Pentecost A (May 28) Sunday (8-minute homily in one page) L-23
Pentecost A (May 28) Sunday (8-minute homily in one page) L-23

Pentecost [A] (May 28) Sunday (8-minute homily in one page) L-23

Pentecost literally means 50th. It is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover feast by the Jews and a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus by Christians. The Jewish Pentecost was originally a post-harvest thanksgiving feast.  Later, the Jews included in it the remembrance of God’s Covenants with Noah after the Deluge and with Moses at Mt. Sinai

The event: On the day of Pentecost: 1) The Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary as tongues of fire. 2) The frightened apostles were transformed into fiery preachers and evangelizers and were given the gift of tongues by a special anointing of the Holy Spirit. 3) The listeners experienced a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit through the apostles’ gift of tongues: they heard Peter speaking in their native languages. 4) The early Christians became powerful witnesses and brave martyrs for their Faith in Jesus.

The role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life: 1) As an indwelling God, the Holy Spirit makes us His Living Temples (I Cor 3:16). 2) As a strengthening God, He strengthens us in our fight against temptations and in our mission of bearing witness to Christ by our transparent Christian lives. 3) As a sanctifying God, He makes us holy through the Sacraments: a) Through Baptism He makes us children of God and heirs of Heaven. b) Through Confirmation, He makes us temples of God, warriors, and defenders of the Faith. c) Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, He enables us to be reconciled with God by pardoning our sins. d) Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, He gives us spiritual nourishment by changing bread and wine into Jesus’ Body, Blood Soul, and Divinity, through Epiclesis. e) Through the Sacraments of the priesthood (Ordination) and matrimony (Marriage), He makes the Church community holy. 4) As a teaching and guiding God, He clarifies and constantly reminds us of Christ’s teachings and guides the Magisterium of the Church in presenting Christ’s teachings correctly.  5) As a listening and speaking God, He listens to our prayers, enables us to pray, and speaks to us, mainly through the Bible. 6) As a Giver of gifts, He pours out on us His gifts, fruits, and charisms, thus enriching the Church.

Life messages: We need to permit the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives: 1) by constantly remembering His Holy Presence and behaving well; 2) by praying for His daily anointing so that we may fight against our temptations and control our evil tendencies, evil habits, and addictions; 3) by asking His daily assistance to pray, listening to God through meditative Bible reading, and talking to Him by personal, family and liturgical prayers;  and 4) by asking the help of the Holy Spirit to do good for others and to be  reconciled with God and others every day.  

Pentecost [A] (5/28/2023) Acts 2:1-11; I Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23 Homily starter anecdotes:

1) Treasure within: An old beggar lay on his deathbed.  His last words were to his young son who had been his constant companion during his begging trips.  “Dear son," he said, “I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and a dirty bronze bowl which I got in my younger days from the junk yard of a rich lady.”  After his father’s death, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had given him.  One day a gold merchant dropped a coin in the boy’s bowl and he was surprised to hear a familiar ring.  “Let me check your bowl,” the merchant said.  To his great surprise, he found that the beggar’s bowl was made of pure gold.  “My dear young man," he said, “why do you waste your time begging?  You are a rich man.  That bowl of yours is worth at least thirty thousand dollars.” --  We Christians are often like this beggar boy who failed to recognize and appreciate the value of his bowl.  We fail to appreciate the infinite worth of the Holy Spirit living within us, making each of us His Temple and sharing His gifts, fruits, and charisms with us.  On this major feast day, we are invited to experience and appreciate the transforming, sanctifying, and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit within us.  This is also a day for us to renew our promises made to God during our Baptism and Confirmation, to profess our Faith, and to practice it.  

  2) "Well, Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore.” It happened in Galveston, TX. A woman was cleaning the bottom of the cage of her parrot Chippie with the canister vacuum cleaner. She was not using an attachment on the tube. When the telephone rang, she turned her head to pick it up, continuing to vacuum the cage as she said, "Hello," into the phone. Then she heard the horrible noise of Chippie being sucked into the vacuum. Immediately she put down the phone, ripped open the vacuum bag, and found Chippie in there, stunned but still alive. Since the bird was covered with dust and dirt, she grabbed it, ran it into the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held the bird under the water to clean it off. When she finished that, she saw the hair dryer on the bathroom sink. She turned it on and held the bird in front of the blast of hot air to dry him off. A few weeks later, a reporter from the newspaper that originally published the story went out to the house to ask the woman, "How’s Chippie doing now?" She said, “He just sort of sits and stares." -- Today’s Gospel tells us that was what happened to the apostles. They all were traumatized by the arrest and crucifixion of their master and bewildered by his post-Resurrection appearances and his command to prepare for the coming of his Holy Spirit.   Many of us can identify with Chippie and the apostles. Life has sucked us up, thrown cold water on us, and blown us away. Somewhere in the trauma, we have lost our song. Hence, we, too, need the daily anointing of the Holy Spirit to keep us singing songs of Christian witnessing through agápe love. 


