Church of the

7580 Clinton Street
Elma, New York 14059


May 28, 2023


There is a connection between the Annunciation in the Gospel according to St. Luke and Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles – by the same author. In both accounts there is an association between Mary and the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation. Mary is perplexed by the greeting and the message of the Angel that she has found favor with God and will conceive and bear a son and name him Jesus. Gabriel explains, “The Holy Spirit will come down upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” At Pentecost, after the Ascension, “the apostles, with some women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers” gather in the “upper room” devoted in prayer. They hear and feel a rushing wind and see tongues of fire. “All of them are filled with the Holy Spirit…” 

There is another association of Mary and Holy Spirit in the Gospel according to St. John. The evangelist relates when Jesus is dying, he notices his mother and the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross. Jesus asks them to care for one another like a mother and son. The evangelist observes when Jesus dies, he bows his head and “gives up his spirit”. “Gives up” in the Greek has a sense of “a bequest.” The Spirit is bestowed on the mother of Jesus and on the disciple Jesus loves.

We can discern the effects of the Holy Spirit in each of these three occurrences with Mary. At the Annunciation, Mary is inspired to trust in God’s Word and to surrender to God’s will. At the cross, when Jesus dies and bequeaths his spirit, the new holy family is formed, the beloved community. At Pentecost, the mighty wind and fire of the Holy Spirit empower the disciples to step out from their enclosure and announce to the wider world that Jesus crucified has been raised by God the Father.

We are in a fitting place, the Church of the Annunciation, to celebrate Pentecost. The red vestment and banners, the red flowers and clothing, signify the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord) and the fruits of the Holy Spirit (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity).

We find ourselves in difficult and challenging times.  We are waiting for the announcement of the new Pastor of our Family unsure of how five parishes can align and coalesce together. The society of which we are a part has become increasingly secular where traditional values are discarded or viewed with suspicion. Discourse on many pressing issues is often contentious; the war in Ukraine enters its second year; Mass shootings in the United States are common; refugees are fleeing violence and poverty in their own countries with the hope of finding better places to live. We are called to uphold the sanctity of human life in the womb and, at the same time, the dignity of women.

With Mary at the Annunciation, we pray for the Holy Spirit to discern and to accept God’s will. With Mary at the cross, we pray for the Holy Spirit to acknowledge and to heal profound losses in our lives. With Mary at Pentecost, we pray for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to new possibilities of living and sharing our faith. On this Memorial Day weekend, as we honor those who have died serving in the U.S. Armed forces, we pray God to welcome these brave souls into the kingdom of peace beyond the battlefields of this world and to send the Holy Spirit to comfort families who mourn their loss. May God grant us the power and resolve of the Holy Spirit to build world at peace.    




More Homilies

May 18, 2023

Ascension of the Lord

“Heaven is below our feet as well as above our heads” – Henry David Thoreau. This quote is on a plaque with a painting of flowers and leaves on the earth -- a gift from my nephew TC, his wife Ivah and their daughters, my grand nieces, Ananya, and Amina. This saying reminds me of the question “two men in white” ask the disciples who are staring at the sky after Je...


May 14, 2023

6th Sunday of Easter

Bishop Mike Fisher conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation upon 52 teen and adult candidates from five parishes in our Family and from two parishes in other Families, here, in our church on Monday. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was an early Pentecost event. Our English word “spirit” comes from the Hebrew word “ruah” meaning “breath” or “wind” of God. Je...


May 07, 2023

5th Sunday of Easter

I am grateful for the people who ask questions. A question indicates the person is listening and is seeking clarification. Thomas and Philip ask critical questions of Jesus at the Last Supper. Facing the cross, Jesus tells the disciples the end of their fellowship is near. The disciples are naturally upset. Jesus calms them. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have ...


April 23, 2023

3rd Sunday of Easter

Girls and boys, we have a beautiful Gospel today for your First Holy Communion. It is about two disciples walking to Emmaus – a town or village seven miles from Jerusalem. One is named Cleopas. Ancient sources and modern scholars suggest the other disciple is his wife. They are leaving Jerusalem troubled and disappointed. Jesus has died on the cross and now there are rep... READ MORE

April 16, 2023

2nd Sunday of Easter

We are familiar with the beatitudes or blessings of Jesus in the Gospels, for example: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” Matthew 5:7. Today in the Gospel according to St. John, we hear a last beatitude from Jesus, the Risen Lord, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jesus is speaking to Thomas and the disciples huddled to... READ MORE

April 09, 2023

Easter Sunday

Children love to run. They run when they play. Just watch our PreK children in the gym. During Mass, I watch children run in the vestibule of the church. They run when they see someone whom they love. Running for children is a natural release and expression of joyful energy. On Easter morning, the Gospel is filled with running. Mary of Magdala runs to the disciples. Peter ... READ MORE

April 02, 2023

Palm Sunday

Early on in my life I was troubled by the words Jesus utters from the cross that are remembered in the Gospels according to Mark and Matthew. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” I couldn’t understand how Jesus, God’s beloved Son, could feel abandoned by God. Only with time did I come to greater understanding. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned m... READ MORE

March 26, 2023

5th Sunday of Lent A

Monday, March 20, was the first day of Spring. It was also the Spring equinox - 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime, the harmonious balance between day and night. The word “lent” comes from an Old English word for “Springtime” - a season when new life is wrested from the grip of winter. We begin to sense the transformation. We feel the warm sun. We hear ... READ MORE

Displaying Homilies -3 - 1 of 626


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