Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Promise of Guidance to All Truth

Traditionally, the Church celebrates the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven today, Thursday of the sixth week of Easter.  I was fully preparing to do just that when I became concerned that my new parish in Rochester, MN, didn’t mention it at all, neither from the pulpit last Sunday nor in the parish bulletin.  After an internet search, I learned that only a handful of dioceses in the U.S. (including my former diocese, the Diocese of Lincoln, NE), actually celebrate it on the traditional day, deferring instead to the following Sunday.  The reason given for this change was disheartening – Mass attendance on that day was down, despite the Church precept that says that all Catholics must attend Mass that day under pain of mortal sin.

But whatever the timing, the solemnity of the Ascension has a beautiful liturgy, including the ascension story as recorded in the opening chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.  The story includes the promise of being baptized with the Holy Spirit “in a few days.”  The Church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit (recorded in ACTS, Chapter 2) on Pentecost Sunday the very next weekend.  Jesus had made the promise that the Holy Spirit would guide his Church to all truth (John 16:13).  The Holy Spirit has indeed guided the Catholic Church to all truth since that time.  What wonderful thoughts to be on our minds today!

But also on my mind is the political situation in our country, and it is not so wonderful.  Donald Trump has awakened a sleeping giant – the segment of our society characterized by anger, prejudice, cruelty, intolerance, lack of education, and lack of moral focus.  It is a segment that mostly includes people who rarely vote in an election.  But now they have a hero, and it is not pretty. 

Similarly, the opposing party is on track to nominate Hilary Clinton, who represents virtually every other evil out there, including the height of disrespect for life and other moral values.  What are we to do?  What can we do?  Well, please do not forget that the Holy Spirit is our advocate.  Go to Holy Mass daily for the next ten days and pray with diligence.  We've been promised his guidance to all truth.  We need it now more now than ever before in our lifetimes.   

The photo accompanying this post is the representation of the Ascension of Our Lord found on the grounds of the Shrine of the Passion in northwest Indiana. 

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