Here we are: all set to start again the so-called ‘Ordinary Time’. It is a new season that opens up with the beginning of winter. We’ve got a lot on our minds, thinking about all of the different changes being proposed throughout the diocese and as we continue praying to the Holy Spirit, we are afforded a beautiful Sunday Gospel that speaks to us in many ways. We have just celebrated Pentecost and in the wake of this great feast, celebrating the very birth of the Church, we have been led by the liturgy of the Church to consider the Commandments of the Lord in our life. In the past few days we have already spent a good amount of time on the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is teaching us to keep the Law of the Lord in our hearts. That just helps us understand why we celebrated Pentecost in the first place: in order to obey the Lord with the help he sends from above.
Today we heard the second reading announce this bold statement: “If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger to yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit”. That is an amazing thought to meditate on. The Holy Spirit is the pure gift of love between Father and Son and therefore, the Spirit simply cannot indulge in Himself or lead us into self-indulgence. That is so true! How can we welcome this Spirit into our hearts? What must we do to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us? Are we aware of how the Spirit gently guides us away from our selfish tendencies? Let us ask Him to continue to “persuade” us that it is only in our true best interest that we should turn away from these false claims to liberty!
Furthermore, let us now consider the Gospel reading. I was particularly struck by this verse: “As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road to Jerusalem.” This is such an amazing passage! We are only in Chapter 9 of St Luke’s Gospel, but Jesus is already completely focused and pointing in the direction of Jerusalem. That is to say that He is already “all in”. He is turned towards the total GIFT of Himself, just like the Spirit would have it with us if we would consider following His advice and His lead. We have here a perfect picture of who Jesus is! To be “taken up to heaven” translates into “resolutely taking the road to Jerusalem”. The message is clear: the Holy Spirit has been given to us that we might find ourselves choosing to give our lives to others with the same kind of strength and determination we find in Jesus’ own Life. Brothers and Sisters, let us continue to pray that the Holy Spirit may guide us all with the same power we see in Our Lord!
Fr Sean Mary