Diocese of Rochester, NY
Reflection from Father Michael
PENTECOST, PANDEMIC AND SIN
I must admit that this week has been quite disturbing and writing this reflection has also been difficult. I really didn’t know where to begin. So, I went back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be safe and thought I’d begin there. According to the Catechism the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING, COUNSEL, FORTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE, PIETY and FEAR OF THE LORD. The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are CHARITY, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, GENEROSITY, GENTLENESS, FAITHFULNESS, MODESTY, SELF-CONTROL, CHASTITY.
I asked myself have we as a Church allowed the gifts and fruits of the Spirit to permeate our lives and give us the courage to really delve into the mystery of God’s love for us? The Father loved the world so much that He sent His Son and that Son gave His life for us. For a non – believer, the cross makes no sense. It’s an absurdity for many because they don’t see enough substantial evidence of the experience of a truly resurrected life lived in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
There’s no question that this pandemic has been a challenge for many. We have been deprived of what has been familiar to us for so long. To be indoors and for some isolated without companionship can cause a great deal of unwelcome introspection. Some have spent a great deal of time with family and are looking to move forward especially with the arrival of great weather. The Spirit of God leads to truth and freedom. A life lived in the Spirit leads to enlightenment. Pentecost makes it clear that from the very beginning God recognized every nationality and ethnicity as part of the community of His love. As I listened last evening to the aftermath of racial incidents that took place in our country this week, I realize that we may have made strides but it’s not enough. We, as Christians, must allow the Spirit to take us deeper. Just as we sometimes remain on the periphery of Christianity and our spiritual lives, just so with life. How do we understand the nature of racism? What has been our experience? We need to answer this question before we go deeper and ask the question what is systemic racism and do we have an understanding of how this has impacted all of our lives beyond our wildest imaginings? Do we acknowledge racism as a disease that has festered and has penetrated the very fabric of our society. It’s sinful. Very often only those who must live with it see it and understand the gross injustice and inequity that flows from it. It takes those who choose to allow themselves to take the risk to grow in wisdom and knowledge to see the truth of this disease. This discovery often entails hurt and pain. Here lies the need for the Holy Spirit of God. Can we allow that same Spirit that came to the bewildered, confused disciples and infused them with a power so great that over 2000 years later our Church is still here, broken, but here, sinful, but here and much in need of purification. We can have many opinions and observations but do we allow that Spirit to lead us to truth, to freedom, to justice. Given the gifts and fruits of the Spirit how have I been gifted? How do I exhibit these fruits? How am I allowing the Father’s Kingdom to be established on earth as it is in heaven? Pope Francis took a stand against what he termed “Christian parrots”, those who talk a lot about their religion but don’t do good deeds. With that in mind can we stand on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with Peter and listen to Jesus as he tells us “when you grow older someone else will take you by the hand and lead you to places where you would prefer not to go.” (John 21:18)
OTHER PARISH UPDATES
The parish office is closed. Karen and Kathy are working from home but at decreased hours. Phone calls and e-mails will be answered intermittently during the week. Please be safe and know that you are in our prayers.
If you are able to continue to donate to the parish, you can send envelopes to the parish address: 3350 Union St. P.O. Box 399 North Chili, NY. 14514
You can also make your donation electronically. You can do this with your bank or using our online program
Eucharia Ministry News
Although our group has suspended gathering and is practicing social distancing, we are still knitting and crocheting at home. Everyone is busy working on our ongoing projects which include blankets, hats, shrugs, and scarves. Prayer is also an important part of our ministry. We are the Marthas and Marys of 2020. Before the quarantine began, we had started delivering gifts to the parishoners listed in the prayer box in our bulletin and to some of our founding members. We plan to continue this when the ban is lifted. We pray for our St. Christopher’s family, our own families and friends, all of the medical personnel and everyone who is offering essential services. May God protect and heal all of us.