The Spirit will Intercede

Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Secretary, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our July 17th Newsletter

spiritIn this Sunday’s Gospel St. Matthew warns that the Kingdom of God on earth will not be realized without effort. The parable of the weeds among the wheat (Matt 13:24-31) teaches that there will always be negativity, violence and sin within both ourselves and others that will attempt to hinder the good in the world. However, even when evil appears to overwhelm us, either the evil of the world or the evil in each of us, Saint Paul assures us that the Spirit will come to our aid “for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit will intercede “with inexpressible groanings.” (Rom 8:26)

How else can a mother pray as she accompanies her 3 year old son across the border of Mexico after escaping gang related war in her country of birth and travelling for three months in conditions that will haunt her for the rest of her life? The Spirit within her cries out with inexpressible groanings of despair mixed with hope for the future.

The spirit groans with an inexpressible yearning for peace as Mariam, a loving caretaker for our elderly Franciscan Sisters, fasts six additional days for the intention of peace in our world after the official end of the month-long fast of Ramadan.

The spirit cries out with inexpressible groanings of hope for our dying home, Earth, each time a person makes the decision to act in protection of God’s creation.

It is when we know, feel and empathize with the pain in our world that we are most open to God and vulnerable to our own transformation. As the American poet Mary Oliver declares in her poem Praying: “It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot” that calls us to prayer and is “the doorway into …a silence in which another voice may speak.” It is a silence in which the voice of the Spirit may speak with inexpressible groanings.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Board Secretary

Published in: on July 18, 2017 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

How Deep are the Roots of Your Faith?

Reflection for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Communications Coordinator, Janine Walsh

This reflection was originally posted in our July 9th newsletter

Tree RootsI am in awe of God’s perfect confidence as expressed in our first reading this week. Isaiah tells us the Word of the Lord “… shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” God speaks to us through His word and we hear it and allow it to impact our lives. Week after week we go to Masses and services to be filled with this heavenly instruction so as to live out the life God has ordained us for. How blessed are we to be given this wondrous gift.

In the second reading, Paul tells us that our sufferings are nothing compared with “the glory to be revealed to us.” Paul’s faith is rooted deeply in his heart which gives him the confidence to preach to the Romans and remind them of what is to come.

In the Gospel, we hear the familiar parable of the sower. The longer form of the Gospel this week gives us the intended meaning of the story, making plain the various ways we might hear the Word. Or rather, the ways we might allow that word to nurture and feed us in our day-to-day lives. We must strive for the seed of our faith to root deep within ourselves, so when we are living with “the sufferings of this present time” we can lean on our faith to get through. Like Paul, our faith gives us the power to speak the truth to those in disbelief.

My pastor, Fr. Tom, speaks often about his wish for us. He and the parish staff of St. James in Stratford, CT work very hard to offer a plethora of opportunities to deepen our faith so our hearts will be more open to God’s love, which we are then instructed to share most generously with others. These words are said at the end of almost every Mass, during a special ritual of “the birthday blessings.” After each Mass, the congregation is asked if there are any birthdays being celebrated, that day, week or in a previous week. Those with special days come up to the front of the church, get introduced and have this special blessing prayed over them:

Dearest God, our Father, thank you for bringing your beloved sons and daughters into existence. Thank you for being with them and loving them every moment of their lives. In their new year of birth, help them to deepen their faith, so their heart will be more open to Your love, and may they share that love most generously with others. Amen.

Today, I pray this prayer for all of our readers, members, friends, and partners, not just on birthdays, but each day. I hold in my heart the hope that our collective faith will grow like a flame to engulf the unjust ideas and unfair thoughts that are constantly bombarding us in society.

Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator

Published in: on July 11, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  

Feather-weight and Millstone Burdens

Reflection for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our July 3rd newsletter

Ease Burden.PackMy neighbor who cares for her husband with Alzheimer’s undergoes knee surgery. A FAN partner loses his son unexpectedly. Immigrants without documents are afraid to shop, visit the food pantry, or go to church. Refugees are banned from Muslim countries. A young Muslim girl is beaten to death on her way home after a very early breakfast with friends during Ramadan. The list goes on of families heavily burdened. In this week’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to them: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Do I dare to hear Jesus speak these consoling words to me, whose burdens today are feather-weight compared with the burdens of those who are ill, or grieving, or living in fear? We can err by making too much of our daily burdens, but also by dismissing them. All of us followers of Jesus labor to carry out his mission. On some days the burden is heavy, on other days it seems inconsequential. But Jesus does not dismiss any burden, urging all of us “Come to me and I will give you rest. …For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Here’s the key: Life places all kinds of burdens on our shoulders and on our hearts, not all the same weight on a given day, but the yoke of the gospel, the burden of love, is light, because God walks with us, sharing life’s burdens.

The psalmist reminds us that “the Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Moreover, God’s love enables us to help each other when we stumble and fall, strengthens us to ease each other’s burdens.

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
FAN Associate Director

Published in: on July 4, 2017 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Do I really believe in Jesus?

Reflection for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN executive director, Patrick Carolan

This reflection was originally posted in our June 26th newsletter

Burden.CrossThis is a question I often ask myself. I am an early riser so I sit on my deck with a cup of coffee and my dog Howard, watching the sun come up and listening to the birds singing their morning praises. While sitting there I regularly reflect on two things; do I really believe and if so, what does that actually mean? If I believe, does it mean that I just have to go to Mass on Sunday, fold my hands the right way, participate in the sacraments, and obey the commandments? Is that the message from Jesus’ life and sacrifice? I am good at that, I’ve been doing it all my life. As I am sitting on my deck meditating, however, I feel like there is more.

In her book, Holy Thursday Revolution, Beatrice Bruteau says Jesus’ teachings and actions mean “we are to deepen our purity beyond ritual observances and not let any purity practice divide us or set us at odds with our fellows.” If we are so concerned with our rituals and our purity codes that we are not hearing the cry of the poor and oppressed and not acting on those cries, what does that make us? Sr. Ilia Delio so beautifully describes it in her book Making All Things New: “Eucharist means being an active participant in the Cosmic body of Christ, a body evolving unto fullness, the Cosmic person, through the rise of consciousness and unity in Love. The Gospel life is not a social agency of good works but a life of mindful presence or oneness with God as such sacraments do not make one a Christian.”

So what does it mean to really believe in Jesus? In Sunday’s second reading from Romans 6 we are told “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” We keep waiting for Jesus to come back again. Scholars and theologians have even tried to predict when Jesus will return. Yet this passage, like others in the Gospels, tells us that Jesus never left us. He is always with us. The apostle Thomas did not believe until he actually touched the wounds. Do we need to touch the wounds to really believe?

If we walk down the street and see a homeless person, do we cross over to avoid them, do we quicken our pace, do we look down so as not to make eye contact? Or do we see Christ and reach out to touch his wounds? Do we see Christ in the poor, the imprisoned, and the oppressed? In her book Beyond Apathy, Dr. Elisabeth Vasko states “To be a Christian is to take sides with those who are marginalized, dehumanized and subject to violence. Whether we like it or not neutrality isn’t an option. In the face of violent activity, to hide behind the mirror of ignorance is to take sides with the powers that be.”

The Gospel reading says “whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” We tend to spend more time worshiping at the foot of the cross than taking up the cross and following Christ. Worshiping Jesus is so much easier than taking up the cross. Do we really believe in Jesus?

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

Published in: on June 27, 2017 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

One Dad’s Thoughts on ‘Trumpcare’

By Joseph McGrath

The views of this author do not necessarily represent those of the Franciscan Action Network

I’m the father of two beautiful daughters and husband to a heroic woman. Our oldest daughter, Maura, is 18 and has severe intellectual disabilities, autism and other behavioral issues and depends on Medicaid and others for all of her needs. Our second daughter, Michelle, is 17. She is gifted both academically and athletically, and has been blessed with a caring and compassionate heart.McGrath Family

The beer party celebration in the rose garden at the White House was sickening and hypocritical. They weren’t celebrating a cure for cancer, but instead they were celebrating the repeal of the ACA that includes $880 billion in Medicaid cuts. According to Senator [Bernie] Sanders, they will give estimated tax breaks of $52 billion dollars to the richest family and $4 billion dollars for a politician’s family as a result of the estate tax break. To make matters even worse, only the top 0.2% of the top 1% of richest families receive this tax break. I am not against tax cuts, but this specific cut would mean the other 99.99998% of families are worse off because of it. Shouldn’t we know how much all politicians benefit from the Medicaid cuts as well as the pharmaceutical and insurance companies? Shouldn’t politicians protect the poor and vulnerable and not give tax cuts to the rich and comfortable? Do they vote for the American people or for their personal pockets?

Thirteen male senators met in private to discuss and write a new healthcare bill. They met in private after complaining publicly about Obama’s healthcare bill seven years ago. After criticizing Obama for so long, you would think that they already came up with their replacement for Obamacare. It is hypocritical and shameful that our government, “by the people, for the people,” is writing this bill in secret.

“Trumpcare” will cut Medicaid by $880 billion dollars over the next ten years. This will happen by changing Medicaid from an entitlement, in which the federal government automatically provides states with funding based on the needs of their population, to either a block grant or a per capita allocation. This will only become worse as time goes on because many baby boomers will need Medicaid as they age. Currently, Medicaid pays for 60% of people in nursing homes. The proposed plan will also cut Medicaid-funded home and community-based services, so that seniors and people with disabilities can live in their own homes, control their own lives, and be fully included in society. This is a crucial reason why advocacy groups for the Elderly, Disabled and Poor all oppose this bill. Also opposed to this bill are hospitals, health insurers, doctors and religious leaders, including the Catholic bishops who expressed concern over what they dubbed “serious flaws.” Charities have already noted that these cuts will be disastrous. Shouldn’t all religious leaders (Shepherds) speak out against Medicaid cuts to protect their flock?

As a father of a child who cannot defend herself or even tell me if someone has hurt her, Paul Ryan and politicians with his policies terrify me. They’re commitment, or lack thereof, to the elderly, poor and disabled resemble the principles of Ayn Rand more than Pope Francis. We must speak out. Gandhi once said, “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” The truth is cuts to Medicaid are occurring in order to provide tax cuts for the rich. These cuts will lead to more deaths and more poverty. Also, more elderly and disabled will be forced to live in institutions as a result. I always recommend people to google Christmas in Purgatory to see how the disabled were treated in institutions. Cuts to Medicaid will cause reduced care and will cause higher incidents of neglect and abuse and ultimately death. Paul Ryan after the Manchester bombing said “To deliberately target innocent children is cowardice in its most heinous form.” I agree, but taking health care from the sick also targets the innocent. Cutting Medicaid is clear political cowardice. I make this statement as a proud Casey democrat.

I believe Healthcare is a universal human right. Cuts to Medicaid are pro-greed, pro-malice, and pro-death.

Many politicians abuse the term “pro-life” in order to garner votes. Cuts to Medicaid are hypocrisy. When politicians make cuts to these safety net programs, this leads to abortions. Unfortunately, pro-life has become has become a single issue to make abortion illegal for many. Can you support life when you support politicians whose policies hurt both the born and unborn and may result in abortion?

Are people so naive to believe if Roe vs Wade is overturned that it will end abortions? Countries in Europe who outlaw abortions have women cross the border to another country to have an abortion. Wouldn’t women just go to another state? We will always have people who choose abortion. That’s why I believe in love, care and support, especially for pregnant women and the vulnerable.

When my wife, Rita was pregnant with Maura, we found out that our child was going to be born with Down syndrome. My wife was questioned multiple times if she was going to terminate the pregnancy. The resounding answer was always no in accordance to both her commitment to life and to her Catholic faith.Maura

Maura, who at birth had only a slightly beating heart as her only sign of life and spent the first month of her life in a NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit], had open heart surgery at 4 months old. When our girls were 17 and 3 months old, we received terrible news. My wife had breast cancer. After months of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, she beat cancer. I tell you these stories because some times there are situations beyond our control. I know the fear of almost losing my wife and my daughter. The fear of Medicaid cuts are as just terrifying and I am advocating against these cuts to protect the vulnerable.

Donald Trump tweeted, “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.” The recent beer party celebrated Trump’s lie. As a result of this vicious lie, obituaries will soon read, ‘Cause of death: Trumpcare.’

Hubert Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” Trumpcare fails every single one of these moral tests. Aren’t we all better than this as Americans? Shouldn’t we be judged on our actions and try to promote life with love, care and support?

These are my experiences as a Dad and Husband that must be shared. If anything offends God, I ask forgiveness and Mercy from God.

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm  Comments (2)  

“For to you I have entrusted my cause.”

Reflection for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Secretary, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our June 19th newsletter

hungryThe reflection title comes from this week’s first reading from Jeremiah, chapter 20.

Several weeks ago, while lobbying my Senators in Washington with the purpose of ensuring that my Catholic and Franciscan values were included in the federal budget, I witnessed the arrest of seven faith leaders praying in the lobby of the Senate Office Building. As I watched these men and women being handcuffed I questioned: what is God asking of us?

Two years ago, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis warned, “The warming (climate) caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming.” (51) What is God asking of us, when 12 million children, women and men in East Africa, each one made in the image and likeness of God, are starving to death due to drought: a drought likely caused in part by our nation’s consumption and continued misuse of God’s creation?

As we watch images of our brothers and sisters starving throughout the world, how can we as a nation even consider a budget that will cut aid to international food programs, including taking every penny away from the International Food for Education program which helped feed more that 2 million people in 2016?

We daily entrust our cause to God. Yet, God has entrusted us with this time on earth, to live our Christian and Franciscan values at this moment in our nation’s history. With globalization and advances in communication technology we can no longer turn our heads when we see the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. We are all interconnected; over 7 billion children, women and men with one home, Earth. What affects our brothers and sisters in East Africa affects us all. Each time we say the words of the Our Father, “Your will be done” we are reminded to consider what God may be asking of us. Recognizing Christ and our humanity in our brothers and sisters suffering injustice, we cannot NOT take action.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Board Secretary

Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

The Living Bread

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ by Br. Paul Crawford, OFM, Cap.

This reflection was originally posted in our June 12 newsletter

share food“The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Old Testament reading this week reminds us that in the relationship we have with God, we have been tested to see if our intentions and hearts are with the Lord. We also are reminded that the Lord our God feeds us with manna in the desert.

In Corinthians, we hear ” …the loaf of bread is one; we, though many, are one body, for we partake of the one loaf.” But in this week’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that unless we “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,” we do not have life within us. There is a lot of wisdom here, for whenever we gather together as a family or with friends we usually do it around the sharing of food. Something in this sharing breaks down walls and brings us together, despite differences.

Food has always been a sign and a reminder of God’s covenant to His people, to care for them and to always be with them in the “breaking of the bread.” To remain in Jesus is to accept His challenge: not just to receive Him, but also to see the world through His eyes, to engage the world with His passion, and to feed the world with His generosity, literally and spiritually.

So, next time a hand reaches out to you in need, don’t walk by. As this administration puts together its budget for the American people, work to ensure that it reflects the moral fiber of our nation, which has long been defined by altruism and equality. Be the bread that God gave to the world.

