Reflection of the Week - 11th June 2024

By Phil Johnson ’81, ’99 MBA

Posted in Faith

Gospel: Mk 3:20-35

Today, I am thinking again of my father-in-law, Bob, who died a few weeks ago (and my mother-in-law, Mary, who preceded him in death). Together, they raised five children and ten grandchildren. Bob and Mary always accepted me. I learned a lot from them about family in all its joys and struggles and the importance of the Holy Spirit in helping us find our way.

The son of Italian immigrants and a child of the Depression Era, Bob had a deep faith and a keen business sense. Mary was born to Irish immigrants in Boston, where she trained as a research microbiologist. She shared a deep faith, too. Both were incredibly active in the community and church.

Mary’s Irish family wouldn’t have anything to do with her when she married ‘that Italian from Detroit.’ Her family didn’t attend the wedding, and her parents hadn’t met their grandchildren for over a decade. In time, though, it all worked out, and incredibly close bonds were forged. They would say the Holy Spirit guided them—healing, learning, and love. Bob and Mary wove the fabric of family together creating a beautiful, strong (even if imperfect) cloth that shelters our diverse family.

Jesus was dogged by family and religious leaders who questioned his teaching, his healing, and his love for us all. At the heart of Mark’s writing, Jesus, through his stories, teaches us of his power over Satan and the paramount importance of the Holy Spirit.

What I’m taking away from this Gospel is radical love for others—especially those different from us. We’ve been invited to accept a great gift of love, and we’re expected to share that love fearlessly. The significance of the Holy Spirit can’t be overstated. I depend on this to understand the world. The Holy Spirit helps me heal, leads me to forgiveness, and liberates me from earthly distractions to help me love others (especially those different than me). And so, I pray again, as Fr Hesburgh encouraged me to pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’


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