The month of May has always been a time of transition. Students graduating from their schools. The newly ordained as well as other priests getting their new assignment. (No, I am not moving.) Couples getting married. Everyone pivoting into summer mode.
As was announced last weekend at Masses, we are in a time of transition with our response to the Covid virus. If you have been fully vac- cinated, you are no longer required to wear masks in church. If you have not been vaccinated the mask mandate still applies. We are in the process of putting our hymnals back in the pews, but we will keep the missalettes out, so feel free to take one as your own. I have not heard any- thing yet about Holy Water, but I would imagine that may make a return soon. We will commence our Procession of the Gifts as well as having the ushers take up the collection.
All of this may be accomplished safely. For the time being we will try to keep some social dis- tance in church until we see how all of the other changes have affected the general public health. It is never easy to change from habits and pat- terns that we have been used to, but it seems like a vast majority of people were ready to take the mask off.
As always, I will be monitoring how things are going. We have kept everyone safe for the past year and it looks like things are heading in the right direction. Here at Holy, we did this because everyone was on board and was willing to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy, es- pecially those who were most vulnerable. Let’s keep up the good work.
The Solemnity of Pentecost has a very special place in my heart because my first Mass was celebrated on Pentecost. The vestment that I will be wearing this weekend has a one-of- a-kind design that was on my Ordinations invitations, made by a good friend of mine. The vest- ments themselves were a gift from my sisters who sewed them as a gift. I have such powerful memories of that day, my family, my friends and especially the excitement I felt as I finally, after 12 years of being in the seminary, was ready to step out and really begin my ministry. So, how did it turn out? Well, I can honestly say that af- ter thirty-eight years, I have never had a bad year. Even with Covid-19, the past year has brought great memories.
It may not have been how I would have planned it, but that is what makes life so wonderful some- times. (I shudder to think how things would have turned out if I had absolute control in my life.)
That is what the Spirit in your life does. The Spirit blows you out of your comfort zones to discover new fields, new experiences, new grace. The Spirit stretches you, expands you, widens you and helps you grow in ways that are of- ten surprising and life-giving. It is symbolized in Scripture as tongues of flame coming down on each individual. The symbol of fire is not accidental, it is designated to show passion, love, zeal, power, depth. The apostles, come out of the experience rejuvenated, alive. And that Spirit is likewise given to us.
But do we show it? Do we let the Spirit loose? Well, not always.
We are afraid. We are afraid because fire and passion consumes. The spirit comes at a cost. Allowing the Spirit in our lives means that we might have to give something up, something may have to change, something (or someone) may have to give. And yet, dousing the flame, denying the passion, refusing the Spirit can be even more painful and destructive. So let the Spirit, given to you in baptism and confirmation free. Let your light shine in a world of dark- ness. Don’t be afraid to express that you are a person of faith in your homes, at your place of business, in your neighborhood, in all of your gatherings. For what passes for passion in our world is more often than not, merely frenzy. It seems like it is alive, but it is merely chasing around here and there, in a rabid search for any- thing. There is a lot of heat, but not much light.
And, you can let your light shine, without beating people over the head like so many religious types do. The Spirit is there for others, not to shame or belittle them or bend them to our wills. We have a marvelous gift, more precious than anything on earth. Touch the Spirit. Ignite the flame.
Feel the passion.