The homilies and mission talks centered on the topic, “Stir Into Flame the Gift of God.” The Gospel reading for the weekend gave us a great lesson in regard to praying simply. “Lord, increase our faith.” It is a simple and forthright prayer, and one I need to be uttering with some frequency. As Jesus painted a picture of what we could do if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, I became very excited about the great works we would see during the parish mission. I trusted that God was going to move in our midst in a powerful way, and God did not disappoint.
I focused my presentations on the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. I put these topics into the context of stirring up the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we could experience the extravagant grace, forgiveness, and healing of Jesus Christ. The parish mission ended on Tuesday evening with an opportunity for the pastor and I to pray individually with parishioners. This is always a profound experience because God touches lives in dramatic ways during these prayer experiences. Once again, the healing touch of Christ was evident and the power of the Holy Spirit moved among us.
Preaching parish missions is a privilege I enjoy immensely. Spending four or five days in a parish gives me a chance to come to know parishioners and pastors in a meaningful way. My life is always enriched by the presence of faith-filled people at these gatherings. Although I am usually physically exhausted when I return home, there is also a renewed sense of inner energy and enthusiasm. The people of Thermopolis certainly gave me that gift this week.