by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
When I stand in this pulpit, it is impossible to miss the extraordinary banner that you have draped across the choir loft in the back of the church. As you leave this morning, or any morning, you, too, must notice those exciting words: “The Spirit is loose and she is wild.” When I reflect on all the things that have happened here in St. [Lucie] Parish, I fully understand how that is true. The ministries of charity and mercy and love are so abundant here.
Then going beyond that to find the causes for structural injustice and working against those causes in trying to make justice really happen so everyone has a real opportunity to share in the goods of the world that God gave for all. Also, the enthusiasm and the joy and the celebration of the liturgy, the spirit of faith that is so clearly present here. Your faith supporting and connecting with my faith and with the faith of every other person — it is an extraordinary experience of God being present through God’s Spirit.
I suggest that that’s how we will best understand today’s Scripture readings, to understand that God is always working through God’s Spirit. This becomes so clear in the readings, that God doesn’t follow all of the old patterns all the time. God is working through the Spirit and that’s why, in the first lesson today, St. Ignatius proclaims to the chosen people, speaking for God, “I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it?” The new thing — these are people to whom Isaiah is preaching who have been in exile for decades. They’re disheartened. They’re demoralized. They’re failing to live up to their commitments to one another, to their community. They’re losing their call. They’re letting go of their call to be God’s chosen people….