I looked at my weather app on Friday and saw that this coming Wednesday is supposed to be 91°! Whoa!
This reminded me of growing up in Chicago during the summers. It would often get very hot and humid for days on end. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, these huge thunderstorms would role in and huge drops of rain would begin to fall slowly and then build with intensity.
As kids we would get into our swimming suits and run around in the downpour with abandon and delight. We would twirl around, open our mouths, and jump in puddles that quickly formed.
Then suddenly, when there was a flash of lightning we would all scream and run onto the front porch for safety, where we would begin to shiver because of the cool wind on our wet skin. What delight it was.
When we grow up and become more seemingly sophisticated as adults, a reaction to the rain is often this: (open up an umbrella). We don’t want to get wet.
This reaction tends to happen in other areas of our life as well.
“Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
It doesn’t say they received the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t say they participated in a portion of the Holy Spirit. No, it says that they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
I read this as they were filled to overflowing so that they began to preach in such powerful ways that everyone from all four corners of the known world could understand as they proclaimed the mighty acts of God.
Filled. Filled to overflowing. Filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
At our Baptism, we were filled with the Holy Spirit. At our Confirmation, we were filled with the Holy Spirit.
What happened to the Holy Spirit in our lives? Do we really believe that we have received the fullness of God’s life, the Holy Spirit? Do we come to Mass, to Saint Michael Parish or Saint Michael School with openness and delight? Or do we come with our umbrellas open, protecting ourselves from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us?
What has happened to our utter abandonment, our utter delight, our utter rejoicing in the Holy Spirit as a Catholic Church, as disciples of Jesus Christ?
“Brothers and sisters, no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit…To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
This is our inheritance. This is our calling. This is our destiny. This is our delight.
This morning I invite you into the downpour and to throw away your umbrella.
On this feast of Pentecost, in the heart of stewardship we celebrate our annual renewal of talent.
I invite everyone, young and old to please pick up one of these talent forms to be filled out one per person.
When she have your pencil, please fill in your name, the phone number that is easiest to get a hold of you with, your address and your email. Please take a moment and do that now. (Pause)
Then just above that is a box which reads: “as a member of Saint Michael parish, I commit to serve by sharing my talent in ministry with fellow parishioners and the broader community.” Please check that if you are indeed ready.
Meet up groups our interest-based groups that meet with people with the same interest. If you are interested in leading, please check one of the boxes.
Talent pools were something new that we introduced last year. There was a generous response from many of you. The sharing of your talents were extremely helpful to a number of the ministries. Talent pools are designed to be able to provide opportunities to help ministries according to your availability. These usually occur a few times during the year. Take a moment and check out the opportunities. (Pause)
On the other side are categories of the specific ministries that are in need of parishioner involvement right now and in this coming year. If you are currently involved in that ministry please check the column marked “currently in.” If you are interested in that ministry, please check that box or circle the specific activity.
Being “interested” does not necessarily mean that you “have to” participate. You will be contacted by one of the leaders in that ministry within the next three months to talk with you and invite you to participate. You don’t have to make a decision and commitment today.
Notice that there are some new ministry opportunities marked in red. Please take some time and look through the different ministry opportunities. (Pause)
In addition to sharing your stewardship of talent here in the parish, there is a list of opportunities in Thurston County that are connected with our parish. Please circle the ones you’d like to be contacted about. These are located in the bottom right-hand corner. (Pause)
Now for the challenge. If you’ve just sat there and not fill one out, I ask you, “Why haven’t you?”
Imagine if every single person here signed up for just one ministry – what incredible things we would be able to accomplish as a parish. Imagine if all 7,000 parishioners were involved in ministry in some way, what an incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit would happen in Thurston County. Can you imagine?
Like the disciples gathered on that first Pentecost, we too must cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that Jesus’ command to his followers would be fulfilled, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
The Father wants to fill us with his Holy Spirit and to send us to be Christ for the world. Let us not be afraid to offer ourselves to continue the mission of Jesus Christ.