Reading 1, Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
Gospel, John 5:1-3, 5-16
In the early part of the 1900’s, there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (HS) in a converted Los Angeles warehouse, off Azusa st. The leader, an African American, was leading a group of people in prayer, bible study, and worship as the Holy Spirit descended upon them [side note: I don’t think that it’s a coincidence to have the HS pour out over a struggling, pain-filled community…people experiencing racism, prejudice, etc). There are many stories of people experiencing healing–emotional, mental, spiritual, relational–as well as people giving their lives to following Jesus. A river was flowing through the gathered community and washing over them.
In the Ezekiel passage, there is imagery of temple/water/river/flow/life/fruit. That’s the flow. But it starts with temple, which represents God’s presence among the people. From God’s presence among the people, there is healing, life–a picture of a community flourishing.
Charismatic belief has held that when we seek God’s presence, the river flows! Pentecostal/Charismatic movements are the fasting growing in the world. What might a deeper dependence on the Holy Spirit look like in our lives? And what might happen when we are intentional about seeking God’s presence (temple/river/flow) in our lives and with those we do work and life with? The promise and picture is that we will see healing, salvation, wholeness, and the community flourishing.
The other day, I was really struggling with a relational issue. I couldn’t shake the feelings that were messing with me. I went to our bedroom, closed and locked the door, and threw myself on the floor to cry out to God! I asked God for a breakthrough in this area. A breakthrough of wisdom, a paradigm shift, a revelation and insight into next steps. After some time (it felt like hours!), I wiped my tears and sensed God’s presence and words of wisdom. I had a new perspective that was not my own. I cried out to God for something beyond me. I followed this up with a trusted friend and told him what I was going through and experiencing. His words echoed what I had experienced with God.
This river stream experience caused gladness and a deeper awareness of God’s presence (temple) in my life. The promise of the Holy Spirit includes healing, miracle languages, insights, discernment, and words of wisdom.
St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuit Order) has a simple but profound rule: Look for God in all things/inner movements/relationships/work. It is a very charismatic approach to life!