Just as Advent, Lent, and Easter are seasons of the church and not simply one day, Pentecost is also a season. The day of Pentecost (50 days after Passover) was the Jewish harvest festival. The word Pentecost (fiftieth), is found only in the New Testament (Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8). The festival is first spoken of in Exodus 23:16 as “the feast of harvest,” and again in Exodus 34:22 as “the day of the first fruits” (Numbers 28:26). Besides the sacrifices prescribed for the occasion, everyone was to bring to the Lord his “tribute of a free-will offering” (Deuteronomy 16:9-11). The purpose of this feast was to commemorate the completion of the grain harvest. Its distinguishing feature was the offering of “two leavened loaves” made from the new corn of the completed harvest, which, with two lambs, were waved before the Lord as a thank offering.
The day of Pentecost is noted in the Christian Church as the day on which the Spirit descended upon the apostles, and on which, under Peter’s preaching, so many thousands were converted in Jerusalem (Acts 2). It is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter. But the Christian season of Pentecost goes from the day of Pentecost (May 20, 2018) all the way to Christ the King Sunday (November 25, 2018). In recent years there has been a move to de-emphasize this time as a season and transfer the designation as “Ordinary Time”. The liturgical color for Pentecost is red but for Ordinary Time is green. Now red is only displayed on the Day of Pentecost.
For Christians this is the season of the Church. We celebrate the establishment of the church when Peter gave his speech to the crowd and thousands were added to the Church. But it is also the time we celebrate the life and work of the Church throughout history. As we enter this season, let us remember our own life and work in the church.