Pentecost

Dear Parishioners,

Saint John Chrysostom was an ancient Church Father who lived in Turkey and died in the year 407. He was famous for his preaching. The name Chrysostom means literally, ‘the golden mouth.’ The priest had this to say about Pentecost:

The Apostles did not come down from the mountain like Moses with stone tablets in their hands. They emerged from the Cenacle carrying the Holy Spirit in their hearts and offering everywhere treasures of wisdom and of grace as spiritual gifts flowing from a gushing spring. They went preaching to the whole world, they themselves being the living law, as if they were books animated by the grace of the Holy Spirit. (In Mt. Hom., 1, 1:PG 57-58, 15.)

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Are you ascending?

Dear Parishioners,

Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia! It's been forty days (well, more or less) since the Resurrection and this Sunday we celebrate Jesus' departure from this earth—the Ascension. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God” (Mk 16:19).

Notice there is a lot of direction on where the disciples are to go and what they are to do when our Lord ascends to the sky. Jesus tells them to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). He also instructs them to preach the Gospel and baptize (cf. Mk 16:15-16). The angel tells them to stop looking at the sky (cf. Acts 1:11). The disciples return to Jerusalem (cf. Lk 24:52).

What am I to do with my life? Where should I go? These are questions people, young adults in particular, ask themselves often. Graduation is around this time of year and I wonder if some college and even high school seniors are wondering about the direction of their lives.

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Mighty Mother

Dear Parishioners,

Let me share with you a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) that I always read this time of year. Hopkins was a Jesuit priest, a theologian, and is regarded as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era. This is "May Magnificat":

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

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He's a Mind Reader

Dear Parishioners,

The children in school frequently ask me if God can read our minds. Yes, of course! To me it's an easy question (I'm often asked harder ones), and I'm surprised by the students' reactions to that answer. They are taken aback. Really? God knows what I'm thinking?! Yes, he does—he's God. “For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything” (1 Jn 3:20).

Our second reading is from St. John's first letter (he wrote three). In this letter—actually more of a theological treatise than a letter—John lays out the reality that we are privileged to be sons and daughters of God. When we die, we shall be like God, for we shall see him as he is (cf. 1 Jn 3:2).

John says that we show our love for God and others by what we do and what we believe. What we say doesn't matter all that much. Anyone can say “I love you.” The person who sacrifices and lives for someone other than himself is the one who truly loves.

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The Good Shepherd

Dear Parishioners,

In the Gospel of John, there are seven “I am” sayings of Jesus. That is, our Lord says he is seven different things. They are, “I am...

  • the Bread of Life
  • the Light of the World
  • the Door
  • the Good Shepherd
  • the Resurrection and the Life
  • the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • the True Vine
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Ghostbusters

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus is no ghost! “But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost” (Lk 24:37).

Our Lord on this third Sunday of Easter is conscientious of proving to the disciples that he is real; that he is not a phantom or some vague spirit conjured from the dead. In the Old Testament the ghost of the prophet Samuel was summoned by the witch of Endor at the request of Saul (cf. 1 Sam 28). Ghosts were not unheard of.

Nor was a resuscitated person. Jesus had raised Lazarus (cf. Jn 11:38-44), the daughter of Jairus (cf. Matt 9:18), and the son of the widow of Nain (cf. Lk 7:11-17) back to life The prophet Elijah in the Old Testament had also brought a person back from the realm of the dead (cf. 1 Kgs 17:17-24). Jesus was not a resuscitated human being. His resurrected body is different than it was before. He has a glorified body. He can pass through walls and appear in two places at once and vanish in an instant (see the Road to Emmaus).

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