Week After Pentecost

Renew the Face of the Earth

Easter Time is over, but our mission is just beginning. The paschal season allowed us to collectively, prayerfully relive the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit so we can go forth during Ordinary Time (and at all times!) to proclaim Christ's peace. In that sense, Pentecost is still going on in our own day!

In light of Pentecost, there's one more aspect of spiritual peace we should explore: peace on earth. In fact, this type of spiritual peace has been implicit in our exploration of spiritual warfare and peace throughout Lent and Easter Time.

Last week, as we reflected on Christ's Ascension, we explored the peace of the kingdom of heaven. When God's kingdom finally comes, all spiritual warfare will cease and we will experience the fullness of all the types of spiritual peace: peace with death, peace with God, peace in our hearts, peace with others, peace with creation, and peace in the Church.

If peace in the kingdom is the culmination of all aspects of Christ's peace in the age to come, then peace on earth is the beginnings of that peace in the present age. Jesus gives us multiple ways to promote peace on earth:

  1. In the Great Commission, Jesus commands us to "make disciples of all nations" through preaching, the sacraments, and catechesis.
  2. In his moral teachings and parables, Jesus instructs us to act with charity and justice in our relationships with our fellow man ("love your neighbor as yourself").
  3. In the Our Father, Jesus tells us to pray that the peace of his kingdom will envelop the earth ("thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven").

The responsorial psalm for Pentecost Sunday contains a prayer that echoes the Our Father: 
"Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth." We will discover how the Spirit has renewed (and is renewing) the earth in the next post.
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.