Monday April 28, 2003 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier   Second Week of Easter

 

Reading (Acts 4:23-31)   Gospel (St. John 3:1-8)

 

Our Lord, speaking with Nicodemus in the Gospel reading today, tells us that we must be born again of water and the Holy Spirit. And then, speaking of the Spirit (which is the same word as “wind” in Greek), He tells us that you do not know where it is going to blow – it blows where it wills – and so He says it is with the Holy Spirit. If we are going to be faithful to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we need to allow Him to lead us. He is going to blow where He wills. It will not necessarily be the way that we think it is going to be because God does not always do things according to our plan, as we all know very well. And so He is going to lead us.

 

The difficulty for us is precisely the idea that we already think we know what God wants us to do, so we do not check with Him first. There are some things, of course, that we do know that He wants us to do. The duties of our state in life, for instance, are required of us; that is obviously God’s Will for us. Yet at the same time, we still have to make sure we are praying. For instance, we see in the first reading that after Peter and John are released from the prison and the interrogation from the high priests and the Sadducees and so on, they come back and explain what had happened to them and the people immediately begin to pray. They turn to our heavenly Father and they begin to pray in the Name of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit fills them with boldness to continue to preach the Word of God wherever it is that the Lord wants them to preach. Peter and John, if we think back, did not have any intention initially of going up to the temple to preach; they were going up to the temple to pray for the three o’clock hour. And then there was this man who was paralyzed lying at the gate and they healed him in the Name of the Lord, and then went in and preached. Then they preached to the chief priests and the Sanhedrin. And then they will continue to preach wherever the Holy Spirit happens to lead them. For both Peter and Paul that was preaching in prison, it was preaching in the streets, it was preaching in the temple, wherever it happened to be. They did not know where it was going to be.

 

Now He is probably not asking most of us here to go out into the streets and preach, at least with our words. But He is asking us to preach with our lives and He is asking us to preach even in the sense of being able to talk to people, maybe not setting up a soapbox and doing anything along those lines, but at least (as Saint Peter tells us himself) when somebody libels our way of life, we have to be ready to answer them. We have to be ready to explain to people why we believe in the Lord or Who He is. And that could be the person at the next desk, that could be the person across the street, that can be somebody at the grocery store – we have no idea who the Holy Spirit is going to place in our path. If we are praying and allowing the Lord to lead us, all kinds of interesting things will happen that we would never have planned and we could not have planned. We just simply need to trust and allow the Holy Spirit to blow where He will, which means to lead us wherever He wants and to bring the people to us or to bring us to the people that He wants. We have no idea who it is or where it is or when it is; that is completely up to the Lord. And so if we are going to claim what the truth really is – that is, that we have been born again of water and the Holy Spirit – then we need to live that. We need to let go, we need to trust God, and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us wherever He wills.

 

*  This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.