Psalms 68:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
When I first read these readings they made me laugh out loud. In the first reading, Paul very routinely asks the disciples he meets in Ephesus, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” Their answer is priceless. “We have not so much as heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” In other words, “received it? We haven’t even heard of the Holy Spirit!” Paul, who must have been feeling some frustration, patiently and gently proceeds to question them about their baptism. Were they baptized? By whom? And what was their understanding of baptism? CONFUSION to say the least. In the end, Paul sorts it all out and the disciples become “believers” in Jesus and open to the powers and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In the gospel, we witness the same confusion. The disciples say to Jesus, “At last you are speaking plainly without talking in veiled language!” What a relief to finally understand what this man is saying. In an apparent attempt to hold the moment, they assure Jesus that they are “convinced that you know everything. There is no need for anyone to ask you questions.” Please do no stir the waters by asking questions that will only lead to CONFUSION.
The readings speak to me of many things – the humanity, vulnerability and devotion of Paul and the disciples to Jesus and to each other. They truly want to get it right. They want to understand. They want to know. They want to be faithful and to believe. However, what they experience is their own humanity. It is not in their power to understand this Jesus. They can not go it alone, although there will be many times when each one will be very much alone.
In my daily life, I often experience this same confusion. I really do want to know and understand and believe. However, I get trapped within my humanity. I can not go it alone. When I am able to let go of the frustration and confusion and open myself to the gifts of the Holy Spirit – peace, patience, kindness, and hope then eventually I do experience a feeling of well-being. For me, it is often the irony that is Christ. I often experience peace in the midst of confusion and turmoil, gratitude in the dark of loneliness, and hope in the shadow of sorrow.
“The Lord said: I will not leave you orphans. I will
come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice. Alleluia.”
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