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In Bed With a Mosquito!

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In today’s Gospel (John 20:19-23) on this Pentecost Sunday, the disciples are hiding in fear behind closed and locked doors. They were shutting out the hostile world as they huddled together in isolation. 

SURPRISE!! The Risen Jesus breaks through all their closed and locked doors and instills laughter and rejoicing in them. Jesus promises them another surprise – the Holy Spirit will come at Pentecost and enable them to do what they cannot do for themselves. The Spirit Jesus is sending them and us is the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Love and Compassion, the Spirit of Passion and Courage.

And when the Spirit comes at Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus go out and they surprise others. They run out from their isolation and into the public square. They speak openly. They speak in tongues so that some in the crowd think that they are drunk. They are busy being surprised themselves that 5,000 are baptized that very day. And after that, the Holy Spirit continues to surprise them with many cures and the remarkable spread of the Good News that Jesus is more alive than ever before.  

That was then – 2,000 years ago – the SURPRISE of the Spirit!  How about today? Where is there the SURPRISE of the Holy Spirit happening today?

Twenty years ago I had a Hearts for Humanity radio show in South Florida. In October, 2005 I interviewed Jim Cavnar, the founder and president of Cross Catholic Outreach, an organization that helps the materially poor throughout the world. 

After the show I asked Jim Cavnar where he grew up. He said all over the world since his father, Bobbie Cavnar, was in the Air Force, flying with the Strategic Air Command. 

Jim proceeded to tell me that in October, 1962 at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, his father took off on a mission from Norway loaded with a nuclear bomb. His target was the Kremlin in Moscow. As he was about to enter Soviet air space with the nuclear bomb aboard, the Pentagon ordered him to turn around and go back to his home base. 

Ever since Jim Cavnar told me this in 2005, I’ve wondered about the veracity of what he was telling me. Was this really true? Was his father really going to drop a nuclear bomb on the Kremlin in 1962? In March of this year a priest friend who had been an Air Force chaplain came to visit me at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach when I was in rehab for my broken hip. He told me this was true. During the Cuban Missile Crisis we always had a plane in the air loaded with a nuclear bomb, headed for Moscow. When the Pentagon told the pilot to turn around and return to the base, another plane with a nuclear bomb took off on a similar mission. During the crisis we always had a plane in the air with a nuclear bomb headed for the Kremlin. 

Bobbie Cavnar retired from the Air Force two years later at the age of forty to become the CEO of a highly successful Texas oil company. 

Six years later at the wedding of his daughter in a Catholic church in Michigan, Bobbie said that God blessed him with the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” as he was sitting in church. Back in Dallas, he started to lead a prayer group, which led him to begin other prayer groups all over  the country for the next 20 years. Even the Vatican recognized the groups Bobbie had started.

While watching a TV documentary in 1979 on World War II, Bobbie Cavnar said the Holy Spirit gave him the inspiration to get involved in television. So for over 20 years he hosted and produced evangelical outreach shows like, “The Glory of God” and “The Way Home.” He eventually set up TV stations and radio networks all over the world, even in Russia after the Berlin Wall fell.

Bobbie Cavnar died in 2002 at the age of 77. But before he died he was honored at the Kremlin by President Boris Yeltsin with Russia’s highest award for setting up a non-profit foundation for Catholic and Orthodox TV and radio stations in Russia. 

After receiving the award Bobbie Cavnar shared with President Yeltsin and everyone there about the day in October, 1962 when he was flying a plane to drop a nuclear bomb on the very spot he was now standing upon in the Kremlin. Here he was, years later after the fall of Communism, being honored by the President of Russia for bringing Jesus to Russia through TV and radio. I sat there transfixed as Jim Cavnar shared all of this with me about his father. 

On this Pentecost do you think that the power of the Holy Spirit only zaps a few people like Bobbie Cavnar? Are you and I like the disciples huddled together, isolated and afraid of what might happen if we began to really witness to our faith and live it? Most of us have been confirmed in our faith and have received the Holy Spirit at our Confirmation. How have you and I responded to the Holy Spirit who has been living within us for years, inspiring us and guiding us? 

Thanks to Wolfgang Hasselmann for the photo.  

If YOU think that YOU are too insignificant a person to be ZAPPED by the Holy Spirit and to become a forceful Christian, then YOU have never been in bed with a mosquito!! 


It feels like the problems of the world are too big to solve. Please share how the Holy Spirit is working: Please listen to my podcast. 

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