Ordinary Time – Romans 8:12-17; Lk 13:10
Saturday Barb and I went up to the Cathedral for Deacon Michael’s ordination, which was really moving. It was especially moving to see his son, Monsignor Cihak, vesting his father in the deacon’s dalmatic.
And afterwards we walked about a mile to see an aunt I’ve not seen for many years. We’ve just fallen out of touch. But we’ve been corresponding lately, and it turns out she lives in a senior apartment house about a mile away, so Barb and I walked down the city streets, beneath the fall trees, on a lovely, cool, sunny afternoon. We stopped at a coffee shop along the way. We looked up at those narrow houses, like wooden brownstones. There was just this real Portland feeling, and seeing my aunt again was wonderful. She’s a lovely woman, very sharp and clear, as she always has been, and as we talked about my mother and father and my grandfather and grandmother, and my uncle and cousins, I could feel the spirit moving in me, as I could feel the spirit moving that whole afternoon.
I mean I could feel my own spirit moving, my own self, my own personality, but as it was moving I believe the Holy Spirit was moving, too, because the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says today, “bears witness with our spirit,” it is one with us, with our best selves, and what it bears witness to is that we “are children of God,” and that if we suffer with him we will also be “glorified with him,” and in a way I could feel that glory that afternoon.
God is in us and in the world, and we know him in our joy.
As Paul says in the fifth chapter of Galatians, there are nine fruits of the spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Feelings come and go, of course, and we don’t just know God in our feelings. We know him through our reasoning. We know him through scripture and through the Church and the sacraments. But when we feel love like this, and joy like this, and peace like this, that’s a sign, that’s a gift, that’s a call—not a call to anything in particular, necessarily, not an obvious voice, but a call to awareness, a call to just being, to being fully alive in the world. A call to faith.
This is Christ, this is Jesus, resurrected and ascended and infused now through everything that happens.
God is in us and in the world, in the city streets and the fall leaves and a visit to our aunt, in our present and our past, in the ordination of a good man and a conversation with a good woman, in you and in me and in all things, because we are not just the children of our parents, we are God’s children, and we are loved, we are cared for, and no one ever dies. We are one.