Ninety days ago we celebrated Ash Wednesday and began our Lenten journey of penance and renewal. Fifty days ago we celebrated the glorious feast of Jesus’ resurrection, his victory over sin and death. Seven days ago we celebrated Jesus’ Ascension to glory, to be reunited with his heavenly Father. Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the gift of God’s Holy Spirit empowering his disciples to continue Christ’s mission until the end of time. Today’s feast brings to completion God’s plan of salvation for the human race. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, the Son so loved us that he laid down his life on the cross to save us from sin and death, the Father and the Son so loved us that they sent the gift of their Holy Spirit to be with us until the end of the age. God’s love has done all this. Each year through the cycle of the Liturgical year, we are reminded of God’s unconditional love for you and me. How thankful and grateful we should be.
The coming of the Holy Spirit completely changed the lives of the Apostles and disciples. Prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit they were a rag tag group of men and women who struggled to put their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. They struggled with doubt and fear. It was only when the Holy Spirit came and filled them with the gifts of the Spirit; wisdom, understanding, council, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord, that they were empowered to go out and preach and teach in Jesus’s name. That Holy Spirit enabled them to do great things for God, speak entirely new languages, heal the sick, raise the dead, and bring sinners back to God. God’s Holy Spirit continues the saving work of Christ until he comes again at the end of time.
That same Holy Spirit was given to us on the day of our Baptism. That same Holy Spirit strengthened us and filled us with God’s gifts on the day of our Confirmation. That same Holy Spirit empowers us each day to continue his mission on earth, to do his will, to speak his truth, to serve his people, to bring his love and mercy to all people. We are privileged to be ambassadors of God’s Holy Spirit. We are privileged to keep God’s Spirit alive in our world and to share that Spirit with everyone we meet.
In first Corinthians Paul beautifully reminds us that there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are a variety of ministries but the same Lord, there are a variety of works but the same God who accomplishes all of them in everyone. To each and every person, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Today we give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, for all the different gifts, ministries and works that the Spirit accomplishes in us. We give thanks to God for the great diversity of God’s people, and especially for the working of God’s Spirit to bring unity in the midst of that diversity.
Holy Spirit, open our hearts, our minds and our spirits to your working in our lives. Enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.