“Why does God want some people to suffer so much?”
“I won’t be able to keep my friends unless I act that way.”
“I think I should definitely get a point back for my response to #25.”
“No, you don’t understand. I know it’s expensive, but I need that dress for prom.”
As a teacher, I often confront or overhear misunderstandings, fears, arguments, and misplaced priorities like those above. And too often I find myself identifying with some of my students’ thoughts. That is why I love stories about the apostles like this one. The apostles did not understand Jesus’ words, were too afraid to question him, and argued about something they were too embarrassed to even tell Jesus about. These people, despite living and walking and talking with God made flesh, get it so wrong so many times, in so many different ways. They seem all too human, too much like us.
Yet these same people, despite their flaws, become some of the greatest saints and heroes of our faith. What good and hopeful news for us! No matter how often we have been confused about Church teaching or God’s call for our own lives, too nervous or afraid to even seek those answers, or put other things like wealth, pleasure, power, and honor before God, we can start (again and again) boldly proclaiming the truth and working to build God’s kingdom like the apostles before us.
What allows these flawed, confused people to become the great leaders of the early Church? On Pentecost, the apostles received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and opened themselves to the movement of the Spirit in their lives. That alone was enough!
Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit! Help us to listen and respond to your promptings in our lives so that we too, despite our imperfections, can become saints.
Kevin Veselik ’09, ’11 M.Ed.