Sunday, May 31, 2020

Prayers for Today

Lord, send forth Your Spirit in my life and set me on fire with the Gifts of Your Spirit.  Holy Spirit, I invite You to take possession of my soul.  Come Holy Spirit, come and transform my life.  Holy Spirit, I trust in You.

Today, Lord, we celebrate the gift of your Holy Spirit to the Church, which you won for us through your patient suffering on the cross. I believe and trust in his power to make me a better apostle of your Kingdom, to bring fervor where I have grown tepid, to instill detachment where I have become too indulgent, and to perfect the innocence of my baptism, which leaves my soul more pure and worthy to serve and honor you each day.

Lord, help me to entrust to You all suffering.  Help me to have hope in You and to fix my gaze upon Your Cross during the most troubled times of life.  Use me Lord, and use my suffering as a source of my holiness and for the upbuilding of Your Church in holiness.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Reflection for Today

The term ‘Pentecost’ is derivative of the Greek terminology Πεντηκοστή (Pentecoste) which simply means ‘fiftieth’. In its religious usage, it is originally the Jewish festival of Shavuot; seven weeks after the Passover celebration of which the name ‘festival of the weeks’ come from: “You shall count seven weeks…and you will celebrate the feast of the weeks (Deuteronomy 16: 9-10). It is an agricultural festival, the festival of the ‘first fruits’ and the offering of the first bunch of wheat. It however reminds us of the historical event of the gift of the law at Mount Sinai. Thus Shavuot is the conclusion, the end of the Passover festivities. It is in fact to give Israel the ‘Law’ that God made him come out of Egypt since a true law must be lived in freedom and true freedom consist in accepting to follow the Law of God (Fr. A. Kadavil).
Pentecost for Christians is the completion of the Easter season after fifty days of contemplation of the mystery of the resurrection. But it equally reveals the face of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity (the Holy Spirit) and manifests his operative power as He initiates the third moment of the tripartite moments of the revelation of God.
It indeed happened as a strange event. It is the event of wind and fire. The sound of the wind stirred up the whole of Jerusalem and set its inhabitants in confusion and in uproar. Those who felt they were strangers to God eventually discovered they were no more strangers because the Spirit spoke their languages. They felt the heat as the fire of the Spirit was burning in the Apostles. That is Pentecost, and that is what we celebrate today.The Apostles who were in quarantine of fear have been set free. The Spirit blows again today. The situation of our world gripped by fear and living in the hiding will surely return normalcy. The Psalmist sings it as a praise. God sends his Spirit to renew the face of the earth.

