Pentecost Sunday — June 9, 2019

Let us take His message out and breathe new life among all God’s disciples.

Gospel Acclamation: John 7:37-39

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.

We are now several weeks from Easter [50 days] and that is fitting as Pentecost is a season of celebration [in the Jewish religion], that is also known as the Feast of Weeks, or New Harvest depending on where in the Jewish world you find yourself.  We mark this particular day because we find the message in the Bible [LEV 23:16] that ye shall count the days after the feast of Passover and call it Pentecost, which is a Greek word meaning “50”.Unknown.jpeg

When looking at the Acts of the Apostles we find that it was on this Jewish date that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and gave them the strength and courage to go out and preach to Israel.

 

It might seem odd that in the Gospel reading from John today that it appears that the Apostles know nothing of the feast of Pentecost.   The story that is delivered this weekend is one coming from Easter Sunday when the now Risen Christ come upon the disciples to give them the gift of Spirit and peace. It is at this moment that the disciples are given the task of forgiveness of sins.  It was here that it is established that it was Christ that conquered sin, and that the task of the disciples was to act on an individual level to forgive sins.  Even though this is seen as the sacrament of reconciliation in terms of the Church—we are called to as sinners ourselves to forgive all those around us that have sinned.

KEY PHRASE: As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

images.jpegSeeking forgiveness is a sign of humanity.  This is something we do not always seek to do, which is why we often find ourselves in situations that are hard to control, full of grief and ultimately difficult for us to understand.  But a even bigger task that we are given is to not only seek forgiveness, but to forgive those who have done wrong unto us… That one sure is hard for most EVERYONE to do! But that forgiveness of others is in fact the pathway to salvation.   Do not seek to admire Christ by asking for forgiveness, seek to be a follower of Christ and deliver that forgiveness!

 

PSALM: Lord send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

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We have come to the end of the Easter season.  Here is where we are given our mission—Go forth as Jesus did in His ministry and make disciples of people of all nations; PROCLAIM the redemptive love of God.

We find in the readings that Christ gave the gift of the Holy Spirit through breathing on the disciples. In the readings we hear “the mighty acts of God” and “Jews from every nation inder heaven.”  Yet, is it not amazing how every person is able to hear and understand the message in the own native tongue?  This is better explained in the second reading where we come to find and hear that the works of the Holy Spirit  is given to us through the many different gifts the God confers unto us. The Holy Spirit’s work is universal, so why wouldn’t the language be?  The mission is simple, UNIFICATION! As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

Penetcost-Mural-924x600.jpgDo not compare the gifts that each of us have.  They all come from the same place.  What a boring world it would be if we all had the exact same thing [though we do in the redemption of Christ].  Instead of comparing, let us look toward asking ourselves how we can use the gifts that we each have for the good of ALL GOD’S PEOPLE.

Let us take His message out and breathe new life among all God’s disciples.

St Norbert and St Boniface, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!     †lvm†

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7th Sunday of Easter- June 2, 2019

images.jpegGospel Acclamation: John 14:18

I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.  I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice!

Scholars of Theology will often tell you that while looking at the Gospel of John, that it takes about 3 chapters for you to see that God and Jesus are doing just fine.  And if you look at the Gospel reading for today’s you can see where that inside joke among the scholars come from.

You will see that the message today is essentially straight theology, Jesus and the Father are ONE, and this is conveyed and repeated several times in the few short verses.  We get a strong sense of the message of unity, but the message of unification and that of being one does not cease with just the Father and the Son.  We will see that Christ incudes all.  Not only those that are in the moment following Him, but also those that “believe in me through their word.”   Simply put, Jesus is praying for us to become one.  But we do not have to venture out far, or even look very far to know that Christs’ message and prayer has not become fully realized.  Just think about all of the different split churches (i.e. denominations), beliefs about women’s roles in the church, ethical practices, doctrinal practices, etc.  We should take comfort in knowing that this is not just a problem that we realize in our world today, because we know that the Early Church also found themselves faced with this reality as well.  You might wish to look at it in this light:  As long as there have been Christians, there has been disunity—we should work harder to strive to trust Jesus and the message He brings.  For if we BELIEVE in the message that Christ brings to us, then the world will be set in a position to better find and experience the message of God, and unity as ONE body of Christ.

