This week at St. Stanislaus:

Wednesday, May 24 – Thursday, May 25:

Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

This is a Holy Day of Obligation. The Mass Schedule: Wednesday, May 24: 7 pm Vigil Mass. Thursday, May 25: 6:30 am, 9 am, 12:05 pm and 7 pm (Spanish).


A reflection by Rev. Jude Siciliano, OP

6th Sunday of Easter, Year A – May 21, 2017 

I have friends who have been married for 40 years and say that they have had a “luxurious life.” They have two married children and five grandchildren who live within a short drive of my friends’ home. They claim it is a luxury to have their whole family so close, especially for holidays, baptisms, first communions, birthdays, etc. But because of a job transfer, their older son and his family are about to move to a faraway state. Everyone is having a hard time and they are trying to keep a stiff upper lip. My friends certainly want what is best for their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. But still…

My friend’s son and his wife are promising frequent visits for all the holidays and family celebrations. They also promise regular phone calls and videos of the kids – especially the big events, the grandchildren’s birthdays, confirmations and soccer games.

Everyone is doing the best they can in the circumstances, trying to keep a stiff upper lip. But my friends are finding it very hard. They are a close family and say videos and phone calls are fine – but, “It’s just not going to be the same ” – not like driving a short distance and popping in on them; watching one granddaughter play soccer and the other one star in the school play.

“It’s just not going to be the same,” is what they say. My friend s’ story gives us a sense of what Jesus and his disciples were going through in today’s gospel. They are at the Last Supper and Jesus is saying his goodbye. He is preparing those closest to him, whom he loves and who love him, for his departure. Not just a farewell before going on a short trip, when they will see one another again in a few weeks or months, but a more permanent farewell. He is preparing them for the shock of his violent death and the collapse of their plans for the future. Everything is about to change for them. In my friends’ words, “It’s just not going to be the same.”

To their great surprise Jesus would rise from the dead and they would see him again, at least for a short time. Then, after that, it will be all different: they would see him no longer. They wouldn’t have him physically there with them when they needed to ask for advice as problems arose; or feel his comforting and healing touch when they hurt, or when someone they loved was sick; or hear his voice, speaking words of forgiveness when they needed to be freed from guilt.

Jesus was sensitive to the loss they were about to endure. He was telling them quite clearly, “It’s just not going to be the same.” He certainly knew from first-hand experience their weaknesses. Soon their vulnerabilities and weaknesses would show themselves again in a startling way, when they abandoned him at his arrest. He knew they couldn’t make it on their own, their faith would need help. Their human courage just wasn’t enough to send them out to spread his message after he was gone.

So, Jesus makes a promise to them: help is on the way. The Holy Spirit would come to guide them as they faced new worlds and new issues; be with them when they suffered for what they believed; make them aware of Jesus’ presence even though they could not see, hear, or touch him.

We may be 2000 years away from those disciples around the table with Jesus that night; but we too have experienced loss and need. We have said many goodbyes and experienced big changes in our lives: when a loved one died; when we got sick and couldn’t do what we used to on our own; when we needed to be strong for a another; when we had a financial setback and needed to start all over again; when a relationship shattered.

As we have faced the uncertain future caused by these and other events we have said what my friends said about their impending loss, “It’s just not going to be the same.” And it isn’t. Change is hard for us and life is constantly posing new challenges. So, we admit by coming here week after week, that we need what only God can give us: a renewed life, after a big change in our circumstances; hope that what has ended isn’t the final word from God; strength to stay faithful to Jesus; wisdom to help us maneuver life’s many twists and turns. We want to be faithful to what he says to us in today’s gospel, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”

Jesus sees and hears our needs, though we can’t see, or hear, or touch him. We believe we have him with us in his word and in this bread and wine, our food for this moment of our lives. We also believe he has kept his promise to us just as he did for his disciples on Pentecost. He has given us his Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit makes Jesus present to us. When he was with his disciples he could only be in one place at one time. Now, because of the gift of his Spirit, Jesus is with us in each place and each period of our lives.

As we celebrate his memory again at this Eucharist Jesus is once again giving us his Spirit. God has come to us in the Holy Spirit, has made a permanent dwelling with each of us and guides our struggling church into its uncertain future. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our “Advocate.” It’s a word that means counselor, consoler and mediator. “Mediator” is perhaps the best translation for the Advocate. The Holy Spirit is the “in-between God” – the force and energy that binds us together with one another and God so we can experience a peace that only God can give.

The Holy Spirit is our assurance that God stands alongside each of us as we face current challenges and any future bumps in the road. That Spirit helps us navigate our personal issues and helps us make future choices, both as individuals and as a church.

My friends are right about their farewells. “It’s just not going to be the same.” But they know we should not box in what God’s Spirit can do for us. The Spirit will surprise us and provide us with exactly what we need when we need it, for Jesus has said, “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.”

[The readings for this Sunday are:

Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17; Psalm 66; 1 Peter 3: 15-18; John 14: 15-21

 

 


 

 

formed.org logo-withTagFORMED is an exciting new website, where St. Stanislaus parishioners can access the best programs, movies, audio talks, and e-books to deepen their relationships with Christ and His Church. If offers amazing Faith Formation at the parish and in an engaging style with the best Catholic teachers, authors, and speakers, on-demand, 24/7.  Watch the FORMED preview by clicking the formed banner above . . . 

How to access FORMED:

It’s easy! Log into Formed.org and access all the faith-building resources available there. You will need to set up an account (click on “My Account” in the upper right) and enter the Parish Code the first time you use the site. Our parish code is: ZR6M2C.  After you’ve set up an account with your own individual password, you will not need the parish code any longer. Simply log in with the User Name and Password  you have chosen for yourself.  

This Week on Formed:

Have you tried the Audio selections in FORMED? As we look forward to Ascension Thursday this week, listen to one of these audio selections to help you ponder the awesome mystery of the Divinity of Christ – and how that reality calls us to acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives. Check for these titles in Audio, APPOLOGETICS section: Who Do You Say that I am? (by Bishop Robert Barron) and Jesus Is (by Fr. Michael Schmitz).

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Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for May, 2017:

The May, 2017 papal intention is:

That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice and peace.

Each month, Pope Francis invites the faithful to pray for the intention he entrusts to the Church. Starting in 2017 the Pope will present only one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than the two presented before this year. He plans, however, to add a second prayer intention each month related to current events or urgent needs, like disaster relief. The urgent prayer request will help mobilize prayer and action related to the urgent situation.