Dear Parish Family and Friends,
Last month we celebrated the feast of the Ascension. After our Lord ascended we heard these words, “And they worshiped him, and they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” In the past, I have had a hard time understanding where the joy is to be found in this separation. Many of you may not know this about me, but I have always had a hard time being separated from family and saying goodbye. When I left my family to go to seminary, I had an extremely hard time saying goodbye to them. I was certainly excited to start my time at school but I was nervous about how I would do without the support of my family and friends. So I wondered where the joy was to be found in saying goodbye to the very person who said to his disciple’s, “ No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends…” I have come to realize that they found joy in the fact that when the Lord ascended He did so in His humanity. By doing that he opened to us, all of us, the gates to Paradise. The joy is found in the fact that the Lord’s mission here on earth was complete. Their joy and ours is found in the realization that we can grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior and the Love of God the Father through the Holy Spirit that was promised, and sent by the Son after His Resurrection and Ascension. All of this could only have happened after He left and after He separated himself from the disciples.
Father Anthony Coniaris once wrote, “He goes away in order to change the form by which he will work among us. Now He will work through us, the Spirit—ﬁlled, Christ-ﬁlled members of His body, the Church”. In this we find great joy. Joy because you and I have been chosen to continue the work of Christ. Joy coming from the fact that we, each of us, with your different strengths and talents are needed to continue the work of the Church. As your priest I ﬁnd joy as well knowing that many of you have already taken up this call to serve Christ and His Church. You have accepted this call as Sunday School teachers, Parish Council members, volunteers at the festival, volunteers at the summer lunches, the list goes on and on. I am joyful for those of you who are thinking about different ways we can do more to reach out to our members and those who we may not have seen for a while. I am joyful and thankful.
As we look to the summer and wind down our ministries, I pray that we continue to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit working within us. I pray we continue to open ourselves to being “Spirit—ﬁlled, Christ—ﬁlled members of His body.” That we may help each other find the joy that the Apostles had as they gazed upon the Ascension of our Lord.
Father Larry Legakis