Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year B Pastoral Visit to Saint Michael Parish, Leduc

05 May 2024

Appears in: Messages and Homilies

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year B

Pastoral Visit to Saint Michael Parish, Leduc


[Acts 10:25-26; 34-35, 44-48; Psalm 98; 1John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17]


As part of my pastoral visit, I met Saturday morning with representatives of the various groups active here in the parish. It gave me the opportunity to learn of the excellent works undertaken here in service of the Gospel of our Lord.

To lead us into the message of the scriptural texts for this mass, I would like to focus upon one item in particular that was brought to my attention in the course of the meeting: the Planning for Tomorrow initiative. The parish has a vision for “tomorrow”, for its future, and in order to fulfill it, parishioners shared with me how they are acting now.

I invite us to keep this in mind – planning for tomorrow and acting in the “now” – as we hear again this teaching from the First Letter of Saint John: “God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might live through him. … [God] loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Behind this is the wondrous truth that God Himself has been planning our tomorrow, the “tomorrow” we call eternal life. From eternity, God planned to create us so that we might live with him forever. When we turned away from this “tomorrow” by sin, God acted in our “now”, our history, by sending his Son to re-orient us toward our tomorrow by forgiving our sins through the Cross.

This is why Jesus summons us in the Gospel to abide in him. He alone is our Saviour. He alone leads us to the tomorrow of eternal life. Therefore, we must remain in a vital union with him if God’s plan is to be fulfilled in us.

To make this union with Jesus possible, God continues to act in the “now” of our daily lives by sending us the Holy Spirit. We heard in the first reading how the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word spoken by Peter. Now, the Holy Spirit falls on us through the sacraments of the Church. It was beautiful yesterday to witness this action of God in the “now” of a small infant who was baptized at evening mass, and in the 48 young people who were confirmed in the afternoon. God entered their “now” with the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they can abide in the Lord Jesus, who wills to carry them to the “tomorrow” God has determined for us.

God loves us so much that He establishes the vision and acts in our “now” to bring it to fulfillment. Which raises the question: Is there anything we must do in the “now” in service of this plan? Allow me to point to three things.

The first, obviously, is to do as Jesus says: abide in him. Listen to and heed his Word, celebrate the sacraments, and love as he has commanded us to love.

Second, stay close to the Blessed Mother. During yesterday’s meeting, I was told of plans to build a Marian grotto, and shown where it would be. This is wonderful. Mary points us to her son, and by her prayers enables us to grow in our love for him. I encourage each of you to pray every day to the Blessed Mother, with a daily rosary if possible. In fact, I learned that there are some parishioners who visit Ecole Notre Dame school to pray the Rosary with the students. Like those young people, let’s all learn, and re-learn, the indispensable role Mary plays in the life of the Christian disciple and pray to her often.

Third, call upon your patron saint, Saint Michael. Our society and world are marked by great suffering: wars, polarization, moral confusion. The Christian vision sees beyond the immediately visible to the dark spiritual forces behind what is happening. Christians know we are engaged in a spiritual battle with the powers of darkness. We call upon Saint Michael to defeat, by God’s ever-victorious power, the evil spirits seeking the ruin of souls. You offer the prayer to Saint Michael at the end of every mass. Please offer it also each day.

Planning for tomorrow, acting in the now – in short, God takes the initiative by establishing the future and acting in our present to bring it to fulfillment; we cooperate with God by abiding in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, turning to the Blessed Mother, and calling upon Saint Michael.

This morning, right now, God is wondrously acting in our present in this mass. Here, our “tomorrow”, eternal life, mysteriously unites with our earthly “now” when Jesus, reigning at the right hand of the Father, renders himself present on this altar. May the grace of the Eucharist deepen our abiding in the Lord Jesus now, that we might remain with him eternally in heaven.

Most Reverend Richard W. Smith

Saint Michael Parish, Leduc, Alberta

May 4th – 5th, 2024