Great thanks and great blessings for all who made last weekend’s many events such fine ones. And may your long weekend provide some great fun and good relaxation.
THIS WEEK IN PRAYER
First Communions – Blessings for the 16 young parishioners who made their First Communions on Sunday. It was, for me, an exceptional grace to celebrate with you, to have you praying and standing at the altar so attentively, and to share the gladness you felt with your first “Amen.” Thanks and blessings too for your parents, grandparents, extended families and CCD teachers. It is a wonderful day for all of us.
Michael Tabernero’s Diaconate Ordination – Great thanks to the many parishioners who multiplied the joy by attending Michael’s ordination, participating in the 4:45 Mass on Saturday, and enjoying the post-Mass refreshments. Special thanks to all who set up for the refreshments, provided the edibles and cleaned up afterwards. God bless Michael – may he have years of inspired and inspiring ministry.
Green and White – Back to Ordinary Time – As of Tuesday (May 22), we are back to Ordinary Time. Green once again appears all around the church, except for the next two Sundays – The Feast of the Holy Trinity and the Feast of Christ’s Body and Blood. These two solemnities call for white.
Sunday’s Homily – “When Charity Overpowers Fear”
THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:
The Sound System – The installation of the sound system marches on. Per the original design, the speakers for the two outside sections (i.e., the choir section and the section behind the servers) have now been installed and the speakers for the 8:35 Mass will soon go live. Several minor tweaks have been implemented and a few more are on the way. The installation has been free of major glitches and is a great testimony to the efforts of the people who arranged it. Thanks and blessings all around.
Saturday, June 23 – after the 4:45 Mass – celebrate the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the new church. It will be BYOB after Mass for an hour or so.
5K Run – Have you signed up already for the parish’s fifth annual 5k run? The June 9th race, which is part of the larger “Run Hillsborough” race series, benefits our Youth Group’s summer work trips. Sign-up here!
THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:
The Heifer Project – Plans for the summer CCD program’s service project are moving ahead at a brisk pace. Stay tuned for information about how you can support the Heifer Project – an international program that gets farm animals to the people who need them most.
Summer Work Trips – Also stay tuned for news about the parish’s two upcoming work trips – our Youth Group’s Trip to Paterson and our Young Adult Trip to Appalachia.
With all best blessings for you and your loved ones and your celebrations of summer’s unofficial start!
Summary of this Week’s Homily:
When Charity Overpowers Fear
Sunday's Pentecost readings provide two very different versions of the same event. The gospel (John 20: 19-23) indicates that the first Christian Pentecost occurred at Easter and that it happened when Jesus conferred the Holy Spirit. The first reading (Acts 2: 1-11) depicts the Holy Spirit’s arrival as occurring without Jesus, 50 days after Easter. The apparent contradiction mirrors many others in the bible, including the creation narratives in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Scriptural inconsistencies are always worth investigating. The closer looks typically generate insight and inspiration.
The dissimilar accounts of Pentecost include one important similarity: both stories describe a moment when charity overpowered fear. Sunday’s gospel passage begins with the apostles huddled in a locked room, immobilized by fear for their own lives. That all changes when Jesus appears, confers the Holy Spirit and sends them. Sends them how? Sends them as he himself was sent, as an expression of the Father’s love, to draw all people to himself. The call to love coincides with a change in focus. Before the Spirit’s arrival, fear dominated their lives. After that moment, charity prevailed.
A similar dynamic plays out in Acts 2. Luke says nothing about the apostles being afraid, but he does claim that they were all gathered together – with a hostile community outside. He also indicates that the Spirit’s arrival enabled them to speak to others with whom they had formerly been unable to communicate. Before the Spirit’s arrival, isolation prevailed. After that moment, connection prevailed.
What about you? What about those situations in which you have been fearful or isolated until love changed your focus – so that you became much less concerned about what scared you and much more attuned to the opportunity to express love? Maybe you did this when you moved from fear of committing to a loved ones’ care to a loving, confident commitment to serve. Maybe you did this when you moved from fear of shaking a bad habit to a loving, committed determination to transcend the habit so you can love as you are called to love. Maybe you did this when you moved from fear of sticking up for the isolated kid or the bullied kid to a loving resolve to stand by a lonely student. Maybe you did this when you moved from fear of forgiving, because doing so might be misinterpreted, to a Christian commitment to abandon retaliatory impulses. Each of these moments is a Pentecost moment. Each time you care less about what scares you and more about the call to love, you are doing what the disciples did on Pentecost. What is your favorite bit of Pentecost autobiography?