Archives: May 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051516.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.   This Feast celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.   Along with Christmas and Easter this is the third great Feast of our Church year.  Unfortunately, coming at the beginning of summer, Pentecost doesn’t get nearly as much attention as Christmas and Easter.   

The readings for Mass on the Saturday evening Vigil of Pentecost are different from the Readings for Mass on Pentecost Sunday.   The link above is to the readings of the day, not the readings for the Vigil.   Our Gospel reading tells us that “On the evening of that first day of the week ……….Jesus cam and stood in their midst.”  After twice telling them:  “Peace be with you.”  Jesus then “breathed on them” and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”    

The above scene from the Gospel stands in contrast to our First Reading this Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles.   In that reading we are told that “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.  And suddenly there came a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.   Then  there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues…….”  

Taken together these readings remind us that sometimes the Holy Spirit comes in subtle and quiet ways.  At other times, though, the Spirit comes in a dramatic and intense manner.  It is the same Spirit, though, that is given to all of us and that continues to guide our Church.  

Our second reading this Sunday is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.   In it we are reminded that: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit ………… To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”    

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When and/or how have you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? 
  2. What gift(s) of the Holy Spirit have you been given? 
  3. In what ways have you seen the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifested in the lives of others?   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050816-ascension.cfm 

Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord.   This Feast used to be celebrated on the Thursday before the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  Several years ago, though, the Bishops of the United States moved the celebration of the Ascension to what had been the Seventh Sunday of Easter. 

Our Gospel this Sunday is the last few verses of the Gospel of Luke.   In it we are told that Jesus led his disciples as far as Bethany and then told them he was “sending the promise of my Father upon you” Then,…………he raised his hands and blessed them.  As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.”    

The above scene is also recorded in our first reading this Sunday from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.  In this account Jesus promised his disciples “………. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you………… When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”   

As I reflected on these readings, I remembered a wonderful homily preached by another priest at his mother’s funeral.  In his homily he noted that while his mother had died, she would continue to live on.  He then went on to name various people and situations where his mother’s presence would be known and felt.   His message was clear, while physically gone, his mother’s presence would continue to be experienced.   This is the same message of our Gospel and first reading.   While Jesus would no longer be with his disciples physically, he would continue to be with them.   We experience this abiding presence of Christ in many ways, but most evidently in the Eucharist, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the grace of God that is continually being offered to us.     

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.  In it Paul prays that the “eyes of your hearts be enlightened and that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call ………………..and what is the surpassing greatness of his power.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When have you felt someone’s presence even though they were not physically with you?   
  2. When have you felt God’s presence in your life?
  3. I loved Paul’s use of the phrase “eyes of your heart.”  When have you seen some one/thing through the eyes of the heart?  

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