Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana gave a wonderful homily at the Saint Meinrad Graduation Mass on Saturday.
He preached mostly on this text from Acts 16:6-7: “They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them, so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.”
The bishop noted that we tend to think about graduation as a kind of slingshot that sets one into some direction for the rest of his life, as though he continue straight on until being called to Glory. The reality is, though, that there is “lots of pinging around” when one follows the Holy Spirit. One is called into all kinds of different directions, things he never expected or thought possible.
The bishop noted that we tend to think that the Holy Spirit guides us from one open door to another. But Acts tells us another story. Sometimes our own plans may bring us to closed doors, and the Spirit, for our own good and for the greater glory of God, keeps those doors closed. He blocks us, prevents us from going in the direction we want.
The paths that the Holy Spirit marks out for us, they may catch us and others by surprise. And that is as it should be.