Genesis 11:1–9 Pentecost turns upside down the events of Babel.
and/or Exodus 19:3–8a, Pentecost is the renewal of the covenant on Sinai.
and/or Ezekiel 37:1–14 Pentecost is a foretaste of Resurrection Day.
and/or Joel 3:1–5 Pentecost is the long-awaited Lord’s Day.
Psalm 104 “Lord, send out your Spirit,
and renew the face of the earth.”
Romans 8:22–27 On this “festival of firstfruits” the Spirit is sent
as the firstfruits of the Resurrection.
John 7:37–39 Jesus refreshes those who believe in him with living water.
In the Pentecost Vigil we anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Promised by the Lord to his disciples at the Last Supper, anticipated
by the prophets for centuries, unknown to generations of humanity
going back to creation, the Holy Spirit is ready to come into our lives.
Looking at the world today it may seem that the Holy Spirit is absent
once again. Let us join together this evening to pray for the activity of
the Holy Spirit in our world, in our communities, and in our hearts.
In the city of Babel the plurality of languages produced misunderstanding
and drove people apart. In Jerusalem at Pentecost the plurality of languages
will produce understanding and draw people together. At Sinai the presence
of God was obscured by fire and smoke, by trumpet blasts and thunder. In the
upper room locked doors could not prevent Jesus from bringing the Holy Spirit
to the disciples. In Ezekiel’s vision dead, dry bones lie in graves. Paul speaks
of being reborn in the Spirit, suggesting Ezekiel’s vision of the spirit bringing
the bones to life. Joel prophesies that everyone will be rescued when the spirit
comes. Paul tells the Romans that having the firstfruits of the Spirit, we await the
redemption of our bodies. In every way, the Holy Spirit transforms the world
Pentecost Mass During the Day
Acts 2:1–11 As on Sinai, the Lord descends in fire and wind.
Psalm 104 “Lord, send out your Spirit,
and renew the face of the earth.”
1 Corinthians 12:3b–7, The Spirit calls the baptized to ministry
12–13 for the common good.
John 20:19–23 On the first day of the week the risen Christ
imparts the Holy Spirit.
Luke (in Acts) and John (in his Gospel) narrate different accounts of
the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples. Though the narratives differ,
in each the disciples were transformed by the experience. As we listen
to scripture today, let us open our hearts to be transformed by the
Spirit and pray that the Church and the world may be transformed by
the myriad gifts the Holy Spirit imparts, which sanctify our lives and
renew the face of the earth.
Here is the Question: Do I rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance? When I search my heart, what stubbornness do I find that could use honest examination?
Acts 8:5–8, 14–17 Peter and John laid hands upon them.
Psalm 66 “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”
1 Peter 3:15–18 Christ suffered for sins to lead us to God.
John 14:15–21 I will give you another Advocate, the Spirit of truth.
At this time of year, when daylight is lengthening and the flowers are blooming, and nature is full of life, it feels as though God’s creation has been reborn. During the Easter season we recall that we ourselves have been reborn in baptism. Todays gospel reminds us that Jesus dwells within us. Not only that, the Holy Spirit is with us too. Therefore we we look around, we can see the full flowering of the divine in ourselves, in each other and of the whole world.
Last week we heard that Phillip was one of the disciples chosen to assist the Twelve in their mission.preaching the word and feeding the poor. Today we hear what Phillip accomplished. He journeyed from Jerusalem, where Christians met with persecution, to Samaria where he met with much support that Luke remarks on the great joy he brought to the city. Samartians of Samaria and Jews of Judea and united in Christ. Now Peter and John join Phillip which demonstrates the solidarity of the original apostles and later disciples. All this comes together in the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spiritin all of us that are baptised.
In the second reading Peter tells his readers “that they should always be ready to give an explanation to anyonewho asks for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter3:15) Can you give an explanation to others “gently and reverntly” why you hope?
