Voices of Faith

The Ascension of the Lord

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Dear Friends:

Happy Ascension Day! This is a day of rejoicing for the Church as we “see” something of heaven as Jesus takes his place there as our King and Lord. “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord” (Psalm 47:6) fleshes out this vision for us. The disciples who witnessed Jesus’ ascension, however, did not yet have that vision, and the impression we get from the Acts of the Apostles is that they were dumbfounded and perhaps even saddened because all they could understand at that moment was that he was leaving them behind.  We recognize that this is part of what has to happen, and Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit makes all the difference for us: Jesus is not absent from us, but is perhaps even more present to us in the community of believers, in the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), and indeed in our hearts as he promises to abide with us as our Advocate.

Today’s feast leads us to next Sunday’s Solemnity of Pentecost and the conclusion of the Easter Season. We call Pentecost the “birthday of the Church” because it was the conferral of the Spirit that transformed the disciples to go out as witnesses. This week spend some time thinking about how the Spirit has transformed something in you, has made a difference in your life, or has worked some grace in you. On Pentecost, we always pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” and ask the Lord for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, but we also celebrate and give thanks for his presence already at work in us. Let’s spend this week reflecting on the fruits of the Spirit evident in us now.

This Friday evening we will celebrate the achievements of the 8th graders of St. Joseph School at their Graduation Mass. We offer heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to them and to all graduates at every level as you conclude a chapter and prepare to begin another in your studies. It is great to see our young people returning home from college in these weeks… your families are happy to have you home, and we are happy to have you back among us here in the parish.  Check out what we are offering for young adults this summer!

God’s Peace,

Fr. Rick