3) “Lower your bucket-- taste and see”: More than a century ago, a great sailing ship was stranded off the coast of South America.  Day after day the ship lay there in the still waters with not a hint of a breeze.  The captain was desperate; the crew was dying of thirst.  And then, on the far horizon, a steamship appeared, headed directly toward them.  As it drew near, the captain called out, "We need water!  Give us water!"  The steamship replied, "Lower your buckets where you are."  The captain was furious at this cavalier response but called out again, "Please, give us water."  But the steamer gave the same reply, "Lower your buckets where you are!"  And with that they steamed away!  The captain was beside himself with anger and despair, and he went below.  But a little later, when no one was looking, a yeoman lowered a bucket into the sea and then tasted what he brought up: It was perfectly sweet, fresh water!  For you see, the ship was just out of sight of the mouth of the Amazon.  And for all those days they had been sitting right on top of all the fresh water they needed! --  What we are really seeking is already inside us, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be embraced: the Holy Spirit of God Who has been living within us from the moment of our Baptism.  The Holy Spirit is saying to us at this very moment from deep in our heart, "Lower your buckets where you are.  Taste and see!" Come, Holy Spirit!  Fill our hearts and set us on fire!  Amen.

# 4: Babel Tower of confusion  and the Pentecost Spirit of unity: The people used language to promote a human agenda (Gen 11:3-4). So, God confused tongues into many different languages (Gen 11:7). The result was disunity (Gen 11:6-7). At the Tower of Babel, God scattered the human family across the face of the earth in judgment (Gen 11:9). But on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit used language to announce the mighty works of God (Acts 2:14-41). Thus the  Holy Spirit caused people speaking many different languages to understand one Gospel message (Acts 2:5-11). The result was unity (Acts 2:41). Pentecost was the beginning of the reunification of the human family as God sent men and women to gather into the New Covenant Church of Jesus Christ redeemed people from across the face of the earth (Acts 1:82:37-41). (Rev. Michal E. Hunt) & 

Introduction: The Jewish Pentecost: Both the Jews and the Christians now celebrate Pentecost.  Along with the Feast of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, Pentecost was one of the major feasts of the Jews.  During these three great Jewish festivals, every male Jew living within twenty miles of Jerusalem was legally bound to go to Jerusalem to participate in the feast.  The word Pentecost is Greek for pentecostes which means “fiftieth.” The feast received this name because it was celebrated fifty days after the Feast of the Passover.  Another name for the Jewish Pentecost is Shebuot or "The Feast of Weeks“ (the "week" of seven Sabbaths between Passover and Pentecost).  It was originally a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest.  During Passover, the first omer (a Hebrew measure of about a bushel), of barley was offered to God.  At Pentecost, two loaves of bread were offered in gratitude for the harvest.  Later, the Jews added to the Feast of Pentecost the element of Yahweh’s Covenant with Noah, which took place fifty days after the great deluge.  Still later, they made this feast an occasion to thank God for His Sinaitic Covenant with Moses, which occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Exodus from Egypt. 

The Christian Pentecost: Pentecost marks the end and the goal of the Easter season.  For Christians, it is a memorial of the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and the Virgin Mary in the form of fiery tongues, an event that took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus.  The Paschal Mystery -- the Passion, the Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Jesus -- culminates in the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father at the request of His Son on Jesus' disciples. The feast also commemorates the official inauguration of the Christian Church through the apostolic preaching of St. Peter, which resulted in the conversion of 3000 Jews to the Christian Faith.  Pentecost is, thus, the official birthday of the Church. But years ago, This Rock Magazine (now Catholic Answers) reported that there were 34,000 Protestant denominations which means that, on the average, more than sixty-nine new denominations had sprung up every year since the Reformation began in 1517.  So whose birthday is it anyway?  We say Pentecost is the birthday of the Church Jesus established nearly 2,000 years ago. -- Today’s Scripture readings remind us that Pentecost is an event of both the past and the present.  The main theme of today’s readings is that the gift of the Holy Spirit is something to be shared with others.  In other words, the readings remind us that the gift of the Holy Spirit moves its recipients to action and inspires them to share this gift with others

