Weekly Reflections

Pentecost Sunday: May 28, 2023

A New Power (Acts 2:1–11)

What could change fear into confidence? What power is strong enough to put fears to rest and bring confidence to life?

Our fears come from many sources. Failure, loneliness, and rejection can all make us afraid to try anything.

Confidence often comes from outside, especially when we cannot find it ourselves. Someone else notices a talent in us that we have overlooked. A friend helps us laugh at ourselves. Or by sheer gift, we receive a new power, a new opportunity that makes all the difference in the world.

What changed the disciples’ fear into confidence? Something mighty must have happened. The same group that fled at the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus, the same people who cowered in an upper room after his ascension—these people started proclaiming the message of salvation to large crowds in every language. How did it happen?

There is only one answer. The Holy Spirit made it happen. The Spirit, promised by Jesus, came in wind and fire to lift up the disciples and bolster their confidence.

No matter where your fear comes from, the Holy Spirit may find you and change your life forever. Will you cooperate? Are you ready to share the gifts of the Spirit?

The Reason for Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:3b–7, 12–13)

Look around your church and you will see many gifts. You will see those who sing and those who read, those who preach and those who greet. You will see some who feed the hungry and others who serve on committees. You will see some who decorate and others who converse. Some have a gift for leading prayer,
for parenting children, or for making people feel at home. Everybody has some gift.

Still, not all gifts are equal. Some people excel at their gifts. Others exercise them less capably. The quality of the gift is not that important. It is important to exercise the gift, whatever its extent may be. The use of our gifts releases the power of the Spirit.

St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”

God gives gifts for a reason. They are meant to be nurtured and used. The gifts manifest the Spirit. When used properly, they draw attention to God who gives, not to the person who has received.

The manifold gifts within one community show the marvels of the Holy Spirit. When people share their gifts, they create a spirit of selflessness and inspire others to service. They help everyone appreciate the goodness of God, who gives even before we ask.

When people look at you, they also see gifts. For which gifts are you most grateful? How do you share them?

Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year A © 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.