Acts 2:1-11; Ps 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20:19-22.
Now we come to the conclusion of our Easter Season. We remembered the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. We conclude with the Father and Jesus setting his closest companions with boldness and courage to go forth into all the world to bring the Good News of salvation to all.
We can learn more about the Holy Spirit and his part in bringing God’s work forward. Jesus taught us the major work of the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper in the 5 texts I gave you last week. He is the Spirit of God’s truth. He instructs and reminds us what Jesus told us; and points to Jesus‘ ongoing work. The Holy Spirit shows us what sin, justice and condemnation are. And, if we are following his lead, guides us to all truth and to the future and heaven.
The Pentecost Sequence in today’s Mass is a little mini course in 10 verses of the further work of the Holy Spirit. It is easy to memorize and enlightens us about our faith and our part in bringing goodness to those around us and the wider world.
Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
We all receive the 10 gifts of the Holy Spirit when we were baptized and made a part of the Christian community: faith, hope and charity (God’s love) and the 7 Isaian gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God, Isaiah 11:2. This list is not repeated in the New Testament. We call these gifts sanctifying for they help us grow in holiness.
The sacrament of Confirmation empowers us as adult Catholics to serve in many different ways. We all don’t get the same gifts. St. Paul gave us 4 lists of gifts and doesn’t list all gifts. Since God is infinite who could know all about him. He empowers us in many ways to serve the needs of others.
The first list is in 1 Corinthians 12:4-8: Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge; faith, healing and miracles, prophecy, discernment of good and evil spirits, praying in other languages we never learned and interpretation of tongues, not a translation.
Half of the second list today is paid ministry in the church, in 1 Corinthians 12:28: apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, assistants and administrators. The third list is in Romans 12:6-8: exhortation or preaching, giving alms beyond tithing, ruling, and physical and spiritual works of mercy.
The fourth list, in Ephesians 4:11, adds the gifts of evangelist and pastors. St. Peter instructs us in 1 Peter 4:9, to “put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has received.”
As we use our gifts to serve, we grow in bearing these fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22: “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness and self-control” (or charity}. With this celebration of our own Pentecost may the Holy Spirit enlighten us to say our yes more fully to God.
Have a blessed and empowered life.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)