Skip to content

All posts by Magean Wolf

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

14TH SUNDAY in ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE B
Ezekiel 2: 2-5 + Psalm 123: 1-4 + 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 + Mark 6: 1-6
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Gospel passages from Mark the past two Sundays and today have helped us reflect on the meaning of “faith.”
We have seen how in these accounts that faith equals trust,
that to believe means to trust in Jesus.

The disciples in that sinking boat, swamped by fear, are chided by Jesus
for their “little faith”—they struggle to trust completely in Jesus
and to entrust their lives totally to his care.
The woman whose body will not stop bleeding and the father whose daughter dies
both entrust themselves to Jesus, trusting that he has the power to heal a chronic illness as well as the power to raise a child from death.

Today, at the other end of the spectrum, are the people of Jesus’ hometown.
The evangelist Mark correctly diagnoses the problem with the people of Nazareth—
their problem is unbelief, which basically means they distrust Jesus.

The hometown folks are hard of face and obstinate of heart.
They are arrogant and full of contempt for Jesus, thinking they know him,
because they knew him when he was a kid and knew him as a handyman.
The people of Nazareth think Jesus is full of himself, but that is a projection—for they are so full of themselves they cannot receive Jesus nor trust in him nor his message.

The power of this unbelief, of this mistrust of Jesus and trusting only
in their long-held assumptions about him, is that Jesus is not able to work
any mighty deed there. Wow!

Notice in this Gospel passage that the people never address Jesus directly.
They never enter into conversation with him, they never call him by his name-
they only make assumptions.
They know things about Jesus, like the names of his family members, but they
do not know Jesus because they refuse to do what is most human and most vulnerable:
to enter into a conversation with him, to ask questions and seek to understand.

Instead of talking to him, they talk about him.
Instead of treating him with human dignity as someone with a name
who has the potential to change and grow, they put him in a box.
They assume so much.
I will not break down that word, “assume” in this public setting,
but let’s just say that if I assume something about you I make a fool out of you and me.

One of the reasons that all the prophets in the Old Testament invite their hearers
to repentance is because repentance simply means the willingness
to rethink one’s assumptions.
The prophet straddling the Old and the New, John the Baptist, invites the people
into repentance, to change the way they think, so they can receive someone
completely NEW, who shatters their assumptions about God and God’s ways—Jesus.
Jesus also invites people to repentance, to examine their assumptions about God
and other people in order to take on his mindset.

The essence of not having faith, of distrust, is that you believe or trust your current assumptions and opinions so much that you distrust anything new that comes your way.
Psychologists call this “confirmation bias.”
They tell us that our brains are wired to accept ideas that confirm what we already think, and to reject anything that challenges our assumptions.
Those who make tons of money off the Internet understand confirmation bias,
which is why the algorithms which run Facebook take us to sites and groups
which confirm what we already think.

Without even knowing it, we become a prisoner of our own assumptions.
The result–we never come to know others who are different from us.
That’s why it is so easy today to demonize and discard those who think differently
than we do.

In the gospels, the opposite of confirmation bias is repentance.
The word literally means to “think again” or “to change your mind.”

Trust enables us to rethink our assumptions, to see the world and others in a new way.
Jesus constantly is saying, “Have faith” because he is calling others to trust in Him.
As the Son of God in human flesh, he sees things that we do not
and invites us to this new way of seeing.
As the Wisdom of God fully human, he wants us to break free of our confirmation bias.

The invitation he extends daily to us is to be his disciple,
a word which literally means “to sit at the feet of the Master,”
so we might learn how to see others as he does
and love others as he does.

But the journey of discipleship is painful because we have to go through the death,
the letting go, of assumptions that sometimes have to be rooted out of our hearts.
What Jesus is about is heart surgery, for when we change the way we think,
then our hearts are transformed as well.

