Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday word, 02 May 2007

St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church (02 May 2007) Ac 12. 24-13. 5a; Ps 67; Jn 12. 44-50
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Set Apart To Do the Spirit’s Work

The temptation to compartmentalize things is ever present. Life is complex; a constellation of things, a mix of desires, affections, intentions and actions. In his Acts of the Apostles Luke presented this complexity well.

In the reading today worshiping the Lord and fasting were obvious. So, too, was the fact that Antiochene church did not lack prophets and teachers. Close friendship and the cosmopolitan complexion of the church were part of Luke’s portrait, too. The church, from the beginning, has always had a social dimension. No compartmentalizing allowed. Under the guidance of Holy Spirit, the words of Jesus, “Go, into all nations. . .” was and continues to be fulfilled.

The turn toward those of other nations happened under the direct inspiration of Jesus’ Spirit, which we heard in the first-person: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.

The disciples discerned the Spirit’s desire and cooperated with it because of worship and fasting. The Trinity created each of us with a mission, a purpose in life. It may mesh with one’s career, but the Acts of the Apostles--indeed all scripture--shows that need not be the case. At times people changed careers and other paths in life in order to fulfill their mission.

Jesus is our light to help us discover in each moment how we can best fulfill our mission. We are already in the world in our particular place and time. Ours is to pray to notice the light Jesus shines on our life-paths in order that we can engage the world more closely and do the work the Spirit of Jesus gives us to do.

St. Athanasius, whom the church remembers today, hailed from another complex and diverse city, Alexandria. He defended the divinity of the Holy Spirit. We might ask him to be our intercessor to make us more susceptible to how and for what the Spirit of Jesus sends us.
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