May 24, 2015


The Spirit of truth … will guide you to all truth. – John 16: 13

   A shipping company had a job opening for a ship’s radio operator & the outer office was crowded with applicants waiting to be called in turn & talking loud enough to be heard over the sound of a nearby loud speaker. Another applicant entered, filled out a form & sat quietly by himself for a few moments. Suddenly he got up & walked into an office marked “private.” A few minutes later he emerged smiling: he had been hired. One of those still waiting protested, “Look here. We were here first. Why did you jump the line? The successful applicant replied, “Any one of you could have landed the job, but none of you were listening to the Morse code signals coming over the loud speaker. The message was, ‘We desire to fill this position with someone who is constantly alert. If you are getting this message, come into the private office immediately.’”

    Today’s first reading describes how the Spirit came to the Apostles. Some of may think we do not have the Spirit because God hasn’t revealed Himself to us such a dramatic fashion.  Where are the tongues of fire? Where is the mighty wind? ‘Listen to the wind’ is God’s plea. Yet the wind does not always come in the form of a hurricane (thank heavens!). For most of us, the unseen but mighty power of the Holy Spirit comes as a gentle breeze.

   A city Council advertised for bids to raise a ship from the bottom of the bay. All the bids were high except for one which seemed ridiculously low. The low bidder was asked to describe the method he would use to raise the ship. The Council was impressed by the man’s presentation & awarded him the contract. He then put his plan into operation. When the tide was low, he fastened wooden barges to the sunken ship with strong steel cables. When the tide came in, the cables tightened, causing the barges to move. Under the strength of the unseen but mighty power of the incoming tide, the ship broke loose from its muddy bed & rose to the surface.

   We sometimes feel that our life is going nowhere – stuck-in-the-mud as it were. But God has promised us we can never sink so low as to be beyond the power of the Spirit to liberate us from the mire of anxiety & despair, & to raise us up to a new beginning, a new life in Christ!

   Jesus clearly teaches that knowing God’s intention for our life & carrying it out depends on our willingness to accept & experience the Holy Spirit. This can be discombobulating at times & threaten our serenity. But left to our own resources, we will forever remain stuck in the mire of conformity.

   God has set a course for our life, & He has given us the unseen might of His Spirit to guide us through the fog & shoals of life. We cannot do it alone. To stay on course, we need to accept the gift of the Holy Spirit & experience that sacred presence in every part of our lives. This means being constantly alert & sensitive to the breath of Jesus in our souls. That’s why prayer is so essential. It may lead us in unexpected directions to seemingly strange destinations. But that is what it takes to become truly alive!  AMEN!