Party On!

Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34, 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13, Gospel Jn 20:19-23

What is God’s favorite thing to do? Party!
Have you ever stopped to wonder – what is God’s favorite past-time? Well your presence here today gives us a hint as to what that might be. The most favorite thing that God loves to do is to party! That is what the Mass is – it is our worship and celebration of the true and living God who desires to be with us!

A true party is a celebration of the life of the one you love
Some of us might have a vision of partying that is a little askew from what I am speaking about today. When I refer to partying, I mean spending time with those that you love the most. We have read from the book of Revelation about how all of those who love God are gathered around him in heaven spending eternity in communion with those whom they love. This is what true partying is about – it is about enjoying one another's presence. Often times we have a distorted view of celebration – that it takes drugs or alcohol to have a good time. The truth is, when we are honestly ourselves, when we are as God has created us to be we discover that those crutches get in the way of a true, honest and loving relationship with one another.

Pentecost is the Birthday Party of the Church
In today’s readings we hear about the birth of the Church, which is the great feast that we celebrate today. Pentecost is in a very real way the birthday of the Church. Let me be the first to wish you “Happy Birthday!” The Holy Spirit sent out the invitations for the Feast of Pentecost by empowering the disciples to go out and speak to the world about God’s love and action in their lives. The disciples (that’s you and me) are the ones who have been commissioned to invite people to the banquet of the Lord – to this great celebration that we share in today.

When we receive gifts we know we are loved
When we want to show someone how much they are loved, we make it a point to give them a gift. When we are choosing gifts, we want them to be something that reminds them of our love for them, and at the same time, that is useful, practical and helpful to them. Sometimes we might give a gift that is a picture, something beautiful to look at. Or maybe it is something to help them in their hobby like fishing gear or perhaps a book to read.

God gives gifts at Pentecost – to the Church and at Confirmation to us.
God is the same way, when we come to his party, he brings us Gifts. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit poured out his gifts on the Church. For those of us who have been confirmed we have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God has given us these gifts as an expression of his love for us. He wants his gifts to be beautiful, practical and useful to us. He knows each one of us intimately in the depths of His heart and he knows how his gifts will benefit us. The question is – are we open to his gifts and do we allow God to work in our lives by using his gifts?

We should not practice “Gift Envy”.
Each one of us has different gifts in different ways. This is part of the beauty of the Holy Spirit. He gives gifts to each one of us according to our need. This is never a case for “Gift Envy” – because the gifts that God has given each one of us is uniquely tailored to our situation in life and in the world. It does not mean that God loves some of us more than others, but rather that God understands each one of us intimately and provides for our needs with practical, useful and beautiful gifts – custom fit for our lives.

How do we identify the gifts of God?
The question is how do we identify the gifts that God has given us, and more importantly how do we begin to use those gifts?

· Wisdom – The ability to make right judgments according to the way that God would judge, rather then as we would judge.
· Understanding – An ability to understand, comprehend, to hold in our mind the deeper truths of our faith. To see that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. To understand how God is calling us to live out our lives of faith.
· Counsel – God gives us the gift to provide good counsel, good advice to those who are in need or who are struggling with a situation.
· Fortitude (Courage) – a time when we know that we need to stand up for what is right and the Truth.
· Knowledge – Is the ability to know ourselves. (To Know – in Hebrew Yada – means to know a person intimately. To have a clear understanding of who God has created with all of our gifts, and our faults. To know our heart as God knows our heart.
· Peity – To have a clear vision of our relationship of God, his holiness and our unworthiness for his love, coupled with a true acceptance of that gift of love that he gives us.
· Fear of the Lord – An understanding of the awesomeness of God – an understanding of the Truth of who God is – how immense, vast, beautiful, powerful and overwhelming his love truly is.

When we use God’s gifts we are like Birthday Candles
When we live our lives open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit our lives are filled with an awareness of the fire of the Holy Spirit. We become like candles on a birthday cake, where the light of God’s presence in our lives becomes a source of joy for all around us. Yet we become more than just little birthday candles, rather like those special candles that parents sometimes put on birthday cakes – the ones that will burn no matter how hard you try to blow them out.

Be a Birthday Candle this week.
When we ask the Holy Spirit for his gifts and we use them our life becomes like a birthday candle that never goes out – our fire; our relationship with God grows brighter and brighter. The brighter it grows, the more it fascinates and draws people to God. When we live out our lives open and using the gifts of God then He uses us to invite more people to the party! This week the Gospel is calling us to go out and be birthday candles for God – to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives so that the Church can be recognized for what she is – the light of the world!

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