Fr. Harvey began the homily with: "Changed people change people. Changed people change the world. Gifted people change the world. Saved people change the world." For all of us changed and gifted and saved people, we should be out there to save the world. A preacher once said that "the world is suffering because Christians are scared or lazy", because the only way the world can change is through us.
The Gospel talks about servants getting gold coins to invest and trade. The gold coins belonged to the king. God is giving us what belongs to Him. We start with the fact that He has given us life that we received at baptism and the Trinity dwells within us.
He said to look in the mirror and say "I carry God's life within me". God gave us His life so people can see it. In the Gospel, the servants were to make more money, God's light within us will be shed for others to see, thus we must invest what God has given us. People need to see this light. They should see the joy that is deep within us even through our trials. We have the gifts of the Holy Spirit and there are many of them: faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance as well as gifts of office: pastor, teacher and the charismatic gifts: healing, tongues, miracles, wisdom, knowledge. We need to invest these gifts by sharing them.
Most Christians are scared to use the gifts and when we are scared to share what God has given us, the church begins to die. Individual places and agencies begin to die.
We have the fullness of faith and a lot of Catholics do not realize to share the gifts. He doesn't blame the people but part of the blame is on the priests and religious.
We must get to know our gifts. We need to take time everyday to pray and ask the Lord "What have you given me?" and LISTEN. Sometimes other people will tell us of our gifts and we need to accept what they say because it is a gift that maybe we didn't see in ourselves and the gifts are meant to be shared. Ask the Lord how to use the gifts and ask for courage.
We need to share our love for Jesus and evangelize what Jesus has done for us. The Lord wants to empower us with the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we need to be healed first before we share our gifts.
God will heal us tonight, "BELIEVE God loves us." The greatest healing comes at the altar. If we believe in the power and in the reality and in the presence of the Eucharist with a vibrant faith that Jesus is going to be on the altar, there is no need for anything after that.
Fr. Harvey shared a story about a priest who spoke about the Eucharist, of the power and healing during Mass that people started to get healed right there. He concluded with "Let us believe that Jesus is at the Mass in a special way, and that God will heal us and that God has given us gifts, gifts to share."
In anticipation of Pentecost, Fr. Rich Simon celebrated mass and a healing service at Divine Savior Parish, Norridge, IL. The Holy Spirit filled the church that evening with about 150 people who responded to the invitation of the Lord to recommit and reaffirm their lives to the Lord's work to up build the church.
He began by giving a homily before mass. In it, he retold the beginnings of the charismatic renewal. He mentioned how prayer groups have harbored some un-forgiveness between people and how people wanted the control rather than giving control to the Holy Spirit, sort of like putting God in a box while everyone else wants their way.
Fr. Simon put into perspective the reason we celebrate Mass and the importance of the giving up of His body for us and how we are to reverence the receiving of Him every time we attend Mass. He explained the relationship between the mass and Eucharist as being a covenant as opposed to a contract.
A contract is an agreement that requires the giving of a service in return for payment for this service. He said that Jesus & the celebration are NOT based on this concept. Rather, the connection between mass & Eucharist is based on a covenant. A covenant is a pledge or promise based on a RELATIONSHIP that expects nothing in return. This is so beautifully expressed by how Jesus gave up His life for us freely. When we go to Mass, we celebrate this remembrance of His covenant WITH us based on the sacrifice of Himself on the cross unto death. We are called to give ourselves to Him without reserve in covenant also.
We were then blessed by a second homily where Fr. Simon reflected from Scripture how a threshing floor was used in the process of separating the grain from the chaff as referenced in Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
This process required a tool would be used to beat the stalk of grain. Then the broken stalks would be thrown in the air and the wind would separate the lighter chaff from the grain. This separation is called winnowing. Due to the need for wind, the threshing floors were usually located on hilltops or large open fields.
The site for the temple in Jerusalem was originally a threshing floor (2 Sam 24:18-23).
Fr. Rich felt the Lord was calling all of us to repentance. He encouraged us to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Fr. Simon also commented on how whenever we receive the Body & Blood of Jesus at Mass, that this action brings healing from the Lord. This is in itself a healing service available to us every time we attend Mass and receive Him.
At the healing service, Father had everyone kneel while he prayed over each person. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully throughout the service. It was truly as if Jesus, Our Lord, was separating by His gentle touch the chaff from each of us leaving the purified grain to go out to bring His message and healing touch to those we encounter.
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