Sunday Mass Readings for June 2nd, 2019.

vanveenjf-1167425-unsplash.jpgI wasn’t worried. I wouldn’t say panicked either, but I did have a 3+ hour flight and with less than 20% battery life, my phone wasn’t going to make it. I searched in my immediate gate area for an open plug, a source of electricity, but finding none, my pace quickened until, mercifully, I saw it – an open plug 2 gates away. I plugged in and power rushed into my device. 

My phone can’t generate power. It needs to pull power from another source to charge its battery. What happens if I don’t plug it in? The phone dies. 

In our readings this Sunday, we read about Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. In both Acts and the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says that when he leaves the disciples, he will send them power. That power comes from the Holy Spirit. In the gospel he says, “And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Jesus desires to give us power. Not just confidence or inner strength (which are good things), but true power. The Holy Spirit is the true source of power. Jesus has committed to us not just stories about his life or a set of teachings, but his very spirit so that we might live powerfully. As Catholics, we aren’t just supposed to follow the rules and be nice people – Jesus promises to give us the very power of God. We are called to act powerfully.

What exactly are we supposed to do with this power? Witness. Jesus leaves us the Holy Spirit so that we can bear witness to the truth about Jesus and about our faith. In Acts of the Apostles Jesus says it like this, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The source of power is the Holy Spirit. The purpose is for us to be witnesses of faith. The early Christians were witnesses during a time of great Christian persecution and often witnessed by dying for their faith. How are we going to witness about our faith? How have we received power from the Holy Spirit?

(Oh, one other thing. Without receiving power from the source, the Holy Spirit, our faith tends to become like phone that hasn’t been plugged in – dead. No connection to the source – no power and thus we can’t do what we were made to do, love and witness.)

LIVE IT: Want to feel powerful? Ask for power for the Holy Spirit in prayer. Whether it is in personal prayer time or at Mass as God to send his Spirit into your life so that you can live powerfully. Then offer God to use that power to help you witness. 

“You can call me by my first name.” – Jesus (probably) Good Word for Sept. 27th

hello_my_name_is_jesusFor the complete Sunday Readings click here.

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People.

I like to call people by name. Whether it is a waitress in a restaurant or ticket booth worker at the State Fair, I think using someone’s name is a sign of respect. My experience has been when I use someone’s first name; I get a little better service or sometimes even make someone else’s day a little better.

Names are powerful. Countless studies and antidotal examples demonstrate that greeting someone by name is enjoyable, engaging, and communicates, “You matter to me.” Business writers like Dale Carnegie have consistently declared the power in using someone’s name.

In our gospel this weekend John tells Jesus that someone is using Jesus’ name to drive out demons. A lot more happens in this gospel, but let’s just stop with this fact. This mysterious exorcist is driving demons out of possessed people simply by uttering Jesus’ name. How powerful is Jesus’ name? It has power over supernatural beings.

Obviously Jesus has power over all creation, including the supernatural, but even his name holds incredible power. Philippians 2:9-10 says, “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

The reason that using God’s name in vain is on the list of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:7) is because God’s name holds power. To use God’s name is to call upon God. Even just saying the name “Jesus” is a prayer because saying it is calling out for Jesus to be near us.

This got me thinking; how often do I even speak the name of Jesus? I was raised to never use God’s name in vain, and have tried to raise my kids that way. But how often do I actually call upon Jesus? How often do I rely on Jesus in my day to day? Have my children ever seen me really turn towards Jesus in good and in bad times? Our home has crosses and crucifixes on the wall, but do we ever talk about them?

My kids know I pray, but I’m not sure they know how much I rely on Jesus.More than that, how much do I rely on Jesus? Maybe one reason the name of Jesus isn’t uttered often enough in my home is because I don’t turn to him enough. I want my children to have a deep, beautiful, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I want them to know, love, and serve God. I also know that faith is “caught” not “taught.” I can tell my children to do or have something, but if I have don’t have it or do it myself, it probably won’t stick with them.

The good news is that the solution to my probably is found in the problem itself. The best thing to do when I need to rely on Jesus more is to ask Jesus to help me rely on him more. The way to say the name of Jesus is to say his name while asking for the grace to fill our homes with the goodness of his name.

Is your home full of the name of Jesus? Do you rely on the power of Jesus’ name?

Live It:
Challenge for this week: Say Jesus’ name 3 times in front of others. Obviously, use Jesus’ name positively and intentionally. You can drop Jesus name in prayer or in casual conversation.