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Corpus Christi. La solemnidad del Cuerpo y la Sangre del Señor

Por Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
Profundamente arraigada en nuestra tradición de fe, en la fiesta de la Solemnidad del Cuerpo y la Sangre del Señor, nos reunimos alrededor del Altar del Sacrificio, como lo hicieron Moisés y los israelitas al pie del monte Sinaí, para renovar y celebrar nuestra Alianza, iniciada en el Bautismo, sellada con la sangre de la Cruz y confirmada en la Resurrección.
Los israelitas salieron de la esclavitud de Egipto a un lugar de libertad en el desierto, para reunirse como Pueblo de Dios. Nos estamos reuniendo de nuevo como el Cuerpo de Cristo, en mayor número después de un año de ser esparcidos, no por la opresión de un cruel Faraón, sino por una pandemia castigadora.
Mirando más atrás en nuestra tradición de fe, nos parecemos a Noé y su familia, incluidas todas las criaturas de Dios, que estaban confinadas en su hogar flotante, hasta el día en que pudieran poner un pie en la tierra y ofrecer sacrificios a Dios.
Así también, nosotros ponemos un pie en nuestras iglesias, de toda la diócesis, de una manera más ordinaria para ofrecer sacrificio al Dios y Padre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

En la solemnidad más adecuada, aparte del Domingo de Resurrección, en la Solemnidad del Corpus Christi se levantó la dispensa de la obligación dominical, debidamente establecida durante más de un año, para que nuestros fieles católicos, el Cuerpo de Cristo, pudieran celebrar de nuevo el acto de culto sublime, la Santa Misa.
Me han inspirado, en este año pasado, todos los que se han reunido por hambre de la Palabra de Dios y del sacramento de la Eucaristía y todos los que han tenido un hambre profunda de estar físicamente presentes en la iglesia. Cada vez más, este anhelo se está cumpliendo a medida que la pandemia retrocede. Para aquellos que continúan separados debido a problemas de salud, espero que las circunstancias les permitan regresar a casa, más temprano que tarde.
En encuestas nacionales realizadas durante el año pasado, muchos expresaron que la pandemia, en medio del sufrimiento, la muerte y las privaciones, había fortalecido su fe en Dios y su vida espiritual. Los crisoles suelen hacer esto. Este crecimiento podría indicar una amplia gama de desarrollo personal, pero para nosotros como católicos, las señales externas de que nuestra fe en Jesucristo ha crecido son tangibles. Son el hambre de estar en comunión con él en el sacramento de su Cuerpo y Sangre, el hambre de ser parte viva del Cuerpo de Cristo, la comunidad reunida y el hambre y la sed que tenemos de justicia y reconciliación en nuestras relaciones, comenzando en casa y llegando a todos en nuestras vidas y en nuestro mundo.
El Papa Francisco continuamente aboga por un sentido más profundo de fraternidad en nuestro mundo que complemente la libertad y la igualdad. Su pasión por una mayor unidad y solidaridad entre los pueblos y las naciones surge de la fuente y cumbre de nuestra identidad católica, el santo sacrificio de la Misa.
El precioso cuerpo y la sangre del Señor es nuestro salvavidas en la fe. Cada día la Palabra de Dios resuena de acuerdo en toda la iglesia mundial, una luz en las tinieblas. El crucificado y resucitado es la luz del mundo, el pan de vida, el camino y la verdad. Su vida derramada por nosotros es alimento para el viaje y prenda de la vida eterna.
Qué precioso regalo y misterio celebramos en su amor eterno por nosotros. Cuán bendecidos somos cada vez que nos reunimos para la Eucaristía, profesando nuestra fe en que hacemos esto en memoria de Aquel que está con nosotros siempre hasta el fin de los tiempos y por toda la eternidad.
En el monte Tabor, la montaña de la Transfiguración, Pedro espetó, incrédulo de pura alegría: “Señor, ¡qué bien que estemos aquí!”. (Mateo 17: 4)
Estamos de acuerdo en que es bueno para nosotros estar de regreso en la iglesia, en nuestros lugares sagrados, donde podemos ver y celebrar la gloria de Dios que brilla en el rostro de Jesucristo, en la Solemnidad del Cuerpo y la Sangre del Señor, y durante todo el año. ¡Aleluya!

