In the Acts of the Apostles, the apostles received the Holy Spirit in the symbols of fire and wind, and immediately left the safety of the Upper Room to proclaim the Good News. The apostles were doing exactly what Jesus did before He was put to death. They were risking their lives, losing their lives, for the Kingdom of God. They gave up their safe place, for the safety of the Kingdom.
News in Homilies
Today we celebrate the Ascension. As we say in the Profession of Faith, Jesus "ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father." Before explaining what this means I will try to summarize what we have learned in the homilies since Easter.
The disciple who, during dinner, rested his head on the breast of the Lord revealed to us that God is love, only love and everyone who loves is begotten of him.
To internalize the message, we repeat: “When I will understand Love, I will learn to love.”
The same Christ who in today's Gospel says, "...every branch that does bear fruit He prunes to make it bear even more." Our limited vision, says Christ, needs constant updating. But He does not tell us to grow fruit. In five verses, He tells us eight times to abide in Him.
The light of Easter dissolved forever the darkness and the shadow of death: this world is not a tomb, but the womb in which to grow and prepare for life without limits, without boundaries. Creation will result in a new heaven and a new earth (2 P 3:13).
The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter is always from John 20: 19-31, the Gospel of Doubting Thomas. Perhaps, the reason for this is that the second part of this Gospel takes place the Sunday after the Resurrection. But there is more than this.
Jesus, a Man, not a Superman. The cross was the most cruel and horrible instrument of punishments. It was the capital punishment reserved for bandits, rebellious slaves, the marginalized of society, those guilty of heinous crimes. To profess oneself as a follower of the crucified? A madness! A shame, a choice contrary to common sense.
The days are coming when I will write my law deep within their hearts. All of them, from the least to the greatest will know that I am their God. In the first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah spoke about a time when God's people would be so united to God that they would know within themselves how to serve Him. That time is now.
We call upon God during Lent to restore beauty to his world. We call upon God to teach us once more what true love is. And God answers with the simple sentence that Jesus gave Nicodemus: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."
This Sunday’s gospel put Jesus' knowledge of our human nature so clearly: He really knew what was going on in men's hearts. He knew what they thought. He saw what they did to the Temple. The Temple was a place of worship. It was a place of celebrating the spiritual presence of God in the world. And they transformed it.
Today's readings present us with several figures from the Jewish tradition. In the first reading we come upon Abraham, the Father of Faith and his son Isaac. In the Gospel we encounter Moses, the law-giver, and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets. On the Mountain of the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah discuss God's plan for his people with Jesus.
The Gospel for today is very simple. Instead of elaborating on the temptations of the Lord, Mark just briefly says that Jesus went into the desert for forty days, fought off temptation, was administered to by angels and then returned and went to battle. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God.
The initiative is God’s, it always has been. He created us, He sustains us, He reveals himself to us and He redeems us. And in this season of Lent, as we embark on our 40 day journey, God’s words bring us back to this basic point: “Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks.”
The first reading begins with a horrible quotation from the Book of Job. "My months are full of misery. I can't wait to get to bed, then I can't wait to get up. I shall not see happiness again? What a wonderful way to begin our Sunday. Then the Gospel reading relates the cure of Simon Peter's mother-in-law, who promptly gets out of bed and starts waiting on Jesus and the disciples.
People want to hear the real Word of God, and feel the presence of God in the words of the speaker. We can do this. We have the authority to do this. People can witness the Word of God present in our lives, and then choose to make the Word of God present in their own lives. We can do this. We can make Jesus' presence real for others.
We anxiously wait for the Messiah, because we are told that “justice will flower in his days and peace abounds till the moon be no more. He delivers the needy who call on him, the afficted with no one to help them. May grain abound throughout the land” (Ps 72:7.12.16). We have not yet seen these prophecies realized, so we keep waiting.
The Baptism of the Lord: A Call to Change the World. This is the last Sunday of the Christmas Season and the First Sunday of Ordinary time. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes Christmas and begins the meditation on the ministry of Jesus.
Shining star - Light for all peoples. The dream of God came true when a star appears in Israel, Christ the Lord, as the Lord has promised (Nm 24:17). His light drives away the darkness created by ancestral hates and convokes all the people in one family. This is the message of hope of the Epiphany, the feast of light.
Today, the Sunday following Christmas, the Church gives importance to all families by setting the Holy family of Nazareth before us as an example. It is not a pie in the sky sort of feast - say your prayers and all will be well. Instead, Mary is told by Simeon, "you yourself shall be pierced with a sword." The arena of marriage is not an easy one.