Thursday, May 25, 2017

“Go in the Spirit” by Beth DeCristofaro

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call … (Ephesians 1:17-18B)

When they saw (Jesus), they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:17-20)

Almighty ever-living God, who allow those on earth to celebrate divine mysteries, grant, we pray, that Christian hope may draw us onward to where our nature is united with you.  Through Christ our Lord.
(Prayer after Communion, Mass for the Day)

During the first chaotic, frightening weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a photo disseminated on the internet claimed to show a malevolent face formed in the black smoke pouring from one of the twin towers.  It jolted me when I first saw it but I immediately thought “No, this just can’t be real.”  Of course, it proved to be photoshopped although not before it was widely shared.

We doubt.  We need reasons that make sense.  It is almost comforting to have a full answer even if the answer is implausible. It is so hard to comprehend much less believe that people could themselves be the source of such evil, that people make choices, decisions and act so wickedly vile.

How the disciples must have struggled with doubt after journeying with Jesus so hopefully only to witness the malice that, apparently, ended him.  Today, just as in the first century, we have difficulty accepting subtleties.  We look for proof, for miracles, something to show us that goodness exists and that something better is acting in our lives.

Jesus’ answer is clear despite our doubts, misunderstandings, deviations:  I am with you always, until the end of the age.  The Holy Spirit graces us with the present, blowing, active presence of God.  Jesus asks us to continue journeying with Him unendingly – to our earthly ending. Loving God and loving our neighbor whether they be (the modern equivalent) of Roman soldiers, Samaritans, prodigals, Syrophoenicians, leaders, followers, doubters or loyal friends.  It is the Holy Spirit who helps us distinguish where Jesus is leading us and how to turn our back on and defeat ultimately fruitless evil in the world.

It is the power, might, and gift of the Holy Spirit which allows us to move beyond our own limited fears, self-focus, habits, biases to live in his love and love the Other. 

How will I allow the grace of the Holy Spirit to propel me closer to Jesus by lovingly acting toward another as He would do today?

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