THE UNOBTRUSIVENESS OF GOD’S SPIRIT
I am puzzled by many things in life but one that I find truly puzzling concerns the Spirit of God.
We believe that in response to the request of our parents (if we were baptised as infants) or our own request if baptised at some older age, God the Father filled us with the Holy Spirit. The baptising minister says as much: “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin (original sin if an infant), given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.” This is not play acting. This is not an empty ritual. This is a statement of fact. The one baptised has changed and changed dramatically.
The Father only acts on our request or the request of those like parents. The Holy Spirit does not take up residence in us by forced entry like a home invasion. God the Father loves us and because we asked we receive.
Where then is the seat of my puzzlement you may ask? It is here. If the Holy Spirit is indeed at home in me, why is that presence not more obvious? Today’s first reading about God sharing the spirit that was with Moses with the seventy others makes it clear that people were aware that the spirit had come to these leaders. Eldad and Medad who were not with the others at the sharing were seen and heard prophesying. It was obvious something had happened to them. Similarly with the Pentecost event in St Luke’s gospel it was clear the spirit had come upon the disciples. So what about us? Have we truly received the Spirit?
Indeed we have and the presence of the Spirit is obvious but not in a headline making way. St Paul tells us what to look for to verify the presence of the Spirit. He says the fruit of the Holy Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Whenever you see these realities you know the Spirit is present and acting through the person who cooperates with the Holy Spirit. The lack of showiness can be disappointing because we want people to notice us and acclaim us but that is not how the Spirit works.
This week concentrate on allowing these fruits to flourish in you. They are the way to the salvation of our societies.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Oct 7, 2015||26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 27.09.2015||Listen||Download|