The first reading (Acts 2:1-11): The selection from Acts for today describes in detail the miraculous transformation that took place during the first Pentecost, thus fulfilling Jesus’ promise to his apostles that they would receive “Power from on high.”   There was first “a noise like a strong driving wind.”  Then there were “tongues as of fire” resting on the disciples and Mary, filling each of them with the Holy Spirit.  The first manifestation of the apostles’ reception of the Holy Spirit came immediately, as the formerly timid, frightened men burst out the door and began to proclaim the Good News of Jesus! Then, everyone there (regardless of their many different native languages), was able to understand the Apostles’ proclamation of the Good News  of the salvation of mankind, “in his own tongue.”  The Jews in the crowds came from sixteen different geographical regions.  The miracle of tongues on Pentecost thus reverses the confusion of tongues wrought by God at the Tower of Babel, as described in Genesis 11.  Later, the Acts of the Apostles describes how the Holy Spirit empowered the early Christians to bear witness to Christ by their sharing love and strong Faith.  This "anointing by the Holy Spirit” also strengthened the early Christian martyrs during the period of brutal persecution that followed, as it has done through the centuries and as it does today for the thousands of Christians presently under attack for their Faith who hold fast to it, drawing on the Power of the Holy Spirit as they live and as they die.  

In the Refrain for the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 104), we pray, “Lord, send out Your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth,” asking God for a “fresh anointing” of the Spirit for all of us.

In the second reading (I Cor 12:3-7, 12-13), St. Paul explains how the sharing of the various spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit enriches the Church.  He refers to the varieties of gifts given to the Church as coming from the same Spirit Who activates all of them in Christians for the common good.  They are described as the gifts, fruits, and charisms of the Spirit.  They may take different forms like prophecy, teaching, administration, acts of charity, healing, and speaking in tongues; they may be granted to and reside in different persons like apostles, prophets, teachers, healers , and so on.  Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit in his Letter to the Galatians: “What the Spirit brings is … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (5:22-23a).  He continues, “Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit” (5:25).  Paul insists that these spiritual gifts are to be used in the present time for the benefit of others, for the common good, and for the building up of the Body of Christ.

In today’s Sequence, the Church repeats her payer of invitation to the Holy Spirit (Veni Creator Spiritus), asking Him to come to us all now and detailing the effects His presence and His gifts will have on all of us, if we choose to receive them. 

Today’s Gospel relates how the Risen Jesus gave his apostles a foretaste of Pentecost on the evening of Easter Sunday by appearing to them, sending them to carry on the mission given to Jesus by his Heavenly Father, then empowering them to do so by breathing upon them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” On the day of Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to them the Advocate or Paraclete. This gift of the Spirit would enable the Apostles to fulfill Jesus’ commission to preach the Gospel to all nations.  Today’s Gospel passage also tells us how Jesus gave to the Apostles the power and authority to forgive sins.  “Receive the Holy Spirit.  For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:23).  These wonderful words, which bind together inseparably the presence of the Holy Spirit with the gift of forgiveness, are referred to directly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  But they have a much wider meaning.  Those words remind us of the Christian vocation we all have, to love and forgive as we have been loved and forgiven in the world of today, which is often fiercely judgmental and vengeful.  