We are not only daily being called to repentance, but also we are called to be prophetic.
By our baptism, when we put on Christ, we were given a part in His prophetic ministry.
As it was with Jesus, so we too can expect rejection as we live out the Gospel.
He experienced rejection and so will we.

Whenever we speak out defending the dignity of human life,
whether that be against abortion or against capital punishment or against racism,
we risk rejection.
Whenever we bring to light the assumptions that people live by
which are not in accord with the teachings of Jesus, we can expect to be rejected.
As it was with Jesus, so it will be with us his disciples.

But the Scriptures today not only challenge us to persevere in our prophetic call
in the face of rejection, but also challenge us to examine when we have rejected others.

We are invited to think about the times we have caused this pain by rejecting
our brothers and sisters who opinions and ideas, looks and behavior
are not in accord with our own.

But we are also invited by this Gospel to look carefully at how easily
we reject others who come to our borders,
do not speak our language, or have an accent.
We have to wonder if this is not in some very real way a rejection of the very One
who has come for us, given us so much, and asked so little.

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

13th SUNDAY in ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE B
Wisdom 1: 13-15; 2: 23-24 + Psalm 30 + 2 Cor. 8: 7, 9, 13-15 + Mark 5: 21-43
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: June 27, 2021

These two miracle stories in Mark’s Gospel are set within
the larger context of four consecutive accounts of Jesus’ power over chaos.
These four accounts of Jesus’ power to save are found at the end of Chapter 4
and in the entirety of Chapter 5 of the Gospel of Mark.

Last Sunday, at the end of Chapter 4 in Mark, we encountered Jesus’ power
over the chaos that erupts in nature as he calmed the powerful storm on the sea of Galilee.
At the beginning of Chapter 5, before the two accounts found in today’s Gospel,
Jesus reveals his lordship over the power of evil, as he sets the Gerasene demoniac free from the legion of demons possessing him.

Today we see Jesus’ power over a chronic illness which no doctor can cure
and then his power over that which causes the most chaos in human life—
death itself—as he raises the daughter of Jairus from her deathbed.

Sometime in the next few days, pull out your Bible and read these four miracle stories,
because they are intended to be read together as one account of Jesus’ saving power.

Jesus is called “Lord” because we believe he has power over anything
that could cut us off from His love.
We rightly name Jesus as “Lord” because he has power over everything
that tries to snatch us away from Him and the gift of His Life.
Those who turn to Jesus in faith open themselves up to his saving power,
as we see in the faith of the hemorrhaging woman and in the faith of Jairus.

Remember, as we saw in Jesus’ calming of the storm, when Jesus speaks about faith,
he is speaking about a reality that is the opposite of fear.
He is calling forth trust, which is relational, that we trust in Him and his power to save,
a trust that trumps fear, which is always trying to drown us.

The woman who has been bleeding for 12 years is at the end of her rope.
She has spent everything and received nothing in return.
Not only is she penniless, not only are her life savings gone, but she is also
a social outcast because of her constant flow of blood making her impure, unclean.
The Mosaic law is clear—because she bleeds she cannot enter the temple.
Surely she cannot help but feel completely cut off from God.

For 12 years she has sought healing to no avail.
For 12 years she has been unable to enter the temple and offer sacrifice for her sins.
For 12 years she has been tempted to give into fear and give up on God’s care for her.

But she has enough trust in Jesus, enough confidence in his power to heal and to save her, that she reaches out to touch him, confident that will be enough.
There were many in that crowd that jostled against Jesus that day,
who came into contact with him that day, but none with such trust in Jesus’ loving power.

This woman who had no name, this street woman who knew only pain—
not just physical, but emotional and spiritual—is rightly identified by Jesus
as a daughter of God—her faith has made her well.

When Jairus hears the news of his daughter’s death, that Jesus and he are too late
to save her from her sickness, surely he thought his future was lost to him.
Not only his daughter’s future lost to death, but his as well, for all the dreams he had
for her, all the things he had hoped to see her enjoy in life—snatched away in an instant.

