Sunday, January 17, 2010

The readings for the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy focus on beginnings ... how fitting for this time of the year. While the principal theme in the readings deals with the marriage feast at Cana, there is a gem in the Corinthian reading. Let's use this reading for our reflection today. It's one of those rainy, dreary days in DC. A wonderful day for some quiet time. A day when there might be more time for some reflection ... how fitting for a Sunday, the Lord's Day, a day of "rest."

While the gospel features the outpouring of care first of all by Mary and then by her son, the Corinthian reading focuses on the many gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to each of us. These are gifts that we have not created on our own. These are unique "presents" from the Holy Spirit to assist us in our own spiritual growth as well as opportunities for us to "regift" to family, friends and our communities. As St. Paul writes, "the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit" to each person.

Then he lists gifts that are distributed among the community. These gifts are wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, might deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, varieties of tongues and, lastly, interpretation of tongues. Paul notes for us that it is the same Spirit that produces these gifts, "distributing them individually to each person as he wishes."

Now doubt the Spirit knew what he was doing in sharing these gifts among all of us. Imagine what it would be like if each of us possessed all of these gifts! Life would be much more tedious than it is already! But we should find it in our hearts to be grateful for the gifts that we have received.

A question arises: how often do I stop to think about these special gifts that have been given to me by the Holy Spirit? This thought leads to this question: Do I realize which gifts have been granted to me? Continuing the questions: How have I used them to assist my family, my friends and my community ... especially my Church?

All of these gifts of the Spirit form a magnificent mosaic. As a community of believers we form a "Mosaic of Faith" -- the late Cardinal Hickey's choice of a name logo for the Archdiocese of Washington's 50th Anniversary thirteen years ago.

Concluding: "What is the gift or gifts the Holy Spirit has entrusted to me?" Can you write them down? And how effective have I been in using the gift(s) to assist others? Remember this as you reflect: Jesus' gift to the bride and groom was more than a wedding gift: it was a saving moment for the couple and their families, preventing a moment of embarrassment! The event also shows us how caring and loving was the heart of a neighbor, Mary.

As mentioned: these words of St. Paul are truly a gem that radiates many shafts of light that reach to our hearts.