Exegetical notes: Role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and of the Church: How beautiful is the thought that the Holy Spirit lives within us!  Saint Paul reminds the Corinthian community of this fact when he asks, "Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" (I Cor 3:16).  It is the Holy Spirit who develops our intimacy with God.  "God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, ‘Abba!' ('Father!’)” (Gal 4:6).  "God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" (Rom 5:5). "No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit" (I Cor 12:3).  Moreover, we know that it is the Holy Spirit Who teaches us to pray (Rom 8:26).  By the power of the Spirit, we also know the Lord Jesus through His Church.  Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the Church, for it was the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and Mary that brought the Church into full active life on earth, and is the Holy Spirit Who still enlivens, enlightens, guides, and sanctifies the Church; the Holy Spirit will continue to do these things and more until the end of the world, the Judgment  of all humanity, and the presentation by the Father of the Purified Church, the “Bride of the Lamb” to Jesus, His Son and our Lord.  The Psalm refrain for this Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 104) says it well: “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”  We know Jesus through the Sacramental Mysteries of the Church, and Holy Spirit is at the heart of the Sacramental life of the Church.  Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders are the Sacramental Mysteries through which people receive the seal of the Holy Spirit.  It would be impossible for us to receive Jesus in the Eucharist without the descent of the Holy Spirit at the Epiclesis of the Divine Liturgy.  Even the forgiveness of sins comes through the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:21-23).  The Holy Spirit both confirmed the apostles in Holy Orders as priests and empowered them to forgive sins by His Power, a work which He continues today in each of our priests. 

The action of the Holy Spirit in the daily lives of Christians: The Spirit is that Paraclete (a Greek word that is translated Counselor, Comforter, Helper, Encourager, or Enabler), Who quietly works in us and through us every day behind the scenes in the basic activities of our lives and the lives of the people around us. He is there in all His fullness wherever people worship and pray in the Name of Jesus. When we believe and trust in Jesus, we have that Faith through the Holy Spirit’s work in us, filling us with Himself and His Gifts. The Holy Spirit leads us to turn away from our self-worship and sinfulness, reassuring us that we are still loved in spite of our sin, and reminding us that Jesus died on a cross just to remedy the effects of those moments when we rebel against God's Way. It is the Holy Spirit Who confronts us and urges us to take a good look at ourselves and where we are heading, to make a U-turn, to leave the old behind and to try something new. The Holy Spirit is   not afraid to challenge us and stretch us to go and do things for Christ – things we have never done before or ever imagined ourselves doing. He’s the One Who says to us, "Stop being so self-focused. Stop looking into yourself all the time and being depressed by what you see or fooling yourself into thinking that what you see in yourself is enough to get you through! Look up, look away, look to Jesus and let Him turn your around; let Him take control!"The feast of Pentecost celebrates the unseen, Immeasurable Presence of God in our lives and in our Church – the Ruah Who animates us to do the work of the Gospel of the Risen One, the Ruah Who makes God’s will our will, the Ruah Who IS  God living in us and transforming us so that we may bring His life and love to our broken world.  God “breathes” His Spirit into our souls that we may live in His life and love; God ignites the “fire” of His Spirit within our hearts and minds that we may seek God in all things in order to realize the coming of His reign.” (Connections). Through Baptism and Confirmation, and in the presence of the believing community gathered in prayer, we are “indelibly sealed” and “empowered” by the Holy Spirit, who now dwells within us (CCC #698).

The Holy Spirit, the Helper is quietly at work everywhere in our lives.  We meet Him: in the sincere concern of a friend for our health; in the generosity of those who give us so much help; in the inner strength we discover in times of crisis; in those moments when we admit that we have been wrong; in the making of a tough choice; in the resilience of people who face one bad thing after another; in times when we have dared to love even though it was hard to do so. The Holy Spirit, the Helper, is quietly at work.  We find Him: in taking on responsibilities that we once thought beyond us; in refusing to let the greed of society take over our soul; in giving thanks always, even though times have been hard; in  rising above past failures and putting past hurts behind us; in finding the Central Core of Peace in the midst of turmoil; in an adult patiently teaching a child self-esteem and self-control; in the person sitting quietly beside a hospital bed; in a parent praying for a troubled son or daughter. The Spirit calls us to repent, that is, to “think again” and turn our lives around. We hear Him as He calls us to Faith and invites us, again,  to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. Whenever we look to the Holy Spirit, He is within us as our Helper, always assisting us to be what God made  us to be.  The Holy Spirit helps us to be truly great by becoming servants to one another. Likewise, the Spirit deepens our awareness of Jesus loving us as He lives in our lives. It is the Holy Spirit Who gathers us around the cross of Jesus; Who changes our lives, helping us to be more patient and forgiving; Who enables us to seek new beginnings in our relationships with one another; Who urges us to let the power of God's love have the final say over the conflicts and difficulties we get into. He is available to us every moment of every day as we face the choices between remaining self-centred, or becoming the God-cantered people, the Spirit is calling us to become in Christ.

