Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
And with that, the Church that Jesus founded was born.
Recently, Pope Francis said, “It is an absurd dichotomy to think of living with Jesus but without the church, of following Jesus outside of the church, of loving Jesus without loving the church.” (Pope Francis May 8, 2013)
If you think about his words, it is almost a description of Protestantism, trying to live with Jesus but without the Church. If you say you love Jesus, but don’t believe in organized religion, how does that work? If you say you love and follow Jesus but reject the Church, what is that?
Jesus also said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.
The other Advocate is the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent into the Church at Pentecost.
PENTECOST is a feast of the universal Church that commemorates the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, fifty days after Easter. At the first Pentecost after the Resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was manifested, given and communicated as a divine Person to the Church. The Holy Spirit is God. This was to fulfill Jesus’ paschal mystery according to his promise that he would send the “Advocate”, the Spirit of Truth. At Pentecost we celebrate the beginning of the new “age of the Church,” when Christ lives and acts in and with his Church. You see, it is absurd for someone to say they follow Jesus, but outside the Church, or that they love Jesus, but don’t believe in organized religion. The Holy Spirit lives with us in the Church.
The feast of Pentecost belongs to the very beginning of the Church, and is considered on similar level of significance as Easter. In some places, catechumens are baptized at the Saturday vigil for Pentecost. The Easter season ends with the celebration of Pentecost.
On another point, we begin Ordinary Time on Monday after Pentecost. One of the first celebrations after Pentecost is the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or “Corpus Christi”, on June 2nd. We will be having a procession of Corpus Christi on Sunday afternoon, June 2nd. After the 1:15 Mass, we will initiate the procession with songs and prayer with the Monstrance and Body of Christ, and process outside, into the parking lot, out to Reicher Drive, then down Reicher to the bottom of the hill. Then we will process back up the hill to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe and to the outside altar. There we will have more prayer and singing, and end with Benediction. Watch the bulletin. Put it into your calendar.
The name of our parish is Sacred Heart. Friday, June 7, is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is no accident that the celebration of the Sacred Heart comes the first Friday after the feast of Corpus Christi. That is exactly what Jesus told to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. In June 1675, He told her,
“Behold this Heart, Which has loved men so much, that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself in order to testify to them Its love….”
Jesus told this to her in a vision while she was praying before the Blessed Sacrament on the feast of the Blessed Sacrament. He said to her,
“Therefore, I ask of you that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honor My Heart, by communicating on that day ….” Jesus told her to receive Holy Communion.
The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is Corpus Christi. There was a strong movement in Europe at that time, a heresy, teaching people not to go to Holy Communion often. The Popes were attempting then, as now to encourage frequent reception of Holy Communion; but the heretics were blocking the people from frequent Communion. Jesus told St. Margaret Mary to “receive Me in Holy Communion as often as obedience will permit, … and to communicate on the First Friday of every month.”
With the spread of the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus throughout the Church, the heretical teachings against receiving Holy Communion were quickly overcome. Devotions to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus spread like wildfire throughout the Church, even with the blessing of the Popes. Catholic Churches, schools, universities, hospitals and parishes all over the world have been dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our parish is one of six parishes in the Diocese of Austin dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. There is an intimate connection between the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let’s together prepare to worship both feasts in June, and to receive Holy Communion on these feast days. I propose a Novena to Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart, beginning May 29th. I propose we plan to have Mass in devotion to His Most Sacred Heart every First Friday, as Jesus instructed St. Margaret Mary. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, communicating Lord Jesus to His Church, as he promised the Apostles.