Solemnity of PENTECOST

WeeklyMessageFr. Father Cusick

May 19 2013
Solemnity of PENTECOST

Acts 2, 1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Cor 12, 3-7. 12-13; John 20, 19-23

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As the third millennium draws near some are filled with dread, their minds given over to imaginings and fantasies. Some are drawn to groups which preach superstition, placing hope in the comets or imaginary creatures from other planets. These idolatries are an abomination. “You shall have no other Gods before me.” For Christians, the 2000th year after Christ’s birth marks the renewal of life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and renewed commitment to the true faith bestowed in Jesus Christ. Both are gifts of God the Father to the Church in these “last days” before Christ comes again.

On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. (Cf. Acts 2:33-36) (CCC 731)

The Lord Jesus associates the Church with himself, so that the body of believers are one in the Holy Spirit and the “Body of Christ”. St. Paul learned this well when, thrown from his horse in the midst of his vociferous persecution of Christians, Christ called out to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the most perfect earthly work of the Church. Our role as baptized members of the Body of Christ reaches its most exalted moment each time we offer ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice in union with Christ through the prayers and hymns of the Eucharist.

At last Jesus’ hour arrives: (Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1) he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands (Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30) at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,” (Rom 6:4) he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples. (Cf. Jn 20:22) From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8) (CCC 731)

(For further reading on today’s Gospel see also these paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 434, 459, 609, 1823, 1824, 1972, 2745.)

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 19, 2013

Pentecost Sunday
John 20:19-23

Gospel Summary

There seems to be a contradiction between the coming of the Spirit as recorded in this gospel and in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. In the gospel, the Spirit is given by Jesus himself on Easter day, whereas in Acts the Spirit comes upon the disciples at the Jewish feast of Pentecost which occurred fifty days after Passover (2:1-4). This dilemma appears to be resolved when we recall that the Spirit was also given to the prophets of the Old Testament. After the resurrection of Jesus, it is the fullness of the Spirit that is offered to us, and this can happen in various ways and on many occasions.

The Solemnity of Pentecost: Invoking the Spirit
It was a huge change.  There was nothing subtle about it.  They had been in hiding, scared out of their wits.  Jesus had been arrested.  Rumors flew that the high priests wanted Him crucified.  The “Powers-that-be” wanted to send a message to all who would dare challenge their authority.  The message was received, loud and clear.  None of the disciples were around to witness the events of that Friday, the one we call Good.  None, that is, except John, as well as his mother, Mary, Mary  Magdeline and a few other of Jesus’ closest friends. 

Pentecost Feast-The Gifts and Charisms of The Holy Spirit
A reflection on the meaning of the Feast of Pentecost and the person, gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit.  The Feast of Pentecost, originally the Jewish Feast of weeks commemorating the gift of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai 50 days after the Exodus, was the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out in the Upper Room upon the apostles and other disciples in the form of tongues of fire and a strong wind, fifty days after Easter Sunday, the day marking the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  Pentecost is seen as the birthday of the Church.

Scripture Speaks: Pentecost Sunday
Today’s [May 19] Gospel tells us that Jesus surprised the disciples “on the evening of that first day of the week” by appearing in their midst without using a door (locked “for fear of the Jews”).  We wonder if He had to calm them down a bit, because He said, twice, “Peace be with you.”  We can imagine how startled they were.  He showed them His wounds, in case they thought He was a ghost.  Then, Jesus gave the apostles an astonishing commission:  “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.”  What had begun three years earlier with a call to “Follow Me” (Mt 4:19) culminated in a sending out.  Their work was to be a continuation of the divine apostleship of Jesus (“apostle” means “one sent”; see Heb. 3:1).

God is preparing me for something I can’t handle now. What the Story of Moses’ preparation has to teach us.
In The Second Chapter of Exodus, we have presented the Story of Moses and how he was prepared by God for the great mission he would one day take up, by God grace, that of delivering and leading the Jewish people to freedom and toward the Promised Land. But as we shall see, Moses’ preparation is anything but uneventful. God must prepare him in a crucible of sorts and also lead him to a greater humility prior to his great mission. It is not an easy preparation. Let’s look to the purposeful preparation of the Man named Moses.

Holy Spirit Leads to Truth Amid Relativism, Pope Counsels
VATICAN CITY — As he looked ahead to Pentecost, Pope Francis spoke about the Holy Spirit’s role in guiding Christians to know Jesus, who is the Truth, in an age of relativism.

“We live in an age rather skeptical of truth,” the Pope said on May 15, as he encouraged Christians to let themselves “be imbued with the light of the Holy Spirit, so that he introduces us to the truth of God.”

Hope and Promise
When I first found it, I wasn’t even sure what it was. I was going through a trunk of personal items that had belonged to my dad when I ran across a little brown jewelry box. Dad passed away when I was just fifteen; I’d gathered an array of his possessions and kept them tucked away in what came to be known as my “Memory Trunk.” For some odd reason that day, I felt like pilfering through Dad’s stuff.

