Readings (Year A):
Acts 2:1 – 11
Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
1 Corinthians 12:3b – 7, 12 – 13
John 20:19 – 23
Reflection: What are your God-given gifts?
“No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 3:2 – 5
Today, we celebrate Pentecost, we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the first disciples, to the early church: the same spirit that is at work in the church today.
After having witnessed the persecution and killing of Jesus, the early church was very much afraid. Despite being aware of the many signs of Jesus’ resurrection, of the triumph of love over hate and death, the early disciples were shaken to the core. They lived in fear, in hiding, with doors locked, afraid to let anyone in, afraid to venture beyond their own selves. Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit, the advocate, would come, and indeed, she did.
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, a noise like a strong driving wind filled the entire house and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Despite being from different nations, they could all hear each other speaking in the language of the other. They could understand each other.
Pentecost is a reminder that we all have God-given gifts. Pentecost is also a reminder that the Holy Spirit is still manifesting in the church, in the people.
What are your God-given gifts?
Back in 2014, A draft report was released halfway through the Vatican’s Synod of the Bishops on the Family. This draft report acknowledged, among other things, that gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” It also asked rhetorically if the church was ready to provide gay persons with a welcoming place. After some backlash, the final revised document replaced the more welcoming language with only a call to avoid discrimination against gay people. Despite the changes, the cat was already out of the bag. YES! LGBTQ people have God-given gifts!
I am an LGBTQ Catholic, and I’ve had the honor of putting whatever God-given gifts I have to God’s service, first in young adult ministry, later in social justice ministry and currently in inclusive LGBTQ ministry.
How much attention are you paying to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in your own life and the signs of the times? What are your God-given gifts? Can you recognize the Holy Spirit’s influence in the lives of others, particularly those different from you?
Throughout the church’s history, the Holy Spirit has guided many saints and people of faith to come out of our comfort zone, to encounter those who are marginalized and different from us, and to advocate for those who are treated unjustly.
The Holy Spirit continues to move us today, to create more welcoming spaces where all are treated like full human beings, all part of the Body of Christ.