The Gospel passage we have just heard focuses our attention on the Holy Spirit, breathed out by Jesus on the infant Church and worshipped by us tonight at Mass. The Mass of the Holy Spirit is a particularly solemn occasion. As we heard in the Gospel-itself a beautiful piece of liturgy-Christ begins by wishing peace upon his friends in the same formula used by bishops everywhere at the start of Mass. The disciples feel great joy as they recognise their Risen Lord. But this is not just a joyful reunion between friends: Jesus goes on to commission them; they are to be sent out, given the tasks of working for God's people, and judging their sins. This is highly appropriate for us to recall here tonight: we meet the Lord joyfully around this altar but the story does not end there. We are to be sent out, commissioned by him to serve his Church and his people in a particular way.
Jesus today reminds us that he has risen from the dead and will take this him all who die believing in him.
The importance of praying for the dead is emphasised in addition to our faith that Jesus overcomes death, suffering and burden.
I am delighted to be with you, with Fathers Van Kooy and Kennedy, with Mr. Dalton and your teachers, as we bless your new classrooms and library, which I have already had a chance to visit earlier in the year.
Your parents have chosen St Gerard's as a Catholic school because above all they want you to know and love Jesus Christ. Pope John Paul wrote to us all in the Church early this year to say that our lives as we begin the new millennium have to begin with "we want to see Jesus". We have to realise who he is and learn about him. We have to be united with him in the Mass and Sacraments and prayer and then, with Jesus walking beside us, we go to bring his truth and love to the world.
The month of November reminds us how fragile is our grasp on life. We lovingly intercede for those who have died and who depend upon the charity of our prayers. Every day of our life is God's gift; preparing for the moment when we will be totally united with him. Pope John Paul reminds us that we cannot come to the fullness of contemplation of the Lord's face by our own efforts alone, but by allowing grace to take us by the hand. Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of the mystery of Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father. (Novo Millennio Ineunte 20)