This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples that “it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day…” He has them recall that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all the nations. He tells the disciples that they are witnesses of these things. He directs them to stay in the city because he will be sending them the promise of his Father, and they are not to do anything until they are “clothed with power from on high.” Then he raises his hands, blesses them, and is taken up into heaven. They return to Jerusalem with great joy, continually praising God in the temple. Notice that the disciples are not sad at Christ’s departure. Everything is beginning to make sense to them and to fall into place. Once the Risen Christ appeared to them, they knew all he preached was true, that he indeed kept his promise and would continue to keep his promises. They could rely on God, his Son, and the Holy Spirit whom they are soon to receive. They were ready to carry on Christ’s mission, absolutely sure that he would be present to them in a new and different way. The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is a time for us to reflect upon our role and our obligation to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. We might ask ourselves this week how we proclaim the Gospel with our lives and how we evangelize and invite others into the faith.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all Mothers and to all who serve as “mother” figures: grandmother, God-mother, step-mother, foster mother, adopted mother, spiritual mother, and guardian! Today, let us express our appreciation to all of them for who they are, for all the sacrifices they have made for us, and for teaching us what it means to love without counting the cost. Let us also remember our mothers who have gone before us in faith, and thank God for the great gifts he has given us through them, the gifts of life and love.
The weekdays following the Ascension are a time of preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Even though we have received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation, we pray in preparation for celebrating the great Solemnity of Pentecost. We reflect upon the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We ask ourselves how those are evident in our lives. We pray for the grace to better reflect the charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, etc. reflective of a Christian whose life is Spirit-led. We pray for our Church to be on fire with the Holy Spirit: to go out and make new disciples of Christ, and to spread the Good News of Salvation with great joy. Let us take some extra time in prayer this week to prepare for the great Solemnity of Pentecost, the 50th Day of Easter, the Great Sunday, the climax of the Easter Season.
The liturgical color for Pentecost is red. Please consider wearing some red next week to help enhance the liturgical environment and create an atmosphere of celebration reflecting the fire of the Holy Spirit. “O font of life and fire of love, and sweet anointing from above.”
Special thanks to all who continue to make a pledge to CSA this year. As you can see from the report in the bulletin, we are doing very well. Last week we had reached 80% of our assessment with 57% of the parish participating thus far. Thank you so much for your generosity. Last year, a total of 312 households had made a pledge so we have a short ways to go to reach that number. I am really confident that if everyone who made a pledge last year does so this year, we will definitely make our assessment. Once we reach 312, that would still leave 100 more families to make a pledge, since we have 412 envelope holders. I know that it is a rare thing for a parish to get 100% participation, but it sure would be great to get close to 100% participation and have no CSA debt this next year.
There may still be some of you who would like a hymnal and or some chairs as special mementos from the former Saint John the Baptist Church. There are plenty of each available. Please let Alex, Natalie, or me know if you would like either, and we will make them available to you. I do believe that there are hymnals both at the Parish Office Center and at Saint John Paul II Parish Church.
Blessings on your Easter Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