Receiving the Spirit

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

Oof. As one who works with youth, anytime the Lord speaks of the little ones in His Word my ears perk up. I hone in on what the Lord is saying, wanting always to do the best I can for the Lord’s little ones. This line from today’s Gospel is humbling and convicting. I am reminded of the great responsibility of working with God’s precious youth, the great privilege it is to help shape our future Church. “Please Lord,” I pray, “let me lead your little ones towards you, not away.”

It is easy to become discouraged when thinking of the impossible task of spreading the Gospel — whether that be to the teens I work with, or to family, friends or the cashier at Target — when looking at it as something I need to do all by myself. It is not my sole responsibility to spread the Gospel — it is a collaboration with God and his Holy Spirit that allows something that is impossible on my own to become altogether possible — together.

God is so generous. As he did at Pentecost, He sends His Holy Spirit into us in order that we can be bearers of His Gospel to the world. And then as we spread His Gospel, others are filled with His Spirit and his generosity, and good news multiplies. Our first reading today shows us this generosity; the spirit which was bestowed on Moses is spread to those gathered. And Eldad and Medad missed the gathering, but God did not withhold the spirit from them. He poured it out on them exactly where they were. In the same way, God does not withhold his spirit from us — he pours it out on us exactly where we are to help us take our next step with Him and then, in turn, spread the Good News to others. Our job is simply to be open to receiving Him and allowing Him to guide us on our journey.

This openness to the Lord can change our lives if we allow it. I have had the great honor of seeing this time and again in our teens. When they open their hearts to the Lord, He takes hold of them and brings them the love, hope and joy they have been searching for. And once they have it, they want to share it. One of the best parts of my ministry is to watch our fifteen peer ministers share their faith with their fellow high school youth. You will see them helping out at Perissos, serving as ushers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. They are filled with the joy of the Lord, because they are willing to open their hearts to God. Many of them will be the first to admit that they didn’t want to be at youth group that first night they came, but after seeing God’s love alive in others, they were willing to let God in and transform their lives.

May we all be open to God’s generosity and allow Him to make us sharers in and of His Gospel.

Elizabeth McCanna
Youth Minister




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