6th Sunday of Easter: Join Bishop Strickland for Sunday's Live Mass - 5.17.20
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Bishop Strickland during Sunday's live Mass.
Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...
I AM TRULY HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU ANOTHER INVITATION TO HOLY MASS
This Sunday is the sixth Sunday of the Easter Season. Bishop Joseph Strickland will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas. Holy Mass will be broadcast, and you are invited to participate. I will be serving elsewhere in the Diocese, but one of my brother deacons will assist the Bishop.
Remember, we are still in the Easter Season. The readings for Mass are rich and beautiful. I know that Bishop Strickland is a wonderful homilist and you will be uplifted by his sermon. But, to prepare us, let me share some thoughts from my heart on the readings.
In our first reading for the sixth Sunday of the Easter season we hear of the Spirit led and empowered ministry of one of the seven deacons of the early Church, St Philip the Deacon. He preaches the Gospel with holy boldness and the signs of the kingdom of God accompany his ministry, just as Jesus promised.
We will soon come to the end of our Easter Season. We will celebrate the great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord and the Feast of Pentecost, where the Lord, as promised, sent the Holy Spirit on the early Church.
Our readings are evidence of the very real Power of the Holy Spirit at work in the early Church. Too often, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, seems to be forgotten by believers. Yet, we have received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. We need to ask the Lord to awaken the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Today. When we do, we will begin to see the transformative effects in our own lives.
The Psalmist David, in the Responsorial Psalm, urges us to always glorify and praise the Lord. He promises that when we do, we will see his marvels and wonders. Yet, how often do we do that?
In our second reading, we have an excerpt from the Apostle Peter's first letter to all the early Church. In it he is encouraging the early Christians - and you and me - to do what the Psalmist said, to glorify, reverence and praise the Lord in our hearts.
We are Christians, we know that Jesus Christ is the Lord. The word heart in the Bible refers to the seat of the moral personality, as the Catechism says. The place where we make our choices. Peter urges us to put Jesus Christ first in our lives and stand up for the faith we profess, during opposition. That is what Christians are called to do. To be witnesses to the Lord.
How are we doing?
And, in the Gospel text for Mass, Jesus says He will send the Spirit of Truth, the HOLY SPIRIT. And, He did. His Ascension is not Him leaving us, but rather, Him being with us in a new way. By sending His Spirit and working through His Mystical Body, the Church, He is present in His Eucharistic Presence, His Body and Blood.
He is with us in His Word. He is communicating grace, Divine life, through the Sacraments. He is with us by the presence of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit which raised Him from the dead is poured out now on His Church.
But, in many respects, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, seems mysterious to many Christians in our own day. When I consider this reality, I am reminded of one of the many missionary stories recounted in the Acts of the Apostles.
Chapter 19 of the Acts of the Apostles begins with these words, "While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and came (down) to Ephesus where he found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" They answered him, "We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." (Acts 19: 1, 2)
Too often we live our lives like those disciples in Ephesus. We act as though we did not realize there even is a Holy Spirit, still at work, still pouring out gifts and still making it possible for us to bear spiritual fruit. The same Holy Spirit still changing each one of us, individually and collectively, into the Image of Jesus Christ and forming us into His Body. The same Holy Spirit calling us to make disciples of all the Nations.
The Holy Spirit is truly with the Church and wants to empower all of us. Come, Holy Spirit.
May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nation,
Deacon Keith Fournier
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