I am happy to be starting my ministry here in Shelbyville. I have to tell you I feel a little unable to do it all. What consoles me–and all of us who have projects bigger than we can handle, and that is everyone–is the message of our readings today. The readings remind us that all of us have difficult projects, heavy crosses, problems to deal with, sins and addictions…..and we cannot deal with any of that on our own strength. Sometimes, it can scare us. But Jesus says, for that reason, Come to Me. Come to me and I will give you rest. I will recharge you. I will give you strength! I will give you my spirit, and with his power you’ll be fine.
That is a great invitation for us. Because we are not sufficient on our own to deal with everything. The Gospel says that kids understand that better. Which is true, because kids know that they are not enough. They know they need mom for food. They know they need their parents and brothers and sisters. And they don’t try to pretend otherwise. They know they need strength from others.
God tells us today: you are not enough on your own, you need my help. I will supply for your lack. Now how he does this is interesting. So, a story. As you know I arrived on Wednesday. I moved in and the first project was to set up the chapel. I had it all set up, except for the red sanctuary lamp. I did not have one. So I decided to go to Cincinnati to buy one at the Catholic store there. On my way, the truck broke down. That is a whole other story. But I finally got back, much mater than expected, after all that drama….but I had my sanctuary lamp. Then I came over to church to celebrate Mass and, I’ll be darned if there isn’t a whole box of red sanctuary lamps behind the altar here. Then I found three of them upstairs int he rectory. Who would have thought??
But here’s what I learned: sometimes, what we think we need, we already have. St. Paul says this today to our first christian ancestors. He’s talking to them and says, Look, I know life can be hard and there’s big stuff you gotta do and things you gotta overcome….things that are bigger than you are!….but don’t you realize, you have the Spirit of God in you! Not just a little part of the spirit, but the fullness of the Spirit! He lives in you! The same spirit that rose Jesus fromt he dead, is in you! With all his gifts–knowledge, wisdom, understanding, counsel, courage, fear of the Lord, and piety–and all his fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. All that stuff, St Paul says, it’s in you! Just plug into it! What you think you need, you’ve already got! And through it all, God provides for our lack.