2 Chronicles 3-4
…when Simon (the magician) saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! . – Acts 8:18-20
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the church is starting spread out because of the persecutions taking place in Jerusalem. How, what is intended for evil actually brings about good, because disciples like Philip are taking their love for Jesus with them as they disperse, bringing the good news that they cannot keep for themselves. They went forth with the power of the Holy Spirit in them and worked many signs through prayer, that even Simon the magician was converted.
But Simon also shows us that even in the Church we can have misunderstandings of how to obtain power. It isn’t something earned, or something we can purchase with good works. The gifts of the spirit are just that, gifts, freely given for us to use for God’s glory.
Let us seek to do God’s will using our gifts. Not for our glory, or power, but that God and His love may be revealed to the world.
May God bless you.
“He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and for forty days he was tempted by the devil…” – Luke 4:1-2
We have seen in the last couple of days in our reading, important moments in the life of Jesus. In the Temple when he was twelve, he came to understand in a unique sense that God is his Father. At his Baptism by John (only nuanced in Luke), God affirms him in a particular way.
Jesus entered into the desert, perhaps as his retreat of silence and prayer, to set the direction for his ministry. How was he best to lead the people to the Father? The temptations proposed were real potential obstacles to fulfilling his mission. Often, our temptations too, can seem like a means to fulfill our plans. They can make sense.
The evil one tempts us according to our capacities. Jesus was capable of doing all the things the Devil suggested to him. It helps us to understand that not everything we are capable of doing is meant for us to do. When we use our capacities solely to please ourselves, this is a danger to our souls and it is a misuse of the ‘power’ given to us by God.
In these last weeks of Lent, let us be mindful to walk more closely with Jesus in the desert, abstaining from use of our gifts for our own desire, and reserve them to help bring about the Kingdom of God.
May God bless you.