In the Pentecost narrative, we hear of Jesus’ post-resurrection visit to his 12 BFFs, how they were infused with the Holy Spirit, and the instructions Jesus left them (and us) for sharing the Good News with the world. Jesus would have known his Apostles well enough to gauge their strengths and weaknesses and he would have understood how differently each of them would confront the task set out before them. I suspect the same was true then as now: We as people are blessed with quite different gifts and the Holy Spirit moves most vibrantly when those gifts are used not in competition with one another, but in a collaborative effort where we come together to form a completely different entity…the Body of Christ. The symbolic use of “body” is meant to suggest that our faith community is not static, each of us comes together to form a living, breathing, growing being where all the parts must collaborate with one another in sync to survive.
The personal challenge for me is to accept that while God has bestowed upon me many gifts, I also suffer from infirmities. In both cases the gifts and the infirmities exist whether they are visible to me or not. In a fun, ironic twist of human nature, sometimes I like to ignore my own infirmities and spend my time pointing out those I see in others.
In the 15 years I have served the Archdiocese of Moncton I have overheard the phrases “he’s not Catholic enough,” or “she’s not Christian enough,” and, “her Facebook page doesn’t look very Catholic,” or “they practice a watered-down Catholicism.” For those who believe or who have been told they are not Catholic enough or not Christian enough, take comfort: The Apostles were a motley crew, inexperienced in being purveyors of Good News. They were recruited by Jesus from among the lowest classes, fishermen and day labourers and with a couple of exceptions, mostly illiterate. Lutheran pastor Nadia-Bolz-Weber wrote “…never once did Jesus scan the room for the best example of holy living and send that person out to tell others about him. He always sent stumblers and sinners.” (Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People, 2015)
Well, that’s good news.
Regular people with routine lives who were on a mission and were stronger together than separate. It would be interesting to see who Jesus would pick in 2021 as his BFFs and perhaps more importantly, would we listen?
Office of Youth Faith Development
Archdiocese of Moncton