Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13
Reflection Question: What might we do with the gifts of the Holy Spirit which we have received?
When we think of Pentecost, it is easy to focus on the act of receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2) are overwhelmingly tremendous gifts to reflect upon. However, in this weekend’s readings, we are called to consider what it is we do after receiving the gifts of the Spirit just as much, if not more, than the magnitude of “feeling” each gift. How greatly we feel the gifts of wisdom or counsel or strength is outweighed by how we use the gifts of wisdom or counsel or strength that have been bestowed. So, what actions turn the gifts of the Holy Spirit into fruit?
In the Gospel According to Saint John (Chapter 20), Jesus tells us “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” This is a direct call to action from our Lord and Savior. We hear how the Apostles responded to this call to action and the receiving of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles. We know that as soon as the Apostles were instilled with the ability to speak in different tongues they went out and began to proclaim the Good News to all of who were then able to understand what was being spoken. This action sounds gloriously easy as we read about it centuries later. I imagine the Apostles being terrified. Their feeling was likely not much different from what the average Christian feels today at the thought of speaking to someone new about Jesus, but sometimes a simple conversations is often the most effortless way to share the love and joy we find in Christ. “Peace Talks” received that moniker because the action of communication is the only action that can bring a peaceful end to a conflict between people. The act of effective communication requires full use of wisdom, understanding, counsel, and knowledge along with the strength to make good use of the first four listed. When we take the time to ponder the gifts received from the Holy Spirit and the time to discern how we might use them well, we are lead to the actions that produces love, joy, and peace as well as patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
As we move quickly into summer activities might we take an opportunity to thoughtfully consider what actions we can take to make the most fruitful use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Danielle Cribbs, Director of Parish Life & Ministry and Safe Environments Coordinator, Holy Family Parish, Seward