Today we remember that Jesus ended his time on earth in bodily form by returning to the Father. He remains in Spirit and in Sacramental form. Yet the return of the Father connects with his incarnation: Jesus did not come on his own initiative, but he came sent by the Father albeit full of love for us. The completion of the mission of Jesus begins a new mission, the mission of the Church.
During his earthly ministry, the humanity of Jesus was empowered by the Spirit, and so he promised that His people would also become empowered by the same Spirit. Thanks to the Holy Spirit being the animator of the disciples of Jesus, a small community of weak disciples, who were initially full of fear, became a leaven for the oppressed of the Roman Empire, and eventually the roman peace based on force, was replaced by an age of many saints.
It all started by awaiting the Spirit. The very first thing Jesus told the disciples before he ascended into heaven was to await the promise of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had experienced the power of the Spirit acting in Jesus during his earthly life, and he assures them that the Spirit will come down upon them and accompany them as they take his Word and witness “to the ends of the earth.”
Our mission to share the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation as we await the fullness of life is based on sharing God’s love. Jesus says, people will know that you are my disciples by your love. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love. If we love one another, then people will know we are disciples of Jesus Christ.
This past week the escalating unrest and violence in Myanmar, Israel and Palestine, and Colombia all are unique in their very complex political situations, but it seems to me that all have in common that there is little will by the various parties to search for truth together. Each side in the conflict presents their portion of reality to the world. Our world is in need of love, truth, and unity. The vision of the Church is one where victims do not become oppressors, but rather full of mercy can envision healing for their enemies, so that true peace can reign.
Our times, in some ways resemble when on May 13, 1917, Our Lady, the Mother of God, appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Europe was in the midst of World War I and the pandemic of the Spanish Flu was raging. Mary asked the children to start a devotion to her Immaculate Heart. In biblical language, the "heart" indicates the center of human life. Jesus says that Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God. The center of Mary’s being was her fiat --- “Your will be done.” Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is to imitate that the center of our lives be turned to God’s will, beginning with our own hearts.
God bless, Fr Carlos, OSA