Daily Reflection
May 29th, 2006

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
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Acts 19:1-8
Psalm 68:2-3ab, 4-5acd, 6-7ab
John 16:29-33

Today, we observe Memorial Day in the United States, a day to honor those who have died while serving their country. In my family, as a child, it was also a day to visit the graves of loved ones, recalling their presence in our lives and sharing stories about those who are no longer with us . As we children placed flowers on the graves, my parents would share memories of my grandparents and great-grandparents, which helped us to know our family history a little more. However, as an adult, I realize that there is so much more that I still want to know and understand about my grandparents and great-grandparents.

Today’s first reading is a glimpse into the ‘telling’ of the story of Jesus in the early Church.

In Acts, Apollo had shared the stories of Jesus with the people of Ephesus. Later, however, when Paul arrives in town, he discovers that the people have received the baptism of John, but have no understanding of the Holy Spirit. As the people are then baptized in the name of Jesus, and receive the Holy Spirit, they begin to speak in tongues and begin to prophesy.

Though Apollo was effective in bringing the story of Jesus to others, he himself was in need of a clearer understanding of what it meant to become a follower of Christ.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus attempts to help the disciples understand what is to come after Jesus goes to God. At one point, the disciples declare, “At last, you’re speaking plainly and not using metaphors! We’re convinced that you know everything… We do indeed believe you came from God.” And Jesus responds, “Do you really believe?...”

How confusing this must have been for the disciples. They want to understand who Jesus is and what he is trying to tell them. Yet, it is only much later, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and they receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that the followers really begin to have a grasp of what Jesus as God present among us really meant.

As Christians, it may be easy to fall in the rut of thinking that we understand what Jesus’ presence among us is all about…that we really ‘get it’. But do we?

True…we can repeat the doctrines that we profess in our creed, but what do those beliefs really mean in our everyday life? As adults on our faith journey, we are asked to make real what we believe…to live our faith. If I am to make real God’s presence in my life, I need to continually invite God into my life and reflect on how to make my Christian beliefs come to life in my everyday world. (I have found Joan Chittister’s book, In Search of Belief, a great help in reflecting on my beliefs.)

As the feast of Pentecost approaches, my prayer is that we each make time to invite the God Spirit of Wisdom into our lives, so that we can truly be open to ‘getting it’ a little more in order to make God real in our living out of what Jesus has taught us in his life on earth.

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