It is rather astounding that we are celebrating 75 years as a parish the same day we are celebrating 2000+ years as a Church! There is so much to celebrate. Within the life of our Church, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon each and every one of us as baptized sons and daughters of God, and it is this same Holy Spirit that wants to do so much in our lives. St. Paul says that “to each individual the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given for some benefit.” And what are these benefits? …the expression of wisdom…expression of knowledge…faith…gifts of healing…mighty deeds…prophecy…discernment of spirits…tongues…interpretation of tongues… and so forth. So what do we do with all of these gifts?
As we celebrate 75 years as a parish in the Portage Lakes we look back in gratitude for all the good God has done in our lives. At the same time, we look forward to how the Holy Spirit will work in our lives as the Body of Christ. My desire for each and every one of you is to boldly ask the Holy Spirit for the gifts you long to receive for the building up of the Kingdom of God. Healing, mighty deeds, wisdom, knowledge and more are all needed in order to inspire us along the way of salvation.
It is also good to note that this is not “Fr. Jeremy’s Parish.” This is the Lord’s Parish. When we come to Mass, we enter the House of the Lord. Going back to the second reading we hear: “Brothers and sisters: No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” A while back, you may have noticed that I begin my weekend homilies with “Jesus Christ is Lord” while you respond: “Now and Forever.” I do this because my spiritual director, Fr. Samuel Leonard (the priest who talked at Divine Mercy Sunday), always begins his homilies the same way. If we can say that proudly, we can strongly believe that we are living by the Holy Spirit. May we live by the power of the Holy Spirit for many years to come!