Last Saturday we honored some of our graduates with a dinner. It was a delightful evening and it made us proud of four accomplished graduates. This was followed by a school play, “The Ugly Duckling.” Children from all grades starred in it. I have to give special mention to the four frogs, but they all were very impressive. It is too bad that more of our parishioners did not make one of the two performances. I hope next year you will all come for a great dinner and a great night out. Our school is our greatest parish investment. An investment not in a material sense, but certainly in a spiritual sense. I hope and pray that some day we can provide affordable Catholic education to all our children. I thank the Knights of Columbus for their help with the dinner and their support of Catholic schools.
Soon the US Supreme Court will come down with decisions that will either reverse or hold fast religious freedom in our country. Please continue to pray for favorable decisions. We seem to have lost much of our privacy rights and as long as the government struggles to keep religious values in the churches and out of public, we will continue to see more dishonesty…
As virtue, morality and common sense become like those of developing countries.
The new church microphone system is in and is being tweaked. We have already collected $7,500 for the $23,000 system. I hope more of you can contribute by making an earmarked donation to help pay for it.
This Sunday is the Solemnity of Pentecost which commemorates the Holy Spirit coming down upon the Apostles – what we now know as the Sacrament of Confirmation. I have always been puzzled by the Gospel selected by the Church for this Sunday. It has to do with the first appearance of Jesus to the Apostles who were hiding in fear in the Upper Room with the door locked on the day of the Resurrection. What does Jesus do? He first forgives their sins by saying, “Peace be with you.” The Apostles had a lot to be sorry for because they all deserted Jesus the night before He died after He instituted Holy Orders and the Holy Eucharist. Peter also denied Christ three times after he promised to go with Jesus even to his death. While Jesus is quick to forgive sins, He also does something more significant and probably more humiliating for the Apostles. Jesus gives the power to forgive the sins of others in His Name! Over the years I have come to realize why I think this Gospel was chosen for Pentecost. You see, if you are not in the state of grace, you cannot have the Holy Spirit dwelling in your temple. God cannot live in sin. It is only through Baptism and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we can regain the Holy Spirit. St. John Paul once remarked that His mother had to be free of sin in order for the Incarnation to take place. Mary, through the merits of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection, gained her special status of being immaculately conceived so that the Holy Spirit could conceive God in her. You may think that this is odd because the Passion had not even occurred at that time, but remember that God always was, always will be and always remains the same. God does not live in time, we do. This is a mystery so we cannot fully understand it.
The Jews celebrated Pentecost in a different way and Pentecost comes to fulfillment in the Acts of the Apostles. The Jewish Pentecost commemorated the theophany (visible manifestation of God to a human) at Sinai. It was celebrated 50 days after the Passover which commemorated the exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom. On Mt. Sinai the Jews heard the frightful voice of God and saw flames of fire on the mountain. Here the Ten Commandments were handed down and accepted by the Israelites in a covenant with God.
In the new Sinai (Confirmation) all the Apostles experience a deeper Pentecost. First they experience a wind. The Hebrew word for wind has two other meanings – breath and spirit. The tongues of fire recalled God leading Israelites through desert to the Promised Land by a column of fire. A super human strength was given to the Apostles to lead all people by preaching the Good News. Their preaching was as powerful as if they were Jesus. In reality it was Jesus’ Spirit speaking and working through them. Confirmation changes us into the mouth piece of Christ. It really is Christ’s Spirit impelling us to spread the God News.