Today we honor our mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and all who have been like mothers to us. Peter’s words in today’s second reading apply to many of them, for they have been cornerstones in our lives, chosen and precious. In the Gospel Jesus teaches his disciples that he shows the way to his Father. Many of us were shown the way to faith by our mothers. Let us pray for them today. “No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus said to his disciples (John 14:6). For some Christians, this line has become a weapon to be used against those who are not Christian, denying them the possibility of salvation. But notice, when Jesus said these words he was speaking to his disciples in response to Thomas’s fear that they would not know how to follow him to the Father. So Jesus tells them that he is the way, the truth, and the life. For his disciples, this was the best answer to their question. Salvation is open to all, whether you know Jesus well or even at all. For us as Christians, we are blessed to have this way to follow.
How can I serve the Church more fully? What can I do to contribute to Jesus’mission?
Thursday May 14th is the Feast of Saint Matthias-the one chosen by the apostles to replace Judas Iscarit following the his betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent death.
Acts 2:14a, 36–41 The promise is made to all.
Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.”
1 Peter 2:20b–25 Jesus bore our sins upon the cross.
John 10:1–10 Jesus is the gate for the sheep.
The image of sheep dominates the readings today. The early church was just a fledgling flock when Peter’s testimony inspired thousands to
“repent and be baptized.” Later, Peter commends the sheep for returning to the care of the shepherd after they had gone astray. In the Gospel,
Jesus begins the story of the Good Shepherd. “The sheep hear his voice,” he says, and follow him. Let us listen for his voice in today’s readings. Since sheep from several flocks were gathered in the same sheepfold, sheep had to be able to pick out the voice of their own shepherd. We sometimes
struggle ourselves to distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd from among all the voices we hear in our lives, from our friends and neighbors to those on
television or online. Let us become attuned to Jesus’ voice and pray for the grace to recognize what he is calling us to do and be.
How is the Good Shepherd calling me? For what do I need to seek forgiveness
so I can be reunited with the flock?
Acts 2:14, 22–23 It was impossible for Jesus to be held by death.
Psalm 16 “Lord, you will show us the path of life.”
1 Peter 1:17–21 We were saved with the precious Blood of Christ.
Luke 24:13–35 They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
The Gospel reading we hear today is a familiar one. A pair of disciples
encounter the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. Despite Jesus walking
right alongside them for miles, they fail to recognize him, distracted as
they are by the events of the past three days. As we listen to Peter’s and
Luke’s accounts of events that took place shortly after the Resurrection,
let us recognize our Lord in his word.
In the days following Jesus’ crucifixion and death the disciples were miserable. They left Jerusalem dispirited and defeated, mourning the one they hoped
“would be the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). All appeared lost. It was then,
while nursing their grief, that they extended hospitality to this stranger. When
they finally realized who he was, their outlook changed immediately. Though
it was already evening, they returned at once to Jerusalem to tell the apostles
the wonderful news. In the time of their greatest need they were blessed with
the Lord’s presence.
When have you acutely realized the Lord’s presence? In the Eucharist? In listening
to scripture? When we gather in his name? In your day-to-day life?
Divine Mercy Sunday
What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
When and why did the church begin celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday?
The world was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1931 and the memories of World War I were still very much alive in the minds of Europeans when in Poland a sister of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), is said to have been personally visited by Jesus.
According to her diary, which was listed on the Index of Forbidden Books for more than 20 years, an image was revealed to her of the risen Lord, from whose heart shone two rays, one red (representing blood) and the other “pale” (symbolizing water), with the words “Jesus, I trust in you” at the bottom. Faustina wrote in her diary that Jesus told her, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.”
When she was canonized in 2000 under the direction of fellow countryman Pope John Paul II, he proclaimed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be known as Divine Mercy Sunday, thereby widely promoting the devotional practices associated with Faustina’s visions, already popular in many communities.
St. Faustina, a poorly educated daughter of a humble Polish family, kept a 600-page diary of the apparitions she claimed continued for years. Her entries focus on God’s mercy, the call to accept God’s mercy and to be merciful, the need for conversion, and the call to trust in Jesus. It had been Jesus’ own wish, she wrote, to establish a feast day: “I [Jesus] desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls. . . . I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.”