KEY PHRASE:

That they might be brought to perfection as one.

One thing that we as humans do well is spotting those things that are different.  Jesus-prays.jpgIn fact, we often do this too well!  It is easier for us to want to believe that things should all blend in and be the same.  We are then able to find those things that are different and easily call them out. But have we forgot that Christ did not pray for us to be the same?  He prayed for us to be united.  If we actually looked closer at what we felt were different we might actually see that they have more in common than they often do different.  IF we spend more time trying to find that common ground rather than trying to find ways to set people, and even groups, apart, then we will actually find ourselves in a position to better understand and fulfill Christs prayer for all of us.

PSALM:

The Lord is King, the most high over all the earth.

In the Acts of the Apostle we see division and enmity.  We hear of Stephen, the first Martyr, brought to the Sanhedrin for judgement and punishment. After being condemned to be stoned, we hear the call of Stephen for unity.  For the sins of those who cast the stones upon him to not be held against them.  It is this message that shows us the compassion of Stephen combines with the ability to show and experience “perfect love” granted by God towards those that wish to bring him harm—that they might come to experience unity with him through the forgiveness of this sin.  It is here that Stephen comes to once again remind us of the possibility of reconciliation through the sacrifice of God, and through God alone.  As we come to the conclusion of Revelation which we have been reading throughout the Easter season, we find the hope and wish for fulfillment through Christs desire for unity: Jesus invites us , “Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life giving water.”

Unknown.jpegIn the psalm we find Israel worshiping among other nations who serve other gods.  In present day, idols are not foreign gods, but rather the things that we allow to take a higher place than God in our lives. Chaos and despair are bound to rule when we allow things such as:  money, power, fame, drugs, pornography, hate or anything “thing” come before God or take a place above God.  When we can find the personal will power to place all of these things below God, and submit ourselves to the powerful God—allowing him to become: “Most High over All the Earth”; it is THEN that we will find peace and unity among all the nations.

St Jude of Impossible situations, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!

†lvm†

6th Sunday of Easter- May 26, 2019

Gospel Acclamation: John 10:23

Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.

 

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“I AM” by Akiane

The Gospel this Sunday comes from John—more specifically it is from the Last Supper.  Even though we are nearing the end of the Easter season we are brought back to an event happening in Lent.  It is here that we hear words of wisdom from Jesus.  This is also a point of foreshadowing for what is to come in two short weeks—Pentecost—as Jesus tells the disciples that the Father will send the Holy Spirit as an advocate in the name of Jesus.  The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach the disciples and to remind them of Christs message; simply put, to become an advocate of Christ. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A GIFT FROM THE FATHER!  This gift was something meant for all Christians through all generations.

 

There are other gifts given to us—like that of Peace.  Though we are reminded that it is Christ that gives us Peace and not the world.  The Peace that Christ gives us is something that completes us wholly in our interior.  We should be at peace internally.  We should let go of anger, aggression, anxiety, the pursuit of ill-gotten gain.  By creating a sense of Peace, we are able to fully live in harmony with Christ.

KEY PHRASE: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.

Jesus knows that the disciples and all Christians are soon face turmoil.  Christ is able to offer them Peace as one final gift in His human form. When Christ rises, and sees the peace_1474.jpgdisciples huddled in the Upper Room, He again reminds them that Peace should be with them.  He reminds them: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  Christ NEVER tires of offering this offering of Peace.

