May 10, 2017
(St. Damien de Veuster, Priest)
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off. Acts_12:24-13:5a
Jesus desired that His Word, that Gospel of God’s love for all people, be spread throughout the world. But he did not force that Word upon anyone.
Just as God gave Adam and Eve the free will to choose between life and death, between faith and obedience or disobedience and isolation, Jesus gives every person the free will to choose between Belief in Him and Eternal Life – or refusal to believe and condemnation.
It’s always our choice.
And we’ve clearly made that choice to Believe, otherwise we wouldn’t even be here today.
But what about all those other people: What about the ones who continue to refuse to believe, some of whom may be very close to us?
What about those who are lost in the darkness and never heard or actually understood how God’s love could make such an incredibly positive impact on their lives?
What are we to do when our hearts ache so deeply for their salvation too?
Well, just as Jesus didn’t force our belief, neither can we force that belief on others. But what we can do is model that Love of God to them: in our words, in our actions, and in our caring, just as Jesus does for us. And then, of course, we pray for their conversion and for their enlightenment as well.
Today we see how the same Saul who zealously persecuted those who believed in Jesus, is now dedicating His own life to spread the Gospel message to the world.
As Paul and Barnabas begin Paul’s first Missionary journey, we hear how they received the Holy Spirit’s blessing by the laying on of hands. It’s that same symbol of blessing we see in our Sacraments of Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders.
It’s that same Holy Spirit who fills us with wisdom – when we have to make those tough decisions.
– Who calms us down – when we feel frustrated or anxious.
– Who brings us peace and comfort – when we’ve lost someone we love.
– Who helps us to know, just what to say or do – when we meet an unbeliever.
Today, let’s remember that awesome power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And allow Her, through us, to brighten the life of someone else too!
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