In the Green Lantern comic books, the superhero utilizes a power ring that can make light manifest into anything the hero’s willpower desires; for example, if the hero thinks of a giant boxing glove to hit his opponent, it happens. When the hero dies, the ring is commanded to find another replacement worthy and capable of overcoming his/her/their fear. The ring is said to be confident in its choice of the replacement.
In our readings this Sunday there is no power ring, but people are selected by God to overcome their fears to become prophets of God. Grace makes ordinary people confident in God’s love and helps overcome their fears.
Isaiah was full of confidence when expressing that God’s love would include the Gentiles. Isaiah tells how Israel will lead the other nations to come to God. Isaiah has no fear of welcoming outsiders into to God’s loving embrace.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about his calling from God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. Remember, Paul was a Pharisee and went about persecuting Christians; now he’s one of them. Talk about confidence!
In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist ties Jesus to the image of the Lamb of Sacrifice in his proclamation of “Behold the Lamb of God.” John the Baptist was full of confidence as he proclaims that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
We need to remember, we receive the Holy Spirit at our baptism. While we don’t have power rings, sometimes we act as if we run on willpower instead of relying on God’s grace. This usually ends spiritual burnout or worse results.
A question to meditate on during your upcoming week: When am I tempted to trust more in willpower than God’s grace?
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
Fr. Tim Knepper, C.PP.S., is the parochial vicar of the Catholic Community of Northwest Dayton, which includes Precious Blood, St. Rita and St. Paul Parishes.