Our gifts are meant for sharing - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Our gifts are meant for sharing

“There are different gifts but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord; there are different works but the same God who accomplishes all of them in everyone. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:4-7)

The passage above is included in the Liturgy of the Word that has been a part of our celebration of the sacrament of confirmation through this autumn season.

I hear it often. And each time I do, I try truly to open my heart to its truth. What does it say to me? What does it ask of me? How does the truth of it connect me to my daily experience? And how do the events of my life help me to appreciate these words more deeply?

Two recent gatherings, I hope, will illustrate what I mean. Tuesday evening we celebrated confirmation at St. Catherine, Addison, for the candidates from St. Catherine; St. Joseph, Campbell, and St. Stanislaus, Bradford — the ABC parishes. All through the liturgy I was mindful of one of the ways in which those communities embodied for me their recognition that their God-given gifts are meant not just for themselves but are to be shared with others.

For many months, these wonderful ABC people have tended with loving care to the needs of their retired pastor, Father Jerry O’Connor, who has been much weakened by illness. Their service to him has been generous, consistent, sacrificial and humble — food, transportation, prayer, companionship and encouragement.

Although these generous individuals do all of this very quietly, the word of their generosity gets around. For example, Father Jerry’s family and friends know about it, and so do many others, and when the word of such goodness gets around, it often touches the heart and leads people to expand the ways in which they share their good gifts with others.

At Addison the other evening, I tried my best to encourage the candidates to share their many gifts with others. But I had a sense that the generous example of service by so many in their parish communities had taught them that lesson far better than I could ever hope to do.

An event the following morning provided another beautiful occasion to pray about the truth of St. Paul’s words about sharing our gifts. That was a eucharistic liturgy at Bishop Kearney High School at which we commissioned and blessed 20 seniors who will share their gifts in peer ministry.

I wish I could paint you a picture of their radiant faces and convey a sense of their joyful spirit as they stepped forward to offer themselves and their good gifts in service to the community. I know that I was deeply impressed by them and left the school with a deep sense that the good seeds sown there this morning will surely bear fruit in the course of the school year.

In each case the goodness of people brought me to a deeper understanding of St. Paul’s words. I will hear those words again this evening at a celebration at Sacred Heart Cathedral. They will mean something new to me because I had the privilege of association with the ABC people and the peer ministers and community at Bishop Kearney.

As I come to the end of this piece I realize that every day that I live I am in the presence of people who, in their own way, share their gifts with others. We are blessed with many faithful disciples and good stewards.

I’ll bet that you’d have little trouble naming people in whom you see such goodness and generosity.

Peace to all.

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