Come, Holy Spirit! is a six week series of presentations on the Holy Spirit. This fourth talk explores how we “plug in” to the Spirit with the assent of our free will and then offer the unique gifts of our lives as fuel for the fire of Spirit to flourish within us. This fourth presentation was given by Fr. Andrew at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on March 16, 2023.
The daily readings proclaim God’s goodness and power. As Jesus comes to light the fire of the Holy Spirit in our world we are confronted with a choice: to accept God’s path or walk away. What will we choose?
Our faith acknowledges the presence and power of sin in our world today. Temptation is all around us, working to ensnare us and lead us astray. The solution? Jesus comes into our world to free us from the chains of sin and lead us into the grace that only God can provide.
Why do the innocent suffer? Why is there senseless violence, hate, cruelty and pain? God has granted human souls with the freedom to choose good or evil, and the consequences can be profound. Yet it was for our sins that the Christ child was born, breaking the chains of evil and offering us a chance for grace and mercy. May the death of these innocent children inspire us to hold fast to our faith as we follow the Lord.
The Book of Sirach, the Psalm response, and the Gospel of Matthew all highlight the crucial power we have to choose the course of our lives. May we put Christ at the center of our hearts, so that everything we say and do will be touched by his grace.
1st Reading – We have freedom to choose…good or evil, life or death
Psalm – “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”
2nd Reading – Wisdom comes from the Spirit, hidden & mysterious
Gospel – Jesus establishes a new level of intensity for faith in God
The first reading from the Book of Sirach makes it clear that we have the freedom to make choices in our lives for good or evil, life or death. This concept of Free Will – that we are so free that we can reject even God himself – comes with sobering consequences: Those who choose life will find it, and those who choose destruction will find it…
The Psalm response encourages us to choose the Lord. As we seek to know the Lord through Prayer, Scripture, Fellowship and Sacraments we conform our hearts to Christ. Following the Lord means that we seek instruction, learn God’s commands, and then apply our faith in all aspects of our lives.
The second reading reveals the mystery of God’s wisdom, hidden through the ages and revealed in Christ, which is granted to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit – requested by Jesus and given by the Father – that our minds and hearts receive the Good News and act on it with conviction and power.
Finally, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus sets a new standard of living. Using four precepts of the Law of Moses, the Lord demands that we go farther than what was formerly prescribed:
Thou shall not kill now extends to reconciliation for any offense
Adultery now extends to all forms of lust
Divorce takes on a larger context
Making an oath now changes to meaning “Yes” and “No”
The Lord makes it clear that he is doing something new, building upon the precedent of the Law and moving far beyond it. Jesus calls his disciples to a deeper level of commitment, moving beyond the moral code to a morality that is written upon our hearts. We find ourselves more aware of the destructive power of sin, turning away from its snare and embracing a life in Christ.
And thus we find ourselves back at the first reading. We have a choice. No matter what has gone before we can make a break from the past and choose life! Today we seek Jesus and ask for the grace we need to choose Him with all our heart.