June 4, 2017 — Pentecost Sunday
Today, Pentecost Sunday, is called by many the birthday of the Church. Not only does the Lord imbue His followers and Apostles with the Holy Spirit, but He sends them out into the world to accomplish and further His mission.
There are strong connections to the concept of stewardship throughout the readings on this day, including the statement by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” That is a prompt to us that we are gifted in different ways, but we are to be willing to use those gifts to assist and support the Church and others.
Nevertheless, in the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles is also a reminder to us about living a stewardship way of life. They are celebrating Pentecost, 50 days after Passover (which, for us, is Easter). Passover (as reported in the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament) was a time when the first sheaf reaped from the barley harvest was presented to God; however, at Pentecost the first fruits of the wheat harvest were given to God.
This concept of giving the first fruits to God is at the heart of stewardship. How do we share the bounty that has been given us? The people of Jesus’ time were deeply conscious of all their gifts, including the gifts of the earth. Everything we have comes from God. This is a day to contemplate that and to respond to it.