This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. We call to mind the birth of the Church when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples. They were filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit: courageously and joyfully, they were impelled to proclaim the Good News of Salvation to “people of every nation.” What a powerful experience of God working through a community of believers who made a difference in their world! Today’s Gospel passage helps us clearly understand that the Pentecost experience was not the first or only time the disciples received the Holy Spirit. After imparting his peace to them, Jesus says, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” We know that the Spirit bestows a variety of gifts upon us, whatever we need at a given moment, if we rely upon him. Sometimes the presence of the Spirit in our lives makes a quiet difference, and sometimes it makes a bold difference. I know that the Holy Spirit is quietly working within Saint John Paul II Parish and each of us individually is making a difference by the gifts we are putting at the service of the Church. We have been reminded often this Easter Season that we have received the Holy Spirit: every time we have celebrated a baptism, each time we have witnessed the completion of the sacraments of Initiation with First Eucharist, each Sunday we ourselves have celebrated the sacrament of Eucharist, and each time we have taken part in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The calling forth of the Holy Spirit takes place in every sacrament we celebrate. Not only the gifts of the Spirit, but also the fruits of the Spirit are operative in the Church in every age. Just think what a difference it would make if each member of our parish opens his or her heart to the Holy Spirit this Pentecost and becomes filled anew with the fire of Christ’s love. What if each of us courageously and joyfully proclaims the Gospel in word and action to all whom we encounter each day? We can make a bold difference. Our lives and our world would be filled with more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity – in other words, the fruits of the Holy Spirit!
Today, all of us have the opportunity to place our gifts at the service of the Church. Please discern the best manner in which you are able to share your gifts and return the sign-up cards in the collection these next two weekends.
Congratulations to Logan and Andrea Meyers on the Baptism of your daughter, Audrey Lou! May God bless you and your family. As you raise your daughter in the faith, please be assured of the continued prayers and support of Saint John Paul II Parish family.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