But notice the words of Jesus to this faltering father:
“Do not be afraid, just have faith.”
In other words, do not let fear swallow you, but place your trust in me.
Jairus came to Jesus, trusting in his power to save his daughter from sickness,
and now he must make a greater leap of faith, that Jesus also has power over death itself.
As Jesus lifts up his daughter from the sleep of death, Jairus sees his trust is not in vain.

To “have faith” does not mean that we will not be afraid
or that fear will never try to swamp our lifeboat.

Rather, to “have faith” means that in the middle of the most fear-filled times of our life, we surrender ourselves to the Lord of all life and the Lord over death.
Because of our ongoing relationship with him, we trust that there is nothing
that can separate us from his love which always brings us new life. (cf. Romans 8: 38-39)

Because Jesus is Lord, we are imprisoned by our past no more.
Because Jesus is Lord, we are no longer defined by the circumstances of our present.
Because Jesus is Lord, we do not fear the permanent loss of our future.
Today, in this Eucharist, we reach out in faith to touch the Lord of life,
and he comes to save us once again from all that threatens to destroy us.
He says to us: Rise up with me now to new life.

And he gives us something to eat, the very gift of Himself and a share in His life.

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Job 38: 1, 8-11 + Psalm 107 23-26 + 2 Corinthians 5: 14-17 + Mark 4: 35-41
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: Sunday, June 20, 2021

Storms on the Sea of Galilee happen suddenly, swiftly, and destructively.
One minute it is calm and the next a violent squall whips across the water.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John are fishermen—they know how dangerous
storms on the Sea of Galilee can be.
But even though they are veterans of such sudden storms, they are still fearful.

A storm on the firmness of land is one thing—a storm on water is another.
One can sink, one can drown in a storm on the sea.
Plus, one does not know what monsters lurk beneath the murky waters—
those dangers that cannot be seen, that live in the watery depths.

But for Jesus, there is a bigger disaster than the storm at sea, a greater danger.
That is the disciples lack of faith—they have not yet placed their trust in him.
This is the bigger concern for Jesus—that the waters of fear
have swamped the hearts of his followers, so that their trust in him is drowning.

Remember the parables Jesus taught his disciples before this storm
which revealed that trust was one of the qualities of a person who wanted
to be good soil, receptive to the word of God.

Like a storm on the Sea of Galilee, storms can appear out of nowhere in our lives.
or in the lives of loved ones, with no warning at all.
One minute life is calm, and the next minute are lifeboat is being battered
by the waves of fear.
All it takes is a few words. “You have cancer.”
“Your son has been in an accident.”
“Your husband has Parkinson’s.”
Then fear starts to drown any trust we have in the Lord.

We cry out in our despair to the Lord Jesus,
“Do you not care that we are perishing?” “Do you not care?”
The response from the One who wants to teach us about trust, who wants to teach us how to grow in faith: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

The storm of sickness, whether our own illness or that of a loved one,
has a way of testing our faith, of making us feel abandoned by God,
or at the very least as if God is asleep.
The watery waves of fear pour into our boat, and we feel like we are sinking.

However, especially during stormy times of illness,
the Lord Jesus is with us, in the boat with us.
He does care about our bodily sickness, but his greatest concern
is our relationship to him—can we allow our trust in his saving power to grow during the violent squalls that strike our life?
He says: Quiet! Be Still! Listen—I am with you.

When we pour out our heart to him,
when we tell Him about the fear rocking our boat,
then He can pour into our lives the gift of His peace—
a quiet stillness that is so real, so powerful, so life-giving.

From the very beginning of the Church in the first century, the boat was an image of the Church, of the Christian community, tossed about by the challenges of life.
But remember—it is a boat that holds other members
of the Christian community—we are never alone.
That is one of the reasons why the Church exists, so we might know
that Christ is with us through others.

We know this is a most concrete way
in and through the presence of others with us in the storms of life.
We know this in a powerful way through their prayers.

Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker on a car which said: “Nature is my Church.”
Now, for me personally, I encounter God’s presence
and the beauty of God’s creation in nature.
But nature cannot replace the great gift of being united to other people of faith,
of being strengthened by the loving presence and prayers of others on this journey.

We find strength in this knowledge that we are not alone
and thus courage to face the storm head-on.
Slowly but surely a transformation takes place,
from the “old” creation of a fear-dominated life
to the “new” creation of a life marked by a deepening trust in the Lord.

Every storm that strikes our lives is an opportunity to grow in faith.
Now that may not be our initial reaction.
In fact, when storms strike, fear may be that which rises in our hearts first.

But as we go through life, we begin to understand that
storms are simply a part of life.
So, we do not pray that these storms will not strike our boat,
but rather that we will have the ability to grow in trust of the Lord when they do.

Then we can sing with the psalmist:
“Let us thank the Lord for his love, for the wonders he does.
For when we cried to the Lord in our distress, he rescued us.”

We cry out to the one who keeps on patiently teaching us
about the power of God’s love in our life,
This power is greater than any storm, even the storm of death itself.

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

11th SUNDAY in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Ezekiel 17: 22-24 + Psalm 92: 2-16 + 2 Cor. 5: 6-10 + Mark 4: 26-34
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: Sunday, June 13, 2021

Today, on this 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the Year of Mark’s Gospel,
we return to a consecutive reading of Mark’s Gospel at Sunday Mass.
We left off on our consecutive reading of Mark’s Gospel way back on Valentine’s Day.
Remember the deep freeze of that time and the snow that followed,
preventing many of you from attending Ash Wednesday services
immediately after Valentine’s Day.

Back in mid-February we began the 40 days of the Lenten Season, then entered the 50 days of the Easter Season, and then these past 2 Sundays celebrated important beliefs about who God is as Trinity and how God draws us into the life of the Trinity
through the great gift of the Eucharist.
After all that passage of time, today we return to a consecutive reading of Mark’s Gospel.

The challenge, though, is we are dropped right into the middle of Chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel with these 2 parables: The Seed that Grows of Itself and the Mustard Seed.
It’s like going to sleep in one place and waking up in an entirely different place—
we have to get our bearings in order to understand where we are
and what Jesus desires to teach us through his word.

For we cannot understand what Jesus is trying to teach us without understanding
the context in which the evangelist Mark places these 2 parables.

In Chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses agricultural images in speaking about
the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
In doing so, he chooses images from material life
to point to the hidden workings of the spiritual life.
This is how Jesus uses parables, speaking about what is visible to point
to the invisible workings of God’s grace, the hidden movements of the Spirit.

The two parables we hear today toward the middle of Chapter 4 of Mark are connected
to the first parable at the beginning of this chapter—The Parable of the Sower.
The parables we ponder today—the “Seed that Grows of Itself” and the “Mustard Seed” illumine this previous parable about the Sower who sows the seed.
The three parables in Chapter 4 can only be understood together.
In the parable that opens Chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel, “The Parable of the Sower”,
there are 4 types of soil that the Sower encounters—
three types that do not receive the seed and the fourth soil that is receptive to the seed.
In Jesus’ explanation of that parable to his disciples, away from the noise of the crowd,
he states that the Sower stands for himself, the seed is his word,
and the soil represents the hearts of the listeners.

However, since Jesus did not say much about the characteristics
of the 4th type of soil, he tells 2 more parables shed light on the qualities of good soil.
Since Jesus did not elaborate much at all about the 4th type of person
who is receptive to his word and produces abundant fruit,
he tells 2 more parables to about this type of person of faith.

The Parable of the “Seed that Grows of Itself” (productive soil)
and the parable of the “Mustard Seed” (transformative soil)
both point to qualities needed in order for the word of God to take root
in the heart of the listener and produce abundant fruit.

