It has been a full year indeed! As we re-enter Ordinary Time this weekend, we do so filled with so many graces: of the joy of the Resurrection at Easter, of the Lord’s promise to be with us “always, until the end of time” at his Ascension, realized in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and deepened in our pondering of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and of Christ’s self-gift in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
After the Easter season, the Church celebrates a series of “theme” feasts, highlighting diverse aspects of our Catholic identity. At Pentecost, we proclaimed our identity as a Spirit-filled people, empowered to bear witness to a diversity of gifts in the one Spirit. Last Sunday, as we marked World Environment Day, we recalled that we are created in the image of the Trinity: in our lives, loves, and relationships, in our earth and cosmos, we reflect a God who is mutual, self-giving, overflowing communion of love.
Today, the Church celebrates its “birthday” with the feast of Pentecost. It is a scene of great drama: rushing wind, tongues of fire, the uttering of many languages. It is also a scene of transformation: timid disciples empowered to speak boldly, such that no matter what the religious, cultural, and linguistic differences, each hears the message in a language they can understand. Such is the power of God’s Holy Spirit: to break down the walls of division and to create the unity that is the Father’s desire for all creation.
Transitions are difficult moments in our lives. Whenever we come to the end of something in our life, we face the challenge of letting go of what is familiar, of plunging into the unknown. Letting go is hard. No less, beginning again is hard, even when the new reality is something to which we've been looking forward for a long time. As anyone who has worked their way through a 12-step recovery program knows, there is no other way: all we can do is “let go and let God”, living life “one day at a time!”
This week's Pastor's Corner is by Robert Assaly who is a full-time stagiaire at St. Monica's Parish.
"The Church must breathe with her two lungs". So wrote Pope Saint John Paul II 22 years ago in “Ut Unum Sint”. These lungs to which he refers are the Western (Roman Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) churches, known as “Sister Churches” since the lifting of their nearly millennium old mutual excommunications. One Body, two lungs — of which the Holy Father asserted must become a “unity bestowed by the Holy Spirit.” This is the same Spirit of today’s Gospel reading which Jesus, on the night before he died, promised the apostles His Father would send. No doubt, in using the “lungs” metaphor, the Pope had in mind that the biblical word for breath and Spirit are the same, and that the Eastern churches emphasize the Holy Spirit.
What makes a “house” a “home”? If we believe the real-estate agents, the value of a home is defined by external factors: size of the lot, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, richness of decoration, perks like a finished basement, a remodelled kitchen, and all the modern gadgets that make life easier and more comfortable. And of course, ... location, location, location! (Try Toronto and Vancouver!)
This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to reflect on our life as a journey. Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we may be running away from something that seems too heavy to bear: our grief, our shame, our disappointments, our fears. When our hearts are heavy, our steps are slowed, our vision clouded by tears, it isn’t easy to see or to believe. As we share our experiences with others we meet along the way, we are often unaware that the Risen Christ is walking with us.
This past year, the world of music and literature lost an iconic figure: Montreal’s very own Leonard Cohen. Though Jewish by birth, he was strongly influenced by Buddhism, and often used explicitly Christian images in his songs. Consider these lyrics from “Show Me The Place”:
The Easter Triduum: Jesus, the Face of the Father’s Mercy
April 8, 2017
As we have journeyed as a parish through Lent, we have heard and responded to Jesus’ message of mercy. On Ash Wednesday, we embraced the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. This Tuesday, April 11, there will be a RECONCILIATION SERVICE led by Robert Assaly at 7:30 p.m.
How do we see ourselves? How do we see God? And most importantly, how does God see us? “The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (I Sam. 16) In these words from today’s first reading, we are presented with the invitation and challenge to learn to see as God sees. And that means not remaining content with the level of outward appearances, but asking Jesus, the true light of the world, to “open the eyes of our hearts,” to give us the gift of a vision that pierces the surface and goes to the heart of the matter.