Pentecost

white water raftingI have always had a great respect for water. It started at an early age for me at the Boys Club in Norfolk where I was abandoned in the indoor pool in an effort to teach me how to swim. And then about that same time I witnessed Hurricane Camille and Agnes as they swept ashore in Tidewater with their flooding waters and fierce winds, and then even more recently I experienced the great forces of water as I helplessly tumbled around in a hydraulic on a white water rafting trip on the gorge on the New River in West Virginia. Water is a mighty and powerful creation!
We here today on the feast of Pentecost many references to water, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink” [Jn. 7:37] and “rivers of living water shall flow out of his belly” [Jn. 7:38]. Water is a very universal part of our faith! We are all baptized in water; we consume water with the Blood of Christ, and throughout the year we are sprinkled with water and our homes are even blessed with water. Water is a very important element not only in our worship of a loving God but also in our very earthly existence.
Water is such an important necessity of our lives. Our body is made up of 60% water and our body uses it to regulate our temperature, cushion our brain, spinal cord and fetuses from shock trauma and water helps keep our joints moving. Water is vital to our existence and scientist say that we can only live 3 days without it.
But we cannot live without Living Water as well. The Holy Spirit is our living water. “But whosoever drinketh of the water which I shall give him in no wise shall ever thirst. But the water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing into eternal life.” [Jn. 4:14] Our Lord chose to use water as an image because we cannot exist without it. And you see, without the Holy Spirit, we can exist on this earth but not in eternity! We will not live a life in abundance without the outpouring of love flowing from a heart that is full of the Holy Spirit and a life without God is not truly living but merely temporarily existing.
We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit after our Baptism after we put on Christ at our Chrismation. Our forehead is marked signifying the sanctification of the mind and thoughts. The anointing of our chest signifies the sanctification of the heart, or desires. The anointing of our eyes, ears, and lips signifies the sanctification of the senses. The anointing of our hands and feet seals their sanctification to good works and walking in the way of His commandments. We were given all that is necessary to conquer the demon!
May mighty and powerful rivers of living water gush forth from your belly like a white water rapid helplessly entangling everyone you meet in the apostolic fishing net of Divine love!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 5-31-15

The Invisible Man

We recount the story today of Christ healing the blind man. I can only imagine that once the man’s vision was restored, the explosion of beauty must have overwhelmed him, adding another dimension to everything he encountered!
Having lived my life with vision, I struggle trying to fully comprehend what living with blindness is really like. All of my senses work together in everything I stumble upon and if my eyes fail me, I will have to learn how to adapt. Things would now be invisible to me, although I may here a noise or inhale a fragrance that could help me identify who or what I am cautiously approaching!

 
But there are some ways I am already practicing blindness. For instance, I choose to turn my head and ignore my own sinful habits. I choose to rot in the world and all it has to offer instead of sharpening my eyesight in the depths of spiritual fruit. I choose to be invisible to someone in need and focus straight ahead on my own greed. I choose to hide my sins instead of exposing them to the Healers touch.

 

invisible-manAt times in life, I have wished I could be invisible, just like the invisible man. Everybody would not be able to see me and I could hide from a situation or avoid a reprimand for my actions. Of course, I would never choose to be invisible around dinner time!

 
It is certainly a blessing to be able to use our eyesight but we also must be alert and not let our eyes seek unholy things. “The lamp of the body is the eye. Whenever, therefore, thine eye is sound, thy whole body also is full of light; but whenever it is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34) Since all our shortcomings are visible to our Lord, He holds us accountable! May the One who gives us vision intensify in us the quest for holiness and all its’ splendor!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 5\17\15