Epistle of Pentecost Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11

When the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place; and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans? And how have we heard every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians; we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

Haydock

Verse 1. Altogether in one place. The Greek signifies, were all of one mind. Wi.

Verse 2. A sound, &c. Perhaps this was a kind of thunder, accompanied with a great wind, which filled with terror and awe the whole company, and disposed them to receive the gift of heaven with humility and fervour. This noise appears to have been heard over a great part of the city, and to have gathered together a great crowd, who came to learn the cause. This noise and wind were symbols of the divinity. It was thus also that formerly on Mount Sinai, thunder and lightning, the dark cloud, the smoking mountain, &c. marked the majesty of God. Calmet. — Jesus Christ, our Pasch, to answer perfectly the figure, was offered on the day of the great Jewish passover; so fifty days after, for accomplishing the like figure of the law given on Mount Sinai, He sent down the Holy Ghost on the day of their Pentecost, which meaneth fifty. But our feasts, as S. Augustin remarks, besides the remembrance of benefits past, contain great mysteries also of the life to come. Ep. cxix. c. 16.

Verse 3. Tongues … of fire. The Hebrews use the name tongue, for almost any thing pointed. Thus they say, a tongue of the earth, for a promontory. Josue xv. 5. A fiery tongue for a flame in shape of a tongue. Isa. v. 24. The expression, therefore, in this place, may mean noting more than sparks, or rather flames, which appeared above all who were in the house. — Sed et Latinis quod extremum et acutum est lingua dicitur, quare scopulos summos & invios linguas dixit Cæsar. P. — By the fiery tongues is signified the efficacy of the apostles' preaching, and the gift of tongues bestowed upon them. M.

Verse 4. Began to speak divers tongues. Perhaps the apostles spoke only their own tongue, and the miracle consisted in each one’s understanding it as if they spoke it in his language. S. Greg. Nazianzen. orat. xliv. — But S. Augustin and most others, understand the text literally; though the apostles had not this gift on all occasions, nor on all subjects, and therefore sometimes stood in need of interpreters. Vide S. Aug. in Psalm xvii. Expos. 2. and Serm. 188. — The same Father observes, that the conversion of all nations to the Church, and their being united in one faith, all having one language or confession, is a perpetuation of the same miracle in the Church.

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