Pentecost Sunday, May 23 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost, reminding ourselves that Christ did not leave us alone after ascending to heaven, but continues to remain with His Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. At the same time this Sunday brings to a conclusion the season of Easter for 2021.
“The gospel read during the Mass on Pentecost day tells us of Jesus’s appearance to his apostles in Jerusalem on Easter evening. He is suddenly there, even though the doors were locked, as the evangelist notes; he shows his hands and side to his disciples. Should we not connect this action with the greeting Jesus gives his disciples, “Peace be with you”? This is not an ordinary greeting. In John’s view, it is connected with the wounds, because peace flows from the passion and resurrection. (For Luke, Christ’s display of his wounds was a way of assuring the disciples of his identity, this is not the case for John.)
Now Christ “sends” his disciples. In doing so, he uses the kind of formula we find frequently in the fourth gospel: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” For John, however, such formulas express more than a simple parallelism; they do more than affirm the divinity of Christ on the grounds that he acts as the Father acts. They are also a theological statement that believers share in the very life that is common to Father and Son.
The formula ends rather abruptly: “I send you.” He is not sending them to a place, but giving them a mission that they must carry out. What is the mission? It is that of forgiving sins, as Christ immediately makes clear. Since, however, Christ draws a parallel between his action in sending the disciples and the Father’s action in sending him, he is also telling the disciples that they are to continue the work that Jesus himself has been doing for the reconstruction of the world. They too are to do the Father’s work. As Jesus reveals the Father and makes him known, so the disciples are to reveal Jesus and make him known.
St. Luke tells us in today’s first reading of how the Spirit came upon the disciples as they were gathered in the upper room. Luke thus puts the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost. John, however, in the gospel reading, speaks of the Spirit being given on Easter evening. Is there contradiction here between Acts and John? Has John conflated Pentecost and Easter? According to some exegetes, John is not conflating the two events, but neither is he distinguishing them; he is interested, rather, in giving expression to the paschal mystery as a unitary whole.
We should note that Luke too has an anticipation of Pentecost inasmuch as he speaks of the apostles having been chosen by Christ “through the holy Spirit” (Acts 1:2). It seems more accurate, therefore, to say that these various actions and gifts of the Spirit (including John 20:22) were all a preparation for the definitive coming of the Spirit. When we say that the church was born on Pentecost, we are undoubtedly simplifying somewhat. After all, the church was born from the side of Christ on Calvary, while the various appearances of Christ after his resurrection were so many stages in the formation of the church. The church was born on Calvary and born of his resurrection, no less than she was born of the Spirit on Pentecost. The whole first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles is concerned with this gradual formation that was going on even before the Spirit was poured out on Pentecost.
We may say that St. Luke lays greater emphasis on the historical facts, while John is more concerned with the close connection between Calvary, the resurrection, the appearances, and the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost.” (Living Liturgy 2021)
At the present time the church remains closed for any public Masses and celebrations with the exception of baptisms, weddings and funerals, which are limited to only 10 people. After the announcement by the provincial government yesterday (Thursday) about the stages in which the province will gradually reopen, we do not have any new information regarding when we will be allowed to reopen to gather together in person once more for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Since last Sunday we have been journeying through Laudato Si Week! Our parish’s Laudato Si Circle would like to thank all those who have been able to take part in the week-long Recycling Challenge and who joined in with Monday evening’s live-streamed Opening Liturgy. They are hosting one final event for the week, which is a Zoom session on Monday evening that will include activities, prayer, and conversation on the theme of the importance of recycling. All are welcome to attend! If you are interested, please contact Wes at email@example.com.
We recently began a series of regular online gatherings open to all parishioners to help us stay connected with one another and with our faith during this time apart. Two of these are coming up this week:
Games Night – Wednesday, May 26 from 7:00-8:00pm on Zoom
Rosary led by our Youth Ministry – Saturday, May 29 from 7:00-7:45pm on Zoom
If you are interested in taking part in either of these events, please contact Wes. Hoping you can join in for these times of faith, fun, and fellowship!
In your prayers I invite you kindly to remember the souls of Margaret Badeau, whose funeral Mass was celebrated today (Friday) at St. Francis Xavier Church, and William Chopp, whose burial prayers took place at Mountview Gardens Cemetery. They were both long-time parishioners in our community. Also please pray for their families as they grieve the loss of their loved ones. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
This coming Monday is Victoria Day, which normally would be a day for many families to get together and celebrate, but with the restrictions in place due to the pandemic things will be less celebratory. And so we will be here, Fr. Claude and I, to say the morning Mass that day and you are always invited to join us. The schedule for that day and week will be published in the online parish bulletin as always.
This Sunday the Lord’s Day Mass will be live-streamed on the parish YouTube channel once again at 10:00am, with the Rosary beginning at 9:30am. I hope you can join in with the celebration of the Mass from home.
God bless, everyone.