Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, June 12, 2011
Catholic News Service
June 12, Pentecost Sunday
Cycle A Readings:
1) Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
2) 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Gospel) John 20:19-23
My faith journey is filled with one blessing after another. I was born into a practicing Catholic family, baptized as an infant, was an altar server from age 8, got all my sacraments on time, was a part of a youth group, a young adult group, and began working fulltime as a parish youth minister when I was 21. Twenty-five years later, my faith is still strong, and I still work at the same church ministering to youth and young adults.
I often look back and wonder how it all happened. It seems fairly seamless. From childhood to adolescence and into adulthood, my faith life has only grown steadily. That is not to say there have not been hard times.
I moved to a new state at age 16, leaving all my childhood friends and my first girlfriend behind. I lost my mother at age 26, and my wife and I suffered six miscarriages in two and a half years early in our marriage. Through it all, though it was unsteady at times, my faith remains the major force in my life.
This week's Pentecost readings shed some light on the blessings and sustainability of my faith through the years. St. Paul says, "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." The power upholding me through the ups and downs in my life came to me at my baptism, was strengthened in confirmation, continually feeds me in the Eucharist, forgives me in reconciliation, and bonds me ever closer to God through the grace of matrimony.
It is through these sacraments that I encounter the powerful words of Jesus: "Receive the Holy Spirit."
A song by Albert Goodson that we sing in our parish says, "We've come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord; trusting in his holy word. He's never failed us yet. Oh! We can't turn around, we've come this far by faith."
The Holy Spirit pours out to us the gift of faith that has brought us this far and will carry us all the way to the finish line. All we have to do is not turn around. As long as we are leaning on the Lord, we will always be close enough to feel the breath of Jesus.
What are some of the ups and downs of your faith journey? Have there been times you felt far from God? Have you seen the power of the Holy Spirit in any of these times?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:22).
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