Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Get a shot! That’s probably the strangest way I have ever begun a Pentecost bulletin reflec¬tion. But perhaps the most Spirit-filled thing I can say to you is, “If you have not yet gotten a Covid vaccine shot, do it!”

I suspect most of us in the parish have done that, at least in our age bracket. But I surely hope you can encourage the younger members of your family to do the same. If you have to explain why to them, tell them that if they aren’t concerned about their own health they need to be concerned about the health of others, especially people who legitimately are not able to take the vaccine.

I’m asking this of you because somewhere along the line, I heard developers and distributors of the vaccine being asked how to help people get over their hesitancy about getting the vaccine. Their response was that if hesitant people were encouraged by their doctors or family mem¬bers or other trusted people like clergy, people might be more receptive.

I was touched to think that clergy are still thought of in some quarters as “trusted” and I certainly hope that is true here. Let me tell you I feel trusted, at least most of the time.

What can you do to encourage others? That’s the big issue. There are some folk who will probably never be receptive. We need to be models for them and not critics of them. You have the tools. You can be kind... AND remember that as a good Catholic you should be fairly good at being able to put somebody on a gentle guilt trip. So, this is the perfect opportunity to do it. I’ve always said guilt is a wonderful thing. (Well, not really, but you know what I mean...)

Besides telling us to get the vaccine, what else do you think the Holy Spirit might be inspiring in us at this time in our lives?

After I wrote the question for you, I asked the question of myself. “Holy Spirit, what are you trying to say to me in this moment?” It might have been better if I was asking at some time other than 1:00 a.m. in the morning. (Don’t ask.) Nevertheless, ...the image that came into my mind was the rubble in Israel and Gaza. I seriously doubt I am being called to become a Middle East peace negotiator. But, I am realizing that all I was doing was making the news something that I watched almost dispassionately. I had not spent any time in prayer about the war.

Then I saw pictured a father holding his wounded baby son in his arms. The child had cuts and bruises and a swollen red eye. The father had lost his wife and three other children. My spontaneous reaction was, “Dear Jesus, why?” I had no answer, only sadness. Since then, I have prayed. I see that father and his baby son. I doubt I shall stop seeing them.

I think, at least for myself, the feast of Pentecost this year is marking a change in my attitudes about what is important. Maybe rather that change, a better word might be “intensify”.

“Lord, intensify my understanding of what it means to preach your word. Intensify the quality of whatever ex¬ample I can offer. Intensify my willingness to pray for the world’s leaders, and help me see the face of each of them. Intensify my concern for them and don’t let my prayer degrade to unspecified general intentions.”

What better way to commemorate (I can’t say celebrate) Pentecost 2021? May Jesus touch all our hearts with His Spirit. May His Spirit strengthen our resolve to do His work. May Jesus hear our prayers for a wounded world.

In Him,
sign frjim

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