June 1, 2008 Year A
Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflections on the Readings
By Dennis Hankins
Theme: The Spirit of Holiness
And then will I declare to them, 'I never new you; depart from me, you evildoers.'
Everyone has a reality check from time to time. Today is one of those moments. We reflect upon the truth that it is not enough to proclaim what we believe. We are called to practice what we preach. In his book Sober Intoxication of the Spirit: Filled with the Fullness of God, Father Cantalamessa, the Pope's preacher describes what are true epiphanies of the Spirit. That is, manifestations of the Spirit which bring light and life in us and to others.
If one is seeking his own glory then the true light and holiness of the Spirit is absent. Although 'many mighty works' are accomplished in his name, our Lord who cannot deny himself nor let his word return to him void will nevertheless say 'I never knew you.'
Is this not where the rubber meets the road? On the one hand there are those who deny that anything miraculous is to occur today but seek holiness of life. Then on the other hand, I suppose there will always be those who can bring us near to the Lord but somehow fail to be close to him themselves. And that is a tragedy that must be avoided. At all costs we must be sure that our lives are built upon the 'rock and foundation of his words.'
Following Jesus is to enter into the very holiness of the Lamb of God. He being without spot or blemish has provided forever the way into the holy of holies. It is this narrow way in which we must always examine ourselves. Such self-examination of conscience will keep our lives free from sin and our witness free from self-aggrandizement.
Our Lord today is not denying the blessing of prophesying, exorcisms, or mighty works done in his name. He is saying that there is more to knowing him, a closer relationship with him, a place where we pray 'not my will, but thy will be done.' Then will even small things done with great love have great effect.
I think it is with this transparency I wrestle the most. How might we be filled with overflowing love? How will those we love most be persuaded of the perfect will of love? How can we be truly delivered from ourselves, as we desire the demons to be cast out of others? No doubt, the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, even the Spirit of holiness, will increase Christ in us. It is this very Spirit of holiness that will form and shape us into a veritable witness of Jesus Christ. This is our calling. This is the foundation that the storms cannot destroy. This the winds cannot blow away.
Jesus invites us to be filled with the wisdom that is from above. It is this wisdom that the Spirit of holiness imparts to us. We can overcome the deception of this world. We can overcome the world, our flesh and the devil by living in the Spirit of holiness. And then will we hear by the grace of God, 'Enter into the joy of your Lord.'
Let us pray: Dear Jesus fill me with knowledge of the will of the Father. Animate my understanding of others and myself by the Spirit of holiness. That I may be holy even as you are holy is my prayer. Amen.