Recognizing the Work of the Holy Spirit in our Lives

Homily for Saturday Week 5 of Easter Season

First reading:  Acts 16: 1-10

In her article “Surrendering to Uncertainty,” Ms. Heather Lanier concludes with a series of statements:

  • Don’t squander this.
  • Let it make you more tender.
  • Let it rewrite what matters.
  • Let it bring you closer to all you love, to all you could lose.
  • Let it bring you to your knees.

Ms. Lanier writes these lines in reference to caring for her young daughter who was born with special physical needs. These statements can also be applied to our national experience as many states lift orders to shelter in place.  So unexpected were these few past months, that many have experienced new wisdom during the mandated exile, slowing down our normal hectic routine.  May we in our prayer ask of God in this “now” normal:

  • Please don’t let us squander our new wisdom
  • May we be more tender
  • May we see divine initiative where we did not before.
  • May we savor and cherish our gifts and our special relationships
  • Let us bend our knee before Jesus in humble acknowledgement of His reign

The Book of Acts begins with the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in the early days after the resurrection of Jesus – in Jerusalem. Although much of Jesus’s life and ministry was in Galilee, in the immediate time after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the geographic focus in the book of Acts is Jerusalem. And yet, at its conclusion, the geographic focus has shifted to Rome. According to the evangelist Luke, the Holy Spirit has guided this relocation of the Church’s center from David’s Holy City to the center of the empire of Rome. In today’s reading, we see that Paul’s missionary activity is working its way north along the east side of the Mediterranean Sea and west along the northern side. In Paul’s dream, he is invited to Macedonia; and he changes his course in response to this dream.

The perception of the Holy Spirit moving the center of Church can also be applied to our own missionary discipleship. That which was the center of our understanding: our prayer, our ministry, our church worship at the start of this calendar year now has been thoroughly shaken. Can we perceive the work of the Holy Spirit?

  • Can we be open to new wisdom?
  • Will our new experience grow the tenderness of our hearts?
  • Has the focus of our vision shifted to new horizons?
  • Are we open to the gifts bestowed by the action of the Three Persons of the Trinity?
  • Humbly do we kneel at the foot of Jesus’s Cross and respond to the Call of our King?

In the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit!

~ Fr. Paul Deutsch, SJ, Jesuit High, Tampa

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Located on the shores of Lewisville Lake in Lake Dallas, Texas, Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House is situated on an inviting 37-acre campus less than an hour north of Dallas.