Reading I: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 - Proofs of God's love
Reading II: Romans 8:14-17 - Sons of God through adoption
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20 - Commission of the Apostles
Key Passage: Moses said to the people, “For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of?” (Deuteronomy 4:32)
Adults: What signs of God's love have you witnessed in your life?
Child: How can you be a sign of God's love to others this week?
On special anniversaries, a married couple may wish to celebrate their union with a blessing at church. Although many parishes organize a "renewal of vows," the liturgy of the church has always avoided precisely that ceremony. Instead, the church offers texts for a Mass on the occasion of the anniversary and a blessing of the couple.READ MORE
The phenomenon of the Holy Trinity is perhaps the deepest mystery of our faith. One God, but three persons? Limited by human concepts, we can only attempt to understand the mystery. God is truly one, but God is not solitary. God is in relationship, and always has been. The intimate relationship of Father and Son and Spirit is an essential part of the identity of God. The reading from Deuteronomy alludes to another triple relationship: that of God, the Chosen People, and the Promised Land. Moses reminds the people of God’s awesome deeds, done specifically for the people God chose. Paul makes the connection that if we are sisters and brothers in Christ, we are then also children of God. We have received a “Spirit of adoption,” the Holy Spirit bearing witness to our relationship with God (Romans 8:15). Then in Matthew we have the clearest expression of the Trinity, in Jesus’ instructions to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Since the Spirit comes upon us in baptism and stays with us, Jesus is able to reassure the apostles (and us), “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
Can you identify the presence of God in the course of your life?READ MORE
The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles on the first Pentecost they celebrated after Jesus’ death and resurrection was a historical event, to be sure, but it is also an event that occurs again and again over thousands of years. The continual movement of the Spirit is apparent in the setting of that first Pentecost. The apostles clustered inside a room, doors locked, hiding from authorities. After the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, people from all over Jerusalem could hear them proclaiming their faith. Obviously, the doors and windows were open now! Like the wind, the force of the Holy Spirit could not be contained. Indeed, the fact that they were able to speak in foreign tongues, in the native languages of all people in Jerusalem no matter how far they had traveled, clarifies the mission of the disciples to spread their faith to all the known world. The Holy Spirit has reversed the effects of Babel. In Genesis, the boastful tower builders scattered to all corners of the earth once God had confused their speech. After the gift of the Holy Spirit, people from every country and of every culture gathered together to hear a message that transcended language. The Holy Spirit has no boundaries.
How is the Holy Spirit moving in your life?READ MORE
Reading I: Acts 2:1-11 - Descent of the Holy Spirit
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 - Many gifts, one Spirit, and the analogy of the body
Gospel" John 20:19-23 - Appearance to the disciples
Key Passage: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:4–5)
Adults: What gift of service have you received from the Holy Spirit and how well are you using it right now?
Child: What gift do you hope to receive from the Holy Spirit? How could you use it to serve others?
On Pentecost we insert a hymn into the Scripture readings of the day. After the second reading and before the Gospel, we sing "Veni, Sancte Spiritus," or "Come, Holy Spirit, Come!" – the sequence for Pentecost Sunday. A sequence is a hymn added to the Liturgy of the Word on special days throughout the year. Sequences are optional, except for those on Easter and Pentecost.
"Veni, Sancte Spiritus" was probably composed by Stephen Langton (1228), the archbishop of Canterbury, although some think Pope Innocent III (1216) was the author. Stephen Langton is also responsible for dividing the books of the Bible into the chapters we mostly observe today.READ MORE
Catholics share communion at Mass no more than once a day. But there are exceptions. The Catholic faithful gather once a week and share communion at the Sunday Eucharist. Some come to weekday Masses in addition. Ordinarily, we participate in no more than one Mass a day. The custom of communion only once a day restrains abuses by those who might spend their day going from Mass to Mass and communion to communion. To share communion devoutly requires good preparation. The benefits of a good communion do not quickly disappear.READ MORE
Reading I: Acts 1:1-11 - The Ascension of Jesus
Reading II: Ephesians 1:17-23 - A Spirit of wisdom
Gospel: Mark 16:15-20 - The Commissioning and Ascension
Key Passage: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. (Ephesians 1:17)
Adults: Who in your family has the gift of wisdom? How does he or she use this gift?
Child: Who is the wisest person you know? What has he or she taught you?
The Ascension marks a turning point for the disciples. This is the last time that they will see Jesus in the flesh. For years they had turned to him for guidance and direction. Jesus was right there to instruct them, to counsel them, and sometimes, to reprove them. In fact, Mark’s account Jesus directs his disciples immediately before ascending to the Father: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Now they have to take the lead. As the angels who make an appearance in the first reading say to them, “Why are you standing there looking at the sky? (Acts 1:11). They couldn’t just stand around and wait for the Second Coming. They needed to act. They were called to teach, or preach, or prophesy, or evangelize, each according to his or her talents, all “for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The Ascension, then, was the moment of transition. The church, the people of God, the Body of Christ, commissioned by Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit, though still in its infancy, was now the visible presence of God’s work here on earth. At this point the church’s mission truly begins.
How can you assist the work of the Church today?READ MORE
The Ascension of Christ, which traditionally falls on a Thursday, may be celebrated on a Sunday in certain parts of the world. The Ascension originated as a Thursday celebration because of the story of the even from the opening of the Acts of the Apostles. There, Luke says that Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to believers for 40 days then ascended to the heavens. Even though the accounts of the ascension in the Gospels suggest it took place after a shorter period of time, the liturgy of the church has honored the chronology from Acts by celebrating the Ascension on Thursday of the sixth week of Easter.READ MORE
Love one another.” We hear this directive at the beginning of the second reading (1 John 4:7) and then again at the end of the Gospel (John 15:17). The Greek word that John uses again and again is agápe, the selfless, unconditional love that God has for the world and that Jesus has for his disciples. Jesus provided the ultimate example of self-sacrificing love on the cross, but we are also challenged to exercise agápe, love that puts others before ourselves, love that knows no boundaries. In the first reading, Peter takes this challenge, visiting Cornelius, a newly converted Roman centurion. Just as Peter is telling the group that God shows no partiality, God , as if one cue, sends the Holy Spirit down upon all who had come to listen to Peter testify in Jesus’ name. That same Holy Spirit can help us be faithful to what God asks of us. This fidelity to loving God and one another means that we will remain in that love, that it will be a part of our character, our being. In this way we can “bear fruit that will remain” (John 15:16), as Peter did in the first reading, as we are called to do today.
Who do you know that is most in need of that love, the love God has shown to us?READ MORE
Reading I: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 - Peter in Caesarea
Reading II: 1 John 4:7-10 - God's love and ours
Gospel: John 15:9-17 - A disciple's love
Key PassageJesus said, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
Adults: How is love of others connected to love for God?
Child: Who needs Jesus' love this week? How can you show them his love?