May 7, 2023:
On this first Sunday in May, we continue our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection with the Fifth Sunday of Easter. We move into the final part of the Easter season and turn our attention upon Jesus’ parting gift of the Holy Spirit. Last Thursday in the weekday cycle of Scripture readings, we began reading from the Farewell Discourse of John’s Gospel (John 13:16-17:26). This discourse covers five chapters in John’s Gospel and is situated at the Last Supper. It gives us a glimpse into the heart and mind of the Lord on the night before he died. In some respects, it can be viewed as Jesus’ Last Will and Testament – his departing wish for the community of his disciples, the Church. From now until the end of the Easter Season on Pentecost Sunday, we will be reading from the Farewell Discourse.
Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, and forgiven.Pope Francis
As the Lord promises to remain with us by sending the gift of the Spirit, we have the opportunity to reflect upon the third of the three Sacraments of Initiation we celebrated at the Easter Vigil, the Sacrament of Confirmation. During our parish’s recent celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, I had the chance to reflect with our young people on our call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus. As we explored what being a “disciple” really means – taking what was important to the Lord and making it important to us – we quickly realized that being a disciple in our day is not an easy path. Since the Lord also knew that, he promised to send us “another advocate” to be our helper and our guide. That advocate was none other than the Holy Spirit – sent to the early disciples and to us to be our strength. One of the ways that the Lord continues to be with us is through the gift of the Spirit, which we have all received beginning at our Baptism and deepening through our Confirmation. Becoming aware of the Spirit’s presence among us is a wonderful way for us to conclude our celebration of the Easter season. Let us listen carefully during the next three weeks and appreciate the gift of the Spirit that has been given to us.
Since Easter is the primary season of initiation into the church community, we intentionally schedule our special celebrations of First Communion during the Easter Season. Our celebrations of First Communion began last Saturday and concluded yesterday. Three separate Masses took place over those two Saturdays. What a blessing for our young people to celebrate their First Communion during the first year of the National Eucharistic Revival called for by our Bishops. This Revival began with the Solemnity of the Body of Blood of the Lord last June and will extend through 2025. Last January, Bishop Ron Hicks wrote: “Hopefully, this Eucharistic Revival will serve as a spark for Catholics across the United States to help reignite their faith by being healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and to be sent out in mission ‘for the life of the world.’” We congratulate our 2023 First Communicants and their families and promise them the additional support of our prayers.
Today we celebrate our parish May Crowning at the beginning of the 10:00 am Mass. While our main focus during the month of May is the Easter Season, it has also been dedicated to honoring Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Our parish May Crowning is led by representatives of our St. Isidore Catholic School 8th Grade Class and by representatives of our Council of Catholic Women, including our CCW Woman of the Year, Mrs. Donna Stephenson.
We spent 40 days fasting in preparation for the feast of Easter. Now, we are called to spend 50 days feasting in celebration. We need to hold on to our Easter belief that God always leads us from death to new life. God will lead us through whatever we have to face to totally new life. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
-Father Jim Murphy