June 4, 2017
This past Sunday, I was standing near the doors of the church after Mass, greeting people as they made their way to their cars. A young family approached and a little blonde kid came up to me, looked up with a grin, and said: “I only come for the juice!” This parish offers coffee and juice following the liturgy (no donuts though–I checked).
I wanted to reply: “Me, too! I come for the juice as well.”
I refrained. Instead, I asked him: “Did you get some?”
His grin broadened and he said: “I took two!”
To which I replied: “Good! When something’s free…there for the taking…you should take as much as you want.”
Had the little guy been a bit older, and if there were less commotion around us, that exchange would have been a perfect teaching moment. As it was, it offered a reminder to me of why I come to the Table of the Word and the Communion Table for Eucharist. Being the Sunday before Pentecost, the timing for this little “faith refresher” could not have been better.
We hear in Isaiah 11:2-3 that the Spirit of God offers us seven priceless gifts. These gifts are “free for the taking,” and we are encouraged to take as many as we want. When we use these gifts for the purposes they were intended, we show the world what it means to live as one anointed in the Spirit of the Lord. Paul tells us that these 7 Gifts are “manifestations of the Spirit” (1Cor. 12:7-11). And so, if we walk out of church clothed in these 7 Gifts: WIDSOM, UNDERSTANDING, RIGHT JUDGMENT, COURAGE, KNOWLEDGE, REVERENCE, WONDER, AND AWE…it’s as if we have put on Jesus Christ.
On top of these 7 Gifts, there is also “juice!”
At Galatians 5:22-23, Paul gives us a recipe for a “sacred mixture” of 7 of the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit. What is particularly special about this “Holy Smoothie” that is offered free of charge…available in unlimited quantity…there for the taking…is that this “juice” is blended specially for each person who is thirsting. Every individual is given a special blend of these Fruits that will revitalize what was given them at Baptism and sealed in Confirmation.
Just as we can easily research the benefits of ingredients, loading our blenders with what our bodies require to improve our physical well-being, so, too, The Holy Spirit knows just exactly what we need to improve our spiritual lives and adjusts the recipe to each individual’s needs. Look up the spiritual health benefits for yourself and see what you might be lacking. Here is the basic recipe, but order according to your personal taste and needs.
LOVE: 1 Cor 13
JOY: Luke 1:39-45
PEACE: Luke 7:1-10
PATIENCE: Romans 8:31-37
KINDNESS: John 21:15-17
GOODNESS: Mark 12:41-44
FAITHFULNESS: Mark 6:7-10
GENTLENESS: John 18:19-38
SELF CONTROL: Romans 6:12-14
Come for the juice! And even before you get here…consider what would best improve your spiritual health and well-being…and put in your order.