There is great depth in today’s readings. I had to read and take to prayer both passages many times during my preparation for this reflection. It is a gift to spend time with the Bible. Every reading of these Sacred Scriptures finds me at a different time in my life experiences as well as the happenings in the world.

In the first reading, Paul was brought before the whole Sanhedrin, which consists of Sadducees and Pharisees. A Pharisee himself, as his father was before him, Paul addressed the group, “ I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” His statement caused an uproar amongst the membership due to the fact that Sadducees believed that there was no resurrection, angels or spirits and Pharisees acknowledged all three of these things.

The commander of the guard noticed how serious the situation was and had Paul rescued from the midst of the compound by his troops. Paul was saved from this situation so he could speak the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and love throughout Rome, as the Lord asked him to.

The Gospel contains a phrase that really caught my attention. Jesus prayed with his eyes lifted to heaven: “they are your gift to me.” (Jn 17:24)  Wait, what did I just read? It has never occurred to me that we are a gift from the heavenly Father to Jesus.

Wow. We are a gift to spread the love of the Lord throughout the world as His disciples. We are to do this through the words, witness and message of Jesus Christ. Every person is a gift created in the image of God. We know this because Jesus refers to his disciples as brothers and sisters.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are intensified in each person who receives the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Every time I receive the sacrament of Reconciliation or Eucharist it is a gift from the Lord to nourish and sustain me to stay on the path of truth and light.

I look forward to the celebration of Pentecost this coming Sunday! Come Holy Spirit!

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