Fifty days have passed since Easter. Our celebration of Pentecost now draws our Easter season to a close. During our Easter season we celebrate gifts of God’s love.
We began our Easter Triduum with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper where Jesus gives us the gift of the Eucharist, his Body and Blood, by which we are strengthened.
On Good Friday we celebrate the Crucifixion. Death doesn’t generally seem like something to celebrate but we can celebrate Jesus’ death because in it, He offers us the gift of God’s forgiveness.
On Easter morning the tomb is found empty and we celebrate the gift of the Resurrection and eternal life. To continue that gift Jesus appears to his disciples so they can seem him risen so that we all know what the Resurrection is.
Even knowing of the Ascension of Jesus that we celebrated last week is a gift, a gift to know that Jesus did not simply vanish but returned to Heaven.
Today we celebrate one more gift, the gift of Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not abandon his disciples at the Ascension. He knew there would be difficult times ahead. Here comes the Holy Spirit who, as we profess in the Creed, proceeds from the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit comes to us in Baptism but the Spirit first came to the disciples at Pentecost, arriving as a strong driving wind heard by many and as tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit immediately gives the gift of tongues.
In the story of the Tower of Babel, the people had sought to make a name for themselves by building a great tower. In building the tower to make a name for themselves they committed the sin of pride. For punishment for their sin, God made them speak in different tongues so they could not understand one another and the work on the tower stopped.
The Holy Spirit brings the gift of tongues. Note that this is not simply a gift where the disciples knew how to speak more than one language. That could have simply been achieved by human means. No, with the gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit, the people in the crowds each hear the disciples speak in their own tongues at the same time, something only God could accomplish.
I have spoken of all that we received during Easter as gifts. They are gifts that we especially recognize during Easter but that, in fact, we are constantly receiving in our lives.
When we receive a gift from someone we know, we often see the gift as something given exclusively to us as an individual. God gives us these gifts, the Eucharist, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Holy Spirit, so that we might be strengthened in our faith but God does not give us these gifts simply for our own personal gain.
We are given these gifts to be transformed by them, not just for ourselves but for the good of all God’s people. In seeing this higher purpose we also realize that God has not given any one of us all gifts. As Paul writes we have been given different spiritual gifts to exercise in different forms of service but it all comes from the same Spirit.
To achieve what God intends, we need to come together to share our gifts. We can each recognize some portion of the gifts in our own lives. It is only in working together that the gifts truly bear fruit.
For instance, receiving faith hopefully we all find some peace in the midst of any sufferings we face. However, the fullness of the peace which God offers can only be known in this world when it is accepted by all.
Not everyone has accepted the gift because not everyone knows of the gifts. We are to take what we have received in God’s Word, in the Eucharist, and from the Holy Spirit and share it with the world.
How are you sharing what you have received with others?