BY CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
It’s a wonderful season in nature, is it not? Warm breezes, May sunshine, growing leaves, gardens, and grass—unless you’re like me, sneezing with allergies!
Plus, it’s a wonderful season in the supernatural, too, these days between the two towering feasts of the Ascension (last Thursday) and Pentecost (this Sunday).
So, what’s happening in God’s design here? Well, forty days after Easter, Jesus summoned His disciples and let them know that the hour for His return to His Father in heaven had arrived. Not to worry, He reassured them, because, “I will be with you all days, even to the end of the world,” and “I will now send you the Holy Spirit.” He then ascended to heaven.
Understandably confused, anxious, and saddened by the Lord’s departure, they, joined by His Mother, locked themselves away for a nine-day retreat, intense prayer for the gift of this “Holy Spirit.”
Sure enough, nine days later, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, Jesus kept His promise—as He ever does—and sent the Holy Spirit!
These two great feasts, Ascension and Pentecost, are celebrations of the birth of the Church.
Jesus remains powerfully and personally with us, through the Holy Spirit, in and through His Church.
For the three years of His public life, Jesus was physically with them: He taught, He saved, He invited to eternal life, He healed, He forgave, He revealed Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life.”
Now, the Ascension and Pentecost coached them, He is still with them, even though mystically, no longer physically. He still teaches, saves, invites, heals, forgives, and reveals Himself in and through His Church. While not His physical body, the Church is His mystical body, with the Holy Spirit as her soul.
These are actually feast days celebrating the Church!
Listen up, because today it is chic to claim, “I want Jesus, but who needs the Church? I’m happy to believe, but who needs to belong?”
Pardon me, but that’s not the divine design!
“We cannot have Christ without His Church!” as Pope Francis continually drives home.
“Oh, come on now,” many reply. “I can’t see Jesus in this old, corrupted, out-of-touch, clumsy, sinful Church!”
Well, that’s what most of the people who met Jesus here on earth said. “Jesus can hardly be our Lord, our Savior! He’s poor, He’s a nobody, His teaching is too hard, and, worst of all, He suffered and died! I can’t find the divine in this broken, bruised, beaten, bloody, reviled, rejected, physical body of Christ!”
Now we hear the same refrain: “Don’t tell me that God is present in this broken, rejected, stumbling, pitiful mystical body of His Church!”
Well, He is! As we profess every Sunday,
“I believe in God, the Father almighty!”
“I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ!”
“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life!”
“I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church!”
A blessed Pentecost!
Happy birthday to His Church!