From the Pastor's Pen

 

PASTOR'S PEN JUNE 9th

“Oh! What a joy! I am so proud of my Catholic Faith,” said the middle aged gentleman on meeting me in the hallway after the Silver Jubilee celebration of a priest. The celebration of Mass and gathering thereafter were organized  so well by the Parishioners. It was indeed a very
touching and moving experience for all. Story of a priest is the story of people of God! It’s a life that intertwines the lives of many; and a life touched and transformed by the lives of many! What an amazing gift priesthood is! What a grace for the priest to touch lives of many through his life and ministry. For many others, like this middle aged gentleman, the celebration became a proud moment of realization- it’s great to be Catholic Christian!   

The Scriptures tell us of another group gathered in one place, some 2000 years ago: “…they were all in one place together.” (Acts 2:1). This detail from the Acts of Apostles speaks volumes on the disciples and the first group of believers. Their coming together, being together, praying together gives rise to a new experience of the divine- the coming and dwelling of Holy Spirit in each of them. Certainly, for this group too, it becomes a powerful moment of recognition of their new identity and mission.

St Paul highlights the coming of the Spirit into everyone who is baptized into Christ: “we were all given to drink of one spirit” (I Cor 12:13). In the Gospel excerpt, we hear Jesus empowering apostles: “receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20: 22). In the power of the Spirit, the apostles become the nucleus of worldwide witness of the Risen Lord.  Remember that you and I are given the same Spirit! Wow!

On this weekend, we celebrate the feast of Pentecost. A feast in the Church is more than a mere remembrance of a past event. On the contrary, it’s a re-living of the experience of person/s, or of a community.  At Pentecost, the first community of believers experienced the power of Holy Spirit in their lives. Today, we need to re-capture the spirit of that experience of the apostles and make it alive in the here and now of our lives.

The early Christians believed that Christ, although no longer present in the flesh, remained among them. They relived the presence of Jesus through the breaking of the Word and Bread. That’s the reason why we gather each Sunday to celebrate the Holy Mass, which includes the breaking of the Word and Bread. Jesus is also present in us through the Spirit of Truth gifted by Jesus. Spirit is the very presence of the Father and Son united in love for each other. By the way, have you ever welcomed Holy Spirit into your lives? It’s good to check out the presence of the Holy Spirit in you.   

“Are you a born again Christian?” Does this question ring a bell? Perhaps, the question might have been thrown at you in the most unexpected places. To a catholic, it brings enough confusion. For, it’s not a question that most of us are comfortable with. Why is it disquieting? The problem lies in a lack of a clear understanding of the Holy spirit and the nature of his dwelling in us. Have you ever prayed to the Holy Spirit?  If the answer is NO, then begin today: Come Holy Spirit! Come into my life. If we let the Spirit become active in us, then we would not be lazy Catholics! The Spirit alone makes us proud of the Catholic faith!

My Prayer is: may we be filled with the GIFTS of Holy Spirit; and our lives be strengthened by the FRUITS of the Spirit!

 

PASTOR'S PEN - JUNE 16th

No school days! It’s Sumner- a time to enjoy the outdoors. Families do many fun things together during the Summer.  Let us pray that all are safe from all harms during this period of activities. This is also a time when students seek admissions to Colleges.  I was glad to see some of the graduates at Masses this weekend. It’s also a time when many young people search for jobs. Let us accompany them all with the assurance of our prayers. We continue to experience God’s blessing in our lives. Thanks to all who joined for the party last weekend in honor of our retirees- Carole Skutley, Colleen Garnevicus and Renee Cassidy. I express my deepest gratitude to all those who joyfully worked to organize this Appreciation party.

This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day! Our thoughts and memories immediately go to men who share the gift of fatherhood- biologically and spiritually. Each of us reminisce our relationship with them. As no relationship here on earth has all the perfection, each of us would have had a share of both positive and negative aspects of that relationship in our personal lives.  In and through that relationship, we all have grown; and we have moved on! Thanks to all those who share the gift of fatherhood!  Happy Father’s Day!

Notions of a Christian male may be embroiled in stereotypes of power, competition and success. Fatherhood is not about power. It’s about tenderness, compassion and of a relationship bonded in love and collaboration. Tenderness and virtuousness are core elements of that unique call- fatherhood. The World needs men of tenderness and virtue. Perhaps, our Culture does not offer a space for men to develop these qualities.  There may be fewer spaces available for men even to share at a deeper level and work with those aspects of lives not yet even integrated. Groups that foster and strengthen these aspects of the fatherhood are needed today. Shouldn’t our Parish have such groups? I ask all men of our parish to think louder and to come up with creative ideas and suggestions.  

Father’s Day, this year, falls on the Trinity Sunday.  Each year, Trinity Sunday calls us to reflect on the life of God. All religions recognize that God is beyond every human description. The Holy Trinity is a relationship of Love. The most profound description of God in Christian faith is love. God is LOVE(Jn 4:16). In Jesus Christ, God’s love has a face, a voice, a language and a life. We enter the mystery of God through Jesus alone. Made in the image of God, we are all children of God. Love, not hate, the character of God’s Children!  In each of us there is the hunger to know God more. We shall know more of God only when we travel the road of love and respect in our relationships. May all forms of relationships among us find an expression of the sublime love that exists among the persons of the Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May each of us come to a deeper experience of the love of God, I pray.