I am willing to bet that many of us have sung “Happy Birthday to you…” more times than we want to admit. I am also sure that you have planned, attended, or had a surprise birthday celebration. It’s always fun to celebrate birthdays.
Well, this coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, and we get to celebrate! Unlike the Apostles, we know what happened on that day and what was to follow. The time from the Ascension to Pentecost was a very unnerving time for the Apostles. They had no idea that Pentecost would become the birthday of the Church. I am sure that there were moments of doubt, fear, and anxiety, as well as some prayer and hope that they would be able to pull themselves together. In her own way, I can hear Mary speaking words of encouragement to them and reminding them of the time they had with Jesus.
Then the moment came -- the wind, the fire, the Holy Spirit! This made all the difference in the world. Those once frightened Apostles were given all those gifts of the Spirit (wisdom, courage, knowledge, understanding, counsel, reverence, wonder, and awe). The coming of the Spirit released those gifts they already possessed.
What about us? There are times that we experience those same feelings the Apostles had: fear, doubt, anger, and anxiety can find their way into our hearts as well. We need to allow the Spirit to set those gifts free in us. Through our baptism, we have been given those gifts and we need not be afraid to use them. But finding courage and wisdom to know when and how to use these gifts may be a challenge. This may be the time when prayer, community support, a good friend, or a spiritual director enter the picture. Be assured you are gifted. One gift may be more evident than another, but all of us have gifts!
Like the Apostles, we need to be on fire with the mission of Jesus, to bring about the Kingdom of God. And when we begin to see some of the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, self-control) come alive in us, we know the Spirit is alive.
Spend some time during this week to pray for and recognize which of the gifts you use and recognize the fruits that have developed along the way. I share with you a part of a prayer our community group used this past weekend. For me, it said recognize your gifts, use them, and do not be discouraged if all is not accomplished. May your week be gifted! Happy Pentecost!
“…We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
No statement says all that could be said.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
We cannot do everything… We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs."
- Bishop Ken Untener
Till next week,