Allow me tell you another embarrassing secret from my childhood. I loved superheroes: I used to pretend to be Superman and I was convinced that when I turned 18, I would get superpowers like him. I would be able to fly, have super strength and save people. But of course, when I turned 18, I remained an ordinary human with no superpowers; at least, not the superpowers I had dreamed of.
The truth is, when I turned 18, I transformed from a child into an adult. Just like that. And it was pretty powerful. It was as though while I was sleeping the night before a fairy waved her magic wand to change me forever. Suddenly, I could do things I could not do before such as vote in an election (or stand for election, even), get married without my parents’ permission, serve on a jury, etc. These were indeed powerful abilities. With them, I could make a difference.
This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost. It is regarded as the birthday of the Church because it was the start of the Church’s mission to the world. Christ had promised His Apostles that He would send His Holy Spirit, and, on Pentecost, they were granted the gifts of the Spirit. The Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke, and about 3,000 people were converted and baptised that day.
Before the Pentecost, the apostles felt weak, powerless, and scared. But with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they had the power to change the world. Just like turning 18.
God gives the same Spirit that filled Peter and the apostles to everyone who asks. That includes you, your family, your friends, even your enemies. God does not restrict his blessings to a chosen few. He wants to give them everyone!
So let us all celebrate our birthday this Sunday. Whether you’re gathered with fellow parishioners in the church or joining others online, imagine what it would be like if the Spirit fell on all of you during the liturgy. What would it look like for all of those present — including you — to experience the Holy Spirit in the same way the disciples did? Or to be so filled with joy that all burst out in praise of the Lord? Or to experience God’s love in a deep, intimate way? In fact, don’t just imagine it. Pray for it. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are yours for the asking, and with them you could change the world. Just like the Apostles did.