FIRST READING: Acts 2:1-11

The use of natural elements such as water, fire, air and earth was very common in the cosmogony (the origin of things) of the ancient world and the conclusions were often mythological. For example, most of the Persian, Babylonian, Greek and Asian thoughts conceived those natural elements as deities or the manifestation of the deities. Meanwhile, the interaction of these cultures and philosophies with the ancient Hebrews left a traceable mark in the biblical tradition. Many passages of the Old Testament describe the revelation of God as being accompanied by fire, cloud and even breeze (Ex. 3:2-3; 13: 21; 14:24; 19:18; 40:38; Nb. 9:15-16; 14:14; Dt. 1:33; 4:12.15.30; 5:4.22; 9:10; 10:4; Neh. 9:9.22; 1 Kgs. 19:12; Ps. 10:39; 76:14; Is. 4:5). The New Testament recorded few pages of such revelation; the transfiguration of Christ at Mount Tabor (Mt.17:1-13) and in the Apocalypse of St. John (Rev.1:4-8; 10:1 etc).
Luke describes the coming of the Spirit as that of a rush of a mighty wind. What is so extraordinary about the wind since people in that environment were used to the rushing wind? It was the of the Spirit sending message to every corner of Jerusalem and to the people of the world in their own languages, summoning them to the great event of the manifestation of the Spirit in the upper room.
The people responded to the invitation. And Luke counted the number of the invitees as coming from sixteen different geographical regions representing the people on the face of the earth. The wave of the Spirit invited them to witness the miracle of tongues that set the people free from the old age confusion of tongues caused by the same God at the event of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11). Those who were once scattered in Babel now gathered in Jerusalem. The Babel of division came to meet the Pentecost of unity whereby they no longer admire their tower of pride but instead the wonders of God. The old man of Babel, the man of pride is now intoxicated by the Spirit of God.
This outpouring of the Holy Spirit became a creation of a new world, the perfect completion of God’s creative, redemptive and sanctifying work. The Spirit hovered over the disciples whose faith at this point was still ‘shapeless’ like the shapeless world of Genesis 1:2. Yes, they received a new life in the Spirit, just like the first moment when God breathed life in man (Gen. 2:7), and their ‘bones’ which were dead in fear was fleshed up by the Spirit as in the days of Ezekiel (37:9-10).
The wine of the Pentecost made the disciples to be dazed in the Spirit. It was a new wine pressed from the ‘True Vine’ who is Christ (Jn 15:5).Those who did not taste it felt it was an alcohol. St. Cyril of Jerusalem puts it beautifully that those who thought that the Apostles were drunk at Pentecost (Acts 2:13) were correct in their observation, but they mistook their drunkenness as coming from alcoholic. This wine of the Spirit was so strong that they were uncontrollably intoxicated. It was a sober intoxication that destroyed sin and brought about new life in the Spirit. It loosened them from memory loss and made them recall all that the Lord taught them. The tongues of fire loosened their tongues of speech. The heat of the fire boiled their heart to an unimaginable degree of courage. The door that locked them away for fear of those who killed their master became an access door leading them to the people. The Spirit concluded their period of retreat and empowered them for mission. They came out well recharged. And instead of speaking incoherently in fear, they rather spoke in languages that people from every part of the world were able to understand, the language of love and faith in God made manifest in the person of Christ.

SECOND READING: I Cor 12:3-7, 12-13
The second reading is the message of Paul to the Christians of Corinth reminding them that faith in Christ is made possible through the power of the the Holy Spirit Who enriches the Church with varieties of gifts.These gifts are activated in every believer by the same Spirit uniquely for the service of the community and not for the glorification of the individuals.
Secondly, Paul insists that these gifts of the Spirit, ‘Charisma’ are equal and serve the same purpose which is the edification of the Church.
Evidently, this letter is meant to criticize the pride of action going on in the community of Corinth. The existing tendency was such that claims one gift as superior to the other. Those who had the gift of prophesy or gift of healing felt themselves more relevant in the community than those who probably had the gift of teaching. And using the analogy of the body, the Apostle underlines that every gift is indispensable (the body will certainly lose its complete nature if it is deprived of the hand, and the leg can never be called hand nor replace it).
Finally, St. Paul clarifies that the Spirit is never partial in the dispensation of his gifts. He blows wherever He wants and to whoever He wants. Thus, whether Jew or Gentile, they all drink from the same fountain of the Spirit.

GOSPEL: John 20:19-23

The Gospel gives us an account of what the French people call an “avant-goût”. It is a foretaste of the great event of Pentecost. The risen Lord anticipated the coming of the Holy Spirit, the completion of the three great moments of divine revelation. Standing before his Apostles who were gradually shrinking away in fear, He breathed upon them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was meant to sustain them to see the day of Pentecost, and to remind them that the Holy Spirit that will eventually come will be the gift of the Father to them and in his name. John conjugates the power of the Spirit as indispensably linked to the mission of the disciples when he says:“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 
It suggests that the sacramental confession is a search for the Holy Spirit, because sin has the power to put the soul to death and it is only the breath of the Spirit that can restore this life through reconciliation with God. It is equally a reminder to the Apostles that though the redemptive work has been completed on the wood of the cross which was meant to cancel the gap between man and God, but then individual weaknesses will always crucify people on the wood of sin. However, the coming of the Holy Spirit is to keep sanctifying creation already redeemed.


