of the Jewish festival of Shavu’ot. Although according to the Book of Leviticus the festival celebrated a week of weeks after Passover (the fifty days) was a Harvest festival where the first fruits of the seven kinds of grain were offered, in the intertestimental period (the period after the Hebrew Scriptures were written) the Rabbis added an additional significance to the festival – the gift of Torah on Mount Sinai. The second reading for the Vigil Mass retells the covenant proposal found in Exodus 19 as God wooed an ordinary ragtag tribe of people who were called by their previous Egyptian captors the “dusty ones”. But ever since their father Avram was called by the Lord to leave his homeland of Ur (Gen 12) to a land that God will show him, and Avram went, this people began to rewrite human history. They began to realise that god could be bigger than a local totem, that history is linear rather than circular, and that they were now being claimed by a God who was a verb not a noun who was calling them into a future marked and shaped by hope. Because of the resurrection and the events that occurred on this particular remembrance of the covenant festival, this tiny group of Jewish believers were going to be transformed into a people marked by an even greater hope because of the new covenant that the wind of the Spirit opened up to them and us.

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Recorded at St Cols. Pentecost Sunday, year B.

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