May 19, 2019

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

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Christ Be Our Light

Follow our theme and review past reflections on our website www.stphilip.org

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Light our Way
The Risen Christ commissioned the disciples and therefore us, to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! Part of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and among us. We are given all that we need to be the Light of Christ to others in our mission to love and to work for justice and the flourishing of all people.

As we journey through the Easter Season to Pentecost the same Holy Spirit that propelled the disciples to live their mission of Opus Christi, Christ’s Work enlightens us.

Through Baptism and Confirmation we are empowered with spiritual gifts. During this Easter Season we will explore thematically the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and experience them at work in our lives in new ways.

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Fear of the Lord (“WOW!” Awe, Wonder, Amazement) is awakening to God’s blessings freely given: in the beauty of creation, the truth of compassion deep within us, the goodness of loving relationships – recognizing that “All is Gift.”

Piety (Reverence) is living gratefully in a graced world with a profound respect for all life and a passion to be faithful stewards of God’s bountiful gifts.

Fortitude (Courage) enables us to dream of what is possible with Christ’s love. Fortitude emboldens us to take responsibility for that vision and to creatively make it a reality.

Right Counsel helps us to sift and sort in prayer what cannot be changed and needs to be accepted and what can be changed and needs to be accomplished.

Knowledge focuses our priorities and shifts our perspective to think, feel and act with faith, hope and love.

Understanding is seeing, feeling and listening with the “ear of our heart.” Understanding and compassion are God’s heart.

Wisdom enables us to discern and relish God’s presence in all things, to trust in Providence and to therefore live with compassion on the journey.

Week III – Gift of the Holy Spirit – Courage (Fortitude)
BARK OR QUACK – GET IN THE WATER
When Amy invited her grandfather to live with her at her house on a lake, she wondered how she would keep him entertained during the day since he was wheelchair-bound. Amy had a great idea. She decided to get a Labrador retriever puppy which would be a good companion for her grandfather and offer an excellent life for a dog. She imagined that they could sit on the dock with the grandfather throwing a stick into the water and the dog bringing it back. The puppy and the grandfather hit it off immediately. The only catch was that the dog refused to even go near the water in the lake. So, day after day the grandfather tried to coax the dog into the lake with every trick in the book. Content as they were sitting on the dock together, the grandfather knew that the dog would have more fun once he engaged in his God given gifts to swim and to retrieve. In other words, the dog was missing out on a lot of fun.

One lazy afternoon the grandfather and the dog were awakened by the sound of excited quacking. Turning their heads, they saw a very proud strutting mother duck leading her waddling ducklings right up to the edge of the lake. Into the water they went beginning a swimming zigzag parade across the lake. The next sound that the grandfather heard was a loud splash and his dog joyfully barking as he swam along behind the last duckling.

That afternoon the sounds of barking and quacking echoed across the lake. Amy, the grandfather, the dog and five ducklings were very happy, the mother duck not so much.

The dog in our story could not muster the courage to enter the lake water until he watched the example of the ducks who swam with ease and grace. Love works the same way. We learn to love by hearing loving words and by seeing the example of loving actions. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the key that unlocks the full potential in our lives. Jesus teaches us by example to love one another. Our reason for living is to be loved and to love. Jesus shows us that to love means to share our gifts and talents and our lives for the good of other people. He even offered his own life as an example of total giving.

Jesus invites us to love in two ways. One way is giving – the other is receiving. Sometimes we are called to give our love and be an example of love. Like the ducks in our story we teach by being examples of love in action. At other times, like the dog, our task is to receive love from others and learn how to love from them.

God knows that we will have more fun once we engage in our God given gifts to give and to receive love. Like the dog, we are invited to get into the waters of love. The important point is to learn how to swim in the spiritual life whether we are giving or receiving love. We follow the example of Jesus, we pray, we worship at Sunday Eucharist, we love other people in word and deed, we receive love from others gratefully and return it by imitating their good example. Giving and receiving love by participating in the spiritual life helps us to realize our full potential, use our gifts and talents and to experience life swimmingly!

Whether we are quacking, as an example of love, or barking, in gratitude for receiving love, we are always swimming in the waters of God’s love.

Jesus teaches us to enter the waters of love, so bark or quack but get in the water!

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