May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
It seems to me that this familiar greeting has a strong connection with today’s Gospel. In particular, I am referring to last part of the greeting. The “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” is being offered by the one doing the greeting. In this case, I am the greeter. I am offering fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I think this is a good thing. In fact, the Lord is emphatically emphasizing how critical it is for us to ensure we are doing everything possible to support the Holy Spirit in others.
At the end of today’s Gospel, the Lord is strongly indicating that it is best to remove a body part if it prevents others from the Holy Spirit. Of course the Lord does not literally mean to cut off a hand or remove an eye. However, we may ask, what are the things in our lives that hinder the Holy Spirit’s freedom to operate? In what ways am I preventing someone else from the Holy Spirit?
Obviously, this is another way to see our own sin. Today, our Lord is asking us to look at the acts of gossip, envy, ambition, false pride, fear, hatred, etc…. These acts or omissions to act do hinder others from knowing the Holy Spirit. The movements of the Holy Spirit are not easy for us to know. In fact, this is another important part of the Gospel. The Spirit operates in ways that may not fit into our rules or expectations.
In today’s Gospel we hear John say to the Lord: “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Our Lord corrects John and basically opens John’s aperture of the Holy Spirit’s presence in ways that go beyond his “box.” The first reading from the Book of Numbers has a similar message about the freedom of God’s Spirit. I like this message even better because Moses really opens the supreme goodness of God’s grace at work with and through everyone… not only those we predetermine. Moses says this to his elders: “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!” Nm 11:25-29
Speaking of God’s Holy Spirit at work, I want to thank everyone for supporting the Celebrating Priesthood effort. If you missed the opportunity and still want to contribute to the Clergy Trust fund it is not too late. The web links are still up on the Archdiocese of Boston webpage.
Thank you for your patience and charity with masking up at Mass. I look forward to the day we can worship God without this requirement. In fact, this requirement is hindering all aspects of the parish life.
Anyway, I am grateful to everyone who comes despite the challenges.
God is good and He showers that goodness on us at each Mass.