Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost – the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in the Upper Room and the day in which the Church was started. 

In the Upper Room, Christ tells the Apostles, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. He starts off with “Peace be with you” because it is God who brings peace to our hearts. Christ follows that invocation of peace with a challenging call: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Well Christ just suffered immensely as part of the mission He was called to. Is He telling the Apostles, and in turn us, that He is calling them to suffer? Yes! But He is also telling them that the Holy Spirit will be with them and will provide them with the courage and strength necessary to carry out their mission. The suffering the Apostles, and we, will endure is in the name of God. God would not leave us alone; He would not call us to something of which we are incapable. He calls us because He knows we are capable of rising to the challenge of bringing more people into the body of Christ. 

I love today’s readings from Acts and from 1 Corinthians because they both bear witness to the universality of the Church. St. Paul tells the Corinthians, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit”. When Jesus sends the Apostles out into the world, He does not intend for them to only spread the Gospel to one particular group of people. Rather, He wants the Gospel to be spread to all peoples. In Acts we hear the story of the Apostles preaching to the people of Jerusalem and being heard in many different languages. These two readings show us that the message and mission of Christ belongs to all people. 

So, what does Pentecost mean for us today? St. John Paul the Great said, “The Church of Christ is always, so to speak, in a situation of Pentecost; she is always gathered in the Upper Room in prayer, and at the same time, driven by the powerful wind of the Spirit, she is always on the streets preaching”. In the same way the Holy Spirit entered the hearts of the Apostles, we too must allow the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts in order that we can go forth spreading the light of Christ. It is our mission to share that message of Christ to all those we encounter. 

Please pray for our son, Theophilus Mark, who will be baptized and welcomed into the Church today!

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Dakota lives in Denver, CO with her husband, Ralph, and their two sons, Alfie & Theophilus. She is the Dean of Enrollment Management for Bishop Machebeuf High School where her husband also teaches. You can find Dakota at the zoo or a brewery with her family or with her nose in a book at home. For more of Dakota’s writing check out https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com/

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Gazing on the Face of the Lord

When my daughter was little, she had a soft, pink and white baby blanket which we called “Mimi.” I wondered where this term for her blanket had originated and thought perhaps it came from “Me…me,” which is the way a one-year-old might say, “I want my blanket, please give it to me.” My daughter especially sought her “mimi” when she tired or distressed. Taking hold of it, she would nuzzle it to her cheek, stick her little thumb in her mouth and snuggle down in her crib. She would quickly fall asleep, knowing she was safe and secure. 

There are phrases from Scripture that are just like a security blanket. We can “take” them and “snuggle down” with them in peace and tranquility. Today’s response from the Responsorial Psalm is one such verse. “The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.” 

If we are willing to slow down and take the time to meditate and pray with this verse, it can teach us and shape us, comfort us and strengthen us. We can nestle down into the innermost places of our hearts and ask the Lord to show us His face. We can use our imagination to contemplate his countenance; to be transformed by his gaze as we gaze upon him.

In the Canticle to the Holy Face, St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote a moving reflection on the face of Christ. This is an excerpt from her poem: 

Thy Face is now my fatherland, —

The radiant sunshine of my days, —

My realm of love, my sunlit land,

Where, all life long, I sing Thy praise;

It is the lily of the vale,

Whose mystic perfume, freely given,

Brings comfort, when I faint and fail,

And makes me taste the peace of heaven…

My rest — my comfort — is Thy Face.

My only wealth, Lord! is thy Face;

I ask naught else than this from Thee;

Hid in the secret of that Face,

The more I shall resemble Thee!

Oh, leave on me some impress faint

Of Thy sweet, humble, patient Face,

And soon I shall become a saint,

And draw men to Thy saving grace.

So, in the secret of Thy Face,

Oh! hide me, hide me, Jesus blest!

There let me find its hidden grace,

Its holy fires, and, in heaven’s rest,

Its rapturous kiss, in Thy embrace!

