The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

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

Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

John 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

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?

Posted: May 15, 2016

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


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