“I’m gonna do what the Spirit say do”
When I served in my first Pastorate with Sr. Antonia Ebo, OSF she would often remind me of these words, “do what the Spirit say do”. We are in a time that calls for a true and committed response to the call and movement of the Holy Spirit. Each of us reflecting on our lives and having celebrated Pentecost we remember that the Spirit of God is in us. We are in a time that we are impelled to truly be person living in the power of our anointing that we must ” do as the Spirit says do.”
Looking at the scriptures we see a radical response on the part of Elisha to follow Elijah. “Elisha left Elijah, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat. Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.”
Having received the invitation and choosing to follow Elijah, Elisha makes a radical decision. The slaughter of the oxen and burning of the instruments for plowing he has now, as we say today, ‘burned the bridge.” There is no turning back there is only one way and that is forward. To follow God under the guidance of the Prophet Elijah. This is what is needed a true and real decision a radical decision for God.
We are living in a time when true Christian women and men who seek to truly respond to the movement of the Spirit must take a stance, must decide now. Our world is so much in need of committed, decisive leaders, witnesses and those truly ready to stand for Christ and the mission of Christ and the Church.
For the past 26 years as a priest I’ve been serving and seeking to inspire in our young people a true desire for God and openness to the Holy Spirit. I seek to encourage and help them discover their God given purpose to help them follow the Spirit. Although our church and world needs committed young men and women, to often many are afraid. I have someone I’ve worked with, an individual who is gifted, great heart and spirit. This person has spoken often and demonstrated a desire to serve the church and God, but there’s one thing missing. The person’s only desires to truly sit on the fence. The fence is the place that person decided to stay. Instead of looking into the possibility of the future, just one thing matters for them, that is to stay in what’s comfortable, talk a good game and ultimately do nothing. The idea of stepping out and directing ones attention towards God is simply unconceivable, unreasonable and completely outside of a will to actually try. The feel good of just doing what is comfortable with robs us of the newness and greatness God desires to do in us. It shuts out the Spirit and our own desire wins.
Too often there are those who are great at talking, but are not actually able nor willing to make a decision and truly make a difference they simply have excuse after excuse why they can’t. Truly showing some effort to stepping into greatness won’t happen because they are afraid and have no idea how to truly rely on the Spirit. What happens is instead of listening to the Spirit other voices are preferred, desired, welcomed and received. In this the person remains doing nothing to impact the world to reflect the presence of the kingdom of God, and no real response to set a direction toward a true and real path to doing as the Spirit says do.
There are also those who like Jesus understand that you have to set your eyes on the prize. I’ve watched one on my young adults here at St. Joseph. A teenager who was willing to hope and dream and made a decision to step out. Each time he returns home from college whether for Christmas or for the summer I see a new man. He even talks and engages differently than he did before. Like Elisha the prophet his going forth from his mother’s home has set him on a new direction and trajectory that is taking him to greatness, the making a difference in not only his life but others.
Jesus in the Gospel shows us what it means to direct our lives to doing as the Spirit says do. Jesus directs his complete and entire attention to His core purpose:” he is resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,” Jerusalem is the only place he must truly go. Jesus knows that to fulfill the will of the Father he must embrace the path ahead no matter how hard it is. He sets His eyes and gaze toward the place of His final giving of Himself, to the passion, death and ultimately His resurrection.
Let’s listen to the Spirit, seek to live out the Spiritual gifts in our own lives. Find in doing the what the Spirit says do a joy and love for God and others. Find fulfillment in risking it all for Christ. Ask yourself if yourself: “Am I willing to do, as the Spirit says do?”