The Extra-In-Us Drives Us | Word from the Shepherd No. 167

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time | Year C
Eccles. 27:4-7; 1 Cor. 15:54-58; Lk. 6:39-45

A teacher asked her class to describe a human person. One responded immediately: “A human person is a PIE”. As the class was wondering, the child remarked: “the P.I.E. means humans are physical, intellectual and emotional“. As the class was wondering, another excitedly said: “humans are a SPICE“. And defined it as SPIRITUAL, PHYSICAL, INTELLECTUAL, COMMUNAL and EMOTIONAL.

The fact is that we are more than a PIE. We are a SPICE.

The extra in us is the Spirit and the Spiritual Life. The spiritual life in us is both a gift and a response. We need the ‘extra’:

  1. In our personal faith journey:
    Besides recognising the spirit in us, we need to remove the obstacles or the ‘logs’ to personal growth. Some of the logs can be easily removed; others, being the stubborn type, may take time; and there are also  the resistant and persistent with deep roots or are like a thorn in the flesh. The first two logs (sin, weaknesses) submit to disciplines. But the third log, the resistant ones are overcome, as one yields to the grace of God. Paul longed to be free from  the ‘thorn in his flesh’. When he heard God say: “My grace is sufficient for you”, then he became resigned. He realised that he was not called to perfection, but to connection.
  2. In our mission or ministry work:
    A sense of mission accompanies those who have undergone personal conversion and those who have been awoken to an urge to do more. The mission of Jesus ie. to counsel, admonish and teach. Pope Francis reminded us that these are spiritual works of mercy – admonishing sinners, instructing the ignorant and setting prisoners free, seizes them. The ‘extra’, the grace drives them to be faithful and to persevere.
    Jesus, the Good Teacher, the Wonder Counsellor is the “extra” in our growth. It requires listening to the inner guiding voice of the Lord; watching the interior movements and bearing good fruits for others.
  3. In our encounter with the weak people in our ministering:
    We will meet  wrongs and wrongdoers; sin and the sinners; or ignorance and the ignorants in our journey. Pope Francis labelled them as the “annoying people”.

To handle these people, we have only 2 options, ie.

  1. to ‘point the finger‘: which is a judgemental approach; indicated by impatience, lack of love and self- righteousness. It is a case of facing people and situations with our “un-addressed logs & planks”.
  2. to ‘step into another’s shoes’: is a compassionate approach. The ministers or spiritual guides, who are moved by compassion, depend on grace or on the Holy Spirit. They begin by ‘returning to the self’; they verify their walk and their talk; they see the specks and the logs; they bear wrongs and weaknesses in others patiently; and they are humble and simple in their counselling and ministering. When we depend on grace, and never give in to death or any forms of corruption, and persevere at the given task, Christ triumphs.

The ‘extra in us’ is Grace, God’s goodness, the Holy Spirit at work.
They are the source for the good fruits and good works in our lives.
Some say good fundamentals means good results.
Recognise the ‘extra-in-us’, the determinant of the tree that bears good fruit.

The Extra-in-Us Drives Us”.