Thought for the Week, June 3 2022

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Who really gives the power?

I used to have a garden with two pear trees.

The larger one gave a lot of fruit every year. The other, smaller one didn’t bear fruit.

Though, eventually, after fertiliser and pruning it came into bud, it didn’t produce much. There was still almost no fruit on it. Why?

There must have been some rational reason for this, unknown to me.

I recalled this memory of my helpless curiosity as I read the Bible passages for this Pentecost Sunday.

It was something like this horticultural situation. Ordinary, frightened people were sitting in the Upper Room, who suddenly, influenced by the Holy Spirit, took courage and – which aroused general astonishment – suddenly began to speak in languages ​​that were strange to them.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives the same, ordinary people divine power – the power to forgive sins!

Yes, there are different gifts, talents and ministries. However, I have come to realise that the success of the church does not depend on its ability to organise itself, maintain a hierarchy, or efforts to appear better than it is and faultless.

But it does depend on the fact that the Holy Spirit should be in all of us. When it is, all human imperfections are irrelevant.

When He is gone, despite any human efforts, nothing works.

‘Without your breath, what is there in creation? Only thorns and misery.’

For reasons that I don’t fully understand, without Him, without His power, this is what we are like – a fruitless tree.

So I pray: come Holy Spirit. Take my every good effort, though ineffective, and make it work and strengthen it with the power of your grace . . .

Father Tony Wood, St Kieran’s RC Church, Campbeltown.