7th Sunday of Easter (May 20, 2012)

The Easter Season is coming to a close. On Sunday, we celebrate the Ascension, and then the following Sunday is Pentecost. We’ve come a long ways since the beginning of Lent back in February! It’ll be good to return to Ordinary Time.

I had to laugh at the Apostles. They still don’t get it. Here we are, at the Ascension. Jesus had taught them for three years, had been executed, had risen from the dead, and had spent precious time opening their minds and hearts to the full meaning of Scripture. And the result? They are still wondering if the Lord will establish an earthly kingdom. Of course, we’re no great shakes either, for you and I still find ourselves wishing for things more characteristic of the earthly kingdom than the heavenly.

Before he ascended, Jesus gave His disciples one last word: to go out to all the world and preach the Good News. They were to heal the sick, cast out demons, deal with deadly serpents and poisons. In the Second Reading, Paul states that each one of us fulfills that mission according to his or her state in life. Even those who are sick have a vital mission in the ongoing life of the Church. The Risen Lord works in and through us – as unique individuals — by the power of His Holy Spirit. I thank God daily for all you and I are able to do for our Church and world.

Now one might think: “But what about the deadly serpents and poisons? I don’t deal with them at all”. My response would be: “Oh really??” Wouldn’t the words “serpent” and “poison” apply to gossip, criticism, complaining, moaning about “poor me,” trying to one-up another person, taking credit which is due to another, verbally abusing another? All these behaviors function exactly as deadly serpents and poisons in the various communities of which you and I are a part … family, parish, work, neighborhood, school, civic organizations, etc. It’s one thing to be the victim of those serpents and poisons, but to actively bring them to the community – oh my!! Not good at all … it’s hardly the characteristic of one who lives in the Kingdom of God.

Please, Spirit of the Living God, deliver us from our petty poisons and our serpent-i-ness. Shape us into happy, affirming, and courteous bringers of your Kingdom.

Love deeply, pray, faithfully laugh often!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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