Life messages:  1) We need to permit the Holy Spirit to direct our lives:  a) by constantly remembering and appreciating His Holy Presence within us, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation;  b) by fortifying ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit against all types of temptations;  c) by seeking the assistance of the Holy Spirit in our thoughts, words, and deeds, in the breaking of our evil habits, and in substituting for them habits of Goodness and Love;  d) by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the Bible and through the good counsel of others; e) by fervently praying for the gifts, fruits, and charisms of the Holy Spirit; f) by renewing our lives through the anointing of the Holy Spirit; and g) by living our lives in the Holy Spirit as lives of commitment, of sacrifice, and of joy.  We are called to love as Jesus loved, not counting the cost. As Saint Paul exhorts us, "Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:16, 25). 

2) We need to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness.  The feast of Pentecost offers us the chance to look at the role which forgiveness should play in our dealings with others.  Thus, we are challenged to examine our sense of compassion, patience, tolerance, and magnanimity.  Learning to forgive is a lifelong task, but the Holy Spirit is with us to make us agents of forgiveness.  If we are prepared on this day of Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, we can have confidence that our lives will be marked by the Spirit of forgiveness. 

3) _77025140_romero_afpWe need to observe Pentecost every day.  "It will always be Pentecost in the Church," affirmed Saint Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, on Pentecost Sunday 1978, "provided the Church lets the beauty of the Holy Spirit shine forth from her countenance.  When the Church ceases to let her strength rest on the Power from above which Christ promised her and which He gave her on that day, and when the Church leans rather on the weak forces of the power or wealth of this earth, then the Church ceases to be newsworthy.  The Church will be fair to see, perennially young, attractive in every age, as long as she is faithful to the Spirit Who floods her, and she reflects that Spirit through her communities, through her pastors, through her very life" [The Violence of Love, (Farmington, PA: The Plough Pub. Co.,  1998).] [Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified May 23, 2015 by Pope Francis who canonized him October 14, 2018, the same day he canonized Pope Paul VI] Archbishop Romero’s declaration reminds us -- as does today’s Gospel -- that Pentecost is not just one day, but every day.  Without breath, there is no life.  Without the Spirit, the Church is a field of dry, dead bones. The Venerable Fulton J. Sheen once said about the Church, "Even though we are God's chosen people, we often behave more like God's frozen people--frozen in our prayer life, frozen in the way we relate with one another, frozen in the way we celebrate our Faith." [Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI in June, 2012.] Today is a great day to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in us the spirit of new life and enthusiasm, the fire of God's love.  Let us repeat Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman’s favorite little prayer, “Come Holy Spirit: 

“Come Holy Spirit
Make our ears to hear
Make our eyes to see
Make our mouths to speak
Make our hearts to seek
Make our hands to reach out
And touch the world with your love.  AMEN.”   

[Cardinal Newman was beatified September 19, 2010 by Pope St. John Paul II; he was canonized October 13, 2019 by Pope Francis]

4) We need to be Spirit-filled Christians: Spirit-filled people acknowledge their weaknesses, ask for the strengthening, anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit every morning, ask for His forgiveness every evening, and pass on that forgiveness to those who sin against them. Spirit-filled people are praying people. Paul encourages us, "Pray on every occasion as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray for all God's people" (Eph 6:18). Spirit-filled people are praying and worshipping God in their families and parishes. They try to grow continually in their Faith, and they seek out every opportunity to discover Christ and what it means to be children of God. Spirit-filled people are people who allow the Spirit to change their lives through their daily reading of the Bible and their frequenting of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist.  Spirit-filled people speak words that heal, restore, make people happy and build people up, instead of tearing them down. Spirit-filled people pass on the love of God to the people living around them by their acts of kindness, mercy and charity. Hence, let us ask the Holy Spirit for a spirit of love instead of hate, a spirit of helpfulness instead of non-cooperation, a spirit of generosity instead of greed, and a spirit of gentleness in place of our spirit of ruthlessness. 

Dicksons Laughing Jesus With Innocent Boy Brushed Grayscale 8 x 10 Wood  Wall Sign PlaqueJoke of the week: 1) The seven gifts in day-to-day life: Pin on Laughing Jesus

a) The gift of wisdom:  1) Four-year-old Amanda was taken to the doctor’s office with a fever.  The doctor looked in her ears and asked, "Who’s in there?  Donald Duck?" She said, "No."  He looked in her open mouth, "Who’s in there?  Mickey Mouse?" Again, she said, "No."  He put his stethoscope on her heart and asked, "Who’s in there?  Barney?" Amanda replied, "No, Jesus is in my heart.  Barney is in the pocket of my underwear."

