"The Holy Spirit gives us joy. And he is joy. Joy is the gift in which all the other gifts are included. It is the expression of happiness, of being in harmony with ourselves, that which can only come from being in harmony with God and with his creation. It belongs to the nature of joy to be radiant; it must communicate itself. The missionary spirit of the Church is none other than the impulse to communicate the joy which has been given." -Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, 2008
(Gospel text: Jn 16:12-15)
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
As a young Helen Keller was learning about the world, she met a famous preacher who introduced her to Christianity. Helen exclaimed, “I always knew he was there, but I didn’t know his name!”
The first reading today at Mass addresses a similar mindset encountered by St. Paul when he was preaching in Greece. Paul went on to say the people worshiped "what they do not know," they worshipped an "Unknown God" with an altar dedicated to the “unknown god” (Acts 17:15, 22—18:1) . Blessed Pope John Paul II 2000 years later stated that people of our time are like this as well.
We are made for God like fish are made for water. Yet are we aware that we need God more than the air we breathe?
There are millions of people in the world reaching, searching, stretching out their hands and hearts for God, but they do not even know that they are looking for him. They think they are looking for different values, issues, or concerns that are deepest in their hearts, but in reality these are just cries of children to God, whom they desperately want, but do not yet know.
What we must do is to present to them in their lives the very answer to the questions that they don't even know they are asking.
How do you do this?
You know the answer already. Pray. Go to Mass frequently. Read the Scriptures. Pray. Go to confession. Love and serve your family and community. Pray. Listen to the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Study modern issues with the mind of the Church. Pray.
In our own day, many people are like these Greeks, which St Paul addressed. They are hungry for spiritual things, but they have little knowledge of the one true God. They may have heard about Jesus and his resurrection but have never understood how this message applies to them. They may even have been brought up in the Church, yet never grasped the depth of God’s love for them.
And so, God is calling you. You are part of his plan to ignite a fire in hearts that are seeking—even in hearts that don’t yet know they are seeking the Lord. You don’t need St Paul’s oratorical skills. Your own words, spoken in love, can be life-changing—especially when they are reinforced by the evidence of your own life.