Among the practices associated with the devotion are its novena, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy (a series of prayers organized similarly to a rosary), the Hour of Great Mercy (a time of prayer traditionally celebrated at 3 p.m.), and the plenary indulgence granted to those who receive the Eucharist and celebrate reconciliation on Divine Mercy Sunday.
But the road to the universal recognition and institutionalization of the devotion was anything but smooth. Since Sister Faustina’s diary, which she claimed Jesus himself had asked her to keep, had been previously listed on the Index of Forbidden Books, it curtailed the exercise of the devotional practices. Detractors claimed that her writing contained theological errors, while her defenders attribute mistakes to a faulty translation from Polish to Italian. While the diary is no longer on the Index and her canonization has officially put away concerns regarding the orthodoxy of her writings, critics remain.
The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on the theme of how God’s mercy can overcome sin and, as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states, “a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind [sic] will experience in the years to come.”
This article appeared in the May 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No. 5, page 46).
ON THIS, THE FIRST SUNDAY after the celebration of Easter, the emphasis is on faith in the presence and power of the living Jesus in our midst. This Risen Jesus now lives on in the community which believes in him. It is endowed with the same powers that Jesus had during his life here on earth. “So many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past.”Acts 5:15
To see and know Jesus in our lives is, to recognise from where he comes to us and at the same time to be ready for day-to-day opportunities when we can bring him into the lives of others. Above all, can we be true to the mission Jesus gave to his disciples to be makers of reconciliation, to be peacemakers, breaking down walls of hatred, prejudice and fear? We do this by living lives of integrity, of love and compassion, of real justice for all. When we do that, Easter is celebrated and Jesus is alive among us.
Easter Sunday the Resurrection of the Lord 2020
Belief comes to the beloved disciple, not with the presence of Jesus, an angel, or any witnesses, but in their absence. They see the displaced stone, the open tomb, and the discarded burial cloths. That Jesus has risen is beyond their understanding, but the beloved disciple believes. We identify with him, for we have also come to believe without seeing. We may not understand, but through the eyes of faith, we believe.
How can I come to a deeper and firmer belief? How can I guide others in their
Easter Vigil 2020
The death and resurrection of Jesus are both literally earth-shattering. Both
times Matthew reports that the earth shook. As Jesus died on the cross, “the earth
quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened” (Matthew 27:51–52). Now we
hear that when Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James came to the
tomb, “behold, there was a great earthquake” (28:2). As momentous as these
two events were, however, the reaction to each event was earth-shattering in
its own right: the Roman centurion immediately believed, the guards went into
shock, the women needed the reassurance of an angel. Sometimes an insight
that leads to faith can come like a bolt out of the blue.
Having renewed my commitment to the Lord and filled with joy in his victory
over death, how can I bear fruit in the world?
Good Friday 2020
The cross is at once a symbol of death and life, of suffering and redemption.
We carry our own crosses in life, of illnesses and traumas, disabilities and
addictions, sorrows and tragedies, abuse and discrimination, trials and hardships. We witness others carrying their own crosses. But with Jesus’ triumph on the cross as our model we have the hope of accepting or overcoming our own crosses and assisting others in handling theirs. We know the cross is not the end, for the cross we venerate today ended not in suffering and death, but in our salvation, in new life.
What is the greatest cross I bear? What crosses do I see others carrying? How can the way I handle my own cross help me help others handle theirs?
Today we begin our celebration of the Easter Triduum—the three days that form the climax of Jesus’ life on earth. Knowing that he is about to die, Jesus takes the opportunity at the Last Supper not only to tell the disciples what to do in the future, but to show them. As we celebrate together this evening, let us reflect on how we can become better disciples by serving others, washing one another’s feet as Jesus did.
This evening’s readings describe events steeped in history and ritual. Each one is explicitly ordered to be repeated. The first Passover, in which God liberated the Chosen People from slavery, is to be celebrated as a perpetual institution. At the first Eucharist, Jesus asks his disciples to repeat this in remembrance of him. After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus tells them that this is a model to follow. In celebrating these events tonight, we recall and renew God’s covenant, Jesus’ sacrifice, and Jesus’ call to ministry
How will I follow the model that Jesus gave us at the Last Supper? How can I give myself in service to others, even to those who have hurt me?