Fr. Kurian Kollapallil“Pentecost” means fiftieth day, it was the second of the three most important Jewish Feasts. As a conclusion of the harvest, the first fruits of the barley harvest were waved before the Lord in offering. For the Jews it was a day of gratitude and a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest. It occurred seven weeks after the Passover, and they believe on this day, God gave his Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is the birth day of the nation of Israel. And we know it is the birth day of the church too. God came down and made a covenant with the people of Israel: “I shall live among you; I shall be your God, and you will be my people.” (Leviticus 26:12). “ So now, if you are prepared to obey me and keep my covenant, you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession, for the whole world is mine” (Exodus 19:5).

New Covenant “the Church”
To be a member of the church one needs to be “called out”, he or she should have the spirit of Christ and to have the Spirit of Christ, one must obey God. “Church” means “called out”, whereas “Synagogue” means gathering together. Pentecost in the new covenant is the birth of the Church, a congregation “called out” of individuals. Jesus as the first of the fruits offered to God (John 12:23) had been raised up as the first fruit of all those who died (1 Corinthians 15:20). As a conclusion of the feast of the first fruits at Pentecost the new community is born, as Israel was born in the Old Testament. On Pentecost, Moses brought down the Law to the nation of Israel and 3000 disobedient people were dead (Exodus .32:28). In the new Pentecost, hearing the preaching of St. Peter, “they accepted what he said and were baptized. That very day about three thousand were added to their number” (Acts 2: 41). The membership in the new community is brought forth by the covenant established by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 3:13). To be in communion with the church, which is the body of Christ, one should have the Spirit of God.

In the Old Testament, to belong to the community of Israel, one had to obey the laws; likewise, to belong to the Christian community one needs to have the Spirit of Christ ( Romans 8: 9) and the spirit of Christ is given only to those who obey God (Acts 5:33) . Membership in the church can be lost through non declared (automatic) or declared excommunication. There are seven reasons that automatically excommunicate one from the Catholic Church. The 1983 Code of Canon Law lists seven of them and they are as follows: apostasy, heresy, schism, desecration of the Holy Eucharist, laying violent hands on the pope, absolution of an accomplice in the sin against the sixth commandment, episcopal consecration without approval and authorization from the pope, violation of the seal of confession-by a priest-confessor and procuring a direct abortion.

The Church is made by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit animates the church. The Holy Spirit makes the church one, and Holy Spirit is the principle of communion and catholicity. The church is animated by the Spirit; so also the members of the church. The Holy Spirit indwells in the hearts of the believers. “God has sent the spirit of his son in to our hearts” (Galatians.4:6). We are the temples of the Holy Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 3:16) and through the Holy Spirit we have life ( Romans 8:11) and those who have the Spirit in their lives produces the fruits of the spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control( Galatians 5:22). The Holy Spirit makes the life in Christ real, personal and inward. The Sprit is the teacher and instructor (John 14:26) the source of all holiness (Romans 1:4) and intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27) and helps us to pray (Romans 8:26). The spirit gives us gifts for ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4) The Spirit gives us boldness to witness (I Tim. 3:13) The Spirit gives us power (Acts 1:8) The Spirit gives us the power to live godly lives.

“Then, may it please be the Divine Majesty to grant us the gift of fear that we may serve Him filially; the gift of piety to revere Him as our most loving Father, the gift of knowledge to know the good we ought to do and the evil we ought to avoid, the gift of fortitude to overcome courageously all difficulties in the practice of virtue, the gift of counsel to discern and to choose the true way of perfection, the gift of understanding to realize the beauty and benefit of the mysteries of faith and of the truths of the Gospel; finally the gift of wisdom to taste how good God is, to savor and experience the sweetness’s of His incomprehensible benignity.” St. Francis de Sales