The Pentecost makes us to understand that the workings of the Spirit can come like the rush of a mighty wind (Acts 2:2) that immediately produced an effect on the disciples.
We have often longed for the immediacy of the action of the Spirit in our rough situations, and instead of the cool breeze of his presence, we get hot air that keeps suffocating us. We can identify the hot air when we are weighed down by sickness and old age thinking of how to survive them. It blows real hot when we lack Job opportunities and means of survival. What of shattered relationships and divided families? What of when we watch people deny us our rights and treat us as less human and kill us? Yes it’s damn hot. It is hotter when the fear of death creeps in. The message of Pentecost is a message of hope. The Apostles were not breathing a good air. They were suffocating in fear. They faced dangers and threats, but they were hopeful. They kept the faith and their constancy in prayer activated the power from above that released the rush of a mighty wind. Let us not lose hope when it blows hot because heaven has a reservoir of refreshing wind that will restore our suffocating situation. Whichever way it has been, we can be assured that there is a life changing Spirit that blows today.

The fire of the Spirit was a new baptism received by the disciples on this day. It was a fire that purified and empowered them for the mission because they cooperated with it. We have all received the Spirit through the sacraments of baptism and its fullness in the sacrament of confirmation and it is made available to us in all the sacraments. How active is the Spirit in our lives? We must be sure of the fact that the Spirit like fire can purify and also destroy. It purifies us when we are dispose to cooperate with Him. He builts us. He empowers us and makes us ablaze with the power of God. But it becomes destructive when we abuse the grace and opportunities that God gives to us through constant submission to sin and inability to accept our faults and to change.
Let us make effort to keep the fire of the Spirit burning because that’s the only way we can be identified as the followers of Christ in the midst the world of differences. Yes people gathered because they noticed something from the disciples, they noticed miraculous tongues of fire.


Come, O Holy Spirit, come! From Your bright and blissful Home Rays of healing light impart. Come, Father of the poor, Source of gifts that will endure Light of ev’ry human heart.
You of all consolers best, Of the soul most kindly Guest, Quick’ning courage do bestow.
In hard labor You are rest, In the heat You refresh best, And solace give in our woe.
O most blessed Light divine, Let Your radiance in us shine, And our inmost being fill.
Nothing good by man is thought, Nothing right by him is wrought, When he spurns Your gracious Will.
Cleanse our souls from sinful stain, Lave our dryness with Your rain, Heal our wounds and mend our way.
Bend the stubborn heart and will, Melt the frozen, warm the chill, Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful who in You, Trust with childlike piety, Deign Your sevenfold gift to send.
Give them virtue’s rich increase, Saving grace to die in peace, Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.


Sunday, May 31 Pentecost Sunday - Solemnity

First readingActs 2:1-11 ©

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues 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 foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.
  Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one 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; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 103(104):1,24,29-31,34 ©
Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the Lord, my soul!
  Lord God, how great you are,
How many are your works, O Lord!
  The earth is full of your riches.
Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.
You take back your spirit, they die,
  returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
  and you renew the face of the earth.
Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord last for ever!
  May the Lord rejoice in his works!
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
  I find my joy in the Lord.
Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

Second reading
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13 ©

In the one Spirit we were all baptised

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
  There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.
  Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Veni, sancte Spiritus

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height
Thy pure beaming radiance give.
Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure
Come, thou light of all that live!
Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow
Thou in toil art comfort sweet
Pleasant coolness in the heat
Solace in the midst of woe.
Light immortal, light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill:
If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay
All his good is turned to ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew
On our dryness pour thy dew
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will
Melt the frozen, warm the chill
Guide the steps that go astray.
Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend:
Give us comfort when we die
Give us life with thee on high
Give us joys that never end.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

GospelJohn 20:19-23 ©

As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: receive the Holy Spirit

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Sunday, May 24, 2020

So is Your Church Open

 Well I guess as the world removes itself from the lock down due to the Corona Virus  has your church opened up? Here in Ontario in Canada we have an opening for masses in drive up fashion so basically mass in parking lot. I have seen a couple of churches trying this or at least offering the Eucharist after their mass on the internet.
 But for those in other countries where churches are open how is it down and are you confident enough to go back. I see some churches where rows of pews are shut down and seating is marked out to keep social distancing rules. I have also seen almost same as before lock down where it is one big bunch of people.
 I do immensely miss going to mass but have no idea when to go back because of my medical issues I am a candidate to get this virus and be in deep trouble. I also don't understand that up until now we were basically isolated from each other to prevent or reduce spread of the virus and now almost everything back to normal. Hopefully we see some kind of decent plan for mass upcoming here in Ontario but I for one will be extremely cautious in going forward about going back but I do hope that day will come as I miss being with our Lord at mass. Take care and God Bless.

