The season of Easter ends next Sunday with the Solemnity of Pentecost. Each year the Church gives us seven weeks after Easter Sunday to ponder the gift of Christ’s Resurrection. Many of our readings during this sacred time speak of the change in the lives of first disciples of Jesus brought about by the miracle of Jesus rising from the dead. There was a visible change in how the apostles and the disciples of Jesus lived after they encountered the risen Lord. Every time we gather on Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the
dead, we are reminded of this great event. If our faith in the resurrection of Jesus is real, it should affect the way we feel, think, and act. The tradition of the Church asks that we keep holy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, that we come to church and worship God, refrain from unnecessary work, and spend time in prayer and rest. Every Sunday is a celebration of Easter joy for those who believe in the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead, and who promises to raise us from death to life.
The celebration of the Ascension of the Lord which is commemorated this Sunday is a reminder that just as Jesus returned to the glory of heaven, we too hope to follow Him. The promise of heaven for those who believe is the greatest gift that we have received from our loving God. It is good for us to bring this hope to mind, especially in moments of difficulties and struggles. Just as we are with Christ in prayer and a life of faith here on earth, we hope to be with Him in the fullness of joy in heaven. Now that’s something to look forward to.
Next Sunday the Church will celebrate the solemnity of Pentecost. Jesus told his disciples that He will send the Holy Spirit to be with them and to lead them to all truth. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the hope of God’s presence in our lives while here on earth. We receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and in all the sacraments of the Church. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that our sins are forgiven in the sacrament of confession, that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Holy Spirit is active in our daily lives each time we ask God for help and healing.
This Sunday at 3:00 pm, twenty six young people are receiving the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Mary’s church in Owen Sound. The Holy Spirit will come in a very special way on these young parishioners to strengthen them in faith. Bishop Crosby will be the celebrant and teachers from Notre Dame Catholic School will be present to support our young people. Please keep us all in your prayers that the Confirmation Mass may go well and that our young people, their sponsors, and their families may experience the power of God in a new way.