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Archive for the ‘Eastertide’ Category

"Resurrection of Christ" by Noel Coypel (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

“The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.” We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 654)

From the Mass During the Day of Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord:

Entrance Antiphon

The Lord is truly risen, alleluia. To Him be glory and power for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia.

Collect

O God, who on this day through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Gospel (John 20:1-9)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Mark 16:1-7

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint Him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; He is not here. Behold the place where they laid Him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you.'”

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St. Peter

(Fasting and Partial Abstinence Formerly Required on this Day)

Collect

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens et misericors Deus: ut Spiritus Sanctus adveniens, templum nos gloriae suae dignanter inhabitando perficiat.  Per Domium…in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti.

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty and merciful God, that the Holy Ghost may deign to come and dwell in us, making us the temples of His glory.  Through out Lord…in the unity of the same Holy Ghost.

Epistle (Acts 5:12-16)

The number of believers in Jesus was greatly increased through the miracles wrought by the apostles.

In those days by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.  And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.  But of the rest no man durst join himself unto them; but the people magnified them.  And the multitude of men and women who believed in the Lord, was more increased: Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that when Peter came, his shadow at the least, might overshadow any of them, and they might be delivered from their infirmities.  And there came also together to Jerusalem a multitude out of the neighbouring cities, bringing sick persons, and such as were troubled with unclean spirits; who were all healed.

Gospel (John 6:44-52)

Jesus gives spiritual life.  He gives us the heavenly Manna to eat: Hi Body and Blood, that will make us live for ever.

At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day.  It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me.  Not that any man hath seen the Father; but He Who is of God, He hath seen the Father.  Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in Me, hath everlasting life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is My flesh, for the life of the world.

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Pentecost

From the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962:

The Liturgy recalls the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles; and the Church extends the commemoration over eight days. 

Collect 

Adsit nobis quaesumus, Domine, virtus Spiritus Saneti: quae et corda nostra elementer expurget, et ab omnibus tueatur adversis.  Per Dominum…in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti. 

We beseech Thee, O Lord, may the power of the Holy Ghost be ever with us; may it mercifully purify our hearts, and safeguard them from all harm.  Through out Lord…in the unity of the same Holy Ghost.

Epistle (Acts 8:14-17)

The neophytes of Samaria received the Sacrament of Confirmation and with the Sacraments of the Holy Ghost and His gifts.

In those days, when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.  Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.  For He was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Gospel (John 10:1-10)

Jesus is the Divine Shephard of the faithful sheep (the Church): the faithful sheep hearken to the teaching of His Word given by the Holy Ghost Who assists the Ministers of the Church (the Pope and Bishops).

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.  And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.  But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.  This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them.  Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not.  I am the door.  By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.

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Pentecost

From the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962:

The Liturgy recalls the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles; and the Church extends the commemoration over eight days.

Collect

Deus, qui apostolis tuis Sanctum dedisti Spiritum: concede plebe tuae piae petitionis effectum; ut, quibus dedisti fidem, largiaris, et pacem.  Per Dominum…in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti.

O God, Who gavest the Holy Ghost to Thine Apostles, grant The people the fruit of their loving petition, that on those to whom Thou hast given faith, Thos mayest also bestow peace.  Through out Lord…in the unity of the same Holy Ghost.

Epistle (Acts 10:34, 42-48)

St. Peter, the Head of the Church, gives testimony to Jesus before the Jews and the Gentiles.

In those days Peter opening his mouth, said: Men brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is He Who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead.  To Him all the prophets give testimony, that by His name all receive remission of sins, who believe in Him.  While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.  And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God.  Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel (John 3:16-21)

God sent not His Son unto the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him.”

At that time Jesus said to Nicodemus: For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.  For God sent not His Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him.  He that believeth in Him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil.  For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.  But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

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Pope Benedict XVI

“A Flame … That, in Burning, Brings Forth the Better and Truer Part of Man”

VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave today at a Mass he celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica for the feast of Pentecost.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the solemn celebration of Pentecost we are invited to profess our faith in the presence and in the action of the Holy Spirit and to invoke his outpouring upon us, upon the Church and upon the whole world. Let us make our own, and with special intensity, the Church’s invocation: “Veni, Sancte Spiritus!” 

