Daily Reflection
May 10th, 2008

Paul Mahowald, S.J.

St. John's Church
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The Church liturgists have stated that the two greatest feasts are Easter and Pentecost. So you would expect a special celebration on the day before the feast. Tomorrow is Pentecost but we have no such celebration, certainly not like the demonized day before All Saints Day or the commercialized “night before Christmas when all through the house . . . .”

Instead the texts chosen for this Mass today emphasize the end of the Easter season by citing the last words of the Acts of the Apostles and the final words in John’s gospel. The last words of John’s witness to the life and times of Jesus invite his readers also to be filled with the Spirit of God which Jesus promised us as we continue to live our Christian lives.

The last words of the Acts on the other hand, are sometime after the first Pentecost (which is described in chapter two.) The early church moves gently from the time of Jesus’ teaching and preaching to the apostolic church of witnessing.

The words at the end of the Roman Mass are “Ite, Missa est!” or “Go, you are being sent . . .” [to carry out the mission of the Lord as you have just heard it proclaimed.]

This time of the year and for the next month or so schools finish “a school year” and graduate from the academic life. And the celebration of the graduation event is called “Commencement.” This emphasizes that the graduate begins anew in a real life situation applying the methods and means he had studied.

In the same way the church finishes the Easter season after reflection on the mysteries of the apostolic church in Acts and the saving promise and invitation of the Lord at the end of his life. Again, this ending only invites us to a ‘commencement’, to begin again a new life in the Lord by learning his lessons and then following his lead so that this will lead us to loving him more.

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