Celebrate our birthday

In the Gospel for Pentecost Sunday we hear about the Risen Lord “breathing” on his disciples. Breath is essential to our bodies. Our first breath marks the beginning of our earthly life as our last breath marks the end of earthly life. In the Book of Genesis we read of God breathing life into Adam (Genesis 2:7) and “thus he became a living being.” In breathing on his disciples, Jesus was giving life to the Church. Perhaps for this reason, Pentecost is known as the birthday of the Church – our first breath!
Our Church buildings remain locked, but some Churches are displaying notices reminding us that the Church is not a building – you are the Church, and you are to remain open! Pentecost Sunday this year might be a day to ponder how we might be and remain open to new ways of being Church without our communal prayer and without sacraments for the time being until our buildings do eventually reopen.
Cardinal Vincent Nicholls in pleading the cause for our Churches to be open, at least for private prayer, spoke of the “painful fast from Communion” and that we, as a Church, the Body of Christ, are all longing to receive communion.
Our Eucharistic fast

  • unites us with the disappointment and sadness of our young people of having First Holy Communion and Confirmation celebrations postponed as they too long for the sacraments.
  • connects us with those who were unable to be received into the Church throughout the world at Easter; they too like us are yearning for the sacraments.
  • empathises us with those who for whatever reason, be it lack of priest or marriage impediment, who will still be unable to receive communion when our buildings reopen and the celebration of the sacraments resume in time.
  • calls us to remember that our priests continue to celebrate daily Eucharist for us, continuing to minister to us in spiritual communion despite the loneliness and strangeness of their priestly ministry during these days.

Pentecost is the day when Jesus’s disciples waited patiently in longing for the Risen Lord and are empowered with the Spirit to be commissioned as the Body of Christ. Our Eucharistic fast will come to an end. Until then the Body of Christ (church), awaits the Body of Christ (sacrament).

Jackie Williams

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