The liturgical calendar says that today is Tuesday of the eighth week of ordinary time. I prefer to think of it as Tuesday of the first week of Pentecost, or better yet, Tuesday of the first week of Indwelling. The mysteries of incarnation at Christmas and resurrection at Easter rightfully demand our attention and celebration. However, at Pentecost the salvation of God that the prophets proclaim gets personal and present tense. The promise for us and for our children is here. Jesus tells us that we will do even greater things than he was able to do. On a miraculous day Jesus could feed and teach thousands, perhaps heal hundreds. Only a few could really experience the love of Jesus in a personal and tangible way. The Spirit of the Living God dwelling in us feeds, teaches, and heals millions. It provides the grace to love one another as Jesus loves us multiplied the world over.
The Lord has made known his salvation. The Spirit of the Living God is offered as gift to save our lives and souls and to be about the work of saving others. Do we have ears to hear? Phrases like “Jesus saves” and words like “salvation” often get so churchy and cliché or so focused on afterlife alone that we lose the depth of their meaning for our lives right here and right now. The gospel reading for today offers one of many affirmations that living a life focused on following Jesus – being attentive to the prompting and power of the Spirit of Jesus to serve and to teach – makes our lives here and now richer.
A focus of the readings yesterday and today is that access to the riches and securities of a life of the Indwelling of the Spirit requires shedding other riches and securities to which we so easily become dependent. While the grace of Indwelling is offered as gift, to have ears to hear and a willingness to allow our lives to be enriched and shaped by this Spirit requires attention and discipline on our part. For the rich young ruler in the readings yesterday it meant selling all of his riches. Peter notes in the gospel reading that he and others gave up everything to follow Jesus. Today it is time for us to consider what we need to shed to better hear and act on the prompting of the Spirit in our lives. What keeps us from setting our hopes entirely on the grace of Jesus present today through the Spirit? What keeps us from revealing his justice and remembering his kindness and faithfulness now extended to all peoples? What does it mean for us today to “gird up the loins of our minds?” In what ways are we holding onto a human tendency to seek and hold onto being “first?”
May we have an attentive first Tuesday of the Indwelling so that all the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God and sing joyfully to the Lord.
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