Prayers for Today

Lord, I do find that my life is filled with many ups, downs, twists and turns.  There are joys and sorrows, moments of confusion and clarity.  In all things, help me to continually say “Yes” to Your plan.  Jesus, I trust in You.
Lord, I do find that my life is filled with many ups, downs, twists and turns.  There are joys and sorrows, moments of confusion and clarity.  In all things, help me to continually say “Yes” to Your plan.  Jesus, I trust in You.
Lord, I love You and desire to be loved by You.  I know my love is far from perfect.  Lord, help me to seek You more intimately and to encounter You in the most intimate of ways.  May my spirit be filled with a longing for You, and as I meet You may I gaze upon Your glory and splendor.  May I truly become “lost” in my deep admiration of You, my God.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Reflection for Today

Taken from A Catholic Moment;

The end of Easter Season is very close as we could see it even from our directions. The Ascension of the Lord into heaven opens another important moment meant to perfect the Easter festivity; the Pentecost. The Pentecost not only concludes the Pascal mystery that reaches its “summum punctum” at Easter, but it equally perpetuates it. It is the ourpouring of the Holy Spirit that made it possible for the apostles to remember (anamnesis).
Thus the message we could derive from the readings of today is, “waiting in prayer.”
This is evidently underlined in the first reading. The second reading reports it differently as Peter invites his audience to suffer only for the sake of the Lord while waiting in patience for his manifestation in glory. And the gospel presents Jesus and his apostles waiting in prayer before his imminent passion.
We too must wait and watch in prayer.

FIRST READING: Acts 1: 12-14
The first reading reports the return of the disciples from mount Olivet where they went to see their Master off for his glorious journey into heaven. It reminds us the Old Testament account of Elisha that accompanied Elijah his master to Jericho where he was taken in the whirlwind to heaven by a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:1-14).
Thus, the return of the disciples to the upper room was the beginning of their Pentecost retreat. It was meant to be a period of incubation, waiting to be hatched by the power of the Holy Spirit, the only force capable of breaking them away from the shell of fear and timidity.
The passage refers to the humble beginning of the Church; the Church in prayer before her public mission. It is the very first time that it was reported in the scripture that the apostles with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus devoted themselves in prayer.
The emphasis made by Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles about Mary the mother of Jesus was not just to mark her presence or exalt her as the mother of Jesus, but it was an effort to emphasize her presence as an indispensable instrument in the life of the early Church. Thus, it is the passage from which the Church drew most her inspiration in affirming the centrality of Mary in the life of the Church (Mother of the Church).
Unlike the other evangelists, Luke had this particular attention in women and children in his narratives. His accounts featured a wide variety of personages, men and women, and also more open to the gentile world. He underlined in several passages the role played by women in the public ministry of Jesus. At this phase of the life of the Church, he still mentions the presence of women as a way to signal their place in the Body of Christ, the Church and as partakers of the mission that will be born on the day of Pentecost.
Luke was very clear about the agenda for the gathering in the upper room. He underlined prayer as a preparatory activity towards the Pentecost in order that they may have a clear understanding of the directives of the Holy Spirit when He comes.
This passage is the inspirational source for what we have today as Pentecost novena.

SECOND READING: 1 Peter 4:13-16
Driving is made easy, enjoyable and faster when the road is smooth. But the moment one comes across a rough road, he suffers to roll the vehicle. However, the irony is that one on a smooth road is more exposed to accident because of the temptation of going on a high speed. On the contrary, the one who drives on the rough road carefully makes sure that his vehicle does not suffer damages. This could be analogous to faith experience. Sometimes when life is smooth, faith may suffer banality because one may be carried away forgetting that smoothness carries risks. On the other hand, faith lived amidst challenges could weigh hard, but with applied patience it is sure and safer. Suffering is an existential reality inevitably imprinted in the life of man. But when this man is connected to his God through faith, he often expect that it should be the end of his suffering. And if this expectation is not met, the faith suffers.
This is the pastoral challenge that Peter deals with in today’s epistle. The Jewish converts to Christianity had the challenge of giving up many of the long-cherished traditions of their fathers that made their Jewish friends to desert them. And for the Gentile converts, embracing christianity was indeed a real struggle, a breaking away from a life they were very much used to. But then Peter reminds them that their interior struggle and suffering of any sort must be for the sake of righteousness. For suffering as a murderer, a thief, a wrong-doer, a mischief-maker has no link in the passion of Christ who suffered for the sake of righteousness. And if they have to suffer for the sake of Christ, then it should be a privilege and a thing of joy: “Rejoice, to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ.  Whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but should glorify God because of the Name.” 
God in Jesus identifies with us in our human conditions. We are never left alone. And when we suffer for his sake or when we embrace the challenges that come our way with faith and constancy in him, then he allows us to undergo a process of purgation which is a necessary means to our salvation. Let our suffering therefore be just and in righteousness, for it is only then that it will be identified with the suffering of Christ. It is only then that it becomes salvific.

