If you respond, as I try to do daily, to the Good News, you may find yourself fired up over an article on the faith or a good homily but the enthusiasm often wanes as the realities of daily living move you into your daily routine. I think that this is normal for most of us. The remedy appears to be to keep your eyes on the prize and to expect the Holy Spirit to give you something to chew on each day. The prize lives in each of us and invites us to daily dialogue. It is putting ourselves in the presence of God each day that keeps the fires of faith burning and holds out the promise of growing intimacy with our God.
In yesterday’s scripture reading from the Acts of the Apostles, and on the eve of Pentecost, Peter addressed his fellow Israelites to advise them that God has made “this Jesus whom you have crucified both Lord and Messiah”. The crowd, cut to the heart, asked Peter what they could do and Peter advised them to “repent and be baptized—so that your sins might be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit—– Save yourself from this corrupt generation”.
As I reflect on this advice this morning, three things occur to me. Firstly, I recognize once again how vulnerable I am to the forces of evil that influence our modern secular generation that is in many ways corrupt. Secondly, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have the Lord himself reside in my heart. But I am also reminded that the Lord has called me and indeed all of us to share the good news with as many people as will listen and this is a compelling and urgent task for us. I use the word “urgent” in the sense that it is not something that we can put on the back burner. It needs to be front and center each day. The work of salvation demands that we take this undertaking seriously. As Disciples, we are in the vanguard and we must continually conduct ourselves in such a way as to bring others to Jesus.
This vulnerability to the evil around us is offset by the grace God offers us as we reside in His protection. Availing ourselves of this protection requires effort on our part to build intimacy with Him. It is the spiritual transformation that intimacy with God brings about that most effectively touches the hearts of those who have yet to encounter the risen Christ and effectively holds off the forces of evil intent on diverting our efforts.
As we, at St. Joseph’s, reflect on our goal to move from maintenance to mission, personal spiritual transformation is the holy grail. The challenge will be to rally our leadership and then to design programs and processes that will facilitate that development. The Holy Spirit is indeed active in leading the charge in our community and I am full of optimism.
May the voluminous grace that God dispenses charge our spiritual batteries and urge us forward and may each of you who reads this be inspired to dedicate your own lives to the service of the Creator of the Universe who asks each of us to reach out in love to those who have yet to meet Jesus.