Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
In the old film entitled "Ghost" the late, Patrick Swayze plays the dead husband’s ghost, who has come back to protect his wife from a criminal act. By accident, Swayze discovers the capability to move things with invisible power. It amazes him, but he can’t repeat it. He seeks out another ghost who haunts a New York subway, and begs him to teach him how to do this. Finally, the fellow ghost teaches him with this advice." You’ve got to put all of your concentration, your love, passion, anger… all of your feelings into the act of moving that thing. Nothing else matters, just concentrate! It works."
The Gospel points out the surprise of the seventy-two disciples when they are able to cast out demons in the Name of Jesus. The power has come to them through Jesus, and it is by their faith in him that they succeeded. The real cause for rejoicing is that the kingdom of God has come conquering the powers of death.
Prayer is a daily commitment to put our energies, concentration and will into the hands of God.
This kind of concentration enables us to persevere in the grace-filled activities that bring the powers of hope, compassion and justice into darkened lives. Is not prayer the occasion where our interior eyes and ears perceive, see and hear what others do not? Baruch, the secretary of the prophet Jeremiah, makes the same reference and appeal to the Babylonian captives when he reminds them that justice is with the Lord and it is for us to heed the His Voice. Nothing else matters. Just concentrate in faith.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Alabama.