The symbols - wind, fire and tongues - are not arbitrary. Each tells us something about God and his mysterious work in the world.
Wind - The word is used elsewhere in Scripture to designate a person's "breath" or "spirit". The Holy Spirit is said to have been "like wind" because the Spirit is the Church's breath.
This divine breath gives the Church an astonishing power of self-renewal. The Church has suffered greatly from sinful members and leaders, yet, time and again, she has risen, through the power of this divine Spirit-breath, renewed and purified.
Fire - Fire warms, and even burns. The fire of the Spirit has the power of divine love to purify whatever it touches.
Fire also gives light. Into a dark world, God sent his Son to be the world's light. He now calls us to "Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven".
Tongues - The foreign tongues in which the first Christians spoke are a symbol of the Church's proclaiming to all peoples, in all languages, the wonderful truth about God:
That God is, that he is real; that he is a God of love who demands a response of love - for himself and for our sisters and brothers.
That God has made us for himself: to serve, love and praise him here on earth, to be happy with him forever in heaven.
That is the message we proclaim. How much of that message comes through in your life? If you were arrested tonight for being a Catholic Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Those first touched by the wind of Pentecost were blown into places and situations they never dreamed of. Even those who never left Jerusalem found their lives utterly changed.
This same wind is blowing in the Church today; is it blowing in your life? Or are you afraid of that wind - of what it might do to you and where it might send you?
Cast aside fear. The wind of God's Spirit, like the wind of the sky, blows from different directions. But, in the end, this wind blows all who are driven by it to the same place. The wind of God's Spirit blows us home - home to God.