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June 4, 2010

June 5th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 6 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for June 5th are Sorrowful.

 

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Vigil of Pentecost

Acts 2: 1-11

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met together, when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.

    Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, and each one was bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely,’ they said, ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; residents of Rome—Jews and proselytes alike—Cretans and Arabs, we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

      

Psalm 104: 1, 24, 29-31, 34

Bless Yahweh, my soul, 
Yahweh, my God, how great you are! 
Clothed in majesty and splendour,

How countless are your works, Yahweh, 
all of them made so wisely! 
The earth is full of your creatures.

Turn away your face and they panic; 
take back their breath and they die 
and revert to dust. 
Send out your breath and life begins; 
you renew the face of the earth. 

Glory to Yahweh for ever! 
May Yahweh find joy in his creatures!

May my musings be pleasing to him, 
for Yahweh gives me joy.
 

 

Romans 8: 8-17

and those who live by their natural inclinations can never be pleasing to God. You, however, live not by your natural inclinations, but by the Spirit, since the Spirit of God has made a home in you. Indeed, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But when Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead has made his home in you, then he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you. 

    So then, my brothers, we have no obligation to human nature to be dominated by it. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the habits originating in the body, you will have life.

All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint–heirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.

 

John 14: 15-16, 23b-26

If you love me
    you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Paraclete
to be with you for ever,

Anyone who loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him, 
and we shall come to him
and make a home in him.
Anyone who does not love me
    does not keep my words.
And the word that you hear
     is not my own:
it is the word of the Father who sent me.
I have said these things to you
while still with you;
but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.

 

May 22, 2010

I hope you have the impression that today is a very special feast. We have a special Vigil Mass with its own readings and prayers. Christmas, Easter, the birth of John the Baptist, and the feast of the Assumption are the only other feasts that have a special Vigil Mass. There is a wider assortment of readings we can choose from than there is on an ordinary Sunday. I asked parishioners to wear the color red in honor of the Holy Spirit. If you were to go to Mass tomorrow, you would also see there is a sequence. The only other feast that has a sequence that is a required part of the liturgy is Easter. Today is the third most important feast in the Church year, the feast that celebrates the completion of Jesus' saving work with his sending of the Holy Spirit.

Our first reading today is one of my favorites. At the time of Ezekiel (600 BC), God's people did not have any idea of individual or personal resurrection. Ezekiel, in his vision of a field of dry bones, is referring to the nation of Israel that was at that time in Exile in Babylon. They had given up hope of ever returning home or of ever being a nation again. They thought their race and nation were dead. Ezekiel is telling them God would bring them back from exile and raise them up. I should also add, no one knew about the Trinity at that time in history. When Ezekiel refers to God's Spirit in today's first reading, he is referring to God's power to bring about life.

HOMILY: Today's gospel describes the Spirit as a river of living water. When John tells us, "there was no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified," he is not saying the Holy Spirit did not exist. He is saying the Holy Spirit had not yet been imparted to Jesus' followers. They had to wait until Jesus ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit upon them.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived in the fourth century, asked this question in his commentary on today's gospel: "Why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water?" He answers the question this way: "Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water." In other words: water brings life. It's that simple. Without water life cannot exist. When we recite the Creed, we profess that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life.

The Holy Spirit is our connection with Christ. It is through the Spirit that we share in Christ's life. This is one of the basic gifts the Spirit gives us, a sharing in Christ's life. As with any life, our life in Christ is meant to be an active life. When a person is alive but they are inactive, it is either that they spend too much time in front of the TV or they are comatose. When the Spirit makes us alive in Christ, the Spirit also gives us gifts that help this life in Christ to flourish. According to St. Paul, such gifts are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. (Galatians 5, 22 & 23) The Spirit also gives us gifts to help us live that life in service of others - many of which are named in the letters of St. Paul. Another way the Spirit helps us is mentioned in tomorrow's gospel. Jesus told us the Spirit will teach us and remind us of all that Jesus taught us.

The Spirit helps us individually, but the Spirit also helps us in and through the Church. Before Jesus died he established a community of believers and gave that community teachers and leaders. It was on this community, which is the Church, that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. (This is why Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church.) The Spirit touches our lives through this community, through its beliefs, its values, its sacraments, its teachings and through our love for one another as members of the same body of Christ of which we are a part as St. Paul will tell us tomorrow.

Sometimes people drop away from their religion. They claim to be spiritual people, but they have little use for organized religion. We should not be surprised that people who are an active part of a religious organization are not perfect. Christ did call sinners to follow him. Those who abandon organized religion and claim to be "spiritual" may have forgotten that if they are living by God's Holy Spirit, the Spirit would be calling them to be one with other believers so they can share in the many ways the Spirit works through the Church. It was a major part of Christ's prayer at the Last Supper that his followers be one as he and the Father are one, and surely the Spirit would be prompting Jesus' followers to follow Christ's wishes. Sometimes I wonder when someone tells me they are spiritual, but they snub organized religion, whether it is the Holy Spirit whose lead they are following or the spirit of our times that is relatively careless about our responsibilities toward God.

In today's second reading Paul tells us how the Spirit helps us as we pray. One of the special ways the Spirit helps us in prayer is in the Eucharist. And so we continue on, asking the Holy Spirit to help us offer ourselves and our love to our heavenly Father.

   

 

  

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July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

"I will use the newsletter and the chapters of Shepherds of Christ Associates as a powerful instrument for spreading devotion to My Heart and My Mother's Heart.

"I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)

 

  

 

  


 

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