GOSPEL: John 17:1-11
Today’s Gospel gives us the first part of Jesus’ solemn prayer at the Last Supper. John presents it not just as a prayer but also as an account of a mission accomplished. It is a passage popularly described as the High priestly prayer of Jesus.
The “Birkat Kohanim” is a priestly blessing described by the Torah as reserved only to Aaron and his sons (the priestly lineage). But then it is Yahweh himself who dictates the formula for the blessing: “This is how you must bless the Israelites. You will say: May Yahweh bless you and keep you. May Yahweh let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May Yahweh show you his face and bring you peace.”This is how they must call down my name on the Israelites, and then I shall bless them.’ (Nb 6:23-27).
John closes Jesus’s last moment with his Apostles with this episode of solemn priestly benediction. He presides as High Priest, offering himself first of all as victim for the sins of the world, and intercedes for his disciples, the 12 new tribes of Israel through whom the new people of Israel will be born just as the high priest interceded for people of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The first part of the prayer is centred on Jesus who asks the Father to cloth him with the eternal glory he shared with him from the beginning as a remuneration of his faithfulness to the mission accomplished. He equally consecrates himself to the Father as an eternal offering, a perfect victim for the redemption of the world.
In the second part of the Prayer, Jesus petitions the Father to bless his apostles because they acknowledged his divine sonship and accepted his Word. He contrasts the identity of his apostles with the world. The world in this context means not accepting Jesus as the Son of God and not believing in the Word of God.
This passage of the gospel of John is known as the longest prayer of Jesus in all the four gospels. It offers two key dimensions of prayer:
Prayer as a thanksgiving: Jesus began first by acknowledging his submissiveness to the Father who alone can glory him, and further glorified the Father just like in the Hallowed be your name of the traditional “Pater Noster”
Prayer of petition: Jesus showed this to be the inferior part of prayer. It is a request to God that asks him to fulfill a need. It is a prayer that acknowledges God as a provident Father in whom all things depend. Here Jesus begs his Father to bless those he has given him. From this particular dimension of prayer, he demonstrated one of the attitudes of prayer; ‘the prayer of intercession.’ It is a prayer of mediation; standing for and on behalf of the other.

The best motto for any believer should be “in everything, prayer.” Prayer is not only an act but it is a way of life. It is an expression of our ‘belongingness’ to the Father. It is the breath of the spirit and soul of the christian life. Just like an automobile requires an energy generating element in order to move, the life of a believer remains static without prayer.
Jesus teaches us today of the need to renew our prayer life by always lifting our eyes to heaven. When John says Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, it signifies something more than just an attitude of prayer. It is a pointer to those who believe that their life must transcend beyond this world, and that it is only through their constant gaze on the Father that they will be able to defeat the ‘world’.

Prayer is an expression of our being, and our being is a being from God. Thus, our life has no meaning apart from the one it derives from its Owner.
Jesus said, “I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world.” In other words, I have lived the way you wanted that I should live. There is no other way to glorify the Father than through the type of life we live. When we live the life of integrity, we are glorifying the Father. When we are honest and truthful in our dealings with other, we glorify the Father. And when we refuse to close our eyes in pretence from seeing those wounded by life or shut our ears from the cry of the poor or allow our hearts to feel their pain and our hands to come to their aid, then we glorify the Father.

