If Alexander Graham Bell had kept his dream to himself, where would we be? But - By sharing that dream, he changed the world –and now everybody in here probably owns at least one phone.
This is what happened to the Apostles in the first reading. They were physically inspired to spread the word about Jesus. Look closely at that word...IN SPIRED. It means the spirit entered into them. They were given a dream that they could change the world, and they allowed the spirit to propel them out of the upper room into the street…the Spirit pushed them into taking that first step. When people have a clear goal placed before them, it inspires them to move toward the goal.
Picture a football team on the field, but the field has no end zones – you can’t even imagine it. We wouldn't know which way to go. Without a goal to shoot for, what is the point in playing the game? If I were on that team, I'd just sit down in the middle of the field....why even bother? Without a goal, I have nothing to inspire me.
Have you ever met someone whose life held so much promise, they COULD have accomplished great things… but somehow they got stuck... They had nothing to inspire them, so they did nothing with their life. The problem is they have no dream to accomplish, so they have no goals to push them off the couch.
Here's our challenge. Paul says “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
... In other words, every one of us has some talent which God gave us specifically to change the world… to help spread the word about Jesus and help our church to grow. If our church ain't growing, it is because too few people recognize that gift and put it to use.
One perfect example is music. I’d bet that sitting here right now are several people who love music. Perhaps you can play an instrument or sing, but you’ve never committed to helping with music at Mass. Music is important at Mass. When it is done well it can touch our hearts. It can INSPIRE us. We NEED your talents – and that’s why God gave them to you. If Michelangelo had refused to use his talents, think of the great artwork the world would never have known... If you and I don't put our talents to work for Jesus, think of the great works the church will leave undone.
It's more than that though... It is by using our talents that we actually GET MORE inspired. I remember as a kid, I was always pushing the family to get ready so we could leave for church early...why? Not because I was holy... But because I enjoyed serving. It made me feel connected, important, like I was doing my part for Jesus. I was inspired by an enjoyment of serving, and the more I used my talents, the more inspired I became. I enjoyed Mass because I was participating.
I think that would be true for anybody here…Would you like to feel inspired when you come to mass? Would you like to enjoy Mass? Pick a way to get involved. You will change the world.
How else can every one of us get inspired? Well – that’s why I’m always pushing CD’s and books and retreats. Those three things are ways that we open our minds to allow the Holy Spirit to come in and change us. We have to be constantly open to the Holy Spirit changing us – because the Holy Spirit doesn’t change the whole world at one time – He changes the world by changing you. And you can only change if you’re open to the dream that the Spirit wants to give you. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to believe what others might say is impossible.
Come Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.