The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Signs of Life

January 10, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

January 10, 2016
Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22
Fr. George Smiga

We cannot see the Holy Spirit. Spirits have no bodily form so they are invisible. Because of this, over the centuries the Church has developed images to point to who the Holy Spirit is. One of the most common images is that of a dove, and that image derives from today’s gospel. Luke tells us that after Jesus was baptized the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove. Now of course the Holy Spirit is not a dove. A dove is only an image that points to the presence of the Spirit and how the Spirit works in our lives. But what is the truth to which this image points? This is not an easy question to answer because doves occur only infrequently in the Bible and in a variety of different contexts. So the best we can do is pick one of those contexts and ask how it can reveal something about the Holy Spirit.

The passage I would like to consider is the first time that a dove appears in the bible. It occurs in the Book of Genesis, in the story of Noah. Noah is in the ark, and the entire world is covered with the waters of the flood. There is no hope for Noah, his family, or the animals in the ark unless the waters of the flood recede. So Noah sends out a dove. In the evening the dove returns with an olive leaf in its beak. The leaf is a sign that dry land is appearing, an assurance to Noah and those who are with him in the ark that they have a future.

The dove from the Book of Genesis suggests that the Holy Spirit is the one who brings us signs of life in hopeless situations. The Holy Spirit is the one who assures us that we have a future, even in a hostile world. This is a true action of God’s spirit because our inclination is to focus on what is wrong, what is dangerous, what is fearful. That focus can over time can lessen and stunt our lives.

Some of the people we love, family members and friends, have made disastrous choices or are dealing with sickness or financial stress. It is easy for us to give up and say, “They will never be happy.” The Holy Spirit is the one who reminds us that there is still goodness in their lives and in our relationship with them, and that goodness can have an effect. When we look at what is wrong with our country—how many of our elected officials seem to be more interested in grandstanding than in service, how little progress our government seems to be making—it is easy for us to say that things are falling apart and there will never again be a time when we can work together as a nation. The Holy Spirit is the one who reminds us that many of our elected officials work hard and effectively, that there are still aspects of our democracy that we should admire, and that we can still be proud to live in this country. When we look at what is dangerous in our world, dangerous because of poverty, pollution, or terrorism, it is easy for us to be afraid. The Holy Spirit is the one who reminds us that we can still work together and make a difference. We can move towards security as a country without compromising our deepest values.

We all received the Holy Spirit at our baptism, and so it is our right and our duty to call upon the Spirit to show us what is positive around us. Like Noah sending out a dove over troubled waters, we can send out God’s Spirit to find goodness, peace, and hope. We can ask God’s Spirit to bring us signs of life, so that we can believe that all is not lost and that we still have a future.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options