Come, Holy Spirit!

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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.”

John 20:21-23

Today we celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. He said He would send His Spirit, and indeed he did. The promise was fulfilled!

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He ascended into heaven

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I have this amazing image in my mind about what it must have been like to witness Jesus’ ascension first hand. But it’s probably more influenced by movies I’ve seen than anything else.

He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:9-11 NASB

We know it was up. We know there were clouds. We know He rose into the sky, or heaven, depending on the translation.

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Our Lady of Loreto

I never knew that much about Our Lady of Loreto, so it was fascinating to learn about this new celebration just recently announced by Pope Francis. Squeezed in between the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12), I’m getting the feeling that this first half of Advent is trying to remind us of the amazing role of Mary in our redemption.

It’s a pretty amazing story.

In the early church, people revered the house in which Mary was raised. It’s believed to be where she gave her fiat to Jesus’ conception, then lived with Joseph.

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Mary, Queen of Heaven

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Today is the celebration of Mary’s queenship. A particularly Catholic thing, for sure.

I was surprised to find out today that it was typical in ancient Israel for the mother of a King to be addressed as Queen. It’s not something I’m particularly familiar with, but it is an additional connection which is powerful.

And certainly Mary should hold a special position in our personal connection to God and Christ, right? Because she’s the first, most important disciple of God’s incarnation.

She’s the supreme model for all of us.

Mary’s Assumption

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Today we remember and celebrate the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. Such a powerful and hope-filled doctrine of our faith!

This is when Mary, body and soul, was conveyed into heaven at the conclusion of her earthly journey. Yet it’s never mentioned directly in the Bible.

19 God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

1 A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
5 She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Rev 11:19a; 12:1, 5, 10ab
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Coming of the Holy Spirit

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Today, with great joy, we focus on the Spirit that Jesus said the Father would send.

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

John 14:26

Without the Holy Spirit, Jesus is just a remembered character from a story 2000 years old. Compelling, yes, but a lot less active.

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Ascension

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The resurrected Son of God left us after just a few weeks – forty days in the Christian tradition.

But there was so much more to learn! There still is, nearly 2000 years later!

At some stage, you have to let your kiddos grow up and navigate the world in their own way.

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Peace

Photo by J A N U P R A S A D on Unsplash

We just witnessed the greatest miracle of all time. God’s Son left us, then returned on the third day. Or at least that’s what they’re telling us.

Of course it doesn’t feel like a miracle right now. Only the benefit of time will show us the salvation of all humanity.

Jesus is here with us. His words? “Peace be with you.”

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