St. Thérèse clearly loved to meditate on the face of Christ! 

Gazing upon the face of Jesus means contemplating everything about Him, which mysteriously reveals to us who the Triune God is and who we are. It draws us into a relationship of love with God that transforms us, sometimes in painful ways, but never stops offering us the peace, joy, and security we crave.

Let’s take the time today to “snuggle down” in God’s presence and “gaze upon the face of the Lord!” 

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Christine Hanus is a thwarted idealist who, nevertheless, lives quite happily in Upstate NY. She is a wife and mother of five grown children.

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Food and Community

I love how Jesus was always eating. Many of the Gospel stories revolve around Jesus and his disciples sharing a meal together. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. Today’s Gospel starts with the words, “After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them.” So even after the resurrection, when food presumably would not be necessary anymore in his resurrected body, he eats breakfast with his friends. 

Why all this emphasis on food? Well, the Old Testament speaks of manna that helped nourish the Israelites in the desert, the Bible ends with the banquet feast of the bride and bridegroom, and right at the center of the Gospel is the living food that comes from heaven. It would seem that food is a huge part of God’s plan for humanity. 

Food brings people together. It strikes the perfect balance between something we enjoy and something we actually require for life. We literally can’t live without food. I think Jesus probably had this in mind when he gave us the Eucharist. He gave us his very life and love through the appearance of bread and wine. He not only comes to us as food, but just like with the tax collectors and sinners, he meets us where we need him and are comfortable to approach. 

Jesus could have left us his body in raw form, bones and blood and all, but he didn’t. Just like how in today’s Gospel he gives Peter three chances to affirm his love, after denying him three times, he meets us where we are at and allows us to consume him through the food we are comfortable with. This is essentially true of all the sacraments; they are visible familiar signs that communicate a real grace in our lives. 

So how can we take some of this and apply it to our lives this week? Well, we are officially in barbecue season. The smell of burning charcoal and a plethora of sauces is in the air. I was thinking the other day how I want to make some barbecue for our neighbors. We have lots of families around us with lots of kids and I think it would be fun to pull the grill up to the street and make some food for everyone. Maybe you could have some friends from Church over or even invite one of your pastors to enjoy a meal. Whatever the case, I am going to try to use food to bring people together in community and bring them closer to Christ. Let’s all think about a way this summer we can use food to evangelize and hopefully bring people closer to the true food that has come from heaven. The worst that can happen is that you enjoy a great meal with new people. Happy Eating!

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

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The reading today from Acts has Paul saying he is “on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” This leads to heated disputes between the Sadducees and the Pharisees because of differences in their beliefs: Sadducees not believing in the resurrection or angels or spirits, Pharisees believing in all three. Transport this difference in beliefs to the present day: right to bear arms versus gun control, sanctity of all forms of life and creation, immigration and refugees, war and violent conflict and crises, and what to do about climate change. No matter which situation that catches your attention, there is great uproar and controversy in humanity. 

I find comfort in the Psalm Response, “Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.” It is because of Jesus, the Son of God the Father that my soul rejoices and I have hope as He rose for all of humanity. He is the hope of the world.

The Gospel expands on this concept. Jesus prays that all may be made one in Him as He is in the Father. Jesus expresses His love for us and wants the same gift of love of the Father to be known throughout the world. 

St. Paul wrote in the book of Romans Chapter 5, verse 5, “Hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Hope is poured into our hearts from the love of God through the Holy Spirit to bring and be love in the world. All things are really meant to lead back to love and to God. This is what gives me Hope.

It is the seventh day of the Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit. Please pray with me the following prayer that my pastor, Fr. Jim Chelich wrote:

Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your holy gifts. Let my weakness be penetrated by your strength, that I may fulfill the duties of my state in life conscientiously; that I may do what is right and just.
Assist me, O Holy Spirit, in all my trials of life:
enlighten my ignorance
advise me in my doubts
strengthen me in my weakness
help me in all my needs
protect me in temptation
and console me in affliction.
Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit, and pour your light into my heart, my soul and my mind. Assist me in living a holy life and in growing in goodness and grace. Amen.

