Four gifts that Jesus gives to his disciples
Father Ed Vanorny
Homily from the Televised Mass, NewsCenter1
Pentecost, May 28, 2023
I’m going to start my homily by telling you something about me that most of you probably don’t know. In the early and mid-60s, I attended a seminary in Carthage, Missouri, and after six years in that seminary, I decided not to become a priest. So, I went home to my parent’s farm near Polo, South Dakota, and one evening at the supper table, I was telling my family about these guys in the seminary who played guitars. I said that I wanted to do that, and to my surprise my parents offered to buy me a guitar. And they did. They got it from the old Sears and Roebuck catalog for about 20 or 25 dollars. I will never forget what my dad told me. He said, “now son, you’d better do something with this, because a gift like this has to be put to good use.” So, I did, and I’ve been playing guitar ever since.
Now, I tell you that story because of what I want to tell you about Pentecost. You see, one of the things I soon learned with my singing and playing guitar, was how most songs have a way of letting people know when a song is coming to an end. When a song is being resolved. And that’s a good way to understand Pentecost, because Pentecost is about resolving. It’s about resolving what God had in mind for our salvation. When God first created the world there was perfection. There was happiness and holiness, and then along came original sin.
In the Gospel we have for this feast of Pentecost, there are four gifts that Jesus gives to his disciples. The gifts are as important for us as they were for them. The first was the gift of peace which is a sense of spiritual strength that sustains and supports us. The second is the gift of the Holy Spirit which is the wisdom, the power, and the courage of God himself. The third is the gift of mission which is to carry on the work and ministry of Christ. And the fourth gift is the gift authority. As the part that we play in Christ’s mission, it is sanctioned, commanded, and authorized by God.
Now to know our purpose within the mission of Jesus, it’s to have that sense of peace. It is to know that with the gift of the Holy Spirit, our task of carrying on our Lord’s mission, is very doable. And to know that with the gift of authority, we also have the power to bring restoration to the sinfulness of the world.
Jesus gave these gifts of peace, mission, Holy Spirit, and authority to the church on that first Pentecost and today we are that church. He didn’t give these gifts to be put on a shelf somewhere or to be stored in some closet. So yes, it’s like my dad said, “You’d better do something with this, because a gift like that has to be put to good use.”