Sometimes it’s good to look back at the recent past to gain a refined sense of where we are headed. The last few Sundays were marked by celebrating central Christian teachings. Seemingly random, there is a possible link between them.
On Ascension Day, we are reminded how Jesus returned to heaven. The interesting thing here is that this time His followers do not run to an upper room out of fear as they did when Jesus first left them by dying. Instead, they go to the temple and move outward to proclaim the Gospel. We have seen the Lord return to heaven and we may go as well with the right kind of life.
Jesus’ ascension reminds us that we are wired to be a religious people. The Apostles went on about building up Christ’s Church by preaching and living the Gospel. We too are to praise God in the world by living our faith. Without a common moral code influenced by a collective sense of God in society, then the absurd and outright criminal necessarily ensues.
On Pentecost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church. The gifts of the Holy Spirit bestow on the recipient the ability to live the religious life. The Spirit’s gifts are God’s presence here and now reminding us that we can do it!
After Pentecost, we celebrated the Mystery of the Trinity. That one God exists in three Persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — is a Mystery we will never fully understand. It is an important teaching because it shows us that we are to live the gifts given by the religious life in sound relationships with one another.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work in perfect relationship. We are to strive for these same types of relationships in our Christian lives by relying on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi we reminded ourselves of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Believing that Jesus’ body and blood are really present in the bread and wine at Mass teaches us that self giving is the key to having sound relationships in the world.
Jesus pours Himself for us in the Eucharist. If we can find relationships of religious, gifted, mutual self-giving, then we’re destined for Godly lives.
From here onward the readings at Mass will play this same story over and over. On the 11th Sunday of the year, we hear the strange story of the sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair. The Holy Spirit has gifted her enough toward a religious experience. She goes to Jesus, the most important person in the room, so her relationship is sound. She practiced self-giving in her act of faith. She decides to go away with a new religious sense of life.
This drama will unfold through the rest of the liturgical year. Maybe knowing from where we’ve come will help us be more focused on what God gives each Sunday. It really is important to come every week!
FATHER BRYAN BABICK is the vicar for Divine Worship and the Sacraments for the Diocese of Charleston. Email
him at: email@example.com.