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

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One-ing and Joy

Prayer is an opening – and therefore a kind of revelation – of the heart. So in today’s Gospel, as we hear Jesus pray to the Father, we glimpse the sentiments of his holy Heart. And what do we see? His loving trust in the Father, and his intense love for us.

Jesus is about to enter his agony, and his final concerns are for his disciples. He asks the Father to “keep” them, as he had protected and guarded them. He is entrusting them now to the Father.

And he reveals also a deep theological Truth: that we are all ONE in Christ, just as he is one with the Father! This was something entirely new. The Chosen People knew they were chosen by God, but they had no aspirations of being ONE with God! Here Jesus points to the goal of all creation, the goal of his Incarnation, the goal of the Paschal Mystery into which he is entering: “that they may be one just as we are one… even as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they also may be in us… that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one” (Jn 19-23).

Perfectly one with each other, one with Christ, united in the heart of the Trinity, “so that they may share my joy completely.” In unity is JOY. This is the goal of all that God has done and is doing: to share His JOY, which springs from love, which brings union.

Jesus came with this mission, and it is our mission too: “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.”

This is why we say we are “in the world, but not of the world” – we are made by Love, to Love, for Love. We are journeying through this world, fighting the enemies of love, finding ways to love, bringing love to others, so that we establish real communion with others in Christ. In journeying, fighting, and serving in love in this world, we find joy. And at the end of our worldly work, we will enjoy endless joy in the Arms of Love.

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

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Mary’s Joy

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Visitation refers to Mary going to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, while carrying in her heart the good news of the coming of the Messiah and in her womb the Messiah Himself. 

There seems to me to be one word that links our reading from Zephaniah with the Gospel from Luke:  joy. The words joy and rejoice are repeated throughout the two readings:

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! 

He will rejoice over you with gladness…

He will sing joyfully because of you…

…the infant in my womb leaped for joy…

My spirit rejoices in God my Savior…

In the reading from Zephaniah, we hear of Israel’s hope in the Lord and of the love the Lord has for His people. Israel hopes in the Lord with great joy and it is that hope that allows them to be filled with joy. The hope they have and the joy they experience does not mean they will not suffer. As we know, the Israelites endure much suffering. That suffering, however, is marked by their perseverance and trust in the Lord. God made us so that we can participate in His own love so, when our hearts are joyful because of Him, He too is joyful because of us. He loves us and He rejoices in His sons and daughters. 

Having joy in the Lord does not mean that everything will be easy or that we will not encounter hardships. It does mean that when life gets hard and when we are faced with difficulties, we have someone to turn to. God wants to be our refuge. In the midst of our suffering, He wants us to turn to Him with hearts that are joyful. 

Mary is the perfect example of someone who experienced difficulty and, rather than relying solely on herself to get through it, she turned to God. Mary perfectly conformed her will to God’s despite what others might have thought and she is filled with peace and joy because of her conformity. Mary then goes and shares her joy with Elizabeth. When she visits Elizabeth, even the child in Elizabeth’s womb recognizes Mary’s hope and for that reason leaps with joy at the sound of her voice. 

The joy that comes from hope in our Lord is meant to be shared with all people. May we, like Mary, carry our Savior with us and go out with joy to proclaim His presence.

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Dakota lives in Denver, CO with her husband, Ralph, and their two sons, Alfie & Theophilus. She is the Dean of Enrollment Management for Bishop Machebeuf High School where her husband also teaches. You can find Dakota at the zoo or a brewery with her family or with her nose in a book at home. For more of Dakota’s writing check out https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com/

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I found myself pondering the promises Jesus makes to His disciples as I reflected on the readings for today. Jesus promised that after three days the Son of Man would rise again. And it happened. Jesus promised He would send His Spirit to come and dwell with the apostles. And it happened. Jesus promised if two or three gather in His name, there He is among them. And it happens still to this day. 