Br. Paul Crawford, OFM, Cap.
FAN Board Treasurer

Published in: on June 13, 2017 at 8:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Faith Rests on Mystery

Reflection for Most Holy Trinity Sunday by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our June 5 newsletter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho would have thought that the most profound tenet of our Christian faith would become the topic of a contemporary novel made into a film?! However, “The Shack” is only the most recent expression of what seems to be a human need to visualize the mystery of The Most Holy Trinity. We have used a triangle, a picture of two men and a bird, a shamrock; why not a movie? However, all these efforts fall far short of definition and explanation of the profound mystery on which our faith rests.

Christianity is not for those who insist, theologically and spiritually, that seeing is believing, or that everything believable must have a rational explanation. God becoming fully human while remaining fully divine is not rational. Bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ cannot be proven by scientific inquiry. The institutional Church has many rules, rubrics, and requirements, but the core beliefs that must be held are few, and call for faith in mystery. The Holy Trinity is our most fundamental belief: three distinct but equal Persons in one God, a God whose very nature is community, relationship.

When the worshipping community prays the Creed each Sunday, we say “I believe.” Even in moments of doubt, we proclaim “I believe.” This belief without scientific proof is not lazy or naïve; rather, it acknowledges our humanness and our trust in God “who so loved the world.” St. Francis cried, ”Who are you, O God, and who am I?” Like Francis, we accept our flawed but loved humanity with humility and gratitude when we proclaim “I believe.”

If the very nature of God is love expressed in relationship, then our faith and love must be three dimensional: love God, love others, love myself. So simple, yet so challenging. In today’s Second Reading, Paul insists that the brothers and sisters “encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace…Greet one another with a holy kiss, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Living a life of relationship may be harder than faith in mystery.

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
FAN Associate Director

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  

When It Comes to the Police, Trump Is All Bluster

Blog submission by George Cassidy Payne

Authors’ views are not necessarily those of the Franciscan Action Network

paynePresident Trump recently addressed law enforcement and family members of the fallen at the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service outside the U.S. Capitol. In this speech he reaffirmed his campaign promises to restore justice and end attacks on police. The President remarked:

“You are the Thin Blue Line between civilization and chaos. You come from every community and all walks of life. You are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. You rush into unknown danger, risking your lives for people you have never met, people you don’t know, performing your duty under the most difficult conditions — and often without any thanks at all.”

As much as I agree with the president’s sentiments about the bravery and dedication of most police officers, I cannot help but see through the hypocrisy of these words.

Take for example the criminalizing of nonviolent marijuana users, which seems to be a priority of the Trump-Sessions Justice Department. Studies show that legalizing marijuana greatly reduces the burden of America’s prison system on taxpayers. The population in America’s jails and prisons has grown to 6.9 million, including those on probation and parole. In prosecuting and policing individuals with regards to marijuana, between $7 billion and $10 billion is spent annually. Ninety percent of those cases were for possession only. According to the Justice Department’s own data, there are more arrests made on marijuana charges than violent crimes combined (e.g., assault, rape, robbery and murder).

The war on drugs, as it is being waged under Trump’s new administration, takes resources away from the police and makes them less capable of responding to the highest needs in our communities. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars and an extremely reckless policy for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to uphold. Most police officers that I know would rather risk their lives trying to save a victim of sexual assault or finding a lost child than arresting kids smoking and/or selling reefer.

Even more disconcerting is Trump’s massive reduction in spending on vital social services which directly impact the day to day lives of police officers. For instance, every weekday, millions of children from some of the poorest parts of the United States remain after school for programs that aim to enhance not only academic performance, but also build social skills and foster relationships with healthy adults. These kids get a safe and enriching place to spend the afternoon and early evening, and their working parents can take advantage of free child care. Threatened by his proposal to eliminate $1.2 billion in grants for after-school and summer programs, many of these services could go extinct.

If this were to happen it would be immeasurably counterproductive-that is if reducing crime and violence against the police is the goal. Every $1 invested in after-school programs saves $9 by increasing kids’ future earning potential, improving their performance at school, and reducing crime and welfare costs, according to a study by the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College. What is clear from the research is that regular participation in after-school programs and community learning centers increases achievement in math and reading, school attendance, homework completion, class participation, improved classroom behavior and lower dropout rates.

