First Readings: Acts 2: 1 – 11;
Second Reading: 1 Cor 12: 3 – 7, 12 -13
Gospel: John 15: 26 – 27, 16: 12 – 15
One Easter, a family that seldom went to church, decided to go. After church the mother said,
“I thought the choir was a little off key.” The father said, “Well, the preacher’s message was
bland, too.” Thereupon their nine year old son said, “I thought they were pretty good for the
money you put in the collection plate.”
All of us have received the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation. The Spirit’s gifts are
awesome. Listen to them: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and
love of God. We must learn to use them. The Holy Spirit came to dispel all our despair,
anxiety, fear, coldness, dullness every kind of lethargic attitude.
When Saint Paul visited the Church in Ephesus (Acts 19), he judged they were lacking a get
up and go spirit. So he asked point – blank, “Have you received the Holy Spirit?” Why
would he ask that? He asked that because he observed a Spirit – shortage in the people.
When they replied they had not received the Spirit. Paul confirmed them. They then became
supercharged people. Why were the twelve , many of them illiterate, able to win a world for
their leader? And why are a billion Christians unable to repeat the same fear today? The
answer is – the apostles used the Holy Spirit’s gifts to the full, and we do not.
The Holy Spirit’s gifts operate in our ordinary lives under extraordinary conditions. With the
help of the Spirit, people blossom to new levels they never dreamed possible. Let us look at
this story in history for an example. During the French Revolution, an informer notified the
Mother Superior of a Carmelite convent that the following day all the sisters would be
guillotined. She told her nuns. She said that the convent gate would be left open for anyone
who wished to flee. Only one ran away. The next morning the rest were brought to the
guillotine. The sisters were about to place their heads on the block. Then they observed with
pride that the nun who had run away stepped out of the crowd and joined her sisters. What
had brought her back? It was the gift of fortitude from the Holy Spirit.
An old beggar lay on his deathbed. His last words were to his youngest son who had been his
constant companion during his begging trips. “Dear Son,” he said, “I have nothing to give
you except a cotton bag and a dirty bronze bowl which I got in my younger days from the junk
yard of a rich lady.”
After his father’s death, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had given him.
One day a gold merchant dropped a coin in the boy’s bowl and he was surprised to hear a
familiar clinking sound. “Let me check your bowl,” the merchant said. To his great surprise,
he found that the beggar’s bowl was made of pure gold. “My dear young man,’ he said, “why
do you waste your time begging? You are a rich man. That bowl of yours is worth at least
thirty thousand dollars.”
We Christians are often like this beggar boy who failed to recognize and appreciate the
infinite worth of the Holy Spirit living within each of us, sharing his gifts and fruits and
charisms with us. On this major feast day we are invited to experience and appreciate the
transforming, sanctifying and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit within us. This is also
a day to renew the promises made to God during our Baptism and Confirmation, to profess
our faith and to practice it.
The saddest young man I ever met was a fellow I encountered at college. He was asked by a
student whom knew he was a devout Catholic at home, “Why don’t I see you at Sunday
Mass?” The teen replied, “Would you want me to be the only one in my dorm to go?” The
student had received the gift of fortitude from the Holy Spirit, but he was afraid to use it.
A five – year –old pre-Communion child watched her mother receive the Eucharist. She
asked, “Will you share Jesus with me?” Will be, helped by the Spirit, share Jesus with our
Napoleon Bonaparte said, “There are two forces on this earth, the force of arms and the force
of the Spirit. The force of the Spirit is stronger.” Why don’t we prove that by our lives?
What would be blown away if a sacred wind blew through your life? What would you be led
to do if a holy fire is lit in your heart?
God bless you. Have a wonderful day.