Jesus made many promises. Even though the Gospels are full of examples of Jesus keeping those promises, still we might be tempted to wonder whether He will keep them for us. I’m reminded of a line from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The Beast is trying to figure out what gift to give Belle to show her her cares for her. Cogsworth suggests, “There’s the usual things: flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep.”

How many of us have been let down by other humans? (I’m assuming we are all raising our hands.) We are each broken, flawed, and often failures. We intend to keep our promises, most of the time. As is often said when a promise goes unmet, “life happens, oh well.” We toss up our hands, chalk it up to good intentions that didn’t pan out, and move on. 

We can be tempted to apply this same attitude to Jesus. Will He really keep His promise to always be with us, or is that just a metaphor? Does He really want an intimate friendship with us, or will He forget to show up like I do sometimes? Can I really give Jesus my every need and concern, is He actually interested in the same old sins and mess?

YES! Jesus proves over and over in the Gospels and beyond in the lives of the Saints that He does care, that He does provide, and He is always faithful. 

In our Gospel today, we encounter another of Jesus’ promises. Jesus promises that there will be troubles. While at face value it might not sound very encouraging, it’s so important for us to fully grasp. Jesus knows there will be troubles. He knows the troubles. He knows your troubles today, your trials tomorrow, your sufferings in 20 years. He knows. And He promises more. If you take the courage He offers, you will see how He has conquered the world. All of those struggles and trials are to be used for a grander plan that involves Jesus’ reign over all creation. This is today’s promise. Do you believe it?

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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No Passive Bystanders in God’s Kingdom

I remember as a child thinking that following Christ would have been so much easier if I had been alive when he walked the earth. There would be no need for faith—I would see him in the flesh. I wouldn’t need to struggle with the big questions of life—I could just ask him and get a direct verbal answer.

Easy Christianity, though, is not good for our souls. It is through the challenges and questions of life that God gives us opportunities to grow. God wants us directly involved in building His kingdom, not to be passive bystanders.

So in His ascension, Jesus instructs us not to just stand there. He will give us the Holy Spirit, and we are to go and do the works of God in the world. And God will work miracles through us.

So while there is a part of me that would still like to have met Jesus while He walked the earth, I know that I serve the ascended Jesus better, and await seeing Him one day in His full glory.

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J.M. Pallas has had a lifelong love of Scriptures. When she is not busy with her vocation as a wife and mother to her “1 Samuel 1” son, or her vocation as a public health educator, you may find her at her parish women’s bible study, affectionately known as “The Bible Chicks.”

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On Speaking Boldly and Correcting Quietly

As a cradle Catholic with 16 years of Catholic school, I estimate that I attended Mass close to 7,000 times. And yet occasionally one of the day’s readings surprises me. “I’ve never heard that before!” I think, while knowing this cannot possibly be true!

That’s how I felt when reading today’s passage from Acts. Apollos was unfamiliar. Priscilla I remembered, less so Aquila. Some quick research informed me that Priscilla and Aquila, a married couple, were tentmakers, friends of Paul, and leaders in the early Church. Apollos, mentioned here for the first time, became an important leader and rumored author of the Letter to the Hebrews.

The first thing I noticed in this reading was the boldness of Apollos. He did not wait for permission. In fact, he did not even wait until he knew everything there was to know!  Instead, he “spoke boldly.” He knew he was a scholar of Scripture and a gifted speaker, and he did not hesitate to use these talents in service of Christ and his Church.

Priscilla and Aquila were already leaders. They heard Apollos preaching something a little off (what exactly is unclear). They were not jealous of his oratory skills or worried that he was infringing on their territory. They did not denounce him publicly for his mistakes in doctrine. Instead, they “took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.” And when he wished to preach in other places, they and other leaders encouraged him, writing a letter of introduction for him so that he was able to give “great assistance” to the Christian community.

