May 24, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Acts 2:1-11 / Psalm 104 / 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 / Jn 20:19-23
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
According to Beliefnet.com, one of the three most popular prayers in the world, which is being prayed by thousands, and even millions, of people every day is the Serenity Prayer. Part of it says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” We all know that trying to change our DNA, or our genes, or our family, is an exercise in futility. But there are still a lot of things in the world and in ourselves that we can change.
The other day I learned another lesson in the English language about two words which for years I thought had practically the same meaning. With the help of a friend, who I believe is one of the smartest people I know, I came to realize that if a person is smart, that does not necessarily mean that they are wise.
I tried to hold onto my previous knowledge that smart equals wise, but after making it the subject of my meditation for a few hours, it occurred to me that there are really smart people in the world who are not wise. Some of them are celebrities, dignitaries, and even politicians. They are in the news. There are indeed people who are brilliant, intelligent, smart by most people’s standards, but based on their life choices, we could say that they are not very wise.
However, as soon as a person realizes this, then this kind of realization could be the beginning of wisdom. A Greek philosopher once said that “the unenlightened life is not worth living.” And someone added: “the unlived life is not worth examining.” It goes without saying that the lives of those who waste their God given gifts are lives not worth examining. But some of them are even in the news.
Today as we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, our Holy Mother Church reminds us about the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. When we were baptized, the Lord God gave us the whole package. One of the gifts in this spiritual package is the gift of wisdom. But if this is so, why is it that many Christian lives don’t seem to manifest wisdom, but instead they keep on making one wrong decision after another?
Last year during the Feast of Pentecost, Deacon Ray, quoting Bishop Fulton Sheen, said that even though we are God’s chosen people, we behave more like God’s frozen people; frozen in our prayer life and frozen in the way we celebrate our faith.
My dear brothers and sisters, as we gather here today on the occasion of the birthday of our Church, which is the fulfillment of Jesus’s promise to his disciples that they will receive power, let us have in mind what our Lord said in the Gospel the other Sunday, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me, you can do nothing.” The implication is: “With me you can do everything.” With the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we can indeed have the serenity and enlightenment to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and yes, the wisdom to know the difference.