May 18, 2018
The glorious seven week celebration of Easter finally draws to a close this weekend. But it ends not with a whimper but a bang – the Big Bang of the Holy Spirit in the great feast of Pentecost. The Church does not descend into torpor but rather is invigorated to carry out the mission given to her by Christ himself: to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all the nations.
The Holy Spirit is given constantly to the church. The outpouring of the Spirit is not a one off event. And we too, especially through the sacrament of confirmation, have received the same Spirit that descended on Jesus at his baptism.
From its very start the Church has grown in leaps and bounds, often in the face of dire opposition. When her enemies have been crowing over Her defeat God has found new ways to renew Her. And it is always through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The saints who we celebrate week by week were the chosen vessels of the Holy Spirit. In a myriad of different ways they have made the gospel alive for the people of their day.
We are called to follow those saints and do the same. And the same Spirit has been given to us for that task.
May 11, 2018
The choice of the twelve apostles was no arbitrary decision on the part of Jesus. He wanted to choose twelve men with whom he would share his ministry and preaching. We find lists of the twelve in the gospels, and they are shown as intimately associated with Him. When Judas betrayed Jesus that group was devastated. But it is interesting to note that one of the first actions of the early church after the resurrection was to make the group complete again. In the opening chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we read about the process whereby that choice was made.
The man chosen was called Matthias and we celebrate his feast day on Monday. He was suitable because he fulfilled the criteria set by St Peter – he had accompanied Jesus from his baptism until the Ascension. And the task he was given is absolutely clear: he is to be a witness to the resurrection of Jesus.
Down through the centuries that has remained the key task of all the followers of Jesus. Although the Apostles hold a unique place in the history of the Church their role is continued by the bishops. And although the Apostles saw the risen Lord themselves we are called to be witnesses to the resurrection too. The new life of Jesus should be visible in our lives. Let’s ask Matthias to pray that it will be.
May 4, 2018
May has traditionally been seen as Our Lady’s month. We have numerous hymns and prayers which refer to it in this way. It’s good for us to devote this time to contemplating the person of Mary.
Mary is the most perfect of all God’s creatures. She was conceived without sin and throughout her life was preserved from sin. Mary was prepared to listen to the Word and enabled the Word to become flesh. Mary always points the way to Christ. Mary stood at the foot of the Cross when nearly all others had fled. Mary rejoices in the resurrection and is present on the day of Pentecost. At the end of her earthly life Mary was assumed into heaven.
Mary has thus been seen as the first Christian. She hears, accepts and believes. She’s points and puts into practice. She allows God’s Spirit fully into her life.
It is therefore fitting that we honour her and seek to follow her example. But more than that we should love her as we love our own mothers because she is the mother of all who believe.
Mary has many titles. We could well spend some time thinking about those during May. It is good that we build a shrine for her in this month, and if possible hold a procession in her honour.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.