Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The days of Eastertide are coming to a close and this week we celebrate the return of our Lord to our Heavenly Father, the Solemnity of the Ascension (Thursday May 26th). It is a Holy Day of Obligation so kindly refer to the Mass schedule. The return of the Lord in glory was a bittersweet event in the lives of the Apostles and disciples but absolutely necessary if they were to mature in their faith and become instruments of God’s continued presence in the world. Our Lord’s plan is to continue His saving work through the ministry of the Church, which has sole authority over the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments. This is how He remains with us today.
In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see how the Holy Spirit operates in the deliberation of the Apostles at the Church’s first Council in Jerusalem. What began then and continues to our present time is the assurance of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as the fathers of the Church must address issues that are pertinent in our time. This does not mean that the Church follows the prevailing trends and fads of the time but rather instructs and guides the present age by the immutable Truth handed down by our Lord to the Apostles and their successors. The Church therefore is the beacon of Light and Truth that the world must follow lest it bring on its own demise.
The shepherds of the Church realize that not all ascent to the teachings of the Faith. We need only look to the Old Testament to see how the prophets constantly had to warn the people to turn back to God and live according to His Commandments. The same is true today. Therefore, we ask the Lord to give us courage to strengthen our resolve to employ the prophetic spirit we all share by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation. At the 10:30 Mass this Sunday our 7th grade Confirmation candidates will publicly declare their commitment to prepare diligently for the reception of the Sacrament next year at Pentecost. May we assist them with our prayers and encouragement to be steadfast in their desire to receive the Seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit and live the Christian Faith to the fullest.