Dear St Anthony community, “Peace be with you.” Today, the Feast of Pentecost brings us to conclude our Easter celebrations. How quickly our 50 days of Easter have gone. We have witnessed and lived the mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. By dying on the Cross, Jesus Christ conquered death for us, so that we may have Eternal Salvation. God so loved the world that he sacrificed his only Son so that we might be redeemed from our sins and therefore be able to participate and abide in a life of Grace and his Spirit be what would help us to continue our journey to him, to carry our Cross, to do his will. The celebrations end today but as he has shown the way, we should carry on.
Under the circumstances in which we celebrated Easter last year at the beginning of the pandemic, it reminded us how it would have been in the early days of the Church, when the disciples and those Christians who believed in Jesus Christ were hiding for fear of persecution. How unstable everything was for us too; we were told to shelter in place and avoid one another for fear of contracting the novel coronavirus COVID 19. We would see surges of the virus take its toll and then temporarily release us and then surge again and again. Even though, we have lost many of our brothers and sisters to this coronavirus and for whom we pray, but still, we who carry on, have persevered in our faith. We at St. Anthony continued to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, share the Word of God, feeding on the Eucharist, and all of these and more is what has kept us, as Church, united in Jesus Christ. I thank you for your faith, perseverance, testimony, and fidelity to God.
After Jesus’s dead and resurrection, the disciples, maybe with doubts and fears and even reservations, went back to their old lives, some were still with minds set on his death. As Luke says “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen.” So must we throw off our fears and set our hope and confidence in Jesus Christ. Our journey because of this pandemic is probably still uncertain ahead of us and we must remain vigilant and cautious but as people of the Resurrection, baptized children of God, we should move on, not with fear but with the confidence set in the Spirit of love, the Spirit of life and truth.
After rising from the dead, Jesus came to his disciples and doubters, he said to them “Peace be with you.” In those forty days, Jesus Christ ate with them, walked with them, and spoke with them. He even let them touch him. Then he ascended up into the clouds to sit at the right hand of God. But before his departure, he promised never to leave us, and today we celebrate that moment when the Holy Spirit come down upon them and for us. A Spirit of love that fills our hearts. The Holy Spirit that allows us to remain in him as he remains in us. With that Spirt therefore I invite you, let us carry on.
We live and work in an increasing more secular world, an existence where there is no belief in God. But we who believe in God, we Christians have a mission to bring the Good News and made that love made known to all who do not believe or still doubt. Showing love through our deeds and actions. Let us remember that we are Christians every moment of our lives, not just on Sunday or when we are in church. Let us be the best versions of ourselves all the time. It may be hard, we may fall. But get up, with the strength giving by the Sacramental Grace, let us show and diffuse to all that love he has for us.
During these times of uncertainty, I invite you, be thankful for the many blessings that we have. I certainly am thankful for all of you the good people of this community and all the hard work and generosity you bring to benefit St. Anthony as a whole. I am thankful for Fr. Mac Lingo our vicar too, as we share the same thoughts on evangelization and his upbeat energy to do the mission and work. I am humbled and flattered by your love and say, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you. May the Lord give you peace.”
“Peace be with you.” Fr. Rafael Hinojosa