– Archbishop at Pentecost Vigil Mass
By Kaelanne Jordan
“When last in your family did you say to each other ‘I am sorry’….How often have you found in your family that forgiveness is hard to talk about and you just…. sweep it under the carpet?”
Archbishop Jason Gordon posed this thought-provoking question to families of the Archdiocese participating virtually for the Pentecost Vigil Mass on Saturday, May 22.
In his homily, the Archbishop referred to the First Reading (Ezekiel 37:1–14) which speaks to the field of dried bones as the people of Israel.
“But is it only the people of Israel, but is it also you and me? Is it your family, is it our nation?” the Archbishop questioned.
Dry bones, the Archbishop said, have no sinew or life. He observed “plenty people” were walking around like zombies because inside there is no life, joy, gratitude, or sense of being alive in this world.
The Archbishop used the analogy that Christians without the Holy Spirit are just shells without an engine. “It’s just a shell that has no power to do what God is asking us to do. And if we do everything in a transactional way, we keep taking all the hurts we had…we shut down to each other…and eventually the family becomes like that dry bones.”
Archbishop Gordon commented that while the nation has been living with Covid for a year, the people of Israel were in exile for 70 years. He reminded it was during these years that God did something “amazing” .
“What God did is, He made the family the bedrock of the faith. And in that time, God did a transformation in the lives of the people of Israel and the family became renewed and strengthened and strong.”
The Archbishop asserted that the family was God’s creation from the very beginning. It is God who brought the family together and again in Pentecost, it is the same God who makes His Church into a family of families.
“And that’s why we gather today as a family of families on the eve of Pentecost because it is God who does His work through the family.”
To this end the Archbishop asked families: “Is there something stirring in your hearts? Is there a desire in your heart for something more….something more for your family than you are experiencing right now?”
Archbishop Gordon surmised that Covid has brought the opportunity for persons to appreciate each other. It has also given families bonding time.
He stressed that Catholic families are not called just to a transactional relationship with each other but to become a school of love, hope, joy, discipline, and a school open to the Holy Spirit.
Archbishop Gordon opined sometimes Catholics are like dehydrated persons in a pool of water. The water is there in great abundance but the desires, the recognition of how thirsty they are is not there in their hearts and lives.
Asking the faithful to look at the areas of life they are thirsty, he went on “sometimes we drinking drip, drip and God wants to give more. Let us dare as our Second Reading says, hope for the things dear to us.”
At the start of the Vigil Mass, Spiritual Director and Theological Adviser of the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, Fr Matthew Ragbir prayed for forgiveness for the ways in which the family life ministry of the Church has not always journeyed with, been responsive to the needs of families, single parents, those separated, the widowed, divorced and the elderly.
“The ways we have not journeyed with married couples, the ways we have not journeyed with grieving couples for one reason or the other, families in pain, the ways we have not celebrated in their joy and shared in their sorrows. We ask forgiveness Lord,” Fr Ragbir said.
Before the final blessing, family members were invited to lay hands over and pray for each other.
While the Mass was for families of the Archdiocese, persons from Belize, Boston, Florida, and New York joined virtually.