A very important quality of good soil is to cooperate with God’s grace
even when we do not see the results immediately.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. We demonstrate this most powerfully
when we follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus which are contrary to popular culture.
We do what we are commanded to do, even though others tempt us by saying,
“What good does it do?”
So, we are kind, even when others are rude in return.
We are patient, when having everything right now is the norm.
We forgive, when everyone else is seeking revenge.
We are faithful, while others glibly break their vows.
We are honest, even when others who lie and cheat and steal seem to be getting ahead.
We are grateful, while others are never satisfied with what they have.
We worship God with our brothers and sisters in Christ,
which does not appear to produce anything concrete,
while everyone else is at the lake having fun.

Another one of these very important qualities of good soil revealed by today’s parables
is trust!
We must trust that the Sower knows what he is doing,
that the instructions of Jesus are worth following.
So, in trust, we remain open to Him and to his word.
We do so by turning to him daily in prayer, so the water of our baptism can flow freely
in our lives, nourishing the growth of our spiritual lives.
Receiving the Eucharist, week after week, also enables the water of baptism
to flow freely through our life, watering the seed of faith.
We know not how prayer works, we simply know that prayer works.
We know not how the growth of God’s life and love happens in our lives, but prayer,
this ongoing relationship with the Lord, assures us that it is happening.
Spending time with the Lord every day is essential,
even when nothing on the surface appears to be happening.

A quality which takes trust to a deeper level is surrender.
We surrender ourselves and our lives daily into the hands of the Lord,
recognizing that a lot is not in our control.
For this is how it is with the Kingdom of God. Surrender is a deeper form of trusting,
of placing all that we have and are into God’s hands.
When we surrender in love to God,
we admit that we do not need to have the blueprint of our entire life—
only give us today our daily bread, and that will be enough.
Surrendering to God means we can say,
“You don’t have to show me the whole road ahead. Just the next step will do.”

For we only see the mustard seed of our small lives, the mustard seed of our faith,
but when we surrender the little we are and have into God’s hands,
something remarkable happens.
We grow into something beyond what we dreamed could be possible.

We become bread for others who hunger for God.
We become a welcoming shade for those seeking comfort
from the blazing heat of suffering and despair.

Ultimately, being good soil for God’s word is not about individual achievement.
It’s not about “self-help” or “self-improvement,”
but about being of loving assistance to others, producing fruit for the Kingdom of God.

When we do so, we will not be afraid to stand before the judgment seat of Christ
and give an account for our lives.
Actually, we will not need to say a word.
Others will speak on our behalf.
Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi

Trinity Sunday

TRINITY SUNDAY
Deut. 4: 32-34, 39-40 + Psalm 33: 4-6, 9, 18-22 + Rom. 8: 14-17 + Matt. 28: 16-20
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: May 30, 2021

The Church in her wisdom places the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
immediately after the great celebration of Pentecost. Why?
Because the Holy Spirit leads us into the life of the Triune God.

We are carried on the wings of the Spirit into the heights of joy of being chosen
by the Father in the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit to share life with God.
As the river of life-giving water, the Spirit transports us into a relationship
with the Father and Son, and we are caught up in their love for each other.
By the fire of the Holy Spirit, we see clearly this truth—
love not only makes the world go round, but love is at the center of the Trinity—
the Father loving the Son, the Son receiving the Father’s love and returning that love, and the fiery passionate love they share being the Holy Spirit.

Most Christians, when asked which member of the Trinity they relate to
on a consistent basis, would answer either the Father or the Son.
The Holy Spirit is often the forgotten member of the Triune God.
Yet it is the Spirit who enlightens our minds to understand who Jesus is as Son of God
and what Jesus has done for us as Redeemer, Savior, and Lord of all.
Yet it is the Spirit who reveals that the Father has adopted us in baptism,
chosen us to be his own beloved sons and daughters.
In fact, it is by the power of the same Spirit, as St. Paul notes,
that we can even dare to address God as “Abba, Father”. (Romans 8: 15)

Whether we realize it or not, the Holy Spirit is the divine person of the Trinity to whom we relate most, because we can only relate to the Father and the Son through the Spirit.
We are not Moses—we cannot see God face to face on the mountain— and actually
Moses did not exactly see God’s face, only God’s back as God passed by.
We are not Peter, James, or John, nor Mary Magdalene, Martha, or Mary—
we do not see Jesus, the Son of God, face-to-face as they did in the 1st century.

Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit who reveals to us the Father and reveals to us the Son.
Without the Spirit we would not know either one.

The Holy Spirit draws us deeper and deeper into the life of the Trinity.
The Holy Spirit performs this important work in our lives in many different ways.

The desire which propelled you here today, the desire you have
for a closer relationship with God—that is the Spirit working within you.

The voice you cannot silence arising from your conscience—
that voice which says, “Do the right thing no matter what it costs”
is the voice of the Holy Spirit.
That voice of compassion which says it is wrong to turn your back on the hungry
or those who are hurting, that is the Spirit.
The powerful voice reminding you that every single person is to be treated with dignity,
regardless of their race, ethnicity, color of skin, or gender—that is the Spirit.
That pestering voice which says “forgive” when you would rather feed resentment,
that’s the Spirit.

The Spirit is always at work repairing relationships that have been broken—
whether that’s our relationship to God, to others, to our truest self,
or the relationship we have with our common home, the earth itself.
For the Spirit is the energy needed for reconciliation.
It is the Holy Spirit as the 3rd Person of the Divine Trinity who makes us one—
one in Christ, & strengthens our relationship with each other as children of One Father.

The Spirit’s work is to encourage and console and to INSPIRE.
That word—inspire—reveals what the Holy Spirit most often does.
When out of nowhere we are inspired to call someone
who we have not spoken to in ages—that’s the movement of the Spirit.
When we are inspired to write a note of gratitude or encouragement,
the breath of the Spirit moves our pen.
When we are inspired to speak a word lifting another up, or when we are inspired
to step forward and offer a helping hand—there is the Spirit at work.

The 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity empowers us to give witness
to the Son’s redeeming love and the Father’s providential care.
The Holy Spirit, a Spirit of power, gives us the courage to be witnesses to the Gospel,
so that the life-giving relationship we have with the Father, Son, and Spirit
is something we naturally share with others.

Whenever we fall in love, we want to tell everyone about our beloved.
We want others to meet the person whose love has transformed us.
We cannot keep this news, this great good news, to ourselves.

So it is when we realize how bountifully we are loved by God
and invited into relationship now and forever with the Triune God.
It is a love that cannot be kept to ourselves, and it is a relationship
we want others to share.
We want to give witness to what the Beloved—the Triune God—
has done and is doing in our life.

It is the particular role of the Holy Spirit to help us share
this divine life and love with others and invite them into relationship with the Trinity.
So, we baptize—ushering those baptized into this life & love of the Father, Son & Spirit.
We invite others to join in the joy of the dance with the 3 Divine Persons.

It is the Holy Spirit who propels us to reach out and make a friend,
and then nurture and develop that friendship, and then bring that friend to know
the Father and the Son and the Spirit.

The heart of the mystery of the Trinity is relationship, for our God is a relational God.
The Triune God has made us in God’s image-we are made to be in relationship with God,
and we are hard-wired to be connected to others in relationship.
One of the lessons we have learned from the coronavirus pandemic is we are not made to live in isolation—we are made to be in bodily relationship with others.

In baptism, the Triune God has chosen us to be a Trinitarian people.
By baptism, we are “an adopted son (daughter) of the Father, a member of Christ,
and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1279)

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi

Center of Family Love’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

This year, the Center of Family Love (CFL) is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a Gift of Love Virtual Celebration! Out of an abundance of caution for their residents, the gala has been moved to a virtual platform for the second year in a row. Though this is virtual, they must still raise $1 million to meet their needs. CFL would greatly appreciate if you would register and spread the word!