Corpus Christi The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord

By Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
In a manner deeply rooted in our tradition of faith, on the feast of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, we gathered around the Altar of Sacrifice, as did Moses and the Israelites at the base of Mount Sinai, to renew and celebrate our Covenant begun in Baptism, sealed in the blood of the Cross, and confirmed in the Resurrection. The Israelites emerged from slavery in Egypt to a place of freedom in the desert, in order to gather as the People of God.
We are regathering as the Body of Christ in greater numbers after a year of being scattered, not because of the oppression of a cruel Pharoah, but because of a punishing pandemic. Even further back in our tradition of faith we resemble Noah and his family, including all of God’s creatures, who were confined in their floating home, until the day they could set foot on land and offer sacrifice to God. So too, we set foot in our churches throughout the diocese in a more ordinary manner to offer sacrifice to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

On the most fitting solemnity apart from Easter Sunday, the dispensation from the Sunday Obligation was lifted on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, rightly in place for over a year, in order that our Catholic faithful, the Body of Christ, might celebrate anew our most sublime act of worship, the holy Mass.
I have been inspired by all who have gathered this past year out of hunger for God’s Word and the sacrament of the Eucharist, and by all who have had a deep hunger to be physically present in church. More and more this longing is being fulfilled as the pandemic recedes. For those, who continue to stay apart because of health concerns, may circumstances allow them to come home, sooner rather than later.
In national surveys over the past year, many expressed that the pandemic, in the throes of suffering, death and deprivation, had strengthened their faith in God and their spiritual lives. Crucibles often do this. This growth could indicate a wide range of personal development, but for us as Catholics, outward signs that our faith in Jesus Christ has grown are confirmable. They are the hunger to be in communion with him in the sacrament of his Body and Blood, the hunger to be a living part of the Body of Christ, the gathered community, and the hunger and thirst that we have for righteousness and reconciliation in our relationships, beginning at home, and reaching out to all in our lives and in our world.
Pope Francis continually pleads for a deeper sense of fraternity in our world that compliments liberty and equality. His passion for greater unity and solidarity among peoples and nations arises from the source and summit of our Catholic identity, the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
The precious body and blood of the Lord is our lifeline in faith. Each day the Word of God resounds in accord throughout the world-wide church, a light in the darkness. The crucified and risen One is the light of the world, the bread of life, the way and the truth. His life poured out for us is food for the journey and the pledge of eternal life.
What a precious gift and mystery we celebrate in his undying love for us. How blessed we are each time we gather for the Eucharist, professing our faith that we do this in memory of the One who is with us always until the end of time and for all eternity.
On Mount Tabor, the mountain of the Transfiguration, Peter blurted out, incredulous for pure joy: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” (Matthew 17:4) We concur that it is good for us to be back in church in our sacred places where we can see and celebrate the glory of God shining on the face of Jesus Christ, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, and throughout the year. Alleluia!

Youth

May crownings around the diocese

JACKSON – St. Richard students Morgan Gates and Mae Rose Harkins work together to place a crown on Mary. (Photo by Lavonne Bruckner)
SOUTHAVEN – Gabby Porter places a crown of flowers on Mary. Also pictured is Cecilia Marie Hensley, holding the pillow. (Photo by Laura Grisham)
MADISON – St. Anthony sixth grade students Crawford Kraft and Emily Loyacono crown Mary during the school’s May Crowning Mass. (Photo by Kati Loyacono)
JACKSON – Fifth grader, Charis Ngong places a large crown of flowers on Mary in the prayer corner at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School. (Photo by Shae Goodman-Robinson)
NATCHEZ – Cathedral School PreK-3 student Landry Gaude’ crowns Mary during the PreK May Crowning ceremony on Monday, May 3, 2021. (Photo by Jody Upton)

Crowning Mary Mass

GREENVILLE – St. Joseph Catholic School celebrated their May Crowning Mass on Wednesday, May 5. Pictured are senior girls at their last Mass at the school before graduation. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Field day fun

MERIDIAN – Father Augustine Palimattam and Father Andrew Nguyen join in the field day balloon toss fun with fourth grader, Jackson Spitzkeit and third grader, Zy’Terrion Washington, as Coach Adrian Viger supervises. St. Patrick School held its first of three field days on Friday, May 7. Photo by Emily Thompson)

Running for education

SOUTHAVEN – Seventh and eighth grade students, armed with punch cards to tally their laps, begin their hour-long journey around the parking lot to raise money for Sacred Heart School for the fourth annual Race for Education Day. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

