June 18 – TRUST IN JESUS

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June 18 – TRUST IN JESUS

Last week we heard that, following the Ascension, the disciples, Mary, and other followers of the Lord retreated to the upper room in prayer. This week we hear that, while praying in that room, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Jesus’ post-Resurrection promise, recounted in today’s Gospel, is fulfilled: the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus’ followers. Saint Paul tells us that all of us, in some way, are given gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts that can be used to spread the Good News. Today is one of the Church’s greatest festivals. Let us carry the refrain of the responsorial psalm with us throughout the coming week: “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!” (Psalm 104:30).

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The God of the universe is mysterious. Science has not been able to solve the mystery of how the universe came into being or explain exactly what continues to give it creative energy and masterful design. No religion asserts that it has found words to name fully the ineffable mystery of God, for no matter what name we use, God always transcends our limited ability to understand. God is a mystery to be believed, not known. And yet, we Christians believe that our name for God best expresses that inexpressible mystery: God is the Most Holy Trinity of three persons united in a communion of love, pouring forth that creative, saving, sanctifying love into the world. Today’s scriptures celebrate the mystery of the Trinity and give us clues for living that mystery in our lives.

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June 4 – SEND OUT YOUR SPIRIT

Last week we heard that, following the Ascension, the disciples, Mary, and other followers of the Lord retreated to the upper room in prayer. This week we hear that, while praying in that room, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Jesus’ post-Resurrection promise, recounted in today’s Gospel, is fulfilled: the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus’ followers. Saint Paul tells us that all of us, in some way, are given gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts that can be used to spread the Good News. Today is one of the Church’s greatest festivals. Let us carry the refrain of the responsorial psalm with us throughout the coming week: “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!” (Psalm 104:30).

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This seventh Sunday of Easter is somewhat like the proverbial “calm before the storm.” The Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven and Pentecost has not yet occurred. Rather than immediately taking up Jesus’ command to go out to all the nations, the disciples gather in the upper room “with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). There they all devote themselves to prayer. The Gospel recounts the great prayer for the disciples that Jesus offered to his Father in heaven. If the words of Jesus while he was on earth finally began to sink in for the disciples, then gathering to pray was certainly the right choice, for the second reading lets us all know that to follow Christ means to have a share in his sufferings.

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May 21: People of Hope

Throughout this Easter season the readings have drawn us into the experience of the early church. We have tasted the excitement and zeal of the first Christians. Now, with them, we listen to the words of Saint Peter, who reminds us that when people notice that we are people of hope, we should be ready to explain why. This challenges us. Do others even notice that we are people of hope? In a world often marked by cynicism and hopelessness, do we stand out as people who offer hope and reassurance to others? In today’s Gospel Jesus promises that when he leaves the earth he will not leave us orphaned. Today he promises to send his Advocate, the Spirit of truth who will be with us always. Let us acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and ask the Spirit to make us people of hope.

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May 14: The Way

Today we sense the apostles’ trepidation as they begin to realize that the Lord would soon be leaving them. In their fear, they ask, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus tells them that he is the way. The Easter season has been a time of growing in Easter faith so that we, too, may learn to know that Jesus is the way. We can take comfort in the Lord’s promise that he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us, his chosen people who have been called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light. As the paschal candle continues to burn during this holy season, let us remember that in baptism we were given the light of Christ. With Christ our light as the beacon lighting our way, let us march toward the glory of Pentecost.

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The Twenty-third Psalm, today’s responsorial psalm, is arguably the best known of all the psalms. The line that reads “Even though I walk in the dark valley / I fear no evil; for you are at my side / with your rod and your staff / that give me courage” (Psalm 23:4) connects this week’s scriptures to the wonderful story of the road to Emmaus, which we heard last week. The Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is constantly at our side. He calls us each by name, beckoning us into a deeper relationship with him. That call, issued to each of us at the moment of our baptism, carries with it the promise of the Good Shepherd: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

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April 30: On the Road

One central metaphor employed to describe the Christian life is a journey. In today’s second reading, Peter addresses the early Christian community: “Conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning” (1 Peter 1:17). When we think of a journey, we normally think of some kind of movement from point A to point B. The Christian journey, begun in the waters of baptism (point A) has as its ultimate destination eternal life with God in heaven (point B). Unfortunately, we find ourselves on all kinds of detours along the way. Because of sin, we make foolish turns and sometimes seem unable to detect the presence of the Lord. Today’s story of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus illustrates for us the fact that, even when we are dejected or on one of our many detours, the Lord is there, walking right beside us.

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April 16: Rejoice and Be Glad

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad” (Psalm 118:24). Let us remember that these words of today’s responsorial psalm are not only sung from the hearts of those gathered in our parish. They are also sung by the poor in tiny barrios throughout Central and South America. They are sung by those denied religious freedom in our world; these Christians lift their voices in clandestine places of worship. These words are sung by people who have lost loved ones to acts of terrorism and war around the globe. Even in the midst of conflict and division, Christians still come together to declare that poverty, loneliness, violence, and division will never, ever have as much power as the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, let us rejoice this day and be glad!

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