In readings from the Acts of the Apostles, often the first reading at Mass at this time, we have put before us a picture of the early Christian community. One based on mutual love, respect, faithfulness and the sharing of resources. Of course they were human beings like us and had weaknesses and challenges like we have.
Obedience or docility to the Holy Spirit guided the early Christian community. We, as human beings, are capable of much good but we can also do much that is not so good, and even at times evil.
The action of the Holy Spirit brought about transformation of those early Christians. The same Holy Spirit can do wonders in us that we cannot even imagine. This is not just ‘pie in the sky’ or fantasy. When we look at so many women and men who have gone before us and were transformed into great Saints by the Holy Spirit, we have every reason to be hopeful.
The Holy Spirit can activate the gifts of the Spirit within us. As individuals, as families, as church, we can be renewed.
We cannot change ourselves. We co-operate with the Holy Spirit bringing about change in us. Listening in silence, letting the Spirit lead us …….
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not just for us. They are also for service, for ministry. They are meant to be shared.
Jesus compared us to yeast that helps the dough to rise.
As the Holy Spirit transforms us we help facilitate transformation in others.
Our attitude to gossip, to materialism, false pride, the care of God’s creation, the care of the dispossessed, the poor, the starving, those suffering injustice, the abused, etc., all this is transformed when we are in tune with the Holy Spirit.
We also begin to be more respectful to those who disagree with us.
We pray for genuine transformation so that we do not fall into the trap of being judgmental of others. Sure, we can judge that certain actions, certain attitudes are wrong, e.g. exploitation of the poor, human trafficking, disrespect for the dignity of all human beings, etc.
However, it is not up to us to do what some of the Pharisees did to Jesus and to others. They considered themselves superior, and they were ‘good’, others were ‘bad’.
We are called to be truly humble servants of Jesus who do not need to keep proving that we are lovable, and good or better! We are loved unconditionally and empowered by a free gift of the Holy Spirit. ‘There but for the grace of God go I’. This reminder leaves no room for judging of others.
God Bless you today.
Bishop of Darwin