We are slowly but surely reopening our parish as we move into phase 2 of life in the Covid-19 era. This weekend we will celebrate mass indoors for the first time in more than three months. The masses will be at 5:30 pm on Saturday June 27th and 10 am on Sunday June 28th. We will be able to accommodate 50 people at each mass. Be sure to register if you plan to attend and practice social distancing and wear a mask. We will begin daily masses on Friday, July 3rd at 9 am. Because the office will be closed that day, we will not have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I’m looking forward to seeing more of you as time goes by.
John McMurray defines illusory religion in this way: “Fear not; trust in God and he will see that none of the things you fear will happen to you.” Of real religion he says: “Fear not; the things that you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of.” This weekend we are invited to contemplate the realm of fear in our lives. How much of a hold does fear have on us in this time of pandemic? And in this time of the Black Lives Matter movement we are mindful of the fear that our sisters and brothers of color carry in relation to the society in which they live. May the Lord Jesus strengthen us in the knowledge that we are beloved daughters and sons of God who graciously loves each of us unconditionally. May all of us live in that hope.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) we are invited to reflect on how we are changed by this powerful sacrament. This celebration should transform our lives, giving us the experience of reconciliation with God and neighbor, of healing and new life, of union with God and the saints, and of lasting peace. In this time of pandemic and racial tension in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd and so many other African Americans we are called to be in communion with those who are suffering at this time. The Eucharist should propel us forward to nourish those who hunger for peace and justice in our society today. May we also remember our Guatemalan sister parish Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi on their feast day. May they know the blessings and love of God as well as our own towards them. May Christ’s love for us as shown in the Eucharist reach out to embrace all those in need.
It’s difficult to get excited about the triangular symbol that we assign to the mystery of the Holy Trinity whose solemnity we celebrate this weekend. It makes this Godhead seem so static. And yet the reality of the Trinity is that it has to do with a living, active relationship between three persons within one Godhead. The Father is the giver. The Son is the given. The Holy Spirit is the gift/giving. The love that exists between the Father and the Son is the Spirit. Mercy, fidelity, love, grace, and fellowship are attributes of God. A metaphor that implies dynamism when speaking of the trinity is the dance. We are invited to step into the dance of the Three-in-One. Sometimes it is a slow dance. Sometimes it is fast. The important thing here is that we allow God to set the pace, to take the lead-not easy! In this unsettling time may we live a Trinitarian life knowing that we are not alone. Let’s keep dancing!
Pentecost, the Greek word for fifty, originally began as a celebration in thanksgiving for the “first fruits,” when winter grains and spring vegetables were harvested, enjoyed, and offered to God. For Christians, Jesus in the “first fruits” of those who have died. His Resurrection heralds our own at the end of time. For now, we live as Christians in the world, empowered by his Spirit of peace and forgiveness. While Pentecost concludes Easter Time, the gift of the Holy Spirit compels us to resound with Easter joys for days to come. We pray for the Holy Spirit to do all that we can’t, and we pray for the Spirit to do all that it can in us, especially in this difficult time.
As I celebrate my forty-fifth anniversary as a priest today, (Sunday, May 24th), I can’t help but feel tremendous gratitude to our precious God for journeying with me along the way. Thankfully I’m no longer that self-righteous young pup who would set the world straight with my superior insights. It didn’t take long for the good parishioners of St. James Cathedral to set me straight and disabuse me of that arrogant notion. With the help of God I have grown a great deal since those early years-maybe not vertically but certainly spiritually. I find that I am less judgmental and more compassionate, less dualistic (either-or) and more nondualistic (both-and), and more of a servant leader (leading from the middle). On this Ascension Sunday Jesus hands the baton to his apostles and also to us. May all of us continue his work of evangelizing the world using our unique gifts in God’s service. Thank you for the joy you give me as I serve you as your pastor.