We can learn much from the example of these early Church leaders. Like Apollos, we have gifts that God wants us to place at the service of the Church. We may not be Scripture scholars or orators, but we ALL have gifts. But how many of us never use them? We worry we do not know enough, that we are not ready, that we might look stupid or make a mistake. So we miss doing the work God wanted us to do. 

Apollos spoke boldly, and he got a few things wrong. We can learn from Priscilla and Aquila’s reaction. They spoke to him privately and did not embarrass him. They did not shut him down; they rather instructed him and encouraged him in his ministry. They saw him as a partner, not a rival, because they shared a goal: to bring souls to Christ.

I cringe when I imagine how this scenario might play out today. If Apollos ever worked up the courage to speak at all, he would probably be attacked for his mistakes. We can and should do better. We can learn from our predecessors to lift each other up and encourage one another in sharing the love of Christ.

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Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

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Who is Your Neighbor?

The Lord does not allow the big stuff to happen without letting his people know first. I had a bad day yesterday. It seemed like a lot of the darkness in the world was coming in at me at the same time. I knew I would survive. I just needed to be patient and to trust in the Lord to help me get back on track. That early evening, I watched a program on EWTN on Adoration. I felt refreshed. In Acts 18 today, once again, Jesus in a vision tells Paul after all those beatings and shipwrecks, “Do not be afraid”. Why would he say that? Because, Paul seemed to have a price on his head. Because, he was teaching something other than the Mosaic law. Jesus needed to give Paul some reassurance that all was well. That was enough for Paul to carry on and spend 1 1/2 years in Corinth preaching and teaching.

Jesus carries that theme, kind of, telling us we will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. Certainly, this is going on in the present moment. I can’t imagine the horror the people in the Ukraine are having with such great destruction and killing. Three million plus people have left the Ukraine and most of them were the elderly and women and children. They traveled to neighboring countries that would let them in. The men of fighting age were not allowed to leave. Which means there are thousands of children that no longer have a father and women that do not have a husband. God help them.

I heard a few months ago that the shift of wealth today is the greatest in our history. Would it be too much of a stretch to say that the wealthy might be rejoicing? The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We must remember what God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. The 10 commandments. The second command of those commandments is to love our neighbor. Again. We come to that same conundrum of “Who is our neighbor?” Let me make it easy. It is anyone that the Lord places before you and me.

The pandemic taught us about weeping and mourning. It isn’t just about the physical damage, but also the emotional damage. Being in lockdowns, wearing masks, social distancing, and on and on. Many were necessary, but some were not. There have been plenty of opportunities for us to help our neighbor. How? Perhaps picking up groceries for them or giving them a ride to church or just visiting them or being a friend, etc., etc.

I went back to College in the mid 90’s. The curriculum was Family Life Education at Spring Arbor University. In one of our classes, our professor told us that there was a big culture shift in our country in the last generation. None of us could come up with what it could be. She said a generation ago towns were smaller and everyone knew their neighbors. And it went beyond that. If a neighbor needed help, there was someone nearby that would reach out and help. So, what is the big shift? It is the fact that our country has moved from a family and community-oriented world to a world of individuals. It didn’t take us long to agree with that culture shift. Many people care only about themselves. So, when it comes to needing help, the population of helpers has become much smaller. We need to help change that.

We need to hang out with kindred spirits. I will close with this last example. Last week our little church south of town had special devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary in celebration of Our Lady of Fatima. So what’s the big deal, you say? Afterwards the parish hall was set up for people to socialize. It included a light lunch, card games, etc. A little deal becomes a big deal because we are hanging out with kindred spirits. The spirit in the room changes when kindred spirits gather!

Serving with joy!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

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Now Heaven Is Present On The Earth

The Solemnity of the Ascension can be eclipsed for most of us by the Resurrection, Good Friday, and Christmas. For me, the Ascension is a liturgical feast that draws me inward and upward. Pope Benedict stated in his homily for the Ascension in 2013: “Christ’s Ascension means that he no longer belongs to the world of corruption and death that conditions our life. It means that he belongs entirely to God. He, the Eternal Son, led our human existence into God’s presence, taking with him flesh and blood in a transfigured form.”

