In the Confieitor, we hold up the things we have done and what we have failed to do. The first reading for today’s Mass is certainly a list of what St. Paul has done for the sake of the Gospel. He has traveled, worked, suffered, been prosecuted, imprisoned, witnessed, held nothing back, did not back down, and took every opportunity to proclaim the Good News. I have no doubt, if asked, that St. Paul could have easily listed what, in his mind, he had failed to do.
Each of us here is baptized and I assume confirmed. We all have been given the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the living waters sent to renew the earth in Ezekiel’s vision following the dry bones vision. Different gifts to be sure, but blessed with gifts of our own.
How have each one of us used those gifts? What have we held back? What have we let loose upon the world with unbridled joy? It is the question St. Paul indirectly asks each one of us.
Such reflection can be fruitful, hopeful, exciting… and terrifying at the same time. But fear not – you have a cheering section: that great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews. And someone praying for you
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” (John 17:9-11)
Pretty encouraging don’t you think. Jesus praying for you! So… go out there and be faithful, fruitful, hopeful, excited, and terrified. Jesus is ever with you on the journey.