It is such a simple and immediate invocation, but also extraordinarily profound, which came first of all from the heart of Christ. The Spirit, in fact, is the gift that Jesus asked and continually asks of his Father for his friends; the first and principal gift that he obtained for us through his Resurrection and Ascension in to heaven.

Today’s Gospel passage, which has the Last Supper as its context, speaks to us of this prayer of Christ. The Lord Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, follow my commandments; and I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Paraclete who will remain with you forever” (John 14:15-16). 

Here the praying heart of Jesus is revealed to us, his filial and fraternal heart. This prayer reaches its apex and its fulfillment on the cross, where Christ’s invocation is one with the total gift that he makes of himself, and thus his prayer becomes, so to speak, the very seal of his self-giving for love of the Father and humanity: Invocation and donation of the Spirit meet, they interpenetrate, they become one reality. “And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Paraclete who will remain with you forever.” In reality, Jesus’ prayer — that of the Last Supper and the prayer on the cross — is a single prayer that continues even in heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. Jesus, in fact, always lives his priesthood of intercession on behalf of the people of God and humanity and so prays for all of us, asking the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles — we listened to it in the first reading (Acts 2:1-11) — presents the “new course” of the work that God began with Christ’s resurrection, a work that involves man, history and the cosmos. The Son of God, dead and risen and returned to the Father, now breathes with untold energy the divine breath upon humanity, the Holy Spirit. And what does this new and powerful self-communication of God produce? Where there are divisions and estrangement he creates unity and understanding. The Spirit triggers a process of reunification of the divided and dispersed parts of the human family; persons, often reduced to individuals in competition or in conflict with each other, reached by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, can involve them to such an extent as to make of them a new organism, a new subject: the Church. This is the effect of God’s work: unity; thus unity is the sign of recognition, the “business card” of the Church in the course of her universal history. From the very beginning, from the day of Pentecost, she speaks all languages. The universal Church precedes the particular Churches, and the latter must always conform to the former according to a criterion of unity and universality. The Church never remains a prisoner within political, racial and cultural confines; she cannot be confused with states not with federations of states, because her unity is of a different type and aspires to transcend every human frontier.

From this, dear brothers, there derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: When a person or a community, limits itself to its own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign that it has distanced itself from the Holy Spirit. The path of Christians and of the particular Churches must always confront itself with the path of the one and catholic Church, and harmonize with it. This does not mean that the unity created by the Holy Spirit is a kind of homogenization. On the contrary, that is rather the model of Babel, that is, the imposition of a culture of unity that we could call “technological.” The Bible, in fact, tells us (cf. Genesis 11:1-9) that in Babel everyone spoke the same language. At Pentecost, however, the Apostles speak different languages in such a way that everyone understands the message in his own tongue. The unity of the Spirit is manifested in the plurality of understanding. The Church is one and multiple by her nature, destined as she is to live among all nations, all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts. She responds to her vocation to be a sign and instrument of unity of the human race (cf. “Lumen Gentium,” 1) only if she remains free from every state and every particular culture. Always and in every place the Church must truly be catholic and universal, the house of all in which each one can find a place.

The account of the Acts of the Apostles offers us another very concrete indication. The universality of the Church is expressed by the list of peoples according to the ancient tradition: “We are Parthians, Medes, Elamites …,” etc. One may note that St. Luke goes beyond the number 12, which always expresses a universality. He looks beyond the horizons of Asia and northwest Africa, and adds three other elements: the “Romans,” that is, the western world; the “Jews and proselytes,” encompass in a new way the unity between Israel and the world; and finally “Cretans and Arabs,” who represent the West and the East, islands and land. This opening of horizons subsequently confirms the newness of Christ in the human space, in the history of the nations: The Holy Spirit involves men and peoples and, through them, it overcomes walls and barriers.

