… sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation … and with the grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers. … [opening prayer]. Today is called the birthday of the Church. … May the glory (the works) of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord be glad in his works. … [responsorial psalm] The church is the people (the faithful), traveling through history, doing the works of God for the glory of God, as taught them by Jesus, and as they do so becoming holy like God. Sociology has long documented the difficulty of historical continuity. Many groups or organizations die when their charismatic founders die. Others persist for a time until historical factors make them unstable or irrelevant, or bad actors kill them. And so, it seems, we members of this 2,020-year-old people have been given special “continuity help” along our way: the Spirit. The Spirit is God’s presence in the mode of accompanying divine energy, embedded in that new body of Christ, the faithful. We see glimpses of the preaching Church and of the Church of authority and mission in today’s readings. There is also the sanctifying Church. In this time of pandemic, whether you can attend church today or must watch a televised Mass, I hope you can find and mull over the words of today’s extra prayer, the sequence. I will not leave you orphans, Jesus said, and those consoling words are beautifully proclaimed in this most inspiring prayer/hymn. In it, the Spirit is not called an advocate, like in John’s Gospel, but the best comforter. This comforting presence, who is God the Spirit, intimately accompanies us through life’s turmoils to joys that never end, and offers each of us the possibility of having our inmost beings filled both now and forever [Sequence]. Happy birthday to all of us today!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia