Today is Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down on Our Lady and the apostles. It is also 31 May when we normally celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to Elizabeth. Two visits, one day, but effects that last beyond the lives of the participants even to our own time.
In the readings for Pentecost the focus is not on the apostles but the experience of those who heard them preach the Gospel in their own language. Thus it is the first showing of the Church as not only holy and apostolic but truly catholic, as in universal. Hence today is often called the birthday of the Church.
But how did all those people "hear" in their own language? St Paul speaks of the Spirit bringing a variety of gifts. Some are practical, some are intellectual, some are spiritual so that among all the believers there is something to touch every other person's heart in every situation, even in the darkest of times.
That Holy Spirit was given to us in a special way at Baptism and again at Confirmation. Never underestimate the Holy Spirit's power at work in you in the smallest way for it is the same Spirit that hovered over the chaos at the beginning of time and brought order and peace to the world. Imagine then what He can do in our lives which are incredibly less complicated than that no matter how bad things might seem?
The coming of the Holy Spirit was the final piece which allowed us a full sharing in the life of the perfect community, the Trinity: Christ tells us that having seen and known Him is to have seen and known the Father, and Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit so that we would understand everything and that He, the Lord, would be with us always. Our participation in the Divine Life was thus completed.
So let us rediscover those gifts, dust them off, and use them to the full, however small and insignificant they might seem, to bring that Divine peace and harmony to every situation in which we find our selves because those gifts were given to us for all time.
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So happy birthday dear parishioners. Do take care of yourselves and one another, and may God bless you and your loved ones. Please do contact us if there is anything at all - spiritual or practical - that we can do for you.