As today Mark’s the end of the one week celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si” of the Holy Father Pope Francis’ we are invited to pray. “All is connected” is the beautiful theme that guided the one week reflection in which the Holy Father asks us, “What type of world do we wish to leave behind for those who will come after us, to the kids who are growing up?” And he invites us to an urgent need of responding to the ecological crisis, the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor who could wait no longer. We must take care of creation, gift of our good God, the Creator.
The viral epidemic we are suffering today, the global warming and other harms are as a result of greedy and frivolous attitude of man towards his God, his fellow man and the rest of creation.
Let us renew our intention and transform our approach in order to promote an integral ecology.

Maranatha, come oh Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life.

Seventh Sunday of Easter May 24 2020

Reading 1ACTS 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles
returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.
When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1, 4, 7-8

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 21 PT 4:13-16

Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the name.

AlleluiaJN 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 17:1-11A

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.
“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Prayers for Today

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. 
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 "O God, you are the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings and the bestower of affection, who sends peace to those who receive it. Open to us this day the sea of your love and water us with abundant streams from the riches of your grace and from the most sweet springs of your kindness.  Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace; enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen our weakness by your power; bind us closely to you and to each other in our firm and indissoluble bond of unity."

 Lord, as I begin this prayer, I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Reflection for Today

From A Catholic Moment;

We have all lived this year’s Lent as a complete desert experience, and the Easter season in total restriction with no possibility of liturgical gathering. Now the Easter light is gradually going off, yet we still feel the Lenten desert experience within us.
Can there still be a new perspective to our hope? The Gospel reading today says yes. Jesus says he cannot leave his own like orphans. The experience of Pentecost which is the height of Easter season is a dawn of a new hope. Jesus promises to send the Paraclete whose role is not just to revive our hope but to plead on our behalf.
The promise is an official inauguration of the dawn of a new era meant to complete the tripartite moments of revelation of the Three Persons in the Blessed Trinity (creation, redemption and sanctification); consubstantially One and present in every single moment of the history of salvation, yet each distinguishable in relation to these moments.
Thus as we approach the feast of Pentecost, the Church invites us to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit as a lived experience. And as many hearts are cold and many hopes are lost, and as darkness and forlorn seem to curb our daily living, indeed we need the Holy Spirit, the comforter to be in our company (Jn 14:17). The light of his presence will certainly brighten the future and revive lost hopes.

The martyrdom of Stephen (deacon and first Christian martyr) was the beginning of a bloody persecution of the Church that lasted for more than two centuries before the edit of emperor Constantine that legalized christianity as the religion of the empire (edit of Milan 313 AD).
The chapter 7 of the Acts of the Apostles which ended with the story of the martyrdom of Stephen equally opened the history page of Saul, the famous zealous persecutor of the Church. The outbreak of a bitter persecution caused the Christians in Jerusalem to scatter and with the Apostles taking refuge within the country districts of Judaea and Samaria thus fulfilling the words of the risen Lord:”You are to be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem, but throughout Judea and Samaria, yes even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).”
Today’s narrative of the mission of Philip (one of the newly chosen deacons) featured within the same pericope of the outbreak of persecution, tells the story of the first fruits of the gospel sown outside the city of Jerusalem. The proclamation of the gospel in this ‘pagan’ land was accompanied by exorcism and healing, both of which testify the power of the gospel; the expulsion of evil and the implantation of good. The seed of the gospel sown could not possibly grow unless it is watered by the Holy Spirit. This was the reason why the Apostles Peter and John went down to Samaria, and through the laying on of hands, the inhabitants received the Holy Spirit.

1. Hence we bear the Spirit of God in us, we are protagonists of the Word regardless of our status. The first Christian martyr was Stephen, the deacon, and today the first to sow the seed of the Word outside Jerusalem is Philip, the deacon. Those who were originally chosen to the service of charity eventually became bearers of the Word. We mustn’t belong to the college of the Apostles before we know that we are called to testify Christ, in other words, we mustn’t be ordained ministers in order to proclaim the Word. How do we participate in making Christ known? In which way do we contribute towards the spreading of the seed of the kingdom?

2. Sometimes God uses difficult moments to manifest his glorious power. Indeed the persecution was a bitter experience for the disciples, but it equally caused the spread of the gospel. The Apostles did not give up. One of the best attitudes everyone of us should put on in this life is never to give up in doing good. When it is dark in ‘your Jerusalem, surely if you persist, your light will shine in Samaria.’ Do not give up.

The power of God is so marvellous that it operates even in the midst of impossible situations. It is difficult to imagine how the Word continued to spread even when constantly choked. The answer is the Holy Spirit. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, God kept his own in the midst of persecutions. Peter exalts the Christians today to always reverence God even when their suffering increases for the sake of the gospel. He enjoins them never to be resentful against their persecutors insisting that their gentleness and steadfastness in witnessing to Christ will be a source of downfall and shame to their enemies. Finally, he invites them to see their suffering as a participation in the suffering of Christ who reconciled humanity with God through suffering.

GOSPEL: John 14:15-21
The gospel page today is a continuation of the discourse of Jesus as we saw last sunday. John accounts that the gathering at the upper room cannot be dismissed without Jesus’s solemn promise to his disciples to send them the Paraclete. The Koine Greek Parakletos refers to one who helps in the law court. And its usage in Hebrew transcription refers to one who advocates before God’s court (generally associated with the role angels and prophets) or as presented in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament) as comforter. It is used by Jesus today for the first time in John’s gospel to show the the identity and role of the Holy Spirit (advocate, helper, intercessor, mediator). Though Jesus is the advocate of mankind before the Father (1 Jn 2:1) and during his life time on earth, he offered intercessory prayers on behalf of his people, but since he will not be physically present with his disciples, he promises the gift of the Holy Spirit who will not only inaugurate another moment in the history of salvation but will also perpetuate the mission of the Christ.


John presents Jesus as indeed a true friend who is not just concerned with the now of his disciples but also their future: “I will not leave you like orphans.” 
With this we learn that we are never alone in our sufferings and pains and trials and even death. Jesus walks with us daily and shields us from the works of the Evil One.


Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit is not selective. He does not discriminate. Just like we saw in the first reading, the Holy Spirit received in Jerusalem is the same received in Samaria. The Power of God does not respect borders. It breaks through every land and in every people. But let us know that we can cause this Spirit to be ‘selective and discriminatory’ through our actions that are repulsive and incompatible with his presence. When we do not have the Spirit then we are living for nothing. He is the “Pneuma” (the breath) that sustains our divine life. Therefore, we must always be open to the action of the Spirit, who alone can fruitify our lives.


All of us are beneficiaries of the fraternal love of Christ. He makes his grace available to all. But there is a price we have to pay if we must continue to enjoy his friendship. He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Most of us are often tempted to say, “He understands that we are human and that we are weak. Of course, Jesus understands us perfectly well, and has always been merciful. But one day, we may not have the opportunity for his mercy. If we truly love him, we must first recognize that the same habitual sin is not compatible with him, and never for any reason give excuses for our weaknesses.
If we love him, we must renew our lives daily in holiness by transforming our weaknesses and characters. Let us say no to ‘I am human’ syndrome for it impedes us from spiritual growth.
Almighty and Eternal God who through the regenerating power of baptism has been pleased to confer on us heavenly life, grant we pray that through the outpouring of your Spirit, we may be empowered for the gospel and aspire for the life of immortality. Amen.

6th Sunday of Easter Sunday 17 May 2020

First reading
Acts 8:5-8,14-17 ©

They laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit

Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.
  When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 65(66):1-7,16,20 ©
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
  O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
  Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
‘Before you all the earth shall bow;
  shall sing to you, sing to your name!’
Come and see the works of God,
  tremendous his deeds among men.
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
He turned the sea into dry land,
  they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him;
  he rules for ever by his might.
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
Come and hear, all who fear God.
  I will tell what he did for my soul:
Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer
  nor withhold his love from me.
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Second reading1 Peter 3:15-18 ©

In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life

Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
  Why, Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.

Gospel AcclamationJn14:23
Alleluia, alleluia!
Jesus said: ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.’

GospelJohn 14:15-21 ©

I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth
whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees nor knows him;
but you know him,
because he is with you, he is in you.
I will not leave you orphans;
I will come back to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me,
because I live and you will live.
On that day you will understand that I am in my Father
and you in me and I in you.
Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’