Holy Spirit, our Comforter, grant us a new vision and a new counsel, new wisdom and fresh understanding, the revival of our piety and the renewal of our fortitude, so we may go forth from this place faithful in service and fruitful in deeds. Establish us in the knowledge of God and in the fear of the Lord that we may see the Kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.
Thank you for joining today as we conclude our Easter joy and set out from here proclaiming: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Throughout the week I was considering the age of the disciples who on this very day became the Apostles of Christ’s Holy Church. They were all in one place together. 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.
I was thinking about their age because in most artistic renderings (except for St. John the Apostle and Evangelist) they all seem so old. You know how they look, long grey hair and beards, a little stooped over. Then I look at myself – uh oh.
Jesus’ promise and final words to His disciples are fulfilled with the gift of the Holy Spirit. They came from many places. They were fishermen, tax collectors, ordinary working people like us. No one was fancy – plain old folks like us. They had common names like we do. Except for Paul who was called later, they were not scholars of the Law or Torah, only having a basic education in Jewish Law and practice. We know Peter was married and had a mother-in-law. They were all now Apostles.
Though the Bible does not give the exact ages of these Apostles, it is likely they were all between the ages of 13 and 30 at the time they followed Jesus with John likely the youngest and Peter perhaps one of the oldest since he was already married.
This is all in way to illustrate the exact power of the Holy Spirit, to take each one of us and with our willingness and cooperation to make use of us. Like the Apostles and the women in the upper room we are empowered to proclaim the gospel, to live as Jesus lived, to draw many into the kingdom (3,000 were added the day of Pentecost).
St. Paul tells us what was revealed to him: there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, forms of service, workings. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
The words I quoted at the beginning of this reflection are taken from the closing prayer of today’s Holy Mass and are a prayer request for what we need to do God’s work.
These gifts are not just for our personal benefit, but rather for the benefit of God’s purpose. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” as Jesus said. As we pray through this Octave and give thanks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, let us take those words from the closing prayer and make them a reality by laying our lives completely before Jesus so He may use us as He wills. If we trust God at that level, then we shall surely be blessed and the Kingdom will grow.