Dear People of the Tri-Parish,
I am typing this Wednesday evening. Things seem to be going well here in New Orleans. The kids are meeting Catholic youth from all over the United States. There are a couple of groups from Texas, but there is even a group from California. There are a couple of work sites that need the campers there early so our morning schedule has been earlier than usual. They have been waking up the kids at 5:15 AM, giving them breakfast, and then Mass is at 6:30 AM. Parents, teachers, and coaches, if they ever complain about having to get up early, remind them that they can do it because they have done it before. But seriously, they have met old people in their homes, they have met black kids in the inner city, they have fed the homeless. Their understanding of the face of Christ is being broadened in a way that could never happen in southern Minnesota. What a great blessing for our kids. Thank you to all who worked hard and/or donated to make these experiences possible. Thank you so much.
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus revealed that God was not just one Being, but that there are three Persons in the one Being of God. In all of human history, in the history of religions, this had never been revealed before. When God revealed that God was one God and not many gods, this is was a watershed moment in the revelation of God in human history. Now in Jesus, God was doing it again. Now that some people rightfully understood that God was one and not many gods, God further reveals that there are three Persons in the one God. Philosophers and theologians have pondered the logic and inner workings of a God that is one and three. At the end of the day, it is a mystery.
Our understanding of God as Trinity has a profound implications for our understanding of ourselves (who are made in God’s image and likeness), why God created us, what the purpose of human life is, and our final density (Refer the movie, “Back to the Future.”). I don’t have space here to lay all this out, but needless to say, God is Love, He created us out of love and desires us to be in a loving relationship with Him forever.
May the Love of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain with you forever,
The graduation season has begun. I have been to a couple of great graduation parties so far. The food has been excellent. Please continue to invite me via Facebook or the old fashioned way. We thank our seniors for the impact they have had on our church community and also the community at large. We send them with our prayers. We pray that the lessons they have learned in our community give them a solid foundation for becoming great citizens of the world, but even more so, the Kingdom of God.
Betsy has some cool things planned for the summer so look for the bulletin for details. Thank you for your support in prayers and finances for the youth trips this summer. I know the events will be blessed times for our youth.
This Sunday we celebrate Jesus ascension into heaven. Traditionally this has been celebrated on the Thursday between the sixth and seventh Sundays of Easter, but now many dioceses (along with ours) celebrates the Ascension on the seventh Sunday of Easter. The Thursday between the sixth and seventh Sunday of Easter is exactly 40 days after Easter. The Bible tells us that Jesus ascended 40 days after His resurrection. Hence the tradition. However, to make it easier (and so people don’t incur a mortal sin), many bishops have moved the Holy Day of Obligation of the Ascension to the following Sunday.
It is in some ways sad I suppose that Jesus ascends into heaven. He is no longer with us in His human body and form. However, He told His disciples this was a good thing. Jesus was going to go to the Father in heaven, but He will send us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to take care of us, unify us, and to guide us to all Truth. Again, in some ways, we have the opportunity to be more intimate with Jesus than the people did 2000 years ago. In the Eucharist we take Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, God Himself, into our bodies and the consecrated host (as all food does) becomes a part of our bodies. Jesus’ body becomes a part of our bodies. This is all part of the grand plan of the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus; that through Jesus becoming like us, we have the opportunity to become like Him. The Eucharist is a big part of this grand plan of God. This is how much He loves us and wants to be intimately close with us. What a great and loving God we have!
Take care and God bless (and don’t get sunburned),
Our Easter celebration continues. We continue to celebrate the gift of our salvation. God loves so much that He took on human nature and died, rose from the dead, and ascended back to heaven. It is because of this Resurrection that we too have the hope of rising to eternal life.
In the first reading we hear about Paul and Barnabas proclaim the Gospel in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. It says they went there to strengthen the spirits of the disciples, the believers. They told the people, “It was necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” How hard is your life? Not that we should be masochists and seek out pain and suffering, but at the same time, being a Christian, we should expect there to be some pain and suffering as we try to live differently than how the world is telling us to live. True love alters the way we live. I remember being in 4th or 5th grade. I had a crush on a girl and she invited me to go to the pool with her. I think that is the fastest I ever did my paper route. When we realize that we are loved by God and love Him back, it should alter the way we live. Is being a Christian just a label we give ourselves or does our relationship with Jesus alter the way we live? In the Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples to love one another. Love does not require that we be nice to each other. Love does not ask us to agree to disagree. Love asks us to seek truth, good, and beauty together. True love has the flexibility to be challenged to change for the good, for the better. True love desires the good of the other, the ultimate good (God) for the other.
I pray that this week you are loved and challenged to become a better person today than you were yesterday.
Peace of Christ,