Holy Spirit is the Reason for Hope

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BRIDGEPORT—“One of great things this terrible tragedy has caused us to realize is that the things we see and touch are not the only things that matter. What we buy or sell has precious little value when a life is faced with suffering and dying,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his homily for the Mass celebrating the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

In his regular Sunday Mass, live-streamed from the Catholic Center chapel, the Bishop said that as Christians we must resist the temptation to focus only on the material things and take courage in the Holy Spirit, “the divine person who is love himself, who is invisible to our human senses yet very real in His presence” in our lives.

The Bishop began his homily by describing the Coronavirus as “the silent killer in our midst, a small virus we can’t see with the eye, touch with our hands or fingers, but it has done so much to cause much suffering and so much death.”

He said the pandemic has grown “in part because it is invisible,” but we know the virus is present because we see the effect it creates around us in the suffering and disruption it has caused.

Likewise, we know the presence of good and the hand of God by the love, courage and selflessness of so many people in the world.

Reflecting on the Gospel of John (14:15-21), the Bishop said that in a society that often focuses on material things, we as Catholics must learn to understand the value and power of what is unseen and have faith that God is with us, even in difficult times.

“Jesus reminds us that there is another in our midst who the world will not see and because it does not see him will not know him or believe him. But we do,” he said of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

He said that while we struggle in fear and uncertainty caused by the virus, there is ample evidence that God walks alongside us and is available to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“Where is God in all of this? many people are asking. My friends, he is literally in front of your face. Who in the end gives the courage that has motivated these heroic first responders running into the face of danger and risking their lives for others?

“Is it just human courage or is there someone else who walks, accompanies, encourages and empowers us to make God’s presence felt?” he said.

The Bishop said that it is not only human talent and education leading “so many to race for the cure. Our doings are graced by the invisible Sprit in our midst.”

He urged the faithful to “not solely be occupied by the invisible killer in our midst, but to ask for the outpouring of our invisible advocate, protector and defender, the Holy Spirit of our risen Lord.”

Referring to the question in today’s Epistle, the Bishop said, “Peter said it best, he asks us to be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks about the reason for our hope. The reason is we are not abandoned. The Holy Spirit is invisible to our eye but as real as you and I are, and walks with us every step of the way.”

At the end of Mass the Bishop noted that many parishes in the diocese will be beginning outdoor Masses on Ascension Thursday and the following weekend. He thanked pastors for their enthusiastic response and as the diocese takes its first step back to public worship, and said he hoped that we would soon be able to return to Masses inside the Church.