This Week’s Message from Father Dave…
What a powerful day! Pentecost is just that—the abiding presence of Jesus in the life of his disciples and in our life. He will never cease to give of himself and sustain what he started in his public ministry. The abiding presence of His Spirit is still with us and the presence of his ministry is still maintained in our world today. This is how important this particular feast is to the Church. Next to Easter and Christmas no other feast in the life of the Church is as important as Pentecost.
So what about the origin of the name, “Pentecost?” Those in the Jewish faith would be very familiar with this name and the feast, but it is a different celebration in their tradition. Let me explain. This feast was connected to the early wheat harvest. It was a celebration of God’s goodness to his people and the bringing in of the new harvest. The city of Jerusalem would be filled with pilgrims who came from everywhere to celebrate this special time of year. The Feast of Pentecost derives its name from the Jewish Feast of the Harvest or the Feast of Weeks. The Feast of the Harvest is actually fifty days after the Jewish Feast of Firstfruits which celebrated the beginning of the barley harvest. Pentecost is actually a Greek word and calculates those fifty days between those Jewish feasts and it also calculates fifty days between Easter Sunday and the Seventh Sunday after Easter, called “Pentecost” Sunday.
For the Catholic Christian world, Pentecost is the beginning of Jesus’ eternal Spirit given to the disciples to begin their ministry to proclaim the Good News, teach the faith, and baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The power and presence of the Spirit is first experienced by walking through locked doors, breathing on the disciples, and compelling them to go out to the ends of the earth. This is a new start for the followers of Jesus. They will not just sit and listen to Him. It is their moment to let the world know the life and story of Jesus. Here is the good news for us—we still live in the time of “Pentecost.” The same Holy Spirit that filled the disciples is the same Holy Spirit that is within each one of us.
This is the Holy Spirit of God who will lead the disciples throughout the world with an unbreakable faith to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ. They will withstand many obstacles along the way. Their internal drive will push them forward against many odds. Yet, they will not forsake the mission they are undertaking. This is the beginning of a new way of life for the world. The Holy Spirit of Pentecost has allowed the message of Jesus Christ to endure over the last 2000 years. The same Spirit compels us to live a life worthy of the faith we have received.
Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Season. Time has quickly gone by since Easter Sunday. We enter into a long liturgical season of Ordinary Time. However, next Sunday we will celebrate the great Mystery of the Holy Trinity and the following Sunday we celebrate the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi). These great liturgical celebrations give us a chance to reflect on two great gifts that have been given to the Church. In one powerful way the Trinity and Eucharist are the life and blood of the Church. I look forward to sharing words on both feast days with you.
The Cancer Support group will meet tomorrow, Monday, May 21st at 7PM in the Gathering Area. All those who are battling cancer or any other debilitating or chronic illness is welcome to join us. Bring a friend for support if you do not want to come by yourself. Already we have had thirty-five people come to at least one meeting. Thank you for your attendance.
Yesterday I celebrated with many priests in the diocese, the ordination of three new priests at St. John Cathedral. Fr. Mike Feldtz served here four years ago as a part of his formation and was involved in our RCIA program. Fr. Mike will be assigned to St. Mary Parish in Berea, Ohio. We are making plans to have Fr. Mike when he is available to have Mass here at Divine Word. I will let you know when this will take place.
Great news from Joseph House in Cleveland. We received a new refugee family from the Congo in Africa. The father of the family lived in a refugee camp for sixteen years. He and his wife have two children. They are looking forward to attending classes to help them assimilate to life in our country. We also just moved our clothing pantry into a new space this past weekend. The new clothing pantry is almost 2000 square feet. After a great deal of remodeling, painting, and cleaning, the new site is in great shape. Thanks to all who helped with the move. If you would like to help at Joseph House, the clothing pantry, or with our Sunday Meal Program at St. Philip Neri call the parish office.
Our prayers to students and teachers who have finished or will be finishing the school year shortly. Summer is just around the corner and I hope all have plans for family. Please remember to feed your spiritual life with prayer and liturgy. Keep the faith and have a great week! Happy Pentecost!!