Monday of the Second Week of Easter
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do." (St. John XXIII)
I thought of this quote from St. John the XXII as I encountered our readings today. As our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles begins today Peter and John have just been released with the warning not to preach in the name of Jesus. However the power of the Spirit in their lives is so great they cannot stop. And as our reading ends we are told that the Spirit is so powerful in them that even the ground shakes as they pray and preach.
If we take a moment to look back at the journey of these two disciples along with the other disciples we might note that it has been a long journey for them. They have endured many struggles. They didn’t always get Jesus’ preaching and teaching. They were not the brightest of students. At times they often pushed for their way rather than Jesus’. They made some poor decisions and even denied and ran away from Jesus at his greatest time of need. Even their encounters of the Risen Lord did not seal the deal.
All along from the first moment Jesus called them, he knew he had to begin emptying them. He continually invited them to let go of the world and to let God. Why? Because Jesus wanted to fill them with the Holy Spirit and it becomes the power of the Spirit that makes their prayer, their preaching so powerful and life giving.
In the Gospel Jesus is trying to do the same for Nicodemus. He is asking Nicodemus to empty himself of the trappings of the world so that he can be filled with the Spirit. In a way Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he is weighted down by the world but if he can let go and be filled with the Spirit he can be taken far beyond his wildest dreams!
St. John XXIII using different words is offering the same message as our readings today. He reminds us not to be afraid, not to be weighed down by our fears, our frustrations, and our failures but to be open to the Holy Spirit. He wants us to let go and let the Holy Spirit empower us into our hopes, dreams and unfulfilled potential helping us to always remember that nothing is ever impossible with God. We just have to believe and never give up.
So let us empty ourselves today and let God fill us with the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we will stand ready for wherever the wind blows us today! Have a great day everyone and may the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in your heart!
- Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P., - St. Vincent Strambi Residence