by Sister Jane Riha
This weekend we celebrate Pentecost, one of the great feasts of
the Liturgical Year. We pray, "Come, Holy Spirit, Come." The
Holy Spirit is with us always. We pray for openness to the Spirit's
indwelling, to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the outpouring
of the Spirit's gifts.
The images conveyed in today's readings are powerful -- wind, fire and speaking in other languages. There is the conversion of thousands in Jerusalem. The face of the earth experiences a renewed vibrancy. In our day, that same power and vibrancy of the Holy Spirit is present. Our experiences of the renewal and the creative energy of the Spirit in our individual lives, in our families, in the Church and in society are just as significant and just as powerful.
Whatever our experience in life, the Holy Spirit brings us peace. Just as Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, "peace be with you," so does Jesus desire this for us. As we go about our mission in the world, we trust that the gifts needed are present through the power of the Holy Spirit and God's peace rests upon us.
chapter 17, US Catholic Catechism for Adults
by Sister Laura Zelten
Through him, in him, with
him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit
all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, forever and ever.
-- Final Doxology
We've reflected on Baptism and Confirmation, two of the three Sacraments of Initiation and now we conclude with the third, the Sacrament of Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life" ( Lumen Gentium 11, Second Vatican Council) in that the Eucharist continues God's saving actions in Jesus Christ in every age of the Church.
In the Eucharist, Jesus is truly present in the consecrated species of bread and wine. This is known as "Real Presence" because it is Jesus' presence in the fullest sense: "It is substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present." (CCC, 1374)
At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine offered as the "work of human hands." By the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharistic elements become Christ's Body and Blood. In the Eucharist, Christ gives us the very body he offered on the cross, the blood "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." At every Eucharist, Christ offers himself for our nourishment and strength, to unite us with him and lead us to God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, Sr. Jane for your clear reminder about the renewal and the peace of the Spirit that come to us - when we are open to them.