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Blog: May 19, 2024

Fr. Jeff and others share reflections on the Sunday readings.

May 19, 2024

A Message from Fr. Jeff

“No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 

there are different forms of service but the same Lord;

there are different workings but the same God

who produces all of them in everyone.

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit

is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,

and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,

whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,

and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”

If you want to understand me as your pastor, what motivates me and what my operative pastoral strategy, focus, and vision are, read the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. These two chapters have been an inspiration to me since my faith first blossomed and deepened in college. Today’s second reading, above, includes some verses excerpted out of the twelfth chapter. Paul’s ecclesiology is charismatic, based on charisms, or gifts of the Holy Spirit, which I find, as a man of the Church, to be an important counterpoint to the institutional structure of the Church. It is another Catholic both/and instead of an either/or. The Church is both charismatic and institutional instead of being either charismatic or institutional. Yet, within the institution, the charismatic inspires my leadership style and decision making. In these two chapters, Paul talks about spiritual gifts and offices, the many parts of one body, and then tees up his great hymn to love in the thirteenth chapter. In addition to those above, here are a few more of those verses (maybe you could pray with them):

“But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” (12:11)

“But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body…Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety…But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (12:18-20, 22-23, 24b-26)

“Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.” (12:31)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (13:4-8a)

“So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (13:13)