For more information, visit https://centeroffamilylove.org/

Pentecost Sunday

PENTECOST SUNDAY HOMILY
Acts 2: 1-11 + Galatians 5: 16-25 + John 20: 19-23
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: May 23, 2021

The Holy Spirit, being “spirit”, is not visible to the human eye,
but is visible to those who have eyes of faith.
We do not “see” the Holy Spirit, but we do see evidence of the Spirit’s work,
signs of the powerful, life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit.
This is what St. Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit.
When we see someone who is loving or kind, full of joy or peace,
we know the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives.
When we see someone who is patient or faithful, generous or gentle,
or guided by self-control, we can say, “There is a Spirit-filled person.”

By examining more closely the fruit of the Holy Spirit,
we can better understand what it means to be a Pentecost people.

The fruit of the Spirit is love. But not just any kind of love,
rather the love revealed by the Spirit-filled Son of God.
He commands us to love one another as he has loved us (John 15: 12),
by laying down our lives for others,
generously giving of ourselves for the good of the other.
This love sacrifices, is generous and kind and joy-filled.
It’s the kind of loving that is attractive to others and draws their attention:
“Look at those Christians. See how they love one another and others.”
When we make use the Spirit’s gift of piety, which draws us closer to the All-Holy One who is Pure, Absolute Love, we produce more readily this fruit of the Spirit—love.

The fruit of the Spirit is joy.
This joy in the Spirit, this joy spilling forth from the Spirit,
is permanent where happiness is temporary.
When Jesus prays to the Father, he “rejoices in the Holy Spirit” (Lk. 10:21).
Jesus, full of joy springing from wonder, preaches parables rooted
in the awesomeness of life springing up all round him—a sower sowing seeds and the bountiful harvest that results (cf Mk. 4: 1-8; Mt. 13: 1-13) or how the Father provides for the birds of the air and clothes the fields with flowers (cf. Mt. 6: 26-30).

Jesus welcomes children who are bundles of joy,
because of their hearts are filled with wonder.

Moved by the Spirit of joy, we can become like little children
(cf. Mk. 10:15, Matt. 18:3), alive with awe and wonder.
Anytime we unpack this particular gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of awe
and wonder, we are able to marvel at life erupting all round us from the frozen death of winter, we rejoice in frozen hearts now thawed by the mercy of God.
With masks are removed from our faces, we breathe in more easily
the breath of the Risen Lord, the fresh air of the Spirit, and we sing for joy.

Filled with awe and wonder at the many glorious gifts of God,
we can then produce the fruit of the Spirit identified as generosity.
For the Spirit’s gift of awe and wonder produces not only joy
but generosity, which flows from joy and gives birth to even more joy.
Those who are joy-filled are also generous, because these fruits of the Spirit
go hand-in-hand.
Jesus notices generosity welling up and out of the widow
who gives all she has to the temple treasury, two small coins (cf. Lk 21: 2-3).
Jesus embodies generosity by the great gift of his body broken for us,
by the magnanimous gift of his blood poured out for us.
Parishioners in their generosity not only break open their bank accounts
to build a new church or to help those who have lost everything to fire
or struggle to make ends meet, but also generously share the gift of their time and talent in a multitude of ways.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is peace.
“Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you,” says the Lord.
“Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and afraid.” (John 14: 27)
When our world turns upside down and the foundations of life
are shaken, this fruit is a sure sign of the Spirit of God at work.
It blooms forth in the lives of people of faith who persevere in the face of hardship, rejoicing in the gifts of God each day, relishing life in all its richness,wonder and delight.
The Spirit helps us produce this fruit by the gift of knowledge of the ways of God.
For peace flows from us because we know that suffering love leads to glory,
that every trial is a new opportunity to trust in God’s goodness,
that death never ever has the last word.

