Larry came from an intense family. His father, in particular, had been very strict growing up and in his disciplining could say some pretty mean things. His “method” of parenting would never “cut it” today. As a result of this, Larry did learn very important values such as a strong work ethic. But he always had a lack of confidence in himself, and an insecurity that would be with him all through his life.
Larry did marry a kind and gentle woman who was a good wife. He also had three wonderful children. On one occasion, Larry was hit by the realization of something that made him stop in his tracks. It happened this way: He and his 16 year old son, Jeffery, had had a rather heated argument about something that had happened at school. And Larry had said some pretty direct and perhaps unnecessary things to his son. And Jeffery just looked back at this father and said, “Why do you have to say such mean things to me? Do you ever think about what you’re saying? Just because you were treated that way as a kid, why couldn’t you learn not to do that to your own kids!”
Larry didn’t say anything at that moment, which was probably a good thing. But afterward he really thought about what his son had said. It was the truth. Larry was doing the same thing to his kids that had been done to him. It was now as obvious as the nose on his face. And yet, Larry felt something else here. He actually felt like this encounter was a freeing experience. And he knew that the first thing he should do would be to apologize to his son, and actually, to the rest of his family as well. And moving forward from that experience Larry was much more conscious of not letting his anger get the better of him. He remembered how he had felt as a kid when his father “let him have it”—-was verbally abusing him. He didn’t want that for his own children.
There are times when experiences, sometimes even difficult ones, can be freeing moments for us. And for the Apostles, Pentecost was one of those freeing experiences. They had been through the struggle of seeing Jesus’ crucified, and their own betrayal of what they had said they believed in. But now, through the power of the Holy Spirit they are set free. The guilt of the past is gone and they are able to move forward with confidence in their faith in Christ. They now see clearly what their mission—-their job—-is. They are to preach the good news. They are to have a lively, joy-filled faith that would inspire others to join them. With their hearts opened to the power of the Holy Spirit, they are now filled with peace. They knew what their weaknesses were, but they also knew that, despite these human weaknesses, Jesus had chosen them for a purpose. And through the Spirit they would receive the grace to fulfill that purpose.
So, as we celebrate the freeing experience of the Apostles, ask for God’s grace to open your heart, so that you can respond with confidence to what the Lord is asking you to do in your own life. St. Catherine of Siena said, “We run untrammeled and unbound, for we have cut off and thrown aside every weight that might have impeded our running.”
Pray to the Spirit to, first, let you know what it is that is holding you back or weighing you down, and then let this same Spirit free you—-give you a new lease on life so you can have peace of mind and can truly “open up”.