The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

by Shiu Lan
Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11

1 Corinthians 12:3B-7, 12-13

John 20:19-23

As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, we commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles that Jesus promised before he ascended into heaven, “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (Gospel Reading Jn 14:26) Indeed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were able to fulfil their roles as fishers of men (Mat 4:18) and as Jesus’ witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). In the mass readings of the last few Sundays, we heard that the Holy Spirit had given them the ability to perform miracles, cure the sick, cast out demons and to speak in different languages, just to name a few. We heard how the early Church enlightened by the Holy Spirit, dealt with and resolved a very difficult conflict between the Gentiles and the Jews - whether the Gentiles had to be circumcised according to the custom of Moses in order to be saved (Acts 15:22-31). The resolution made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit was ingenious: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication” (Acts 15:28-29).

Let us reflect on our own situation. We who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation have received the same Holy Spirit that came upon the Apostles. As we received the Holy Spirit, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord – have been generously bestowed upon us. (CCC 1845)

On this Pentecost Sunday, may the Holy Spirit enlighten our minds to look into our hearts and search for these special and precious gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to each of us. How have we been using these gifts? Are they forgotten and overlooked? Have we used them just to pursue our own goals in life? Or have we used these gifts to sharpen our mind and our soul and to deliver services and activities for the common good? (1 Cor 12:7 Alternate second reading) How can we do better?