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit manifests himself as fire. His flame descended upon the assembled disciples, it was enkindled in them and gave them the new ardor of God. In this way what Jesus had previously said was realized: “I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I long that it already be burning!” (Luke 12:49). The Apostles, together with the faithful of different communities, carried this divine flame to the far corners of the earth; in this way they opened a path for humanity, a luminous path, and they worked with God, who wants to renew the face of the earth with his fire. How different this fire is from that of wars and bombs! How different is the fire of Christ, spread by the Church, compared with those lit by the dictators of every epoch, of last century too, who leave a scorched earth behind them. The fire of God, the fire of the Holy Spirit, is that of the bush that burned without being consumed (cf. Exodus 3:2). It is a flame that burns but does not destroy, that, in burning, brings forth the better and truer part of man, as in a fusion it makes his interior form emerge, his vocation to truth and to love.

A Father of the Church, Origen, in one of his homilies on Jeremiah, reports a saying attributed to Jesus, not contained in the sacred Scriptures but perhaps authentic, which he puts thus: “Whoever is near me, is near the fire” (“Homilies on Jeremiah,” L. I [III]). In Christ, in fact, there is the fullness of God, who in the Bible is compared to fire. We just observed that the flame of the Holy Spirit burns but does not destroy. And nevertheless it causes a transformation, and it must for this reason consume something in man, the waste that corrupts him and hinders his relations with God and neighbor. 

This effect of the divine fire, however, frightens us, we are afraid of being “burned,” we prefer to stay just as we are. This is because our life is often formed according to the logic of having, of possessing and not the logic of self-giving. Many people believe in God and admire the person of Jesus Christ, but when they are asked to lose something of themselves, then they retreat, they are afraid of the demands of faith. There is the fear of giving up something nice to which we are attached; the fear that following Christ deprives us of freedom, of certain experiences, of a part of ourselves. On one hand, we want to be with Jesus, follow him closely, and, on the other hand, we are afraid of the consequences that this brings with it.

Dear brothers and sisters, we always need to hear the Lord Jesus tell us what he often repeated to his friends: “Be not afraid.” Like Simon Peter and the others we must allow his presence and his grace to transform our heart, which is always subject to human weakness. We must know how to recognize that losing something, indeed, losing ourselves for the true God, the God of love and of life, is in reality gaining ourselves, finding ourselves more fully. Whoever entrusts himself to Jesus already experiences in this life peace and joy of heart, which the world cannot give, and it cannot even take it away once God has given it to us. 

So it is worthwhile to let ourselves be touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit! The suffering that it causes us is necessary for our transformation. It is the reality of the cross: It is not for nothing that in the language of Jesus “fire” is above all a representation of the cross, without which Christianity does not exist. 

Thus enlightened and comforted by these words of life, let us lift up our invocation: Come, Holy Spirit! Enkindle in us the fire of your love! We know that this is a bold prayer, with which we ask to be touched by the flame of God; but we know above all that this flame — and only it — has the power to save us. We do not want, in defending our life, to lose the eternal life that God wants to give us. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, because only Love redeems. Amen.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

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Pentecost

From the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, being seated on the right hand of God, sent, as He had promised, the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, who, after His Ascension, continued in prayer at Jerusalem, in company with the Blessed Virgin, awaiting the fulfillment of His promise.

Let us pray in like manner with the Church: “Come, O Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.”

Epistle (Acts 2:1-11)

St. Luke, in the Acts, shows us how the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ is fulfilled: “But if I go I will send Him to you…the Spirit of truth.”

When the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place; and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.  Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue.  And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born?  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

Gospel (John 14:23-31)

St. John tells us that Jesus had foretold to His disciples the coming of the Holy Ghost: it was left for the Paraclete to complete the training of the Apostles and to endow them with strength and divine light.

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: If any one love me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.  He that loveth Me not, keepeth not My words. And the word which you have heard, is not Mine; but the Father’s who sent Me.  These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you.  But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.  You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe.  I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in Me he hath not any thing.  But that the world may know, that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I.

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