PASTOR'S COLUMN, SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 2019

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 9:18am

Dear Parishioners:

  

   While I try to avoid novelty for novelty sake, I do believe it is important to make an effort to respond to pastoral request.  For quite some years, at least one individual from St. Mary has asked: “Could we sometime offer a blessing of bikes?”  I am aware that a number of parishioners enjoy traveling on motorcycle in season, and the Book of Blessings certainly includes a blessing of vehicles and forms of transportation.  Therefore, on Saturday, June 15, at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot, we will offer a BLESSING OF BIKES.  Please note that participants do not need to be parishioners to participate!   Therefore, please spread the word, since this is the first time we are hosting such an event.

  

   This Weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Christ.  The following is drawn from a 2011 article from Bishop Robert Barron:

   The key to understanding both the meaning and significance of this feast is a recovery of the Jewish sense of heaven and earth. In regard to “heaven” and “earth,” most of us are, whether we know it or not, Greek in our thought patterns. By this I meant that we tend to set up—in the manner of the ancient Greek philosophers—a rather sharp dichotomy between the material and the spiritual, between the realm of appearance and the realm of true reality... convictions (that) have far more to do with Plato than with the Bible.

   Biblical cosmology is not fundamentally dualistic. It speaks indeed of “heaven” and “earth,” but it sees these two realms as interacting and interpenetrating fields of force. Heaven, the arena of God and the angels, touches upon and calls out to earth, the arena of humans, animals, plants, and planets. On the Biblical reading, salvation, therefore, is a matter of the meeting of heaven and earth, so that God might reign as thoroughly here below as he does on high. Jesus’ great prayer, which is constantly on the lips of Christians, is distinctively Jewish in inspiration: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Notice please that this is decidedly not a prayer that we might escape from the earth, but rather that earth and heaven might come together. The Lord’s prayer recapitulates and raises to a new level precisely what the prophet Isaiah anticipated: “the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, as the water covers the sea.”

   The first Christians saw the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as the commencement of the process by which earth and heaven were being reconciled. They appreciated the risen Christ as the heavenly ruler of the nations, the one who would bring the justice of heaven to this world. And this is precisely why people like Peter, Paul, Thomas, Andrew, and John went to the ends of the earth to proclaim just this new state of affairs: “Jesus is Lord!”   

   What began in the Lord’s resurrection is now ready to burst forth and flood the world through the work of the disciples. Accordingly, just before ascending to heaven, Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It is fascinating to note how the Ascension and Pentecost are linked: in the Ascension, something of earth moves into the heavenly sphere, and at Pentecost, something of heaven—the Holy Spirit—invades the earth. The two events constitute, in short, a foretaste of the great reconciliation for which the entire Jewish religion had for centuries yearned.

                                    Peace,

                                                    Fr. Stephen