This Week's Message from
It would be easy to assume that in the way the liturgical year unfolds we should think linearly as each Sunday is celebrated. We begin with the announcement of Jesus’ birth at the beginning of Advent. What then follows in succession is Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. The first part of Ordinary Time introduces the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Lent prepares us for the events of Holy Week and His eventual suffering and death that quickly lead us into the Resurrection followed by the Easter season. For the last seven weeks we have proclaimed the Word that developed from the beginning of the earliest Christian communities and the leadership of the Apostles along with Paul and Barnabas.
Today is no different. After having celebrated the feast of the Ascension, we are now at the end of the Easter season. Pentecost is all about the great gift of the eternal presence of the Holy Spirit. If you get the sense that the liturgical year is to unfold one event of Jesus’ life after another, you are drawing an incomplete conclusion. The point to make here is that liturgy is not just about the celebration of historical events, even though that might be the way they are presented. In reality, liturgy goes beyond time. First and foremost, it celebrates God’s saving action in our world. Liturgy breaks open for us God’s action through Jesus and the Church and how He presents His saving action in the midst of a frail and needy humanity. Of course the feast of Pentecost brings us into that realm. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in a way that He fills time at all times... His presence fills the world and we are much better for it!
The feast of Pentecost should call us to attend to the Spirit that has been freely given to us. So much is miscalculated when it comes to the Spirit. It is often celebrated with worship that consists of high powered music, long drawn out preaching or the giving of testimony. However, as Catholic Christians there is a place for this kind of worship. Once a year here at Divine Word we celebrate a charismatic liturgy... a truly great experience. I have often heard people say that our ritual limits the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. My honest assessment is that our ritual has an incredible depth to it that most Catholic Christians do not even realize. The proclamation of God’s Word and the realization of bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Jesus can only be received if our spirit is intimately connected to the presence of the Holy Spirit moving us to clearly understand what is occurring. I am convinced that our sincere prayer and desire to grow in Christ will lead us to the presence of His Holy Spirit.
This year I was actually anticipating Pentecost Sunday for a different reason... my Doctorate of Ministry Project was to have been finished this weekend. You may recall last September when surveys were completed followed by interviews that were conducted for those who wished to participate. Then in early February when I returned from my vacation I came to the realization that my mother’s health was diminishing and I would have to put much of my work on hold. As a result my project that is taking place in the parish has been extended until the end of September. This week I will be preaching at all of the Masses in order to bring everyone up–to-date regarding my work
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