From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, May 28th, 2023 – Pentecost Sunday - Cycle A Readings: Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104 “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth”, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13, John 20:19-23
We congratulate our thirty one parishioners who will be confirmed this Sunday by Bishop William Wack. Confirmation completes the sacraments of initiation. We are born anew by baptism, strengthened by confirmation, and receive the food of eternal life in the Eucharist. We pray that the Lord , through the power of the Holy Spirit, strengthens the gifts he gave to our brothers and sisters on the day of their baptism and make them his worthy instruments of peace, joy, and renewed hope in the world. Also four of our confirmands will be receiving their first Holy Communion. We are very grateful to all the Catechists and those who have journeyed with them for their love and service in sharing the faith to our dear brothers and sisters. May the almighty God richly bless you.
My dear brothers and sisters, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. The birthday of the church, the day the Lord fulfilled his promise that he will not leave us alone. The first reading and the gospel present the descent of the Holy Spirit differently. The stories of Luke and John compliment each other and teach us that the Spirit is the new law, the power that enables humankind to do good. The Spirit is the source of unity (does away with barriers) and whatever the Holy Spirit is, the power and presence of God is felt. The second reading invites us to see the consequences of the presence of the Spirit in a community.
After Pentecost the Church struggles to live the language of the Spirit. In the second reading we hear Paul reminding the divided community at Corinth that their diverse gifts are for the good of the community. It is the one dynamic Spirit which is the source of the community’s gifts. And the Spirit which fired the apostles and which enthused Paul is the same Spirit which fires and enthuses us. The Spirit does1 that in our own mundane attempts to work at forgiveness and love and understanding. That is the language of the Spirit. Forgiveness, love and understanding form a language which everyone understands and needs to hear. That is the language we are invited to speak and the promise is that when we speak it people will recognize it as their own language. They can truly say that we are speaking their language because it is the language which has no boundaries, and no special dictionaries are needed to understand it. It is the language of the Spirit. It is the language of love: the language that all people understand. As we celebrate this solemnity, may the Lord bless us, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD.
Sunday, May 7th, 2023 – Fifth Sunday - Cycle A Readings: Acts 6:1-7, Psalm 33 “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you”, 1 Peter 2:4-9, John 14:1-12
My dear brothers and sisters, on this weekend many of our children and grandchildren, friends and family are graduating. We share in their joy and accomplishments and we pray for the blessings of God upon them and their heart desires. We say congratulations!
Today’s Gospel presents us with the beautiful words of Jesus at the Last Supper. Jesus begins by speaking of peace: “Do not lose your peace”, knowing that very soon, he is going to go through his own passion. However, he wants the disciples to have faith in him, despite everything that is going to happen. We understand the confusion of the disciples. Jesus is saying that, yes, he is going, but he is going to prepare a place for them. We heard the doubt of Thomas, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?”, and also of Felipe, “Lord, show us the Father and that is enough for us.” They are the feelings we have when life seems difficult. We walk in confusion and look for proof that we are on the right track. Many of us find comfort in the words of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father if he is not through me.” The three qualifications: way, truth and life are applied to Jesus to indicate his three functions as mediator, revealer, and Savior. He is the only way to the Father. He is the only way to peace, joy, love, and hope. “Do not lose your peace.” This peace of Jesus is a peace that does not depend on politics. It is a peace that comes from God.
In reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the author tells us that there were certain complaints from the Greek Jews against the Hebrews. It seems that there was discrimination in the attention to the widows of the Greeks. To solve the problem, the Twelve summoned a multitude of disciples and a solution was proposed. It is interesting that they left the decision to choose the helpers to the community. It was a community decision to recognize men filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom for the service of the poor. They fixed the issue with the help of the community. We have hope in the vision that Saint Peter had of the Church when he told the community, “You are a chosen lineage, a royal priesthood, a nation consecrated to God and a people of his property, so that you may proclaim the marvelous works of him who called you from the darkness to his marvelous light.” It is true that we are weak, but if we open our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live as witnesses of the wonders that God does through his Church.
We find solace in these readings. We know that the Church has always gone through difficulties, but the power of the Spirit carries it forward. Jesus tells us clearly, “Do not lose your peace.” May he bless us with his presence in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD