There are some things I miss now that my children are older. Fewer snuggles, fewer moments of awe and wonder, and fewer crazy questions that make me laugh. However, if I’m honest, there are some things I do not miss, especially the birthday party. I loved the aspect of celebrating my child’s birth, but most years the party cost too much, involved too much stress, and resulted in a lot of presents that ended up in my garage. Today, nice dinners with family and friends sharing time together have taken the place of the “birthday party” and that is fine with me. Centuries ago, God moved in such a profound way and sent his Holy Spirit upon us, imparting to the Church gifts that remain with us today. That first Pentecost was a first birthday party of sorts, with people gathered to celebrate their common faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, that party had none of the trappings of a child’s event at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but instead presented us all with generous gifts that could be used for the glory of God instead of the stuff children discard after a few weeks. Every year I think it is important to really celebrate what God has given to us, the Church, on the feast of Pentecost. The generosity of God knows no limits and the Holy Spirit is alive. It’s just that the gifts from this celebration need to be used or the celebration will be hollow. The gifts are free to us even though they are priceless. It would be poor stewardship to toss them in the garage with all those toys that time forgot.
Tracy Earl Welliver,
MTS © Liturgical Publications Inc
Traditionally, the four writers of the Gospels are symbolized by four creatures that make their way into Church art and architecture: Matthew, an angel; Mark, a lion; Luke, an ox; and John, an eagle. These images can be found in churches across the world, a nod to those who recorded the stories of Jesus for us, thousands of years ago.
Today’s Gospel was written by John. There are a few reasons why John is symbolized by an eagle, but my favorite explanation is that his writings soar like an eagle into the sky with their beautiful, poetic language. The prayer we hear today is no different — Jesus invokes God in a long discourse that might seem mystifying at times, the same way that a poem can be perplexing to understand when we are unfamiliar with the pacing or format.
Consider holding onto the shortest sentence in this prayer: “I pray for them.”
Jesus prays for us. For me. For you.
Let that sink deep into your being.
Jesus is on your side. He is aware of what you are holding at this moment. He is aware of your pain, your faith, your mission. And He’s rooting for you. This prayer was recorded thousands of years ago, far before you were born. Since before you were born, you were held in prayer. With that certainty, we live.
— Father John Muir ©LPi
My dad was adopted as a baby. It’s a big part of my family’s story. His birth mother placed him in a Catholic orphanage not long after birth. A young couple longing for a baby strolled among the bassinets. My father, then only a few months old, looked at the husband and smiled. The man said, “That’s my son.” They took him home and the family grew. This moment of adoption was a wonderful truth they celebrated even when my dad was a young boy. They told him, “You’re even more special than the other children, because we chose you to be our son.” My dad’s eyes well up with tears of gratitude whenever he tells the story, even eighty-three years later.
What is your story? Do we think or act like unwanted orphans? Who do we believe ourselves to be? As we continue to ponder Jesus’ resurrection, we hear him say to us this Sunday, “I will not leave you orphans.” God doesn’t leave us alone like spiritual orphans. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the Holy Spirit, who is also called the Spirit of Adoption. He chooses us to be His children, to share God’s life forever. He gives us a future filled with hope. We are not orphans anymore! This Easter, that’s the story we should share with others. It’s the true story we are living right now.
— Father John Muir ©LPi