Here is a note from Fr. Jim in relation to the upcoming weeks:
I will be away from my home and my desk. So this is a brief heads-up about…. my Sunday homilies.
There will be no homily….in my residence for the remaining Sundays of May
The next Sunday for which you will receive a homily is the 11th Sunday of Ordinary time — June 12, 2016.
•Acts 2:1-11 • Romans 8:8-17 • John 20:19-31 •
Weekly Scripture Readings: Pentecost
If you read my book, “YES WE ARE! The Living Body of Christ” you may remember this story of departure from the Catholic Church. Peter was the youngest of five. His very devote parents moved to another state and he was the only one to accompany them. They enrolled him in a Catholic high school with an excellent curriculum in contemporary theology. With good will his teachers unintentionally left him with guilt feelings. He left high school convinced he could never do enough to correct the wrongs of the world. Eventually he left our household of faith.
On this Pentecost Sunday we return to the gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter. Mary of Magdala was the first to experience the Risen One. That evening the community of his close companions experienced him. He blest them. “Shalom/ peace be with you.”
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Imagine their confusion, the turmoil they experienced. Here was the beginning of “God’s new reality,” an entirely new creation. They still did not get it! He blest them again. “Shalom (wholeness of life) be with you!”
Then, as the Creator had breathed life into the first human, Jesus “breathed on his companions and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’.” He gave them/us the essence of his own life!! In John’s gospel there is no Pentecost event as such. This is it as they gathered around him stunned and speechless. They faced and had to deal with endless possibilities they still did not comprehend. They must have felt they could never do enough to correct the wrongs of the world.
“Most scholars are convinced. No one who actually experienced the historical Jesus or the Risen Christ ever wrote anything about him that we can access today.” That helps explain the discrepancies among the gospels and in the Pentecost narratives.
I find it helpful to remember that this feast of Pentecost is not about a historical event. The Risen One gifts us with his Spirit – the essence of his own life. This feast summons us to celebrate and recognize the importance of the Holy Spirit as Christ’s gift to us.
By his life, death and resurrection the Risen Christ bound us to one another. We are “The Living Body of Christ!” We are like those in the upper room, sent and gifted with the Spirit. The Spirit is guiding us to extend the life and work of the Risen One by creating a community of universal solidarity. The only we can do this is by “harnessing the energies of love.”
Our common sense tells us that virtues such as honesty, courage and agape-love are not “all or nothing propositions.” We move toward and embrace such virtues through stages and at different speeds. Young Peter, as so many others, did not realize this when leaving our Catholic household of faith.
Like those gathered in that upper room, we – all of us are on a journey of faith that grows gradually. Our goal is to “put on the mind of Christ,” to accept God’s invitation for life. There are no official standards by which to measure if we are succeeding or failing.
“Harnessing the energies of love” is a gradual task. The first step is to realize and trust that we are not alone are loved by that Gracious Mystery we name “God.” Then we are able to “harness the energies of love.” Doing so is is a gradual process. Then, “whatever we do and wherever we go, the people we encounter, the snow through which we trudge, the rain that soaks us, or the obstinate people” who become real PIAs – we see all as gift. That is “putting on the mind of Christ.”
I invite you to remember that God is present “in every direction and aspect of your life.” You are being loved into new being,” new life. That is the way in which the Holy Spirit gradually leads all of us. If you and I and all these others “harness the energies of love,” we gradually but surely will correct the wrongs of the world.