The historical event that the Catholic Church celebrates this Sunday is described in today's Gospel as 'Pentecost': "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so l send you". Jesus 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". The Acts of the Apostles focus here on how the end of the Easter Season moves beyond the four Gospel accounts to the remainder of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is the new law, the power that leads us to do good, from within our heart. The Holy Spirit is also a source of unity (it pulls down all barriers) and wherever it is, it destroys sin.READ MORE
Steven Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, has as one of the habits, "Start with the end in mind". Where are we going in life? What do we want people to say about us at our own funeral service? Jesus started with the 'end in mind'. He followed his Father's will. Today we are about to end the Easter season liturgically with the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. We have reflected on the passion, death, and amazing resurrection accounts. Jesus has risen from the dead. We have celebrated the 40 days after the resurrection that Jesus spent as the reading from Acts of the Apostles says, "(Jesus) presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God". No ghost, Jesus ate and drank with his closest followers. He has shown them the nail marks and pierced side. He has been preparing them for something new, something powerful, something that will come from the Holy Spirit of God: the Pentecost and out-pouring of the grace of God's Spirit.READ MORE
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Peter proclaims that God shows no partiality "Rather in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him." This is because God is love and shows his love to everyone no matter your circumstance or state of life. He shows his love to everyone no matter where you are or where you come from. Thus, anyone who opens himself or herself to him will experience the depth of his love. The only obstacle to witnessing God's love in our lives is when we close ourselves to his love. This can happen when we fail to believe in him, obey him or keep his commandments, but even at that he still loves each one of us in an amazing way.READ MORE
The rose bush is a beautiful bush. Its' flower is a symbol love, romance and joy. This is the most popular flower for Valentines day. It can tell someone "I love you" and it can tell someone "I'm sorry." It is often sent to someone who is sick to show caring and this bush can also be an image of God's plan of salvation for us.READ MORE
Today's Gospel occurs in the middle of Jesus' ministry. At first, Jesus' words seem to be about the value of self-sacrifice in a leader. "I am the Good Shepherd … I will lay down my life for the sheep." The Apostles likely would have accepted these words easily enough. But then comes something more strange. "I lay down my life in order to take it up again … I have power to lay it down and power to take it up again." Only later, when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them after his resurrection, would the Apostles understand his words. Only then would they understand why such an act was necessary for the salvation of the world.READ MORE
Today's liturgy invites us to appreciate lovingly the riches of the Paschal mystery which is the sum total of the work of creation and redemption, of all the reality of humanity and of all the revelation of God. For us, every Eucharistic celebration renews the presence of Christ who died and rose again.
Jesus comes into the midst of our assembly for the Eucharistic celebration and through the Eucharist He makes us touch His Body, His Blood and His real presence. Christ is also present and communicates through the Scriptures and through His witnesses who are sent to proclaim the forgiveness of sins, His Apostles who are today His Priests.READ MORE
Do you know the joy of the resurrection? The Risen Lord Jesus revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over a period of time. Even after the apostles saw the empty tomb and heard the reports of Jesus' appearance to the women, they were still weak in faith and fearful of being arrested by the Jewish authorities.
When Jesus appeared to them he offered proof of his resurrection by showing them the different wounds of his passion, his pierced hands and side. He then calmed their fears and brought them peace. The peace which reconciles sinners and makes us friends of God.READ MORE
This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24). Today we can again sing "Hallelujah" that we have not sung all through Lent. Today we begin again to sing Glory be to God in the highest because the Lord has indeed risen. Our faith as Christians is based on the Resurrection. We rejoice today because Christ has risen from the dead, he has conquered death and the enemy of death and taken the victory over sin and death. What does this rising from the dead mean for us? It means that death no longer has the final power. It means that despair gives way to hope, darkness gives way to light, hatred gives way to love and sorrow gives way to joy. We are no longer afraid because Jesus rising from dead has liberated us from fear.READ MORE