Updated: May 30
Friday, Seventh Week of Easter
29 May 2020 / Ave Maria Parish
Romanus Cessario, O.P.
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles, leaves us with Saint Paul destined for Rome, where he would suffer martyrdom. The Gospel places us in the company of Saint Peter upon whom Christ builds his Church. These readings prepare us for Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit marks the completion of the Trinitarian mystery of salvation. We acknowledge this mystery each time we bless ourselves, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” To bless or to cross oneself comes as an unmerited grace. Not everyone professes belief in the Three divine Persons, not everyone recognizes the full dimensions of Christian salvation.
Today, also, the Church observes an optional memorial in honor of Saint Paul VI, a Pope of recent times whose reign coincides with the life spans of many in our Parish (1963–78). Yesterday, Deacon John wisely reminded us that the unity of the Church includes the unity guaranteed by the See of Peter. Pope Saint Paul VI was a courageous defender of the Church’s teaching on marriage and family. Like everything the Church teaches, a doctrine’s claim to truth comes from God. The Church in turn teaches what is true. Our adherence to divine truth grounds our personal union with God, the First Truth.
Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Pope Saint Paul VI, each represents the concrete and personal mediations by which God has ordained to communicate the gift of redemption. When the Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles and Our Lady, the Apostles go out and evangelize, they go out and baptize, they go out and forgive sins. These same mediations—and many others, especially the Holy Eucharist—continue in the Church of Christ. Each depends on a concrete and personal mediation. Each depends on the Successor of Peter. Apart from these mediations, an individual remains isolated and without the divine assurances of salvation.