Friday, 2 June 2017


Ever since Easter Sunday the Church in its Liturgy has been listening to the Apostles and St. Paul proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus…as it were, IN A NUTSHELL – the absolute essentials.
We’ve been made aware of vast crowds  becoming instant and fervent  believers.  Some had never heard of Jesus before.  Others had been among those who had called for His crucifixion.
What an impact this preaching had!
“Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'What are we to do, brothers?' 38 'You must repent,' Peter answered, 'and every one of you must be baptized in the name of  Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,”
(Acts 2.37sq.)
These were genuine conversions, not passing enthusiasms. These people deserve the credit of being hard-headed realists – nobody’s fool. Could we not describe them as being hard nuts to crack? Our hands won’t break open hard wooden nut-shells, nor will our teeth. A solid stone, a cutlass or a nut-cracker is needed for us to get at the tastiness inside.

I put it to you there’s encased inside our very selves  a goodness  which as t we’ve yet to discover or come to appreciate - the basic truth of our humanity that all of us are made in the image and likeness of God. He has inclined us, empowered us, to lead virtuous, just and loving lives. Surely we tend to undervalue ourselves and then under- perform in the quality of our living?

We all need a Spiritual Nutcracker to open us to our very selves!   Who else but the Holy Spirit could  reveal the truth about ourselves to ourselves – the delightful reality that we are beloved children of God? Who else could expose to us the  sinful murkiness of our lives? At Pentecost the Holy Spirit brought the crowd to being ‘cut to the heart’ and begging to know ‘what they must do.’
We go further  as we  now we see ourselves as being nutshells of a certain size, such as coconuts. Once opened they can be used as receptacles – for refreshing drinking water or,  if properly mounted, for  ice cream, even flowers.
Once the Holy Spirit – our Spiritual Nut-Cracker - has opened us up  He can fill us with priceless spiritual delicacies.     This He did to the many converts at Pentecost –the gift of Sanctifying Grace, of Faith, Hope and Charity.     But most of all the Holy Spirit can take up His residence within us –        not as an interloper, a squatter, but as a welcome guest.  St. Paul writes,
9 Do you not realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God?” (1 Cor.2.19).
The grace of the Solemnity of Pentecost is that we be convinced that what God did in the past He can do today.      The Holy Spirit can crack open the modern hard head and hard heart.     He can fill the hardest people with His powerful presence; open them to a new way of being themselves – as believers in Jesus, as followers of Jesus.
Our conviction must be that the Holy Spirit can break through any resistance –not crushingly but creatively.      Because we believe in “THE DIVINE NUT-CRACKER” we do not give up on anybody  as being too hard-headed,  too hard-hearted, for even God to bring round to a life of decency…and more!
Before the world becomes more brutish it needs the Holy Spirit to tame it.    The more hard-headed people become  the more we should  invoke the Holy Spirit to have a crack at them!

Tell me, am I going nuts?          
My twin brother, Isidore, says, “YES!”

Peter Clarke, O.P.

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