Homily of Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller in Medjugorje
Brothers, especially here brother priests, lets be aware and mindful of the Mother of Our Lord, who is with us, praying with us, and She is praying for us. So as we reflect on Holy Scripture may Her presence help us to understand the Word and like Her to act upon it.
The Second Reading today, taken from the Book of James, tells us how someone who has the option to live according to what St. Paul called, in the flesh or how to work in the spirit. In this case, in the Book of James this explains that life in the flesh in people who are starvacious for His word, and how people in those situations live in misery. They live in misery so they communicate misery, so injustices take place. Because as it says here: “Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded and that corrosion will be testimony against you.” And then he tells us how also the Lord to St. James points out how people, they were dealing with other people in the same way and injustices took place because of selfishness, because of self-centeredness.
We can see also how in the Gospel today the Lord tells us how the people of God, in the context of talking to the disciples, when talking to the disciples the Lord, tells them that they should not experience the faith just in the context of selfishness and privatization. That faith and the gift of God’s presence is for all and that issue should not be privatized. And so the Lord speaks to them, He notices that they were arguing against , “Well Lord, these people are doing things in your Name, but they are not following us, our way, our words, our way of doing things”, privatization of things and faith. Self-centered. And it’s the opposite. The Lord is inviting His disciples to see that the Spirit of God is working all over. And the Spirit of God is working in many ways.
And it is true as we are here in this place everything is so conducive for us to connect to the Spirit of God, to experience His presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the One who suffered, died and is risen. It is so conducive, and especially with the beautiful presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first disciple of Christ—the first, the first disciple of Christ. So it’s very easy, but sometimes it’s so hard to see and to recognize that the Spirit of the Lord is working all over and in many people in the world. So the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord has won! Has won us salvation.
And people are starving. This morning in talking and listening to the experience of one of our brother priest’ who was saying, people—they want to hear the Word of God, people—they want to know, people—they want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. They want to know what it is, how it works and how to foster that experience. But the Spirit of the Lord is already in action. And we are not called to privatize because those are the works of the flesh, not the gifts of the spirit. And in Galatians we see, if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. So you would not be under immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, acts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions and factions. But when somebody attaches something to the presence of the Holy Spirit then the gifts of the spirit, as they are stated in Galatians come through. The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith, gentleness, self-control.
If we live in the spirit, let us be led by the spirit, opposite of the privatization of the faith, that only is in certain ways and certain forms and certain places. And the Lord brought us here and wants us to experience this New Pentecost, not only here, but to be enablers, to be converts, to be out and to make persons a New Pentecost there, and there, over there, wherever we are going to be. Privatization of the faith speaks of a self-righteousness and selfishness. We see how in the First Reading today from the Book of Numbers how the Spirit was passed on. And Moses after having the experience of God, the Spirit of God working in Him and through Him he feels kind of defeated. The work is too much, it’s too much. And he is ready to give up his leadership. And he asks where by the power of the Lord, it says here that the Lord came down in a cloud and spoke to him and then some of the spirit that was in Moses he (the Lord) bestowed it to the 70 elders. We need to share the spirit. Not only to see that the Holy Spirit is working in many people, in many ways beyond our understanding but also to share the personal experience that we have of the Spirit of God. And so the Reading tells us, the spirit came to rest on them also. And they prophesized in the camp. And even the Lord said “Would that the Lord might bestow the spirit on them all? The Lord wants to do that I’m sure! We all have families, friends, neighbors, parishes; we know people and we want them to experience the same fire that we experience now.
Well, if Moses had the Holy Spirit with the elders, if St. James was able to understand that the spirit of the Lord leads us in ways beyond self, selfishness, and riches, what about Mary, the Mother of our Lord? What a beautiful experience and expression of the Holy Spirit. She had the Spirit before the angel appeared to Her by granting that encounter we then see how the spirit was working in Her in the moment that She heard the words “It will be done by the power of the Holy Spirit” and She said yes, Jesus took flesh in Her womb. And think how moved by the Holy Spirit was able to come in that meeting in Cana. And then when She walked with Jesus, She saw Her Son dying on the Cross, Jesus gave the Spirit and She was right there, not because She didn’t have the Spirit. It was in the experience for that Mother, for that Woman, for our Mother, the Mother of Jesus to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus giving His Holy Spirit. And He gave the Spirit. And then Mary carried off the Spirit into the other place where they were gathered with the Apostles and disciples to experience a New Pentecost. And we know what the Holy Spirit did in the Apostles; led them throughout the world, like Jesus said, in Matthew 28, “Go, go, go to all the nations and baptize them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and know that I’m going to be with you always, always until the end of the world.”
My brothers, we are all born blessed in being in this place, yes with our Mother. But we were led in some way in that selfishness that James conveys with that it stays with us. The experience needs to be shared beyond this place because the spirit needs to find instruments who will help people to connect, to help people to understand the word of the Spirit. And we will love to be instruments of this new spirit that has been renewed here, through sacraments especially confession and the Eucharist, through the prayer life that we have experienced here and the sense of community. Let’s go, let’s go and be instruments of the New Pentecost. Moses did. James did. Our Lady did in a very special way. May we bring forth a New Pentecost. As John XXIII announced it. As John Paul II confirmed it and Benedict XVI. Without the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus will not reign, and Mary will not be recognized as the first disciple and the model. Do we have the Spirit of God? Let us be led by the Spirit.
“…is so conducive for us to connect to the Spirit of God, to experience His presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the One who suffered, died and is risen. It is so conducive, and especially with the beautiful presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first disciple of Christ—the first, the first disciple of Christ.”