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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Sunday
June 4, 2017
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

                        As a Jewish feast, Pentecost celebrates the spring grain harvest and the offering to God of the first fruits of the crops. It is a feast that celebrates a powerful beginning and a new promise of an abundant harvest. When Christians celebrate Pentecost, we see it as the beginning of a new age where our fears are transformed into joy, when pains are lessened as we learn to trust, and we speak and act courageously because we see the potential of our communion with one another. In the Resurrection, Christ defeats sin, division, and hatred; in Pentecost we celebrate his lasting peace.

            In John’s Gospel, Pentecost occurs on the day of the Resurrection. God and Jesus are immediate in sending the Holy Spirit to form the Christian community. The divine goal is that we find communion in one another and to see that the fruit of this unity is peace. While we may think of peace in certain ways – absence of conflict, maintaining status quo, lack of drama – divine peace is the restoration of the best of our relationships. Christ wishes us well-being in our daily existence. Christ wants us to live in harmony with nature, with others, and with God. We have full integrity in our actions and right relations in our intentions.

             It is important to note that being in a state of peace does not mean that everyone around you will be peaceful. We are not responsible for others’ states of mind. However, even when someone might be upset with us, we can still remain at peace, knowing that we have done our best, that our intentions were honorable, that our actions intended good for the other person, and yet we cannot satisfy everyone’s needs. The most important aspects of this is that we strive to do our best for everyone involved, that we permit others to choose and act freely, and we work for the best common solution. We may not hit the mark, but we can be satisfied with our well-intended efforts to bring about the best. In relationships, we cannot predict how others will act. In the end, we have peace because everyone knows we acted with integrity and mercy.

            Our communion is about holding out goodwill and positive regard to our neighbor; it is up to the Lord to achieve it. We issue invitations; some are accepted, others are not, but we keep trying. Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord is to be treated with mercy. The Spirit helps us to promote the common good and to bring everyone closer to God.

            This week I visited my mother who has dementia and I brought her the Blessed Sacrament. We were about to begin our prayers and she said, “Wait. Let’s invite my friend to have communion too. She needs it.” I thought to myself, “She understands it. Communion is about inviting other into the prayer so they can know God.” This is Pentecost – coming together in the presence of Jesus to share what little we have with one another. It is moving beyond ourselves to recognize the needs of others. It is recognizing our good fortune and wishing others to partake in our benevolence. It is doing the smallest things with cheerfulness and simply letting God take care of the rest.

            Pentecost is a promise that the ripple effects of God’s love will radiate from us and return to us in joy. Let us give thanks. Let us dance or sing or do whatever we can to express our gratitude for the God who works in small ways, for the God who keeps us in communion, for the God who exhausts himself trying. Let us love the ones we are with, and know our souls are filled with integrity and peace because Christ redeemed us. May the good we give to others come back to us to let us God is among us and is very happy. 
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Tobit 1) After Pentecost, Tobit sent Tobiah out to find a poor man to dine with him, but he found that a villager was murdered. Tobit took the dead man into his house and he dug a grave and buried him.  
Tuesday: (Tobit 2) Tobit slept in the courtyard, but birds dropped waste into his eyes causing cataracts so he could see no more for two years. Tobit’s wife was given a goat for payment for her job and he got angry because he thought it was surplus. Finally, is true character was showing itself.
Wednesday: (Tobit 3) Grief-stricken in spirit, Tobit groaned and wept aloud. Raguel’s daughter Sarah took abuse from a maid because her seven husbands died before they could have relations with her. She was going to kill her, but decided to pray to God to let her die. At that time, Raphael was sent to heal Tobit and to allow Sarah to marry and bear children.
Thursday: (Tobit 6) Tobit brough Tobiah to Rague’s house to meet Sarah. They married and consummated the marriage and prayed for the Lord’s blessing. 
Friday (Tobit 11) Anna watched Tobit and Tobiah coming towards him and declared that she was now ready to die. Tobit had been cured and was returning home. All the townspeople rejoiced at their good fortune. They welcomed Tobiah’s wife into the village.
Saturday (Tobit 12) Raphael told the truth. Tobit was put to the test, but God commissioned him to heal him and his daughter in law, Sarah. He revealed his name, “I am one of seven angels who enters and serves the Lord.”

