Pentecost (May 20, 2018)
Jesus breathes new life into his disciples. Jesus announces that mutual forgiveness will be the mark by which his community will be recognized. And as God has forgiven them in Jesus, Jesus tells them to forgive one another as a sign of the new life they share.
(St. Luke’s account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles describes the coming of the Spirit in a much more dramatic fashion than John. As the Spirit descends on the disciples as tongues of fire, the disciples begin to make bold proclamation of the Good News in an astounding way. In John, Pentecost takes on the form of a more intimate conversation and communication.)
The very same Spirit is given to each of us at our Baptism. The Spirit’s presence has been strengthened in us through Confirmation. (In some Christian traditions – mostly in the East - Baptism and Confirmation as essentially administered/celebrated back-to-back at the same time.) We are one in the Body of Christ because we all share the one Holy Spirit.
Each of us has special gifts that have been given to us as a way of manifesting the Spirit’s presence in us. Our gifts are given not solely for our own good, although that’s a good place to start! Ultimately, our gifts of the Spirit are meant for the good of others. When we use our gifts for others, we witness to our oneness in Christ. No one’s gift or ministry or work is more important than anyone else’s - all are needed for the unity of the community of the Church.
Each of us is important because we bring a gift or talent or way of working that no one else can bring to the group. We all lose something when an individual person’s gifts are not welcomed or used in the community. We need one another in order to experience the full wonder of God’s love for us.
“Come, Holy Spirit, come!” This is a bold request on our part. Are we really open to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that God wants to give us? Are we willing to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to be drawn more deeply into the Mystery of God’s love? Can we find new ways to use these gifts in our efforts to love one another during the day?
May this feast of Pentecost be a rebirthing in each of us of all the spiritual gifts that help us stay centered in the Holy Spirit.