John 12:24-25 Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remains alone. But if it die it brings forth much fruit.
I would bet that most people have planted a seed at some point in their life. The seed is just a dry husk, small and by all accounts dead. It is placed in the ground and watered and after a few day it germinates breaking forth from the seed and pushing up through the earth. Several weeks will go by as the plant grows; rising toward the Sun, leaves and branches begin to form and then something wonderful. A flower begins to appear, like a flame of color upon the plant. It will be the means by which the plant will reproduce and form seed for future harvest.
The Day of Pentecost ends the Easter season in the church year. Coming from the Greek Pentekoste it means “the fiftieth day”. The feast celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit, who comes to lead the Church. This occurred 50 days after the resurrection and the story is found in the book of Acts. It tells of the disciples waiting in the upper room, praying. When the sound of a mighty wind comes and tongues of fire appear over their heads. Then they started to speak in different languages “tongues” and were overheard by the people outside, Jews from every nation, who understood them in their different dialects and languages. The Scriptures tell us that 3000 were baptized that day.
It is interesting that Jews from abroad were in Jerusalem at this time. In fact they too were preparing to celebrate a feast called pentecost. The Hebrew term was Shavuot, which is the Festival of Weeks. It is a harvest festival with historical significance for the Jews, recalling that 50 days after the Exodus, Moses descended from Mt. Sinai with the Commandments of God to lead them. There is a tradition that says Mt. Sinai blossomed with flowers because of the giving of Torah.
The parallels between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament are apparent as we see the Passover/Crucifixion, the Exodus/Resurrection and then after 50 days, the descent of the Law/Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church. It not only started the church but has been a part of it ever since. Signs and wonders being found throughout the history of the faith and to this day, the catholic church has always been pentecostal in the fullest sense of the word.