Unleash the Holy Spirit

Pentecost

In our baptism we received the same Holy Spirit that the disciples received 2,000 years ago.  By our Confirmation we were sealed and strengthened in that Holy Spirit.  So why don’t we see the miracles and wonders that the presence of the Spirit brings, like those in our 1st reading?  In order for the power of the Spirit (which is already within us) to be unlocked and unleashed through our lives, we have to be able to say, in all areas of our life, with our whole heart, “Jesus is Lord!”  The more we can say that, the more the Holy Spirit can come out with power!

Priesthood of the Baptized

5th Sunday of Easter

Every Christian, by their baptism, is anointed priest, prophet and king.  Peter challenges us this weekend to that first anointing: “be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.”  There is the ordained priesthood by which priests in the Church offer to God’s people the sacraments, but there is also the priesthood of the baptized by which every Christian, in Jesus, is called to offer spiritual sacrifices to God.  Every day we can offer these spiritual sacrifices, and at Mass we have the opportunity to collect them all from that past week – our thoughts, words, prayers, actions, and intentions…even our anxieties, worries, concerns, hopes, and dreams – and place them all on that altar, asking God to transform them just as He does the bread and wine.

Dreamers or Disciples?

4th Sunday of Easter

Dreams are hopeful and safe – they can’t be failed.  Goals, on the other hand, are not safe – they can be failed.  It’s easy to dream; it’s not easy to make goals and follow through on them.  In the Gospel this weekend, Jesus calls himself the good shepherd whose sheep hear his voice and follow him as he leads them to good pastures. Dreamers hear that voice but don’t actually move anywhere.  Disciples hear that voice and have the courage to take a step: to set concrete spiritual goals in their daily lives, to fail, to get up again, and to succeed.  How are we disciples?  How are we dreamers?  Where is the Lord calling us to take another step?

First Holy Communion

3rd Sunday of Easter

In the Gospel today, Jesus joins two disciples on the way to Emmaus, but they do not recognize Him until “the breaking of the bread”.  In the Eucharist, at every Mass, Jesus not only draws close to walk with us on our journey through life, He also transforms bread and wine into His Body and Blood so that He can be physically united with us.  Thanks be to God for this great gift of the Eucharist!

The Holy Spirit Prayer

Pentecost

The Holy Spirit comes on this Pentecost day to strengthen us in 3 ways:

  1. In our relationship with Jesus Christ
  2. In defending the faith
  3. In spreading the faith

Every day this week, pray, “Come, Holy Spirit.  Come, Holy Spirit.  Come, Holy Spirit.”  When you’re relationship is faltering, when the Church is being looked down on, when someone needs to hear the good news of Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit who will give your His strength and His words to speak into that situation!  Come, Holy Spirit!

The Ascension is Still Happening

Solemnity of the Ascension

After a brief word from Pope Francis ; ) we celebrate how Jesus ascends today into heaven. This ascension is still happening every time a faithful soul passes from this life into the next. Those who are in heaven cheer us on and assist us in our ascension to God. But even when every soul is in the presence of God, heaven will still be waiting: waiting for the resurrection of their bodies, and waiting for God to create a new heavens and a new earth. The ascension happened 2,000 years ago, it’s happening today, and it will be happening until God’s master-plan of salvation is entirely fulfilled.

The Holy Spirit, the Church and Truth

6th Sunday of Easter

Our 1st reading opens with a controversy: Paul and Barnabas preaching salvation in Jesus one way, another group preaching salvation in Jesus another way.  Who’s right?  What’s the true faith?  The first Christians, with a deep sense that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church to the true faith, brought their dispute to Jerusalem and the apostles.  Presently, we bring our disputes to Rome and the successors of the Apostles – the bishops and Pope – confident that it is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church to truth, as Jesus promised.

First, Last, Only Communion

4th Sunday of Easter

Congratulations to all of our students who received their First Holy Communion this weekend!  There is an exhortation for priests that says, “O Priest of Jesus Christ, celebrate this Holy Mass as if it were your First Mass, your Last Mass, your Only Mass.”  Whether you’ve been receiving the Eucharist for 1 year or 100 years, whether you’re young or old, I challenge you at every Mass you attend to make that exhortation your own: attend that Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass; and receive Communion as if it were your first Communion, your last Communion, your only Communion.