Put in starker terms, kids who do not have these programs turn to gangs, rely on heavy drug use, and ultimately commit crimes. Kids who do not have these programs, sometimes end up shooting police officers. The direct correlation is there, but the president refuses to make the connection.

The same can be said for his stance on public education. The Trump budget would slash $9 billion—13 percent of the U.S. Department of Education’s funding—while investing $1.4 billion of new money in school choice, including private school vouchers.

In addition to cutting supports to teachers and after-school programs, this budget eliminates funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS, which provides volunteer support and educational awards for teachers in training and out-of-school time programming. A majority of competitive grant awardees in the AmeriCorps program, the largest CNCS program, go to educational programs in schools and serve students in 41 states and Washington, D.C.

What is more, Academy Charter Schools, Teacher Residencies, Reading Corps, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Teach For America could be severely crippled under the president’s proposed budget. Without these programs, police officers across the nation can expect to be dealing with youth and immature adults who are less educated and community oriented, less civil in general, drastically poorer, and far more apt to make violent choices.

Lastly, there has long been a tension between the interests of law enforcement and the efforts to roll back gun regulations, but the conflicts will become more frequent as gun rights are expanded under the Trump administration. Police departments across the nation have insisted that gun owners be required to receive training, as their officers do, and that people with violent histories, who are more likely to clash with the police, be stopped from obtaining weapons.

Maine has recently enacted a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training, despite the objections of Michael Sauschuck, the police chief in Portland, the state’s largest city.

“It is absolutely ludicrous to me that we require people to go take a test to get a driver’s license, but we are allowing people to carry a deadly weapon on their person without any procedures regulating it,” Chief Sauschuck said.

I could go on. Trumpcare, lopsided defense spending, the president’s record of homophobic and sexist remarks on the campaign trail, and his paternalistic comments about African Americans and the Black Lives Matter Movement, also contribute to increased risks for police officers who are asked to serve and protect an increasingly agitated and under-resourced public.

There is a relationship between public education and crime; there is a link between the war on drugs and attacks on police; there is a direct line from poverty to prison; and there is a difference between truly supporting police officers and making hyped up speeches at memorial day celebrations. If Donald Trump truly cared about the safety of police officers, his policies would reflect this concern. As usual, the president is all bluster and no substance.

George Cassidy Payne, M.A., M.T.S
State University of NY Humanities Instructor
Rochester AmeriCorps Member (2009-10)
Founder, Gandhi Earth Keepers International

Published in: on May 31, 2017 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Empowered by the Holy Spirit

Reflection for Pentecost Sunday by FAN Board Member, Sr. Marge Wissman, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our May 29th newsletter

Tongue of Fire “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be With You”. (John 20:19) When the disciples were together again in one room, it was not a peaceful scene. As related in Acts: “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were,” followed by tongues of fire which parted and settled over each of them and each one in the room spoke in a different language that all understood. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s coming was not one of peace, serenity, and calm. In fact, the Jews who heard the noise and heard them speak in different tongues wrote them off as bewildering and probably drunk.

But at that moment the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach about Jesus, resist those who misjudged and dismissed them. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the disciples found strength, joy and pride in preaching and upholding the life and prophecy of Jesus.

Why should we be surprised when we receive the same destiny as the disciples? If our destiny is to bring peace and justice to this world, are we willing to work against the injustices of unequal pay, denial of the gifts of women, lack of health care, racism, denial of rights and compassion for the refugee and immigrant population, compassion for the poor, care of the earth and the many more  injustices? By receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit – fortitude; knowledge; piety; awe, wonder and fear of the Lord – we are strengthened to end the injustices. Every time we are confronted by an injustice, we know we can handle it because we know we are not alone. Today as we say “Come Holy Spirit” let us be aware of what we are asking for. Can we live up to and embrace the destiny that is ours?

Sr. Marge Wissman, OSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on May 30, 2017 at 8:54 am  Leave a Comment