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Sunday, May 11, 2008

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Acts 2:1-11
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
John 20:19-23

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the gift that keeps on unifying

"To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." —1 Corinthians 12:7

I've seen the gifts of the Holy Spirit used in marvelous ways to unify the Church — both the charismatic gifts such as tongues, prophecy, and healing, as well as other spiritual gifts such as faith, knowledge, administration, and teaching (1 Cor 12:7-10). I've also seen people angrily leave the Catholic Church and join assemblies which emphasize certain charismatic spiritual gifts. Moreover, I have seen the Spirit's gifts used by some in the Church in ways that were self-serving and not contributing to the unity of the body, as they forgot basic truths about the gifts of the Spirit, such as:

  • The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). As on the first Pentecost, His gifts always are designed to unify rather than divide.
  • The gifts of the Spirit don't compete with each other, since the Spirit doesn't contend with Himself. The gifts complement one another, and are to be used in an orderly rather than divisive way (1 Cor 14:26-33).
  • The gifts are not our own (cf 1 Cor 6:19). We cannot use them when convenient, and stop using them if inconvenient. They were given for us to bear fruit (see Mt 25:14ff).
  • Many receive the gifts of the Spirit, but stop using them out of fear, discouragement, or neglect. We must constantly "stir into flame" the gifts we were given (2 Tm 1:6).
  • Any gift used without love is just noise (1 Cor 13:1ff).

"Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). Live by the Spirit and follow His lead in using the spiritual gifts you received (Gal 5:25).

Prayer:  Father, may we "make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin" (Eph 4:3).

Promise:  "All were filled with the Holy Spirit." —Acts 2:4

Praise:  Praise the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Who live in us forevermore!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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