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The Word on the Week

Brian’s Bash

Who would want to deny our Taoiseach a little conviviality with his friends? The problem was he was due to be interviewed at 8.45am the following morning. The radio programme “Morning Ireland” commands a 400,000 audience who were expecting some words of encouragement from the “think in” of the Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party Conference in Galway. What they got was a garbled version of the same old stuff from a Taoiseach who sounded much the worse for wear. The Opposition Parties “Twittered” about the incident which was picked up by the media internationally and highlighted on the evening news. The old trick of posing the question, “Were you drunk?” in order to get the denial which then becomes the story; “Taoiseach says he was not drunk” was used to prolong the minor incident! As one of his predecessors said as he was drummed out of office, “It’s not the big things but the little things that trip you up!” Or as the Bible puts it, “Catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyards” – because if you don’t there will be no fruit. Apart from one or two characters in the Old Testament the Bible people were a sober lot! There was one well known case at the commencement of the Church Age when Christians were falsely accused of being drunk. Again it was a case of hasty judgement based on the utterances the believers made. It was at the time of Pentecost and many foreign Jews were in Jerusalem for the feast. The Holy Spirit descended on the Christians who were empowered to speak “the mighty works of God” in many languages so that all heard clearly in their own tongue. What had happened was the Lord reversed Babel, (where the languages had originally been confused) in order to indelibly mark out the new way to heaven. With such a sensational happening the people could only think that drink was the cause and it fell to Saint Peter to issue the denial and remind them that they were witnessing the fulfilment of prophesy. Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel …and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Saint Peter’s sermon can be read in Acts chapter 2. It was a sharp reminder that they had crucified the Christ only 7 weeks earlier and that God had raised Him from the dead. The invitation to repent and be baptised was accepted by many and 3,000 believed and were baptised that day. Sometimes today Gospel words spoken by believers are misunderstood and sound like someone speaking under the influence of drink. The fault lies not in the language but in the understanding of the hearer. The missing ingredient is faith which can make the Gospel plain. Faith came to those 3,000 when they called on the name of the Lord, their prayers were heard and they saw that it was all true. This can happen for you today.