First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Par'thians and Medes and E'lamites and residents of Mesopota'mia, Judea and Cappado'cia, Pontus and Asia, Phryg'ia and Pamphyl'ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre'ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty, O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures. When thou hidest thy face, they are dismayed; when thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground. May the glory of the LORD endure for ever, may the LORD rejoice in his works, May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Gospel: John 20:19-23
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be in that room when the Holy Spirit came and descended upon those normal people—turning them into apostles for Christ? Equipping them with not only the faith and courage but also with the wisdom and guidance? They had a marvelous task outlined for them and BAM—tongues of FIRE!
To fulfill our purpose, the Holy Spirit has given each of us certain gifts too. We probably did not have flames descend upon us (maybe you did but I had the more standard version of the sacraments), and we may not discover those gifts until we are further along in our paths of holiness, but we can be confident they are there, taking seed. Because we need those graces to complete His task for us. I am reminded of the scripture from Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope".
I, for one, don’t speak in tongues. But still, I know God will equip me with His grace as I fulfill His mission for me on this earth, just as He did for that rag-tag group of apostles.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit can be sanctifying, or charismatic such as the gifts bestowed upon the apostles. Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world (CCC, 799).
Some of us can recognize some ordinary gifts—maybe we are a good teacher or a good parent or have the gift of hospitality. Other still may be able to recognize a gift of understanding, or piety, or healing, or the gift of tongues. Whatever our gift, it will help us with our mission here as part of the body of Christ.
In what special ways has the Holy Spirit prepared you for your mission? Are you able to recognize any particular gift you have received? In what way can you use your gifts, be them ordinary or extraordinary, to build up His body today?
MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.