Seeds of the Spirit

Seeds of the Spirit

June 14, 2015 | HNMWebmaster | Deacon Eddie, Discipleship, Evangelization, Faith, Holy Spirit, Homilies, Mission, Ordinary Time, Service, St. Mark, Vocations

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2015 – Year B

Readings: Ez 17:22-24 / Psalm 92 / 2 Cor 5:6-10 / Mk 4:26-34
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

One Sunday after the service, a preacher was standing outside and greeting the people as they left the church. One lady came up to the preacher and said, “I really enjoyed your homily today.” And the preacher said, “Well ma’am, I can’t take credit for it. It must be the Holy Spirit.” The lady looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, but it wasn’t that good.”

Now that’s a funny joke. We all think it’s funny. I think it’s funny. But there’s a theological problem with it. If we think about the readings today, and we think about that joke, the implication of the lady’s comment is that if the preacher’s homily is not shaking the rafters, and people aren’t falling down in the aisles being slayed by the Spirit, it must not come from God. But if we take a look at our readings today, they say something different.

In the first reading God says, “I will take the shoot and I will plant it.” He doesn’t say, “Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to climb up to the top of the cedar, take the shoot, and I want you to walk up to the mountain, and I want you to plant it, and I want you to work hard.” No, He says, “I’m going to do this.”

And that’s the way things are. That’s the way the sacraments work. That’s the way the Holy Spirit works. And the Holy Spirit has been busy in our small parish here, and in our diocese and in the larger Christian world over the past few weeks. The footprints of the Holy Spirit are all over the place if we look to find them.

Today after the second mass, Father Sal will baptize two young girls. They will become Christians for the first time. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they will be grafted to the body of Christ. Whether they’re quiet, whether they’re screaming, whether their parents really understand what’s happening, it’s going to happen, because it’s the work of God. And they will remain tied to the body of Christ, regardless of what they do. It’s a permanent union established by God through the Holy Spirit.

On Friday night, nine young men from our parish were confirmed by the bishop along with a lot of other young men and women from churches in our area. They were sealed by the Holy Spirit. And if you don’t understand exactly what that means, don’t feel bad. I studied Theology for four years and I’m not completely clear on it either – because it’s the Holy Spirit and it’s the work of God and we’re just human. And this change in them happened whether they were ready or not – whether they were paying attention to the prayers or whether they were off playing video games in their heads. It happened. Whether it bears fruit is dependent upon them. But the fire of the Holy Spirit is in them, permanently.

Last weekend, three men – Daniel Cogut, Matthew Kiehl, and Nicholas Mammi – were ordained priests by the bishop in Richmond. And in that liturgy, they were fundamentally changed. The big fancy term is that they were ontologically changed. Their inner being was transformed by the Holy Spirit. And it’s a permanent change. Once someone is ordained, they cannot be un-ordained. Their rights to exercise their ministry can be removed from them, but the change is permanent and irreversible. They cannot be un-ordained, even though you sometimes will hear that term used.

And our Holy Spirit prayer ministry in our parish has been slowly taking hold and slowly building up and bearing much fruit. And last week they went to Steubenville, Ohio to the “Power and Purpose” Conference, and at that conference, they were seeking to nourish and develop and grow the gifts they received from the Holy Spirit. They may have received new gifts; we don’t know. But they had seeds in them because they were put there by God. Sometimes these gifts are out there for everybody to see. Sometimes they are a little more subtle. The strongest faith I have ever seen in my life was my grandmother, Granny Jenny. And she was a small, unassuming lady. She was pretty quiet. She was happy. But she was not boisterous. And if you weren’t paying attention, you might not have seen her piety. But if you spoke to her even once, the wisdom that came from her was a blazing inferno because it came from God.

The mustard tree is hidden inside the mustard seed. And it’s a small seed, but the tree is there. It just needs to be planted and watered to make it grow. The televangelist Robert Schuller once said, anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God knows the number of apples in the seed. If we nourish the seeds that have been planted in each one of us by God through the Holy Spirit, and we nurture them, the harvest in this kingdom on Earth will be abundant.

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