June 2, 2019 – The Ascension of the Lord

I.  Welcome to Martin Ling, a Burmese seminarian, who just finished his second year of Theology at St. Meinrad, to our parish. Martin will be with us for 10 weeks during his summer internship, visiting the homebound, and hospitalized, helping with VBS, assisting with RCIA, Vespers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm, sitting in on meetings, prayer groups, etc.  He is very open to join you in your home for a bite to eat!  Let’s welcome Martin to Saint Stephen Cathedral!

II.  Wear RED for Pentecost! Next Sunday, we celebrate the birthday of the Church, the Church coming into being in this Pentecost moment. At that first gathering, Jesus’ friends experienced his Spirit in wind and fire, and that same spirit SPEAKS to us. Through the Spirit, God has formed us into a community, an instrument for bringing his life and love into our world. In Jesus breathing upon his disciples on Easter night, the new life of the Spirit, the community of resurrection—the Church—takes flight. That same spirit continues to “blow” through today’s Church to give life to our mission: to preach the Gospel to every nation, to proclaim forgiveness in God’s name, to immerse all of humanity into the love of God manifested in Jesus resurrection. The liturgical color for Pentecost is red, representing the Holy Spirit; you are invited and encouraged to wear red to Mass the weekend of June 8-9, the Solemn Feast of Pentecost! 

III.  The Jesus Nut! Carolyn and her husband were having a conversation with their son, Mike, a navy helicopter pilot. Mike’s father began asking about the helicopter his son flew. “You know Dad,” Mike said, “as complicated as the helicopter is, it’s whirling rotor is held in place by a single hexagon nut. Do you know what they call that nut?” Both parents shrugged. His mom said, “I give up. What do they call the single nut that holds it all together?” Mike smiled and said, “They call it the Jesus nut.”

      Just as all the complex workings of the helicopter hinged on the presence of that one single hexagon nut, so does the well-being, the faith, the growth and the integrity of each believer depend upon the centrality of the presence of Jesus in his/her life. At the center of all creation, at the center of God’s plan for salvation, at the very center of all revelation, Jesus is there. Jesus yearns to be our source, our sustenance, our fulfillment, our center. Is Jesus the center of my life and yours?

IV.  How Alive is the Spirit Within?  Jesus promised never to orphan or abandon us, but to send an Advocate—the Holy Spirit—to be with us to guide and direct, to comfort and protect, to steer us right, to inspire and challenge us. It’s like having the best attorney in the world! The Scriptural book, Acts of the Apostles, is really the acts or actions of the Holy Spirit. In preparation for the Solemn Feast of Pentecost (50 days after Easter), I ask you to pray this week for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be more active in our world, our country, our Church, our parish, and in our own personal lives. What is your image of the Holy Spirit? How is the Spirit active in you (and me)? How could the Spirit of God be more alive in us?