Fr. Luke Strand
Saint Francis de Sales Seminary

The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

Glory to you O Lord.

On the evening of that first day of the week when the doors were locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jew, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them “Peace be with you.” When he had said this he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again “Peace be with you, as the father has said to me so I send you.” 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Seems as though a daily experience as a priest is folks coming up to me, whether it’s after morning Mass, in school, in the hospital, throughout the local church and say, “You know father it’s so difficult because my son doesn't go to Mass anymore,” or “My daughter isn’t participating in the church.” Maybe you had that relationship with a close family member, a friend, who's just no longer really participating in the life of the church and people constantly come up to me and talk about how hard that is for them to deal with, how challenging it is and that I would pray for them, that I would pray for that person that they might have that encounter with the Lord. What is it in our heart that thirst to have the body of Christ unified, our friends our family those near to us drawn into Christ's spiritual family? Which is the church you know on this great birthday of the church, Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the fact that our Lord sent the spirit to descend not just upon those first apostles. But upon every one of us , as his faithful believers, who seek him with the sincere heart. Those first apostles lock themselves in the upper room, they were terrified, they were afraid. They felt like Jesus left them and how many people do we know in life that have had that same experience feeling as though God has left them? Maybe God has abandoned them, yet the Holy Spirit descends upon these disciples and they were so convicted the power of the father's love that they cannot help but live in that place and share that good news. As faithful followers of the Lord, those who come to watch the Mass and participate in this Mass, you have received the power of the Holy Spirit and you have been called to radiate the father's love, which each person that you encounter on a daily basis, each person that you rub shoulders with on a daily basis, what's going to draw people to the church, draw them back to the Lord is opening them up to the father's love which we have received as a gift of the Holy Spirit. As disciples of Jesus we take that responsibility so seriously and we leave from the place, go into our daily lives, our daily activity and radiate the power of the Lord for will that not draw the fold into the spiritual family that is the church.

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