My human existence led into God’s presence as Jesus took with him flesh and blood in a transfigured form….

My human existence led into God’s presence…

My human existence…

St. Augustine said that although Jesus ascended to the Father alone, “we also ascend, because we are in him by grace.”

We are led by Christ into the new world of the resurrection, where all the members of his body are drawn upwards to the Father in heaven. 

The apostles, in the reading today, were still wondering when Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. His answer to them is that they “would receive power” when the Holy Spirit was given to them:

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

In other words, Jesus directs their attention to this “new world of his resurrection.” After being brought to the life by the Spirit, they were to set their minds and hearts on things above where Christ is, not on earthly things (cf. Col 3:1-2).

In the early Church the Christians placed the Christ of the Ascension in the dome of their Churches to remind them that Christ ascended to his Father in heaven and that he was returning. 

“Come, Lord Jesus!” 

In a world of turmoil and crisis in which so many are suffering unjustly and needlessly, we can pray daily, “Thy Kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” 

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

Perhaps we feel that we cannot effect the change the world so needs, but we can be that change. With our faith in Jesus Christ who is real, the strength of our belief in the kingdom present and among us in Christ who is close to us in our every need, we can experience how we are changed, how heaven is present on the earth and every sorrow, every closed door, every crisis is but a window to his drawing us with him to the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: www.touchingthesunrise.com Public Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/srkathrynhermes/ For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community: https://www.patreon.com/srkathryn.

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Making the Unbearable Bearable

In today’s Gospel Christ tells His disciples, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now”. Jesus knows the hearts of His disciples; He knows they love Him. But He also knows that they are not expecting nor are they ready to endure the hardships that come with proclaiming the resurrection of the Savior.

The disciples will be met with rejection and hatred, just as Christ was during His Passion. Jesus knows what He will suffer and He is preparing His disciples for what will come after His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. I would imagine that hearing “…you cannot bear it now” would make me feel anxious. What could be so horrible that Christ couldn’t even tell me about it? Christ follows that, though, with reassurance that the Holy Spirit will be with them. He tells them that the Holy Spirit “…will guide you to all truth”.

The same is true for us today. How many times does it feel like we don’t know what will happen next? The future can feel scary and unbearable. But Christ’s assurance that the Holy Spirit will guide us is what we ought to place our faith in. When we place our faith in the Holy Spirit, rather than ourselves, we surrender control to God and, in doing so, also glorify God.

Today’s first reading from Acts of the Apostles is my absolute favorite story of evangelization. St. Paul tells the Athenians who have an altar in honor of “An Unknown God” that he knows who that unknown god is. The God that is unknown to the Athenians is the one, true God who became man and saved us from our sins. Paul then goes on to tell the Athenians how good God is, that He created the world and mankind, that it is He who will judge us with justice, and that He is the one who resurrected from the dead. It took great courage for St. Paul to proclaim this good news to the Athenians. He knows that when telling others about his faith in Christ, he faces the possibility of being met with hostility. But it is precisely his faith in Christ and his knowledge that he is being led by the Holy Spirit that allows him to preach, regardless of the consequences.

As St. Paul told the Athenians, God created the world and mankind “…so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us”. May we continue to seek God in all that we do and do everything for His glory! When life feels unbearable, may we look to Christ and leave our anxieties at the foot of the Cross.

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Dakota lives in Denver, CO with her husband, Ralph, and their two sons, Alfie & Theophilus. She is the Dean of Enrollment Management for Bishop Machebeuf High School where her husband also teaches. You can find Dakota at the zoo or a brewery with her family or with her nose in a book at home. For more of Dakota’s writing check out https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com/

Feature Image Credit: Tim Stief, unsplash.com/photos/YFFGkE3y4F8