This week we prepare for Pentecost and remember what St. Peter said that “this event was the beginning of a continual outpouring that would be available to all believers from that point or, Jews and Gentiles alike.” Jesus is inviting us to receive the Holy Spirit and take on the “missionary option” to be able to share the JOY of the GOSPEL to others.
The Church’s closeness to Jesus is part of a common journey; “communion and mission are profoundly interconnected”. In fidelity to the example of the Master, it is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded. That is what the angel proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem: “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people (Luke 2:10). The Book of Revelation speaks of “an eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tongue and tribe and people (Rev. 14:6) –Evangelii Gaudium #23
“Evangelization with joy becomes beauty in the liturgy, as part of our daily concern to spread goodness. The church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving. “ (Part of EG #24)
As a disciple of the Verbum Dei Missionary Family, we “aspire to live our dedication to prayer and ministry of the Word in the spirit of the First Christian Community and of the Twelve Apostle in their dedication to prayer and ministry of the Word, with the untiring missionary zeal of St. Paul, in his proclamation of the Word, formation 0f apostles, and creation of evangelizing communities: (VD statutes #37)
We are invited to keep our missionary fervor alive which entails full trust in the Holy Spirit. Do you need to live this invitation?
May all be One
“If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised; all the other parts share its happiness.”
(1 Corinthians 12:26)
“I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.”
A true community entails each of us to share our life --- placing our time, talents and treasure at the service of others. If we pay attention to the riches of our brothers and sisters (since even the most humble, poor and uneducated Christian may have riches of a moral or artistic order) then the spirit will awaken in us unsuspected capabilities which will enable us to serve, love and glorify our Lord.
Love one Another
“You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.”
“If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
Love which is like God’s, aims at liberating our neighbor and enabling him to fully develop his God given gifts. True love comes from God and makes us return to unity within God. How do you love God? Your neighbor? Can you count the ways?
Live among the believers
“Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.”
“Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And everyday the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.”
A daily humble conversion is needed to be able to relate in a harmonious manner with other believers. This, along with joy and simplicity of heart will lead to an authentic fraternal sharing. Ask the Holy Spirit for the needed grace to be able to treat others as a brother and sister for God to renew you in His own image.
Be shepherds of the church
“In the following instructions, however, I do not praise you, because your meeting for worship actually do more harm than good. In the first place, I have been told that there are opposing groups in your meetings; and this I believe is partly true. (No doubt there must be divisions among you so that the ones who are in the right may be clearly seen.) When you meet together as a group, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For as you eat, you each go ahead with your own meal, so that some are hungry while others get drunk. Don’t you have your own homes in which to eat and drink? Or would you rather despise the church of God and put to shame the people who are in need? What do you expect me to say to you about this? Shall I praise you? Of course I don’t!”
(1 Corinthians 17-22)
“So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son. I know that after I leave, fierce wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. The time will come when some men from your own group will tell lies to lead the believers away after them. Watch, then, and remember that with many tears, day and night, I taught everyone of you for three years.”
Jesus is reminding us about the call to self-sacrifice for those who serve God. To be responsible in the mission as such that we don’t need to be constantly pushed. Likewise, we need to be watchful about divisions for we do not own the church- we are its servants. Are you a good, faithful, loving, loyal servant of the Church?
Keeping up the Faith
“Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow you. Jesus answered, ‘Truly whoever has left house or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands for my sake and for the Gospel, will not lose his reward. I say to you; he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time- and persecutions as well! And in the world to come he will receive eternal life. Do pay attention: Many who now are first will be last, and the last, first.”
“Consider yourselves fortunate, my brothers, when you meet with every kind of trial, for you know that the testing of your faith makes you grow. Let your steadfastness become perfect with deeds, that you yourselves may be perfect and blameless, without any defect. If any one of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God for it, because he gives to everyone easily and unconditionally. But he should ask with faith, not doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave driven and tossed on the sea by the wind. Such a person should not expect anything from the Lord. He is a divided man and his conduct will always be insecure.”
We are not in this world to have a good time. We are here to do the Father’s will (to love, serve and glorify God). A person who has not suffered knows very little. Take trials as a way to increase in God’s wisdom and love. One who sacrifices for the kingdom will find fulfillment, joy and peace in this life and to the next life.
A new life in Christ
“But do not dwell on the past, or remember the things of the old. Look, I am doing a new thing: it springs forth now. Do you not see? I am opening up a way in the wilderness and rivers in the dessert.”
Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection, suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist; all around us we see persistent injustice, evil indifference and cruelty. But it also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always reemerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew; it rises transformed through the storms of history. Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.
Jesus makes everything new each day. Amidst the tribulations and sorrows in life Christ is the living water refreshing, sustaining and giving us life. Jesus’ resurrection brings forth goodness and holiness which tends to spread and makes us more sensitive to the needs of others. Do you firmly believe in the power of the resurrection?
First Reading- Acts 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm- Psalm 104:1-34
Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 12:3-13
Gospel- John 20:19-23
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.