Christ always wants Peace to be with us.  When we are faced with rules and decrees, or anything that places burdens upon others, we need to take a moment to reflect back to see if it is truly the will of Jesus that wishes to burden His people—or if he wishes for peace.  This can be found in the reading today from Acts of the Apostles.  The early church is struggling with the process of how to allow Gentiles to join the Church.  Paul and Barnabas head to Jerusalem to discuss with the Apostles to see if circumcision should be required for Gentile Christians.  It is through the prayer and discernment of Peter and James with the Holy Spirit that they rule in favor of not requiring circumcision for Gentile Christians and write a letter to the Gentile churches explaining that they do this to place the Gentiles with a Peace of Mind and clarify that they do not wish to place undue burden upon them.

PSALM: May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you!

We see this spread all throughout the messages today.  In the readings, today we see the 8408653.jpgGentiles receive the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and are brought into the early Church with their Jewish brothers and sisters. Then we are given a vision of the Holy City [Jerusalem], becoming a beacon for the world and all nations to “walk by its light”, and to be shared to all peoples.

Can we find how we experience the Peace of Christ in our daily lives?  How can we take God’s direction to Be Not Afraid, and not allow our hearts to become filled with fear and troubled?  And how can we bring the Lord’s light into our life and allow it to shine within us?

O Heavenly Prince of Peace, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!

†lvm†

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Good Shepherd Sunday

I am the Good Shepherd, say the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.  ALLELUIA!  This Gospel Acclamation sums up what we are all working towards in life.  To open our heart and accept Jesus as our shepherd. When He speaks, we should open our ears and listen.

I am the Good Shepherd, say the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.  ALLELUIA!  This Gospel Acclamation sums up what we are all working towards in life.  To open our heart and accept Jesus as our shepherd. When He speaks, we should open our ears and listen.

Drawing our attentions to the Gospel reading, though short in nature, it is simple and pure–one that we should take special attention to:

John 10: 27-30 L51C

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one can take them out of my hand.  the-good-shepherd-by-nathan-greene-5-options-available-15.jpgMy Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.  The Father and I are one.”

We should focus on the key phrase of:

No one can take them out of my hand.

From the readings, we are able to understand and form the image of Jesus—as the Good Shepherd.  One who calls out among His sheep; each by name, taking care to guide them to safety and to deliver them from all evils.  Though the message is short this week, we are able to gather that this relationship with Jesus is ESSENTIAL and of GREAT importance.  It is a message of an unbreakable bond between ourselves and that of our Shepherd.  We are told that we should listen to the call and message of Jesus, and that we should listen to the message with great care.  That this message will allow us to never have fear, and that we shall never experience a separation from God, as nothing can break the bond, nor remove us from the palm of His hand.lost-sheep

Our second reading: from Revelation.

We are given the image of a “great multitude.” Something that is beyond our comprehension [size wise].  It is full of a message that this “multitude” is the body of Christ.   That the group comes from all nations, race, tongues—composed of those that suffered and survived great distresses; those that washed themselves in the Blood of the Lamb.

Jesus-and-His-followersThose in the early Church were faced with great adversity.  Even our Apostles suffered greatly [John is the exception as he died from old age on the island of Patmos] –they were martyrs of the violence inflicted unto Christians by the Romans.  Because of this persecution, many people would have had reason to doubt Jesus, to doubt the word of God—to flee from His promise of Salvation.  Yet, He gives us the message that NO ONE can take them from the palm of His hand.  Even in death, we are not separated from our Heavenly Father.  Our Good Shepherd gives us Eternal Life, something that NEVER changes.

Psalm 100: 1,2,3,5

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.

Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.

The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.

This Psalm is an invitation for all to come to the Lord and to do so with a great sense of Joy and Thanksgiving.  We are joyful and thankful because we come knowing that we are jesus-and-the-lost-sheepGod’s people, that we are a community with Him.  That we cannot be taken from Him.  Even though we receive the call individually, we come to our Lord as a community.  As a GROUP of disciples that are there to listen to the Lord and to go forth and bring others to Him.  In this multitude we experience diversity, knowing that ALL are welcome.

Holy Family, PRAY FOR US!

 

Deus lo Vult

 

©2019 Lawrence V. McCrobie  |   http://www.LawrenceMcCrobie.com   |   http://www.OneStepCloserCatholic.org