The Breath Of God … Our Source Of Life!
I was listening to the radio, and the disc jockeys were celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the release of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind.” In the 1960’s, this American artist wrote songs with political, social, and philosophical influences. They became like anthems for social unrest during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. The lyrics to the song suggest that answers to all the world’s problems are blowing in the wind. Five decades have passed since 1962; and although I was only six years old, I was aware of these worldly concerns, even in my somewhat sheltered life.
I am very anxious about the instability of the world we live in today. The words of the song from 1962 seem almost prophetic. In the Acts of the Apostles we read: “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”
Scripture refers to the Spirit as the "rushing wind." The root meaning of the word Spirit refers to breath, as in the word respiration, which means breathing. The Spirit of God breathed the gift of life into Adam, who died spiritually with sin. But, God created His Son to give us new life, and the Holy Spirit to counsel us. So, if we can call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, and His Spirit is blowing in the wind, why is it difficult to find answers to some questions or solve world problems?
Even the simplest question can be a challenge to answer if we do not seek the proper source for information. I attended a prayer meeting recently, and a great discussion was prompted by this question: “Why are we obligated to attend Mass every Saturday night or Sunday?” Cradle Catholics and faithful Mass goers were stumped and wondered if this was a trick question. The fourth commandment says, “Remember keep Holy the Sabbath." That was the first reply. The authority of the Church tells us it is a sin to miss Mass on Sunday, another popular response. From the very beginning the Apostles, exercising the authority given to them by Christ, determined the relevancy to the Mosaic Law of the Church, so that must be the right answer. But do we attend Mass just to avoid sin?
St. John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962, and one of the purposes was to instill a proper understanding of the liturgy for the faithful. This spiritual renewal was for everyone! The laity, as Baptized Christians, shares the common priesthood of Christ to offer a fitting worship to God the Father.
Our Baptismal anointing is a sign that we share in the three-fold mission of Christ, as Priest, Prophet and King, calling us to bring the Gospel to the world. Therefore, we are messengers and mediators; and remember, Jesus exercised his royal office as King by serving others. His mission was to instill the love of God in the hearts of all people with justice and peace for the whole world.
I believe there are many reasons to attend Mass on Sunday, and I know the answers to our concerns about life are found with the Spirit of God. The best reason to fulfill the Sunday and Holy Day obligations is to help others understand that the Holy Spirit breathes life into their soul, creating a burning desire to seek the Grace of God. We receive this Grace in all the sacraments, but especially in the gift of the Eucharist, the True Presence of God. I am not sure how much we have learned socially, politically, or spiritually in the past 50 years, but the answers friend, really are blowing in the wind. Amen!