The Seventh Sunday of Easter [C]

PLEASE NOTE:  In most dioceses of the U.S., each year the Seventh Sunday of Easter is replaced by the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension.  For the Ascension reflection, click HERE.

The Seventh Sunday of Easter [C]
Acts 7:55-60  +  Rev 22:12-14,16-17,20  +  Jn 17:20-26
June 2, 2019

In the year 398, Saint Augustine of Hippo, the greatest bishop and scholar of the first millennium of the Church, was walking one day along the shore of a sea.  He was meditating in frustration on the mystery of the God’s nature in the Holy Trinity, trying hard to get a grasp on how it could be that there is one God in three persons.  As he continued alongside the breaking waves, he came across a boy with a bucket and shovel, working away.  The bishop asked the boy what he was doing, and the boy replied that he was digging a hole in the sand into which he was going to put the sea.  Without wanting to embarrass the boy, Augustine tried simply to tell him that what he was trying was impossible.  The boy responded, “What I’m doing is no less possible than trying to fit Almighty God into your mind.” Continue reading

The Ascension of the Lord [C]

PLEASE NOTE:  In most dioceses of the U.S., every year the Ascension of the Lord replaces the celebration of the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  For the reflection for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, click HERE.

The Ascension of the Lord [C]
Acts 1:1-11  +  Ephesians 1:17-23  +  Luke 24:46-53
June 2, 2019

   “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses….”   

The Church reflects upon the Glorious Mystery of the Ascension through her Sacred Liturgy.  She does this first through the Scriptures, prayers and antiphons of today’s Mass.  These include the Preface that the priest chants or recites right before the Sanctus.  There are two prefaces for the Ascension.  In the first, the priest professes our belief—that is to say, the belief of the entire Communion of Saints—that “the Lord Jesus, the King of glory, / conqueror of sin and death, / ascended today to the highest heavens” “not to distance Himself from our lowly state / but that we, His members, might be confident of following / where He, our Head and Founder, has gone before.” Continue reading

Saturday of the 6th Week of Easter

Saturday of the 6th Week of Easter
Acts 18:23-28  +  John 16:23-28
June 1, 2019

   “The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.”   

The spiritual momentum of the Sacred Triduum and the Easter Season moves us through the Passion and Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of the Lord Jesus to the Solemnity of Pentecost.  In the Church’s celebration of Pentecost, we meditate not only on the divine origin and the divine mission of the Church. Continue reading

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Zephaniah 3:14-18  +  Luke 1:39-56
May 31, 2019

   …Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice….   

Catholic art is beautiful because it focuses on persons:  the three Divine Persons, and human persons as well.  In Catholic art that portrays today’s feast—the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother—there are four persons shown to the eye of the viewer.  Of course, two of them have to be shown indirectly because they are unborn children:  St. John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth, and Our Lord in the womb of the Blessed Virgin.  Sometimes these two unborn children are portrayed by something akin to halos shining, indicating the grace that dwells within these women through their openness to human and divine life [see the sacred image below]. Continue reading

Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter

For those living in dioceses where the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday, May 30, click HERE:

Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter
Acts 18:1-8  +  John 16:16-20
May 30, 2019

   “…you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”   

Just as the earth has two poles, so the Season of Easter has two poles:  the Resurrection and Pentecost.  Both are solemnities of great joy for Christians.  Yet each is preceded by an event of loss, of “grieving” even.  The Resurrection is preceded by the Death of the Lord, and Pentecost is preceded by the Ascension of the same Lord.  But to use the word “preceded” here is a bit lacking.  The Death and Ascension of the Lord are the “events”—the sacred “mysteries”—that make the Resurrection and Pentecost possible. Continue reading

Wednesday of the 6th Week of Easter

Wednesday of the 6th Week of Easter
Acts 17:15,22—18:1  +  John 16:12-15
May 29, 2019

   “…when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth.”   

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, the nineteenth century convert to the Church from Anglicanism, is renowned for many theological works.  One of the more famous is about the process of the “development of doctrine”.  Newman had from boyhood been a keen student of history, and later in life he said that “to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant”. Continue reading

Tuesday of the 6th Week of Easter

Tuesday of the 6th Week of Easter
Acts 16:22-34  +  John 16:5-11
May 28, 2019

   “But if I go, I will send Him to you.”   

In addition to their divinity, the divine Persons of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were both sent by God the Father into this world, filled as it is by sin and death.  Their missions differ, yet their missions converge as God’s Providential Will unfolds within salvation history. Continue reading

Monday of the 6th Week of Easter

Monday of the 6th Week of Easter
Acts 16:11-15  +  John 15:26—16:4
May 27, 2019

   “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify to me.”   

Today Jesus—still addressing us from the Cenacle, at the Last Supper—proclaims the coming of the Holy Spirit. We note from Jesus’ words that—as we profess in the Church’s Creed—the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the God the Father and God the Son.  Jesus Himself describes God the Holy Spirit as the One “whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father”. Continue reading

The Sixth Sunday of Easter [C]

The Sixth Sunday of Easter [C]
Acts 15:1-222-29  +  Revelation 21:10-14,22-23  +  John 14:23-29 
May 26, 2019

   “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit… will teach you everything….”   

This Sunday’s Gospel Reading is set at the Last Supper.  Yet Jesus speaks in veiled terms about His Ascension to the Father, which of course took place less than seven weeks after the Last Supper.  In Sunday’s Gospel Reading, we hear Jesus proclaim:  If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father”.  But how could we expect the apostles to rejoice over Jesus leaving them? Continue reading