DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS
God’s gift is different.
Gift exchanges are sometimes anticipated and sometimes dreaded, but everyone hopes for a gift that is exciting, cool, or at least useful. People who are good givers think about what the recipient really needs, wants, or enjoys. Whether a gift is extravagant or simple, it is meant to create or strengthen the bond between the giver and receiver and joy should be a natural consequence of that.
God’s gifts are different because they aren’t like a bicycle or a clock, an object that is symbolic of the relationship with the giver. The gift is the relationship itself. In sending his disciples on a mission empowered by the Holy Spirit when he ascended to heaven, Jesus gave the gift of himself and the Father who are shown to the world through the work of the Holy Spirit in his Church.
In both the first reading and Gospel this Sunday, Jesus talks about power that is given to him and by him to his disciples; power to “be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8) and to “go make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This is not a gift like we exchange for birthdays – this is an extraordinary ability that we receive through the Holy Spirit.
All of us have a share in this gift. It starts with the invitation to get to know Jesus by receiving God’s love, and then to share that love. That is why the gift is so precious – it is nothing less than giving others the gift of God himself.
There are many ways to share this gift. Spiritual gifts or charisms such as understanding, hospitality, teaching, healing, discernment, or faith can be expressed in many ways in personal life, professional life, or parish ministry, but God gives everyone a share through the Holy Spirit.
Do I use my gifts? Do I treat my gifts like ugly tchotchkes or outdated electronics that clutter the bottom of drawers and closets? Do I assume that God gives gifts like a distant relative who is clueless about what I really need or want? Am I even aware of the gifts that God has given me, or do I live as though I was left out in the holiday gift exchange?
When God gives a gift, it is forever. Even if I haven’t used a spiritual gift, or if I haven’t discovered it yet, it is there for me to uncover, use, and enjoy. Every member of the Church has a part in proclaiming Jesus to the world, and discovering your share in that power that Jesus gives is to receive, unpack, and use the greatest of all gifts.