Bishop to lift dispensation from obligation to attend Mass, diocese issues modified directives

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – After careful study and consultation with the clergy, Bishop Joseph Kopacz will lift the general dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass, effective on the Solemnity of the Feast of Corpus Christi beginning with the vigil Mass on Saturday, June 5, 2021.
In a letter released on May 20 by the diocese, Bishop Kopacz states, “The Sunday obligation will be restored on this great feast when we can satisfy our hunger for the Bread of Life, in Word and Sacrament with the reception of Holy Communion.”
Bishop Kopacz also reminds the faithful in his letter to keep in mind that the church always dispenses those confronting serious health concerns. “Therefore, someone can validly make the decision to attend Mass during the week, if able, and to participate in the Mass on the Lord’s Day through live streaming,”
In addition to lifting the general dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation, the diocese modified their protocols during the pandemic. The directives, which represents a combination of previously released protocols, detail how parishes can move forward towards more normal operations, taking a gradual phased approach, with a watchful eye on the developments and guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Mississippi State Department of Health.
For Masses, social distancing will be at 3 feet and parishes may use every pew, deciding how to stagger seating to maintain social distancing.
Also, masks are no longer required at Mass but encouraged for those who are not vaccinated and for children and youth under the age of 16. However, priests and eucharistic ministers are required to wear masks when distributing Holy Communion.
With the changes, some things remain the same. Holy Communion is still encouraged to be received in the hand and hand sanitizer should still be used by parishioners upon entrance to the church.
The updated protocols also include directives on meetings, gatherings, as well as youth activities and Vacation Bible School.
Pastors and their pastoral staff are responsible for the safe and prudent execution of the directives, recognizing that every parish has unique circumstances. The goal is to continue to provide a safe place for worship while maintaining a level of confidence for all the people of God.
On May 13, the CDC eased the mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and most indoor settings. The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
Father Lincoln Dall, vicar general for the diocese, stated at the end of the directives, “We want to thank all of you for your efforts in keeping our parishioners safe during the pandemic. We acknowledge that all of us are very weary of dealing with the pandemic. … However, we acknowledge that this is still is not the time to let our guard down completely. We will continue to monitor the situation and will issue modified guidelines when the reality of the pandemic changes.”
To view the letter from Bishop Kopacz lifting the dispensation and a full list of updated protocols, visit https://jacksondiocese.org/public-health-concerns/.

Obispo, en directivas modificadas, levantará dispensa de obligación de asistir a Misa

Por Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Después de un estudio cuidadoso y una consulta con el clero, el obispo Joseph Kopacz levantará la dispensa general de la obligación dominical de asistir a la misa, a partir de la fiesta de Corpus Christi, de la Misa de vigilia el sábado 5 de junio de 2021.
En una carta publicada por la diócesis, el 20 de mayo, el obispo Kopacz declara: “La obligación dominical será restaurada en esta gran fiesta cuando podamos satisfacer nuestra hambre por el Pan de Vida, en la Palabra y Sacramento con la recepción de la Sagrada Comunión.”
El obispo Kopacz recuerda a los fieles en su carta que tengan también en cuenta que la iglesia siempre dispensa a aquellos que enfrentan problemas de salud graves. “Por lo tanto, alguien puede tomar válidamente la decisión de asistir a Misa, si puede, durante la semana y participar en la Misa el día del Señor a través de la transmisión en vivo.”
Además de levantar la dispensa general de la obligación de la Misa dominical, la diócesis modificó sus protocolos durante la pandemia. Las directivas, que representan una combinación de protocolos publicados anteriormente, detallan cómo las parroquias pueden avanzar hacia operaciones más normales, adoptando un enfoque gradual, con una mirada atenta a los desarrollos y la orientación del Centro para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC) y el Departamento de Salud del Estado de Mississippi.
El distanciamiento social será de 3 pies para las Misas y las parroquias pueden usar cada banco para decidir cómo escalonar los asientos para mantener el distanciamiento social.
Además, las máscaras ya no se requieren en la Misa, pero se recomiendan para aquellos que no están vacunados y para niños y jóvenes menores de 16 años. Sin embargo, los sacerdotes y ministros eucarísticos deben usar máscaras al distribuir la Sagrada Comunión.
Con los cambios, algunas cosas seguirán igual. Todavía se anima a recibir la Sagrada Comunión en la mano y los feligreses deben usar desinfectante de manos al entrar a la iglesia.
Los protocolos actualizados también incluyen directivas sobre reuniones, encuentros, así como actividades para jóvenes y la Escuela Bíblica de Vacaciones.
Los párrocos y su personal pastoral son responsables de la ejecución segura y prudente de las directivas, reconociendo que cada parroquia tiene circunstancias únicas. El objetivo es continuar proporcionando un lugar seguro, para la adoración mientras se mantiene un nivel de confianza en todo el pueblo de Dios.
El 13 de mayo, el CDC modificó la guía para el uso de máscaras para las personas completamente vacunadas, lo que les permitió dejar de usar máscaras al aire libre en multitudes y en la mayoría de los entornos interiores. La guía todavía exige el uso de máscaras en entornos interiores abarrotados como autobuses, aviones, hospitales, prisiones y refugios para personas sin hogar.
El padre Lincoln Dall, vicario general de la diócesis, declaró al final de las directrices: “Queremos agradecerles a todos por sus esfuerzos para mantener seguros a nuestros feligreses durante la pandemia. Reconocemos que todos estamos muy cansados de lidiar con la pandemia. … Sin embargo, reconocemos que todavía no es el momento de bajar la guardia por completo. Continuaremos monitoreando la situación y emitiremos lineamientos modificados cuando la realidad de la pandemia cambie.”
Para ver la carta del obispo Kopacz levantando la dispensa y para una lista completa de los protocolos actualizados, visite https://jacksondiocese.org/public-health-concerns/