Monday: (Mark 12) A man planted a vineyard and put a hedge around it, dug a wine press and built a tower. He leased it and went on a journey. When it came time to produce the harvest, the tenants killed all the servants sent to him and they killed the man’s son.  
Tuesday: (Mark 12) Pharisees and Herodians wanted to trip up Jesus. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Repay to Caesar what is his, and give to God what is his.
Wednesday (Mark 12) Sadducess asked Jesus whose husband would a woman have in heaven since her seven husbands died leaving her without descendants. Undeterred by their tactics, Jesus answered a question about the resurrection.
Thursday (Mark 12) A scribe asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment?” The scribe liked the answer of Jesus and Jesus liked his response. He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of heaven.”
Friday (Mark 12) Jesus asked, “How do scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David? David calls the Lord “Lord” so how can he be his son?
Saturday (Mark 12) Beware of the scribes because they devour the houses of widows and recite lengthy prayers, and the widows will receive severe condemnation. Just then a poor widow came forward and put into the treasury all that she had, in juxtaposition of the scribes.

Saints of the Week

June 5: Boniface, bishop and martyr (675-754), was born in England and raised in a Benedictine monastery. He became a good preacher and was sent to the northern Netherlands as a missionary. Pope Gregory gave him the name Boniface with an edict to preach to non-Christians. We was made a bishop in Germany and gained many converts when he cut down the famed Oak of Thor and garnered no bad fortune by the Norse gods. Many years later he was killed by non-Christians when he was preparing to confirm many converts. The church referred to him as the "Apostle of Germany."

June 6: Norbert, bishop (1080-1134), a German, became a priest after a near-death experience. He became an itinerant preacher in northern France and established a community founded on strict asceticism. They became the Norbertines and defended the rights of the church against secular authorities.

June 9: Ephrem, deacon and doctor (306-373), was born in the area that is now Iraq. He was ordained a deacon and refused priestly ordination. After Persians conquered his home town, Ephrem lived in seclusion where he wrote scriptural commentaries and hymns. He was the first to introduce hymns into public worship.

June 9: Joseph de Anchieta, S.J., priest (1534-1597), was from the Canary Islands and became a leading missionary to Brazil. He was one of the founders of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. He is considered the first Brazilian writer and is regarded as a considerate evangelizer of the native Brazilian population. Alongside the Jesuit Manuel de Nobrega, he created stable colonial establishments in the new country.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 4, 1667. The death in Rome of Cardinal Sforza Pallavicini, a man of great knowledge and humility. While he was Prefect of Studies of the Roman College he wrote his great work, The History of the Council of Trent.
·      Jun 5, 1546. Paul III, in the document Exponi Nobis, empowered the Society to admit coadjutors, both spiritual and temporal.
·      Jun 6, 1610. At the funeral of Henry IV in Paris, two priests preaching in the Churches of St Eustace and St Gervase denounced the Jesuits as accomplices in his death. This was due primarily to the book De Rege of Father Mariana.
·      Jun 7, 1556. Peter Canisius becomes the first provincial superior of the newly constituted Province of Upper Germany.
·      Jun 8, 1889. Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins died at the age of 44 in Dublin. His final words were "I am so happy, so happy." He wrote, "I wish that my pieces could at some time become known but in some spontaneous way ... and without my forcing."
·      Jun 9, 1597. The death of Blessed Jose de Ancieta, Brazil's most famous missionary and the founder of the cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.
·      Jun 10, 1537. Ignatius and his companions were given minor orders at the house of Bishop Vincenzo Negusanti in Venice, Italy.