With the coming of Priest Study Days and my vacation period, this blog will be suspended until I get back. Thanks to all who follow me so faithfully.
“There are also many other things that Jesus did… the whole world would not contain the books that would be written.” The evangelist tells us that there were so many things that Jesus said and did that were not recorded in the Gospel. When I think of that, it reminds me that we Catholics hold to both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (those things handed down). Both are part of the deposit of faith.
The Visitation is the Second Mystery of the Joyful Mysteries of the most Holy Rosary. It remembers the day that Mary went to visit her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. The Gospel for today gives us words we use in the Hail Mary and the Magnificat that we pray at Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. Like Mary we need to always give praise to God and be willing to do God’s will.
We need to carry out the “Great Commission” from Jesus. How do we do it? Do we suddenly turn into religious fanatics and begin preaching to our families, our friends, and those around us? Not at All! We do it simply by making an effort to become the kind of person God the Father made us to be. We do it simply by making an effort to become the kind of person Jesus teaches us to be. We do it simply by trying to make an effort to become the kind of person the Holy Spirit inspires us to be. We witness to Jesus and teach others by our love when others need us, by our patience when others annoy us, by our forgiveness when others wrong us, and by our perseverance when we feel like quitting. Our lives speak more eloquently than our lips when it comes to witnessing and teaching. People would much rather see a sermon than listen to one.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus makes it very clear that He will not send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, until He returns to the Father. In other words, He must physically leave this world before the Holy Spirit can come. The Ascension, therefore, is connected to the Paschal Mystery of the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Age of the Church begins.
“For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come…” There seems to be a connection between Jesus’ returning to the Father and the coming of the Holy Spirit. With the coming of the Holy Spirit the age of the Church begins.
Today’s reading from Acts has a change of person, from telling the story in third person singular to first person plural. This is because the author of Acts, Luke, had joined Paul and he’s telling an eyewitness account. Philippi was on the European continent, so this is the first established church in Europe. The church there was one of Paul’s favorites; the people were very good to him and kept in contact with him long after he left (they would send him money and things). Read the letter he wrote to them; the letter was very upbeat full of rejoicing!