Before the holy season of Easter for Christians comes to an end they would celebrate two important feasts, both of which are not date specific. The first — the Ascension of the risen Jesus Christ into heaven — is celebrated today, in many countries which is also observed a civil holiday. As reported in the Bible, Jesus, after his resurrection, appeared to the faithful in different places and forms until he was taken up into heaven.
After his crucifixion, the world of the disciples had unbelievably collapsed. They had expected Jesus to be such a saviour who would bring them liberation from the oppression of the Roman empire, leading them to a lasting prosperous earthly life. Despite many of his loving acts of healing and such, his own life had ended in a total disaster. But with his resurrection and his presence among them, things livened up again.
Knowing, however, that after his ascension into heaven, he would not continue to be present with them in that form anymore and which would leave them again disappointed, Jesus consoled them saying: “I will not leave you orphans. I will come back to you. In a little while the world will not see me but you will see me, because I live and you will live.” Before saying this, he had also told them, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete (advocate, helper), the spirit of truth…”
The event of the outpouring of this promised Paraclete or the spirit by Jesus is the second important Christian celebration that follows 10 days after the Feast of the Ascension. This feast, celebrated on a Sunday, 50 days after Easter and 10 days after Ascension, is known as the Feast of the Pentecost.
Christians believe that if the community grew to such large numbers and is able to witness to God’s love living Jesus’ commandment, “love one another as I have loved you”, then it is because of the Paraclete — the holy spirit, the third person of the holy trinity. Undoubtedly, for the handful of Jesus’ disciples who were mortally terrified having witnessed the terrible end of their master, if they sprang back to their feet and began to serve the needy, even in the face of much opposition, it was purely because of the transformation on the day of Pentecost.
Christians believe that it is the holy spirit of God that continues to guide the Church and gives courage to his followers to share God’s love with everyone even today. The fruit of God’s spirit, by whichever name we may like to call it, can only be goodness and love in human hearts towards other human beings rendered in peaceful ways.