Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost makes it clear that nothing is so fatal to Christianity as indifference.”


“How can we not give thanks to God for the wonders the Spirit has never ceased to accomplish in these two millenniums of Christian life? Indeed, the event of grace at Pentecost has continued to bear its marvelous fruits, everywhere instilling apostolic zeal, a desire for contemplation, the commitment to live and serve God and our brothers and sisters with complete dedication”  - Pope St. John Paul II - May 31, 1998.

Gospel Text: (JN 20:19-23)
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."

Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.   This great feast marks the birth of the Church as we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit onto the disciples gathered in Jerusalem.   Just before Jesus returned to the Father having fulfilled his mission, he told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until he sent the Holy Spirit upon them.  So, they waited.

We remember this glorious moment of God’s intervention into human history and celebrate the living community that came from it.  We also pray for the grace to be who we are, today’s faithful witnesses to God’s love for the world and Christ’s living presence in it.


Friday, May 18, 2018

“If you love Christ, never be ashamed to let others see it and know it. Speak for Him. Witness for Him. Live for Him.”


The aim of all Christian education, moreover, is to train the believer in an adult faith that can make him a "new creation", capable of bearing witness in his surroundings to the Christian hope that inspires him. -Pope Benedict XVI

Gospel Text:(JN 21:15-19)
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
"Do you love me?" and he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go."
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."

To feed is to give others what they need to help them grow – not just physically, but what they need to grow in ‘wisdom and grace’.


How do we help another grow in their understanding of Jesus and his words?  How do we help another grow in their desire to turn toward God for inner strength?  How do we nurture another to grow in their awareness that they belong to God?  How do we lead Jesus’ sheep to a deeper relationship with God?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter.”


“The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: “You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.” ― Archbishop Oscar A. RomeroThe Violence of Love

Scripture Text: (ACTS 22:30; 23:6-11)
Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
"My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead."
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
"We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome."

Perhaps the message of today’s readings is that, yes, we are called to live in harmony and peace with one another, but not at any price. Paul refused to be silent because he knew that Christianity stands or falls on whether or not Jesus’ resurrection—and our sharing in it—is true. Like Paul, we should not suppress the fundamental beliefs of our lives, and especially of our faith, simply not to provoke conflict and opposition. In fact, as Paul shows us, there are times when disturbing the peace is not only an act of courage, but also a powerful act of love.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

“You can't escape reality. Learn to accept absolute truth.”


“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.” ― Pope Benedict XVI: (served as Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 to 2013) 

Gospel Text: (JN 17:11B-19)
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
"Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth."

Jesus reminds the Apostles that, like Jesus himself, though they are in the world, they are not "of the world": their values and priorities are different, their actions should also be different. It takes a lot of courage to be in this world and not be "of this world": it needs a lot of help from the all powerful God.