New Orleans Archbishop committed to ending segregation, remembered by Bishop Emeritus

From the Archives
By Mary Woodward
JACKSON – This week I am highlighting a neighbor to the south of us – Archbishop Joseph F. Rummel, who was Archbishop of New Orleans from 1935 to his death in November 1964. His tenure runs almost parallel to our own Bishop R.O. Gerow (1924-66).
In talking with our Bishop Emeritus, Joseph Latino, who grew up and went to seminary during the Rummel years, Bishop Latino shared some insight into the life of the archbishop saying he was very much committed to ending segregation even in the face of strong push back from Catholic community and business leaders. An interesting timeline develops beginning in 1949.
It seems in 1949, Archbishop Rummel canceled an outdoor liturgy when city officials would not allow African American Catholics to participate. In 1950 he had “White” and “Colored” signs removed from churches. Rummel mandated an end to the practice of making African American Catholics receive Communion last in 1953. These measures met with resistance from laity and clergy.

Pictured is Archbishop Joseph F. Rummel, who served as Archbishop of New Orleans from 1935 until his death in November 1964. Archbishop Rummel met much resistance when he began taking steps to end segregation in his archdiocese in 1949. (Photo courtesy of Bishop Joseph Latino)

To ground his efforts solidly in Catholic theology, Rummel issued a letter to be read in all parishes Feb. 11, 1956. Now Rummel was famous for his long letters to be read to parishioners at Sunday Masses, but this one rocked the entire archdiocese. The letter was laying groundwork to integrate the archdiocesan school system. In the letter Rummel gives three main points quoted below courtesy of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Archives.
“Racial segregation is morally wrong and sinful ‘because it is a denial of the unity and solidarity of the human race as conceived by God in the creation of man in Adam and Eve. Male and female He created them and breathed into them the spirit of life and commanded them to increase and multiply and fill the earth. Throughout the pages of the Old Testament and the New there is constant recurrence of this truth, that all mankind has in Adam and Eve one common father and mother and one common destiny, namely, to serve God in this world and find eternal happiness with Him in the world to come.
“Racial segregation is morally wrong and sinful because it is a denial of the unity and universality of the Redemption. The Eternal Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, came into the world to redeem and save all men, to die for all men on the cross, to make the life of grace available through the Church and the Sacraments for all men, to embrace all men in His Mystical Body on earth and in the life of glory in heaven. Racial segregation would draw the color line across the inspiring plan of the Redemption and thus sin against the divine providence. the love and the mercy that conceived and carried out the wonderful Mystery.
“Racial segregation is morally wrong and sinful because it is basically a violation of the dictates of justice and the mandate of love, which in obedience to God’s will must regulate the relations between all men. To deny to members of a certain race, just because they are members of that race, certain rights and opportunities, civic or economic, educational or religious, recreational or social, imposes upon them definite hardships and humiliations, frustrations and impediments to progress which condemn them to perpetual degradation which is only a step removed from slavery. Such indignities are grievous violations of Christian justice and charity, which cannot be justified in this modem age of enlightenment and loudly proclaimed democracy.”

