(Acts 2: 1-11 1 Corinthians 12: 3-7, 12-13 John 20: 19-23)
At the beginning of Easter, we were reminded of the need of the Light of Christ from which we glow as divided flames of the undimmed fire of the Morning Star to brighten and dispel the darkness of the world which represents sin and death, to enable us come and share in the Life of Christ. Christ becomes the true Morning Star whose light never sets but sheds his peaceful light on humanity. If we glue together with Christ and make use of his abundant graces, we share build up the Body of Christ which is set ablaze by the fire of the Holy Spirit to make our lives and the world holy to praise our God and Creator.
Just as the early weak and feeble people were empowered by the outpouring gifts of the Holy Spirit to give true and authentic witness to Christ, so we who go through the life of the sacraments are empowered by the graces contained in them to give a similar witness to Christ in our time and place. By putting every aspect of our gifts together in the service of others, we shall truly become the light and life of Christ. This requires us to cooperate with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we give up every ounce of our beings in an act of sacrifice working for the wellbeing of ourselves and of the Holy Church. Our Mother Mary and all the Saints gave up their wills and their personal interests and allowed God to use them as the instruments of evangelization and catechesis. We too can imitate them today and forever to set the world on fire for the love and knowledge of God through the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we allow our lives to be totally consumed and transformed by the empowering and purifying fire of the Holy Breath of God.
(Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48 1 John 4: 7-10 John 15: 9-17)
The love of God for us is expressly shown and felt through the immensity of his mercy and goodness towards us. Though we knowingly misuse our trust in God and shun his friendship by choosing our sinful selves over the gracious presence of God, God still comes to us by creating a new and eternal covenant with us so that those who abide in this new covenant might have eternal life. We ought to express the love and mercy we receive from God with others.
We cannot claim we love God and at the same time we disrespect our neighbors; there should be a correlating causality between being loved by God and allowing that love shine through our lives by the way we love one another. God always reconsiders and respects our wretchedness due our sins. He also clothes us with the mantle of his healing grace. Why can we not respect and reconsider those in our lives who are in most need of our respect, reconsideration and love in the manner we receive these from God? It is by showing and sharing the love of God we have with others that we shall bear much fruit in the work of evangelization and catechesis. We cannot claim to love God, or have love, if the way we understand and express love is for our personal and selfish gratification. True love is equated and calibrated by the love of Christ on the Cross.
(Acts 9: 26-31 1 John 3: 18-24 John 15: 1-8)
The essence of walking the faith we profess is made a mandate in today’s readings. If we want to make people come to believe in the Gospel then we must do it the way Christ did it: he showed his enormous love by dying for the sake of sinners who are in most need of God’s mercy. Jesus, though in the form of God, learned obedience through humility, and he allowed God’s will be done. This is what we too have been asked to do: to allow God’s will be done in us as we place our lives in the hands of God as tools to make sensible and tangible his presence and love in the world. Without this total abandonment of our lives and a dependence on God’s graces, we shall fail in whatever agenda we propose and advance in the name of the Gospel.
Sometimes, we think we cannot achieve putting the faith into action; but, with God everything is possible. One human in particular, Mary, and many other Saints, have made it work by their dependence on God’s graces. As we celebrate the Month of May, a month during which we celebrate the blossoming of new life with such an unbelievable fragrance as a reminder of the fruit of the earth for us to thank God for his goodness, we ponder on the way we too are blossoming in the faith. If we are not blossoming, then we need to come back and attach ourselves to the main tree in order to bear quality fruits in due season. Failure to do this will see us fail and fail again in misery. Adam and Eve did not depend on God’s will and failed; Jesus and Mary depended on God’s will and succeeded in the missions entrusted to them.
(Acts 4: 8-12 1 John 3: 1-2 John 10: 11-18)
Last week, by implication and association, we were asked by Jesus to preach about the mercy of God that brings us so much needed forgiveness of our sins through an act of repentance on our part, starting with us who have already embraced the truth of the faith. As it is said in other quarters that no one can give that which is naught, so we cannot go out and preach to others what we do not have; we have to embrace the faith in the promises of Christ with our trust, and with that we will be able to give a positive witness to what we hold and believe in Christ. In this case we shall avoid the problem which many believers experience: preaching oneself devoid of the truth of Christ.
To effectively spread and witness to the Good News of salvation, we ought to do it in, with, and through Christ; there is no other way we can successfully achieve any goal of evangelization and catechesis because the very tenet and core message of the two activities is God whose refulgence is Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Any other message apart from this is purely man-made and destined for deceit, slander, and chaos; there should always be a sense of unity and centrality in the transmission and witnessing of the faith. Jesus, therefore, cannot be eliminated from the equation of witnessing through an evangelical life worthy of emulation. With this, we can help ourselves before helping others to repent and believe in the Good News of salvation to keep ourselves pure since the grace of God in us will be activated to the fullest to help us achieve the goal of Christian perfection.
(Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19 1 John 2: 1-5 Luke 24: 35-48)
One may rightly ask: What is the point of going to Church or striving to be holy if God has already taken away our sins through the debt paid by his Only Begotten Son out of love for us? But there is a flaw with this kind of questioning which presumes that the expatiation of our sins makes us into robots without any use of freewill and its consequences. The debt paid for our ransom by Christ, indeed, has taken away the root of sin to bring us to a life of glory and holiness. As it were, it is a gracious gift from God to us, and it ought to be accepted so that we might benefit from all the goodness contained in the gift itself. Here is where our response to grace and faith called belief comes to play. If we act positively to the gift of grace we shall have the consequential effect of a holy and glorious life; if we decide to use our freewill to act negatively to the same gift of grace, we shall also have a corresponding dire consequential effect of shame and disgrace. So, this leads to another similar question: why then is it important to strive to be religious?
Religion makes us depend on God so that we might have the strength to live above our self-inflicted weakness. We are, thus, enabled by God’s graces to do good and shun evil. Going to Church helps us to celebrate the two major intertwining themes of the year, “Christ our Light” and “Christ our Life”. The Liturgy of the Word sets up the fire and flame of the Light of Christ in our hearts, making the hearts throb with joy and ecstasy to savor the goodness of the Life of Christ in the Holy Communion we have with Christ in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. No other institution in the world will anyone find such a succor to our ailing and failing selves that badly need healing and salvation. Going to Church and worthily participating in the mysteries of the Liturgies, despite our unworthiness, is far more recommendable than rejecting the idea to join with others to worship God as a sign of our concerted effort to lean on God to avoid the occasion of drifting and falling away from the graces of God meant for repentance leading to our redemption and salvation.
Tuesday Mass & Adoration 4-6pm
Wednesday - Friday 7:45am
(Sunday, 24 May 2015)
(Sunday, 31 May 2015)