Dear Brother and Sisters,
This week we were all shocked with what happened in Uvalde, TX. It was not just another mass shooting, marking the 252nd time this year where a single outburst of violence led to four or more people getting shot. It’s not the fact that it was the 27th mass shooting that happened in a K-12 school. What really shocks us is how can a person do such an evil act? Every day something outrageous happens in our country. Enough to read MSN, FOX, USA TODAY, that you will find something. The answer is very “simple,” once we remove God from the picture nothing makes sense…and we need the Holy Spirit to remind us what Jesus told us (Jn 14:26).
There are two problems regarding our mentality nowadays. Either people don’t believe in God or something happens that makes them lose their faith in God. Nietszche reasons God’s nature in light of such events as either God does not exist to stop these evil actions, or if he exists and allows it, he is a monster, and not a loving God. It is very easy to fall into either category according to what the world tells us. The bottom line is that we don’t understand why there is suffering in our lives and therefore we can’t accept it. At best we can resign them and move on.
On these days preceding the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost, we hear from the Gospel of John chapters 13-17. Jesus is at the last supper preparing his disciples for the events that are about to happen. He announces (again) the coming of his Passion, and also announces the coming of the Holy Spirit. This weekend’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about being with the Father and one with us. The unity with Christ in order to receive the Holy Spirit is essential for our lives. Not only to understand God’s plan in our lives, but also to give meaning to our sufferings. If we are called to be one with Christ, then He will allow us to experience a share in his passion. The sufferings of our lives is the participation of the sufferings of Christ. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, illnesses, tragic events, we are called to see them all through the light of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. I must say that as a child cannot understand trigonometry, at times we cannot fully understand the plans of God. Therefore, in every inch of our lives, we are called to see as part of the big picture, which is God’s plan of salvation. All sufferings in our lives draw us closer to Him. Whether we start praying for someone who is sick, or offer masses for our loved ones, He is always drawing us closer to Him, even in sad events.
However, to enter into God’s will, we need the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity was sent to strengthen us to say “yes” to God. Unfortunately, there are times in which we rebel like the people of Israel when they were in the desert. We, as they, get tired of the precariousness, and we make demands in order to continue this path. As much as we try to move forward, there is only so much we can take. Finally, we are tempted to give up, to throw everything out of the window. This is when we snap. We snap because we try to do everything on our own strength. Christ has promised us the Holy Spirit to help us in our path towards heaven. He will give us the gifts of WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING, COUNSEL, FORTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE, FEAR OF THE LORD, AND PIETY. Next week we will reflect on each of these gifts. These gifts are available for those who ask for them. This past Friday we started the novena of the Holy Spirit. I invite you to pray asking God to receive the Holy Spirit. He will “remind you of all that I told you.”(Jn 24:26) If our actions are not grounded in God as its origin and goal, then we get lost, like the world that does not know God. In the very first chapter in the Gospel of John, Christ already announces that the world has rejected God. In the third chapter, Jesus declares that “people preferred darkness to light.” Only by the Holy Spirit can we accept God. And only by the Holy Spirit we can say “yes” to his plan every day. Only by the Holy Spirit is that we can love one another as Christ has loved us. Without Him, we too can commit such heinous actions as we see more often. Therefore, let us all ask for the Holy Spirit, so that Christ may be present in our lives, and that we choose light over darkness. And don't be discouraged, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:5)
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.”
Father Steven Clemence