By Fr. Kevin Magner
This past week as I was shopping I remembered I needed to buy cards for some upcoming events: three graduations, one Confirmation, and one priestly ordination. It is once again that time of year when these kinds of events are celebrated. All of these events we celebrate are meant to honor the fact that a period of time dedicated to study and growth has now come to an end. Whether it be a graduation, confirmation or ordination, the student has accomplished his goal and is moving onward.
Whenever we celebrate a graduation it seems a bit ironic that it is referred to as a commencement ceremony. After all, to “commence” means to begin. But that is really what the ceremony is about. It is a new beginning. The reason for learning and studying is to obtain knowledge that one can apply to a future endeavor. By its very nature, learning is aimed toward the future.
As we approach the feast of Pentecost we come to the conclusion of the Easter season. But again, it is not meant to signal an ending but a new beginning. The reason Jesus came to earth was to proclaim His message of salvation and new life in Him. As He taught His disciples He was preparing them to continue His mission after He ascended to heaven.
As Jesus left this earth to return to His heavenly Father He told His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” As our parents taught us the Faith, so we teach the Faith to the next generation. The yearly celebration of Pentecost reminds us that Jesus has blessed us with the Holy Spirit and given us the Great Commission to go out to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and renew the face of the earth.
The essence of Jesus Christ is that He always provides for us new life. We experience this constantly in the sacramental life. Any time we encounter the living God we are given new life. Jesus always wants to renew us and direct us toward the life of heaven.
As human beings, we are sometimes sad when things come to an end. But as we progress through each liturgical year we are reminded that God always has something better planned for us. Living the Christian life means we don’t commemorate endings but rather celebrate new beginnings. Jesus continues to remind us, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
Have a blessed week!