2) There is an old joke about a man who asked his pastor whether it was okay to smoke while he prayed. His pastor said, “Absolutely not! When you pray, you should be completely devoted to prayer!” So the man went to another priest, but he changed his question, “Would it be okay to pray while I smoke?” “Yes, of course” was the answer.

3) Several years ago in Germany, while giving the Sacrament of Confirmation, a bishop was questioning the children who were about to be confirmed: “Who can administer the sacrament of confirmation?” he asked. A young girl answered: “Any bishop, once he's attained the age of reason!”

b) The gift of understanding: 1) A kindergarten teacher was observing her the children in her classroom while they drew pictures.  She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork.  As she came to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like." Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute." 

2) "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the Church, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked the children in my Sunday School class. "NO!" the children all answered. "If I cleaned the  Church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, the answer was, "NO!" "Well, then, if I were kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked them again. Again, they all answered, "NO!" "Well," I continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?" A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!"

c) The gift of counsel: Just after receiving his driver’s license, a Lutheran minister’s son wanted to talk about using the family car.  “I’ll make a deal with you,” his father said.  “Bring your grades up, read your Bible more often, and get a haircut.  Then you may use the car once or twice a week.”  A month later the question came up again.  “Son,” the father said, “I’m proud of you.  I see you studying hard and reading your Bible every day.  But you didn’t get a haircut.”  After a moment’s pause, the son replied, “Yeah, I’ve thought about that.  But Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair.”  “True," the father replied, “but maybe you noticed that they walked wherever they went?”

d) The gift of fortitude:  A mother refused to permit her little boy to go for a picnic with his classmates.  On the day of the picnic, however, she changed her mind and gave him permission.  But he sighed and confessed, "It's too late Mummy! I've already prayed for rain on the school picnic day!"

e) The gift of knowledge: 1) The story is told of a man who went to the priest and said, "Father, I want you to say a Mass for my dog." The priest was indignant.  "What do you mean, say a Mass for your dog?" "It's my pet dog," said the man.  "I loved that dog and I'd like you to offer a Mass for him." "We don't offer Masses for dogs here," the priest said.  "You might try the denomination down the street.  Ask them if they have a service for you." As the man was leaving, he said to the priest, "I really loved that dog.  I was planning to give a five-thousand-dollar stipend for the Mass." And the priest said, "Wait a minute!  Why didn’t tell me that your dog was Catholic?!"

2) A little boy wanted $100 badly and prayed for two weeks, but nothing happened. Then he decided to write a letter to the Lord requesting the $100. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to the Lord, USA, they decided to send it to the White House so the President could have a look at it. The President was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5.00 bill, as this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy. The little boy was delighted with the $5.00, and sat down to write a thank-you note to the Lord. He wrote: "Dear Lord, Thank You very much for sending me the money. However, I noticed that for some reason You had to send it through Washington, DC, and those jerks deducted 95%."

3) The Two Ushers: Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in Church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. “You're not supposed to talk out loud in church” “Why? Who's going to stop me?” Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, ”See those two men standing by the door? They're ‘hushers.'” 

f) The gift of piety: A pious man, who had reached the age of 105 suddenly stopped going to synagogue. Alarmed by the old fellow's absence after so many years of faithful attendance, the Rabbi went to see him. He found him in excellent health, so the Rabbi asked, "How come after all these years we don't see you at services anymore?" The old man lowered his voice. "I'll tell you, Rabbi," he whispered. "When I got to be 90, I expected God to take me any day. But then I got to be 95, then 100, then 105. So, I figured that God is very busy and must have forgotten about me, and I don't want to remind Him. 

g) The gift of fear of the Lord: Do not ride in automobiles: they are responsible for 20% of fatal accidents.  Do not stay home: 1% of all accidents occur in home.  Do not walk on the streets or sidewalks: 14% of all accidents occur at such times.  Do not travel by air, rail, or water: 16% of all accidents happen on planes, trains or boats.  Only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in Church, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders.  Hence, the safest place for you to be at any time is at Church!!!