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The Fire of the Holy Spirit

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We come across a very passionate and emboldened Jesus in Luke 12: 49-53. We are also given one of Jesus’ harder teachings to understand. What does Jesus mean that he didn’t come to bring peace? He is Jesus, isn’t that just what he does?

The point Jesus is trying to get across is this passage of Luke is that preaching the gospel will, at times, cause very difficult divisions. It is often said the two subjects never to talk about with family and friends are religion and politics. Why? Because these are such personal aspects of people’s lives. I’m sure we’ve come across many family tensions that are rooted in differences of faith or theological interpretations.

I wish that the world was set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I wish that every believer’s heart, including my own, could be so on fire with God’s love that our world would be transformed. Since we are people of faith we must also be aware that though the fire of the Spirit does burn bright, we have our work to do to share the gospel message.

Yes, we might experience conflict in living out our faith, but let’s pray with Jesus that the world be evermore set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit!

in Faith

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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We all know the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (maybe!). They are Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. These gifts have been given to all of us. That first Pentecost event was not a one-time deal, it happens daily as we strive to live our faith in service of others. The good works that we do cannot be done alone, they can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In one of his homilies, Fr. Mike Ignaszak suggested we pray for one of those gifts each week. Just think how different our world could be if we took the time to pray for each of these gifts for a full week. For example, if for one week we prayed for fortitude think of what courage could fill our hearts to proclaim the gospel, or what strength we might have to invite our friend back to Mass or introduce them to Jesus!

This might be a good seven-week reflection or spiritual project, praying for a different gift of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine what graces could flow from such prayer!

Didymus

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I love Doubting Thomas! He’s one of my favorite saints, because he’s just so relatable. We often use his title as a negative thing, perhaps calling someone a “Doubting Thomas.” Really, he is just like you and me. Thomas put his heart and soul into Jesus, followed Him for three years, and gave away everything to be His disciple. Then what happened? Jesus was killed and laid dead in the tomb. Thomas’s heart was shattered.

So many events happen in our lives that shatter our hearts and which cause us to put up walls to protect ourselves. Like if we burn our hand on a hot stove—we make sure to be more careful the next time. Thomas got burned once, so he was not going to blindly believe and get burned again.  However, when Jesus appeared to him and showed Thomas his hands, feet, and side, what was his response? Thomas fell to the ground and cried out “My Lord and my God!” He simply believed.

Jesus says, blessed are those who believe and have not seen. True, we have not seen him like the disciples did in the upper room. However, we have seen the risen Jesus in many ways. In particular, we receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  Every time Jesus is placed in our hands, we should be filled with joy and be reminded of just how much Jesus loves each one of us.