Rummel concludes the letter aware of opposition by calling for calm and prayer: “May we likewise unite in prayer that the decision, when made, will be accepted in the spirit of Christian charity and justice and in that unity of mind, heart and will, which must always characterize the family of God. This is a problem which should be worked out not in an atmosphere of wrangling or contention or discord or hatred but in a spirit of conciliation and with a desire to achieve peace through justice and charity. Prayer and calmness of spirit are much needed in all our hearts, and for these we plead in the name of the Divine Prince of Peace…”
Despite warnings of possible excommunication, local Catholic political, business and community leaders formed opposition groups to combat Rummel’s move to push for integrated Catholic schools in 1957. They even appealed to the Vatican but were rebuffed by the Holy See. Rummel was even the recipient of a burning cross on the front lawn of the archbishop’s residence.
Ultimately, three leaders were excommunicated, but the opposition continued and delayed the integration plans of Rummel. One reason for delaying was the recognition that white Catholics would leave Catholic schools if integrated and go to the public schools which were not yet integrated. So, archdiocesan leaders advised Rummel to wait to integrate Catholic schools until the public schools integrated in 1960.
In listening to Bishop Latino talk about his memories of all the events, he lamented the fact Archbishop Rummel suffered greatly from the intolerance and disrespect, but admired Rummel’s steadfastness in his mission in the face of that suffering. Latino even remarked that the church missed an opportunity to make a bold statement to the world by bestowing Rummel with the red hat of a Cardinal – honoring a man with principles like rails of steel from which he did not waiver.
In future articles, we will explore the integration of Catholic schools in our diocese which has a similar path though I am not aware of any excommunications. We also will throw in some more insights from our Emeritus.

(Mary Woodward is Chancellor and Archivist for the Diocese of Jackson)

Deacon Bowden set his sights on the priesthood at a young age

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – From an early age, Andrew Bowden had a heart for service. On May 15, he continued that call as he was ordained a transitional deacon at his home parish of St. Jude in Pearl. He will serve as a deacon until ordination to the priesthood next year.
“The first time that I remember him saying anything about wanting to be a priest, he was about kindergarten age,” said his mother, Rhonda Bowden, who coordinates liturgy and pastoral care at St. Jude.
Deacon Bowden recalled attending a Mass around that age, celebrated by Bishop William Houck, that sparked his interest in religious life.

PEARL – Andrew Bowden makes the promises of the elect with Bishop Joseph Kopacz at his ordination to the transitional diaconate on Saturday, May 15. (Photos by Tereza Ma)

“He had an incredibly powerful voice, and I was impressed by him. So impressed that the next time I saw my pastor, Father [Martin] Ruane, I announced to him that I wanted to be a bishop,” laughed Deacon Bowden.
Father Ruane, who passed in 2015, was a great influence on young Bowden. His sense of humor, humble nature and his joy were attributes that Bowden wanted to emulate. “I don’t remember exactly how he responded to the four-year-old declaring that he wanted to be bishop, but he was able to replace that idea … with the desire to become a priest,” said Deacon Bowden.
Around the same time, Bowden also started talking about wanting to be an altar server. Although Father Ruane’s policy was that alter servers must be in the fourth grade, he graciously did an abbreviated training session just for Bowden in the third grade, shortly before he left St. Jude for a new assignment.
“Altar serving then became a major part of my pre-discernment,” explained Deacon Bowden. “Through altar serving at St. Jude as I grew up, I began to love God, the church and the priesthood in a much deeper way.”
Bowden was also actively engaged in St. Jude’s youth group and enjoyed sharing his faith and teaching the younger altar servers.
His mother, Rhonda couldn’t recall any other possible vocation or career path her son ever mentioned, other than around four years old saying that he wanted to be an architect priest who would build churches and work in the church, imagining as only a child can, to also build underground tunnels to his house so that he could eat lunch with her every day.
By the end of high school, Deacon Bowden strongly felt he was being called to the priesthood. Father Jeffrey Waldrep, who was pastor at St. Jude in Bowden’s high school years inspired his interest in liturgy and was helpful to him as he entered the formal discernment process for priestly formation.
His parents were extremely supportive of his desire and after graduating from Brandon High School in the spring of 2014 he completed his application for the seminary just as Bishop Joseph Kopacz arrived in the diocese.
“We strongly encouraged Andrew to have a ‘backup-plan’ in case the new bishop was not eager to send an 18-year-old to seminary college. [But], he was adamant that God’s will would prevail, and that God would make a way for him. And God did,” said Bowden’s mother.

