A Note From Fr. LeRoy
This weekend we commemorate both Ascension Sunday and Memorial Day: Memorial Day was first known as "Decoration Day," whereby the tombs of Civil War soldiers from both sides (Confederate and Union) were honored and decorated as a way to remember them. This is why you often see American flags or flowers placed on their tombs this day. By 1882, it was named "Memorial Day" honoring all the dead soldiers from all the wars which have been fought to protect our American freedoms and country. Believe it or not, it was not until 1967 that Federal Law made "Memorial Day" the official name and not until 1971 that the date was permanently set as the last Monday in May by the U.S. Congress.
Unlike Veterans Day, which recognizes all men and women who have served (and are currently serving) our country, Memorial Day is specifically for those military persons who have died in active duty defending the liberties of our country. Like our Lord, these are the ones who paid the ultimate price to secure our prosperity. Each of us are affected by the history and events of our country, among them is our military service men and women. We simply would not be able to enjoy the job opportunities we have or the enjoyable things we do without their great sacrifice. So, this weekend while it is the unofficial kick-off of Summer here in Minnesota where family and friends gather at homes or cabins at the lake to celebrate time away, let's be sure to pray for our service men and woman who died to make this all possible. "May God bless those who have given their life. May they rest in the peaceful fields of paradise!."
This weekend we also celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. After our Lord spent over 40 days appearing to his apostles and disciples and teaching them about this new "Way," it was now for him to return home to the Father in heaven so He might, in turn, send the Holy Spirit to us at Pentecost. Far from being an editorial comment by our Gospel writers on the life of Jesus or some fictitious way to explain why we no longer see our risen Lord, the Ascension of Jesus was needed so that the Holy Spirit at Pentecost could come down to us. Jesus knew that if He did not leave, the apostles and disciples could not help out, but be focused only on Him and not allow the Holy Spirit to work in them. This same Spirit would also allow Jesus to be even more present to the disciples, no matter where they are so they could go out on their missionary journeys! That same Holy Spirit is still at work in our Church guiding us as One Body in Christ and as individuals today. The Ascension of Jesus means God is always with us. Amen!
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl