Bishop’s Letter: Why Are You Standing There

May 6, 2021



. . . why are you standing there looking at the sky (Acts 1: 11)?


My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Why are you standing there and looking at the sky?  Jesus is not to be found looking up to there.  His continued Presence lies within each one of you—through the Church.  Jesus left us everything we need to bring His Presence known to one another.  He left us His GPS to love one another as He loves us.

Are you scratching your heads as you read this first paragraph?  Hopefully, by living your faith, you understand my words and are already with me on the journey to be His Presence among us.  Can you articulate the ways in which He feeds us continuously so that we might follow His commandment?

The first one for which I praise God is Scripture. God is the author of Sacred Scripture.  We find Sacred Scripture referenced in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 102-104.  In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God” “In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.”

Jesus taught us how to know Him through prayer.  Jesus went into the desert, fasted and prayed before His public ministry began.  At every significant and insignificant moment, He showed us the importance of prayer and showed us that prayer is a connectivity with God; that it is a way to stay in relationship with the Father by speaking with Him.  Jesus gave us The Lord’s Prayer as an example of how we should speak to God, with praise and thanksgiving and understanding of our call to serve God. Pope Francis said the Church is a great school of prayer.  ‘Prayer remains the well-spring of the Church’s life and the true source of her strength in bearing witness to the risen Lord.’ “Prayer is what opens the door to the Holy Spirit, who inspires progress.”  Through prayer, we carry God’s mercy to each other.

Jesus gave us the Sacraments.  Just as we are physically born by the unity of our parents, so we are also born by the unity of the Trinity into the body of Christ.  Because of our participation in the Sacraments, we encounter Jesus as the bond between heaven and earth.  Through the Sacraments, we are born into eternal life.

Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit is the gift that Jesus promised to send us.  Yes, we remember Jesus, but it is the Spirit that brings Him today, now, at this moment, in our heart.  The Holy Spirit is the heart of God’s love. The Holy Spirit is the artisan of the living prayer.

This living prayer is the Eucharist.  Jesus gave us Himself in the Eucharist.  He calls us His body, as He is bread from heaven.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324).  Through the Eucharist we return to Christ and are sent forth to be Christ to each other in our daily lives.

The Eucharist is to be lived.  Christ’s love for us compels us to offer this love to each other; not in a superficial way, but in a meaningful caress of our own understanding of His love, so deep and unifying, as we are of Jesus.  By our participation as His body, we forgive and help those in difficulty; support one another and abandon no one; commit to the poor, the suffering, the marginalized by our living that truly His face is not an image on a holy card, but a real person through each one of us.

Why are we standing here looking at the sky?  Let us mobilize the heart of Christ and offer Him as the perfect Gift.  Let the heavens transcend our daily living.