Another fruit of the Spirit of the All-Merciful God is patience.
Patience as a fruit of the Spirit is not passive, but active. (cf. 1 Cor. 13: 4)
It is what Jesus displays toward his hard-headed disciples,
who do not understand him nor his ways.
Patience as a fruit of the Spirit is rooted in God’s love as seen
in Jesus’ marvelous mercy toward sinners, trusting they will turn back to God.
It is manifested in the many St. Monica’s of this world who faithfully pray for their wayward Augustine’s, trusting that God hears their prayers and will act to save the lost, to bind up the broken, to lift up those who fall.

Patience looks a lot like persevering in hope, which is why the Spirit gives
the gift of fortitude, to strengthen us to keep on keeping on even when things are not going our way, trusting that in the long haul that God’s plan will be victorious,
that life will spring from death.

Connected to the fruit of patience is the fruit of faithfulness,
because faithfulness also springs from the Spirit’s gift of fortitude,
giving strength to persevere in good times and bad, in sickness and in health.

Husband and wife produce this fruit of faithfulness to God and to each other
as they support each other during times of trouble
and rejoice with each other during times of blessing.
Those who suffer through the pain of divorce produce this fruit as they stay close to God and their church community through thick and thin and are resurrected to new life
on the other side of the death of divorce, a life where they learn they can love and be loved again, where they recognize they have gifts to share which bless the lives of others, gifts which flow from God’s faithfulness to them.

This fruit of the Spirit named faithfulness is produced by a people of faith,
who persevere through a pandemic, who endure in trust the shutting down of the Sacramental life of the Church, who then worship in spite of the hindrance of masks and social distance, who say to God who has said to them in Christ—“I am with you always” (cf. Mt. 28:20)—that they are there always for God—to adore and praise and give thanks.
Yes indeed, a fantastic fruit of the Holy Spirit is faithfulness.

Kindness and gentleness are fruits growing from the living water of the Holy Spirit.
Spirit-infused disciples look upon others with a “kind gaze”,
bringing to light the goodness residing in them.
This is the way Jesus looked upon every single person he encountered in his life.
Kindness is a particular way of loving which benefits and helps others
and is ever ready to be of assistance. (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4)
A kind deed done every day transforms the world in which we live.

Kindness fits hand-in-glove with the fruit of gentleness.
Jesus, the Gentle One, fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah, for by the anointing of the Spirit
“a bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench”
(cf Matthew 12: 18, 20; Isaiah 42:1-4), as he gently reaches out to touch with tenderness
those who are hurting and in need of healing.
Jesus, the Gentle One, is the Good Shepherd who carries the wounded sheep
on his shoulders after binding up its wounds.

Jesus, full of the Spirit, reveals the kindness and gentleness of God
by reaching out to those broken by suffering, rejected by the world,
and he wipes away ever tear from their eyes (cf. Revelation 21: 4).
Jesus, full of gentleness and kindness toward his first followers, reaches out
to tenderly touch their feet, to wash them clean, and then tells them to do the same.
The fruit of kindness and gentleness, nourished by the life-giving water of the Spirit, springs forth from using the Spirit’s gift of wisdom.
For those who are wise in the ways of God, know that kindness and gentleness
ultimately win the day, not brute strength and violence.

The 9th fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of self-control.
Jesus reveals this fruit of self-control as Pilate interrogates him, as the soldiers mock him, as the religious leaders scoff at him hanging from the cross.
This fruit becomes evident in the life of one who does not respond to hate with hate,
who holds his or her tongue instead of lashing out.
The gift of the Spirit which produces this fruit in us, if we make use of this gift,
is the great gift of understanding.
Understanding that when another person is hateful toward us
they are most likely responding from a place of deep woundedness,
helps us to control our response to them.

The fruit of the spirit is:
Love, joy, and generosity;
Peace, patience, and faithfulness;
Kindness and gentleness and self-control.

Making full use of the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit helps us produce
these nine fruits of the Spirit, so we may magnify the Lord by our life.

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi