This past weekend I was covering at St. Patrick’s in Wall, St. Margaret’s in Lakeside and Holy Rosary in Interior. The 5:00 PM Saturday evening Mass in Wall was the children’s liturgy. I asked the children if they had ever been filled with the Holy Spirit like Elizabeth in the Gospel who cried out in a loud voice with the joy that Mary is the Mother of the Lord.  Almost all the children shook their head yes and then no and then yes and then no again.

I told the children, “All of you are filled with the Holy Spirit through your baptism and will be strengthened with the gift of the Holy Spirit at confirmation. However, a lot of us do not realize the incredible gift we have been given in baptism and confirmation that makes Jesus come alive in our own hearts.”

I then shared with them a story that happened when I was in Medjugorje on a pilgrimage with five of my brothers. One evening we had a prayer service. About 30 of us were gathered in a circle praying over one another. In the middle of the prayer service my youngest brother Jim stood up and cried out in a very loud voice, “I love Jesus!” We all looked at him and wondered, “What the heck just happened?”

This same thing happened to Elizabeth when she cried out in a loud voice with joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting. That same greeting also made John the Baptist leap in Elizabeth’s womb for joy. Elizabeth and John were filled with the same Holy Spirit that came upon my brother, who spontaneously stood up, responding to the Holy Spirit as he cried out “Jesus, I love you.”

May this Christmas season find our own hearts filled with the Holy Spirit, crying out in a loud voice with joy, “Jesus is Lord!” May our hearts, too, leap with the joy of Christ coming into our midst once again.

Come, Holy Spirit and fill our hearts with the presence of Christ this Christmas.

On behalf of the Office of Stewardship and Vocations, we wanted to wish you a Very Merry Christmas,

Fr. Mark’s Musings

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