Dear Parishioners and Friends,
A man was driving home in his new car after a wonderfully successful day at work. Suddenly, in the midst of his joy at the day’s events, he found himself seized by a tremendous desire to share his happiness. What could he do? He was a few miles from home in an area where he doesn’t know anyone.
Stopping his car outside a row of simple attached houses, he went to the nearest door, number 22, rang the doorbell and waited. After a short time a middle-aged man appeared and looked at him suspiciously. “What do you want?” he asked. “I’d like to give you that car there as a gift,” replied the businessman. The man at the door glanced to the street where there sat a gleaming new Porsche. The businessman held out the keys as the man at number 22 backed away muttering, “Are you nuts?” The door slammed shut in the businessman’s face.
Stepping up to number 24, the businessman rang the doorbell and again waited. This time a young woman opened the door and they greeted one another. The man held out his hand and offered her the car as a gift. The woman began to get agitated. “What are you after?” she asked in an anxious tone of voice. The businessman tried to smile and said, “Nothing. I simply want to give you my car as a gift.” The woman snapped back, “If you don’t get away right this minute I’ll call the police.” Again, the door slammed in his face.
At number 26 the businessman braced himself for a final effort. “Can’t anyone accept my gift?” he asked himself. The woman who opened the door was bewildered at first but reached out to receive the car keys. Standing in stunned silence, she began to weep. “This car… a gift… for me?” The man smiled, turns around and walked away up the street.
As the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus for his mission, so on Pentecost the apostles were anointed and sent out to proclaim the Good News. What is this Good News? The revelation that we are loved immeasurably. That the God of love loves us unconditionally. With this in mind we can leave behind our self-indul-gent or self-independent ways which can so easily lead only to self-destruction. We can reach out with open hands to receive the gift of God’s love freely given in the Spirit and enter into a world where we live not by our own power or will, but by the Spirit.
If we are truly to flourish as human beings and invite others to flourish, we need to be able to receive gifts freely and use them generously. It is essential to give to others, but it is also essential that we receive from the Giver of all gifts. As we celebrate Pentecost today we might want to simply ponder our own ability to receive from God and from others. Am I so focused on my own independence and my own agenda that it is difficult to receive from God or anyone else? Can I open my hands to receive rather than hold on to unhealthy and unholy ways of living?
The man who tried to give away his car struggled to find a willing recipient. We can hope that we will be more willing to receive the greatest gift of all – the Good News that we are loved and that God desires to make a home with us in the Spirit.
Blessings on your week ahead!
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.Pastor
P.S. Here’s a photo of the St. Patrick-St. Anthony participants in the Walk Against Hunger, held last Saturday, May 20th. We came prepared for the rain, but it held off long enough to finish the walk!