Pentecost is on Sunday June 9th and it is our Parish Feast Day. Please help us celebrate at the 11:00 am Mass by wearing festive attire from your native country. All children may receive a special Pentecost Hat and a flag from one of 50 countries before the 11 am mass by visiting the table in the vestibule. These hats have the flame of the Holy Spirit which represents the flame which came upon the heads of the 12 apostles. Additionally, the Children wearing these hats may also process into church with the Clergy at the beginning of the 11 am mass. So, parents, be prepared to come to church a little early for your children to receive their Pentecost hats and flags! There will be an international food festival which begins at 12:30 pm. So, plenty of time to prepare to bring a large dish of your favorite traditional food to share with our parish family.
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord! And the readings challenge us: Do you witness?
Jesus came to this world on mission. The world was in darkness and death. Jesus came to reconcile us with God and give us the invitation to become the children of God. He lived among us and was God’s love made visible. He revealed God’s love by healing the sick forgiving sinners even till his death on the Cross. His Father rewarded him by raising him to life and seating him on right hand.
He walked the earth only for a few years but he must give the invitation to everyone throughout the world and throughout the ages. Humiliated and mocked on the Cross he had died offering his life for us. For this he was given all authority in heaven and on earth. Today we celebrate his return to the father.
His mission is by no means finished. He handed it on to his disciples. It is for them to proclaim to the world that he is Lord and reconciles us with God and offers us the Holy Spirit to become children of God. “You will be my witnesses even to the ends of the earth”. This is the mission of all his disciples down through the ages till the end time.
As witnesses his disciples will proclaim what they have seen and experienced. The disciples had spent time with Jesus and eaten and drunk with him after his Resurrection. In the same way if we are to be his witnesses, we too must experience him in our lives. We must know him personally. Without experiencing his goodness and compassion we will never be able to witness. Is the reason why so many do not witness to Jesus because they do not know him, but only know about him?
After his Ascension the disciples returned to Jerusalem in great joy. They were full of enthusiasm to receive the Spirit and begin the mission. The Ascension tells us that we are all to be witnesses.
“Do not leave Jerusalem till you have received power”. We need to be anointed by the Holy Spirit as the disciples were on Pentecost day. Only Spirit filled people can witness to the world. Pentecost is for everyone.
For too long we have experienced an attitude of dependency and immaturity in the Church whereby we have left everything to the hierarchy and to the priests. The Church has suffered and still suffers from this clericalism. The faithful have not been encouraged to use the manifold gifts of the Spirit. Now is the time for all members of the Church to carry the responsibility of witnessing to Jesus as Lord. The gifts bestowed on the laity for mission should be given free rein to bring the Gospel to the world and the world to Christ.
How can you witness to Jesus?