Monday, May 2, 2016

THE REVEREND JOHN SMITH: "The Holy Spirit is given to each one of us in our Baptism, but we have to constantly ask for the Spirit's help, guidance, and leading as we live day by day."

Can't Live Without It
Terri and I returned Saturday night from our visits to family in Arizona, Washington, and Wisconsin!  The visits were wonderful, but it's good to be back in Antigua!  Before we left we celebrated Easter and the First Sunday after with you, sharing the thought that our human culture hates to hear the voice of victims.  Because of this, we either silence them by killing them (ie. Osama bin Laden), or keeping them out of sight and mind on the "other side of the tracks" so to speak.  The Resurrection of Jesus brings about two important things in this regard:  one the fear of death is conquered for a believer and the Voice of a Victim is heard.  Jesus speaks for all the victims silenced by our human culture!

We've been listening each week in the Gospel during Eastertide the Voice of the Victim.  When the disciples are full of guilt and fear after fleeing Jesus' death on the cross, Jesus appears to them, and, instead of upbraiding them, three times he tells them to receive Peace.  The "Peace" that puts away guilt and fear, communicates mercy, and restores their call as his chosen ones.

The next week, Jesus reminds them that they are his sheep and he gives his sheep eternal life.  In other words, Eternal Life begins now, in this life, not when we die, allowing us to live free from the fear of death.  The fear of death, and our actions to protect ourselves from death, especially by killing those we believe are our enemies (and in turn victimizing many others), is conquered, finally allowing us to live the baptismal life we are called to live!

The week before last, after Judas leaves Jesus and his disciples, Jesus gives them the command to love one another.  Love is the only thing that can heal this world and the myriad ways we betray Jesus and each other as Judas did.  Most of the time we write those who betray us off with "good riddens."  But Jesus teaches a different way.  He continues to love and care for the betrayers (us too, for the many ways we have betrayed the Lord) and is patient with their rehabilitation.  Just think of chosen Peter who denied his Lord three times when the chips were down!  If Peter could be rehabilitated, so can we, and even the Judases of this world.

If you're like me, you might be thinking, "Sorry, but I just can't live this way of mercy and forgiveness that Jesus teaches."  It's true.  Humanly we can't.  That is why in today's Gospel Jesus tells his disciples and us that he will send to us an Advocate (parakletos in the Greek= the One "called" kaleo, "alongside" para), the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit allows each of the disciples (and us!) to creatively live and act the Jesus life through our God-given personalities.  We can't live the teaching of Jesus in this world, live in the "light" with so much "darkness" around us, without the grace of the Holy Spirit active in us.  Otherwise, without the Spirit, we will continue to live in anger and rivalry and vengeance toward others.  The Holy Spirit is given to each one of us in our Baptism, but we have to constantly ask for the Spirit's help, guidance, and leading as we live day by day.  

The secret is:  Praying constantly through the day for the Holy Spirit's help and advocacy, and then creatively acting the Jesus life through our unique personalities, loving God with our whole hearts and our neighbors (near and far) as ourselves.  (emphasis added/lc)

I hope this helps.  


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.

The Reverend John Smith, Vicar.
5235-6674 cell telephone (502 country code)


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