Peace and grace to you all!
Here it is Pentecost Sunday already! In the mind of the Church, the time from Easter to Pentecost (50 days) is viewed as 1 great day. Do you remember how the day began? It was at the empty tomb where two men in dazzling garments proclaimed “he is not here, but he has been raised.” At first, the reality of Jesus’ resurrection was hard for the disciples to believe but after frequent surprise visits, their confidence and faith became solidly grounded. It seems as though Jesus had to lead them through a series of steps to help them transition from being accustomed to his physical presence to his invisible, spiritual presence to the whole community. As we can see, Jesus was preparing them for a special gift!
Today the Church remembers the gift of the Holy Spirit by which the Church discerns and recognizes the presence and action of God in the community. In fact, Jesus’ physical and visible presence in the world is now through you, me and the whole Church. This is God present in mystery! We all recognize the Spirit at work within us as we hear God’s Word—are not our hearts burning within us? We recognize the Spirit among us by the desire to act for the good giving dignity, respect and service to one another; this is love. The Spirit moves us to cross the street of our own comfort zones and beyond our own interests out of ourselves—even to the ends of the earth—to share the good news of pardon, peace and new life in Jesus! It all begins at home within ourselves just as it did for the disciples. We give public witness as they did when we use our words and actions to build up the body of Christ and choose to forgive and begin anew rather than descend into harshness or criticism or grudging.
We also recognize that the Spirit empowers each of us with different gifts for service. I know that many of you have been watchful in prayer and pondering what role of service you might choose for building up the body of Christ at St. Edward, St. Bernard and St. Thomas. Teaching the faith, assisting the poor through St. Vincent de Paul, singing in the Choir, Lector/Reader, Eucharistic Minister, the Soup Kitchen, Catholic Daughters, or serving on the Bazaar committee, are just a few ideas of many possibilities. Try to trust that God will direct you and guide you to the place you need to be! Remember, it is through using our gifts that God is visibly present and this brings joy to you and the community! May God bless you all! +++ Fr. Peter