Sundays Message

MESSAGE - SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER Disciples need the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

The baptism we receive is not complete unless we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit effects the visible changes in our lives. The same happened with the baptism of Jesus: he started his ministry after that. So the apostles made sure that the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit.

How does the Holy Spirit help us?

The Holy Spirit gives us the Seven Gifts: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord. These gifts are needed for us to walk steadily in the way of Jesus. Sherry Weddell puts it this way: they are for us to keep.

The Holy Spirit also enables us to be instruments of God for others. He gives us gifts that are for us to give, again in the words of Sherry Weddell. Service, Intercessory Prayer, Encouragement, Teaching, Evangelism, Prophecy, just to mention some. 

All of us are given a set of these gifts, and perhaps we have not yet realised it.

Philip, in the first reading, was clearly gifted with Evangelism: the Acts of the Apostles mention a few instances where he is inspired by the Holy Spirit to meet individuals or groups, and his sharing the Good News of Jesus brings them all enthusiastically to be in a personal relationship with Jesus, to become his disciples.

He also had a gift of Healing, because the Samaritans were surprised by the healing that happened among them.

It is not hard, if we are alert, to spot these gifts among our community members.

Some of us seem to attract people who either lost their way with their faith, or are looking for it. And they are instruments of God to bring them to believe. This is the gift of Evangelism.

Some others have a special eye to see the needs at hand and take action to meet them. They seem to have a special look at things, they see things I do not see. This is the gift of Mercy, or the gift of Service.

A teacher shared an experience of answering the question of a student who claimed to be an atheist, and at the end of the conversation the student was reconsidering his convictions, and the teacher was almost frightened at the fact that he had come up with an explanation he did not previously know - and yet it had been so effective. It was a gift of Teaching at work.

The only catch is - these gifts manifest only when we are in an active, personal relationship with Jesus. 

Not by chance this passage starts with the words “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 

When I am in that space, the Holy Spirit can work with me, and his gifts can manifest powerfully. 

Some members of our community have been and are on a journey to discern which gifts the Spirit gave them, and it is a very exciting and affirming journey. To some it is a real game-changer: knowing where we are gifted enables us to make life-choices in accordance. 

DISCIPLES NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS GIFTS.

Develop further our relationship with Jesus, so as to be open to receive the gifts of the Spirit: "keep my commandments."

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