Discernment: In today’s first reading, Acts 9: 31-42, Peter, totally transformed by the outpouring of the Spirit upon him at Pentecost, is an instrument in the hands of Christ, healing the sick, the paralyzed, raising those who have died and proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection. He is doing everything in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, the Holy One whom he had denied, whom he had challenged when He spoke of going up to Jerusalem to be killed by the chief priests and leaders of the people, the man who jumped in to the waters to walk to Jesus and sunk out of fear of the elements, the one who chopped off the soldier’s ear, and the one who locked himself in the upper room out of fear of the Jews. Now, baptized in the Spirit, he feared no one and never said “no” to Jesus again. He opened his mind, his heart and his will to the Spirit of Christ leading him, strengthening him, and challenging him to act in His name without fear, without giving in to weaknesses, without pride, knowing, beyond doubt, that only in Christ Jesus is his salvation and only in Christ Jesus does he do the will of the Father.
Are you growing in the ability to discern when you are relying upon strength alone or trusting in the Lord? Are able to discern when you are challenging God, complaining against God and when you are cooperating with God? When you and I begin a project and abandon it when the going gets tough, it is then that we are most likely not cooperating with the Lord, or we may have entered into that project without calling upon the Lord. When we rely only upon ourselves, we increase our vulnerability to deny the Lord in crucial circumstances or to engage in behaviors that are contrary to what God expects of us. On the other hand, when we are working with, in and through Jesus, we then recognize our dependence upon grace, and grace alone. When we call upon the Lord in humility and trust, we are able to get across the troubled waters of our lives. Yes, only in God will we leave our comfort zones, as Peter did, and be receptive to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, sent my Jesus, to take possession of our minds, our wills, and our hearts. It is then that we are truly capable of discerning that to which God is calling us, be that a vocational call, a career call, or a relationship call, or any other, even when previously we deemed the obstacles too great.