What are we to do? 

What happens to you when you hear a typical homily at Mass?

On the one hand, you might get fired up.   In your excitement, you make a big gesture like signing up for a new program at church, or you promise yourself that you will pray one hour every day.   But you can’t sustain the commitment.   Your enthusiasm fades over time.

On the other hand, you might walk away thinking, “That was a good homily” or “That was an interesting point,” but forget about it before the day is over.   That kind of response can certainly cool off any inspiration you might have experienced.

How can you get beyond these “too hot” and “too cold” reactions to respond in a way that’s “just right”?   Start small.   Try focusing on just one takeaway point.   You don’t have to digest every reading plus the entire homily.   Just find one statement—or even one word—that resonates with you, and hold onto it.

In Scripture, we see this principle played out.   There was a lot going on that a few weeks ago.   Not only was it the Jewish feast of Pentecost, but the Holy Spirit was working many signs and wonders through the apostles.   Then came Peter’s long, excited proclamation of the gospel.   It was an inspiring message, to be sure, but it was also a lot to digest.

When the people finally got a chance to catch their breath, they asked, “What are we to do” with all that we are seeing and hearing?.   And Peter responded by giving them one simple action step: “Repent and be baptized”.   That’s all they needed.   They didn’t have to grasp every theological point he was making.   They didn’t have to scrutinize every line of his logic.   They didn’t have to analyze the rushing wind and tongues of flame.   They just had to accept God’s invitation.

The same Holy Spirit that was at work that day is alive and working in your life today.   So when you hear the Scriptures or when you listen to a homily, expect the Spirit to move you, too.   Don’t leave Mass or your prayer without an action step.   Take one point with you as you move into your day, and watch how the Lord uses it to speak to your heart.

word among us