Rhonda Bowden, mother of newly ordained Deacon Andrew Bowden cried “happy tears” at the event. She says that her son’s love of God and the church started early on in his childhood.

Bowden spent four years at St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, Louisiana and moved on to Notre Dame Seminary, where he just completed his third year before being ordained a transitional deacon on May 15.
“During the diaconate internship we try to place our men in parishes that will give them a wide range of experiences,” said Father Nick Adam, director of vocations, who first met Bowden in high school, while he was in seminary school.
“This will be the first time a seminarian baptizes a baby, witnesses a wedding or presides at a funeral, and we want to make sure they have plenty of opportunities to dive into parish life and walk with families in this way.”
Those in the transitional diaconate are also tried to be place at a parish with a school so they can be a part of the day-to-day life of the kids and faculty. A great place for that is at St. Mary Basilica and Cathedral School in Natchez, and Bowden is looking forward to his service to the community.
“During seminary, I have greatly missed the local expression of the church that is the Diocese of Jackson. I am greatly looking forward to spending the next few months in Natchez with Father [Scott] Thomas and Father [Mark] Shoffner. … It will be so good to get to know people there and learn how I can serve them best,” said Deacon Bowden.
During his diaconate ordination, Bowden’s mother cried ‘happy tears.’ “Seeing my son so happy and knowing that he was responding to God’s call made my heart sing with joy.”

Language of love

In our uniqueness, the Lord calls each of us to repent and be reconciled to God for our own salvation and for the good of all.

By Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
While the nations rage the church eloquently proclaims in Pentecost faith: Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the peace of God’s Kingdom. You come in word and sacrament to strengthen us in holiness. You will come in glory with salvation for your people. As we strive faithfully to fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord to make disciples of all the nations, we also embrace the enormous task of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth wherever the Gospel is proclaimed, the signs of which are justice and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
The Holy Land upon which Jesus and his first disciples crisscrossed announcing the Kingdom of God, tragically remains relentlessly tormented by hatred, violence and warfare. The truce that ended the latest round of malice is as fragile as a birds’ nest in the midst of hungry predators. Yet, as disciples of the Lord in a universal church, the Holy Spirit impels us to overcome complacency and indifference, cynicism and despair for the sake of the common good and the salvation of all.
God’s dream for our world through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is both deeply personal and inexorably universal. In our uniqueness, the Lord calls each of us to repent and be reconciled to God for our own salvation and for the good of all. This is a life lived in communities of faith in a world-wide church where uniqueness and diversity are intended to create bonds of unity. We look at the division in our church, nation and world and we wonder if unity and diversity are forever going to be out of reach.

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

When snared by this chaos, the Holy Spirit always redirects us back to Jesus and the power of the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension the divine outpouring in the first place. In the reading from Paul’s letter to the Galatians (5:19ff) on Pentecost Sunday, after acknowledging the darkness that dwells within each one of us, he illustrates the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the fountain from which they well up.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. For if we live by the Spirit, let us walk also by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.” (5:24-25) It’s a big – if – that determines how we walk. It will determine whether we can create unity while cherishing diversity, or whether we will wallow in division, or worse, the violence, terror and war among nations.
In the midst of enormous divisions among the early Christian community in Corinth, marred by lawsuits, sexual immorality, disregard for the poor, abuses at the Lord’s supper, factions, and denial of the resurrection, to name a few, St. Paul remained steadfast in his belief that the Holy Spirit could bring divine order out of chaos. “There are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; there are varieties of workings, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1Cor12:4-7)
What follows is a piece of the most heralded testimony ever composed on love. St. Paul penned it, “the more excellent way.”
“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (13:4-6) The Holy Spirit gave the Corinthians a way out of their chaos, and a path forward for every Christian community for all time, one generation to the next.
Historians and biblical scholars can puzzle over the Holy Spirit’s coming and its meaning 2000 years ago. But for those of us engaged in Christian ministry and outreach, there can be no doubt that the language being spoken then — and now — is the one any person can understand. It is the language of the Gospel, the Good News. It is the language of love. Yes, this is why Pentecost lives on.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of thy love.