You remember last week we talked about Jesus ascending to heaven like this balloon?  Since that time, the disciples (Jesus’ friends and followers) had been staying in a little room talking and praying and wondering how they could carry on spreading Jesus’ message without him.

See what I have brought with me today?  It looks a bit like we are going to have a birthday party.  Today we are celebrating the birthday of the Church with these things…

What do you think of these balloons for a birthday celebration?  Not much fun this way, are they?  These red balloons are flat and lifeless.  I can blow air into this balloon.  I can blow life into it, I can create a wind that will help this balloon to serve its purpose.  In that same way, the Holy Spirit blew like a mighty wind into the room where Jesus’ friends were gathered.

The Spirit blew in and rested ‘tongues of fire’ on each of the disciples, teaching them to spread the Good News of God’s love in many languages to many people.  That flame is represented at our birthday party by the birthday candle in my cupcake.

Today we celebrate the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit as gifts to us that remind us of the Church’s first birthday and what a gift the Church can be in our lives.