VOGEL: A gift and a command


“Love one another.”

Such a simple command. Amazing how the master of destruction finds ways to make it difficult.

Jesus knows the doubt the evil one sows in the hearts of women and men. Even in the physical presence of the Risen Lord, some doubted.

How are we today, so many centuries removed from the Risen Human Body of Christ, able to believe? It is through the Spirit Whom Jesus promised would come that faith is borne to us, and that simple command can become reality.

There are so many ways that evil confounds our desire to follow Jesus’ command. We can rationalize our actions and call them “the right thing to do,” even when it seems there is no love in them.

How can we know what is right? It is through the Spirit, through trust in God’s wisdom — not our own — and through subverting our own desires that true love is served and God’s will is done.

We can imagine the Apostles, having heard Jesus’ promise that the Spirit would come, timid and fearfully awaiting that coming.

Huddled together in the Upper Room, arising from sleep, still waiting, facing the day with uncertainty. Questioning among themselves, “What is this Spirit Whom the Lord would send? How will I know Him when He comes? Will I see Him? Will He be like the wind that I cannot see?”

And then the hour comes. With a sound like the wind and with tongues of fire, the Spirit is received by each of the Apostles!

Their mission was great and their gifts were powerful. Our mission, too, is great.

Though the Spirit may have come to us softly, in a quiet moment, we have received our gifts, fitting for our time, to proclaim the Word of God and His commandment: “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

The beauty of God’s command is that even now, here on earth, we can feel God’s peace when we die to ourselves, trust in the Spirit and live our lives to fulfill that command.

Mr. Vogel is a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph parish in Jefferson City.