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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!

Fear

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We know that when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning and saw the stone removed from the tomb, that Jesus had risen from the dead. But at the time, the disciples were not quite sure what had occurred. In fact, they locked themselves in a room, afraid of what would happen if they appeared in public. For those many days, they lived in fear.

So, what does Jesus do to address these fears? He says four simple words: “Peace be with you.”

He wanted them to truly believe in the resurrection, to know that they had no need for fear, that he would be with them every moment of every day (especially when he gives them the power of the Holy Spirit).

Today, many of us have our own daily struggles. We worry about money, about health, about relationships. We lock ourselves in our own rooms, and we try to solve all of our problems alone.

We live in fear.

But just like the disciples, we soon discover that we can’t do it alone. That we need God every moment of every day to guide us and show us the way. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to fill our minds and hearts. That’s why the same words are just as effective today as they were 2000 years ago.

“Peace be with you.”

If we listen to these words, we will truly begin to understand the power of the resurrection.

Giving Glory to God

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As Mass ended last Sunday and we began to sing the final hymn, I thought about what the deacon had just recited as the final words of the service. This one sentence, these nine simple words, are our instructions for the week ahead:

“Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”

Those are powerful words and I wanted to really understand them as I walked out the door.

“Go in peace…” We are called to action: leave the church with peace in our hearts so that we can spread that peace wherever we go. That’s not always easy. Egos are very fragile these days, and arguments erupt for no reason at all. It’s happening in our streets, in our neighborhoods, even in our living rooms. If we remember these three words, and we believe these words, then we have a chance to shape the minds and hearts of those around us.

“…glorifying the Lord by your life.” Wow. This is quite a challenge. Not only are we asked to give glory and honor to God, we’re asked to do it through how we live our lives! That means asking a lot of questions:

  • Is everything I’m saying giving glory to God?
  • Is everything I’m doing giving glory to God?
  • Is every decision I make giving glory to God?

This one sentence seems so simple and straight forward. But these simple words carry a great deal of responsibility.

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”- Pope John Paul II