The Flame: May/June 2010
Dear Readers of The Flame,
Seeds are filled with potential. Scripture tells us that a mustard seed produces the largest of shrubs. An acorn produces an oak tree. The General Sherman Sequoia Tree, the world’s largest tree by volume (52,584 cubic feet), began from a seed in a pine cone. However, seeds will remain seeds without water and sunlight. By themselves, they are inert. Given the proper conditions seeds will become plants that transform their environment and produce even more seeds. Jesus compared his teaching to seeds. “The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11b). His message has great potential.
However, without the proper conditions, the seed will remain just seed. Just what are those conditions? For a plant seed to germinate, take root and grow it needs sunlight, water and good soil. For the Word of God to grow in us we need a special Helper. We need the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who provides light to our minds and living water to our hearts. By the Holy Spirit we “get” the message of Jesus. By the Holy Spirit the message of Jesus grows in us.
I have often thought about the question the Apostles asked Jesus just before he ascended into heaven. “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b) They were asking the wrong question. The Apostles seemed to think that Jesus was going to set up some sort of political empire centered in Israel. Jesus gently steered them away from that thinking. “It is not for you to know the times and seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7) He then directed them to what they were really to be concerned about. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The Apostles soaked up the teaching of Jesus for three years. They had it memorized. They saw his deeds. The knew Jesus raised from the dead. Yet the apostles were still somewhat in the dark. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit fell on them at Pentecost that the message, deeds and especially death and resurrection of Jesus “clicked”. The Holy Spirit enlightened their minds and enflamed their hearts in such a way that immediately began to give clear witness to Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
As we approach the Solemnity of Pentecost, the third most important feast of the Church, let us pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For many in the Church, the seeds of Christ’s teachings have not germinated. The victory of the love of Jesus over sin and death is simply a cliché, not the life giving event it truly is. We need more of the Holy Spirit.
And please join your brothers and sisters in the charismatic renewal at St. Michael’s in Independence on Pentecost Sunday, May 23 at 2:00 PM. We will be praying for baptism in the Holy Spirit for those who are making the Life in the Spirit Seminars this Easter season and celebrating our monthly charismatic mass. All are welcome! Come Holy Spirit! Water the seeds of Jesus teaching in our hearts and minds! Make us again God’s fruitful and holy children, witnesses of Jesus!
Fr. Bob Franco