A Sign of Contradiction: At Lourdes, the Sick Are the Church’s ‘Treasure’
LOURDES, France — Charlotte Kiesel just completed her 27th pilgrimage to Lourdes — the Marian shrine in France where the Virgin Mary first appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and where the sick still flock to obtain a reprieve from chronic disease, a handicap or terminal cancer.

Desperation brought Kiesel to Lourdes for her first visit in 1987, after failing to locate a bone-marrow match for her daughter, Katie, a cancer patient.

The Littlest Suffering Souls: Audrey Stevenson of Paris
The strongest argument atheists possess is the problem of pain. It is almost a cliché. How could a loving God allow pain, not just toothache pain but wrenching almost unending pain, pain unto death. He allowed it for His own Son.

Such severe pain in anyone is a mystery, even more mysterious when visited upon children. I suspect it is something that has driven many away from the arms of faith.  Is it made less mysterious when visited upon young children who also have a heightened sense of God? Certainly not to the atheist. Not even to a Mormon, or to a Jew who do not understand suffering in the way Catholics do.

What Jesus Really Said About Sins of the Flesh
I have often heard it said that our Lord did not care overmuch about sins of the flesh; for He was relentless in his attacks upon hypocrisy, pride, and avarice, but was so mild towards adulterers and fornicators that we might, extrapolating from that mildness, so far dispense Christians from the strictures of the sixth commandment as to ignore their sins, nay, even to make a virtue of them, so long as they commit them with sufficient sweetness and affection.

That interpretation cannot be supported by any commonsense reading of His words.

The Resurrections of Matthew 27:52-53
One of the things that periodically comes up in discussions of the Resurrection is summarized by Christopher Hitchens when he notes that Matthew tells us:

“the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” These rather conspicuous events, which among other things would seem to make resurrection something of a commonplace, were entirely missed by Saint John, or at any rate unreported by him, and appear not at all in the only written historical record, which was by Flavius Josephus.

Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is controlled strength…
Following Pentecost, the Apostles discussed whether someone had to become a Jew to be a Christian. It seems an odd problem for us today, but everything was new then, and even the term “Christian” was not used until a significant number of believers had been baptized in Antioch, a city in Turkey near the modern city of Antakya. Christ (the name is a Greek form of “Messiah”) sent his followers out to convert “all nations,” and he promised that the Holy Spirit would show them what to do.

The Central Argument in Christian Apologetics
The doctrine of Christ’s divinity is the central Christian doctrine, for it is like a skeleton key that opens all the others. Christians have not independently reasoned out and tested each of the teachings of Christ received via Bible and Church, but believe them all on his authority. For if Christ is divine, He can be trusted to be infallible in everything He said, even hard things like exalting suffering and poverty, forbidding divorce, giving his Church the authority to teach and forgive sins in his name, warning about hell (very often and very seriously), instituting the scandalous sacrament of eating his flesh — we often forget how many “hard sayings” he taught!

Worthy: See Yourself as God Does
The world is constantly telling women that we aren’t good enough.  We go unseen, unsought, unpursued, and this all leads us to believe that we are unworthy. Unworthy of what, you ask? Unworthy of happiness, joy, love, peace, and any good thing that life could offer us. These lies, straight from the mouth of Satan, are tearing down women, and tearing down our world.

What’s a girl to do? We listen to the words of St. Paul when he wrote to the church in Ephesus,

The Greatest Scandal of All
The clerical sex abuse scandals that have bedeviled us for the better part of a decade are revolting. But just as revolting is the impression given by the mainline media that priests are somehow more guilty than others. Anyone familiar with Jewish papers during the opening years of the millennium knows that rabbis left just as much to be desired as their opposite numbers in the Church of Rome, yet they were given a free pass by a press whose anti-Catholic bias has long been evident. One of the most egregious cases of media misrepresentation occurred this past January after an estimated five hundred thousand activists marched for life in Washington, D.C., most of them members of religious orders or students from schools like Christendom College and Franciscan University. In its paltry coverage of this event, the New York Times led its readers to believe that the demonstrators numbered a mere “tens of thousands.”

Real Men Pray the Rosary
Just as it is helpful for women to talk to women now and again regarding the spiritual life, the same holds true for men! David N. Calvillo’s book, Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer, is a forthright conversation with men (and us women who sneak a peek) about his own surprise and subsequent delight in discovering the Rosary, otherwise known as a prayer he had almost mistakenly written off as “for old ladies and funerals.”

Age-Old Prayer Gains More Pray-ers
Many modern Catholics’ familiarity with the Liturgy of the Hours begins and ends with a ditty about an ineffective Matins bell and a dozing friar named Jacques.

But due to the encouragement of recent popes, the advent of new technology and the personal witness of Catholic bloggers and writers, the faithful have begun to waken to the timeless beauty of the liturgical prayer.

“Outside of the Mass, there is no greater way to pray than the Liturgy of the Hours,” says Daria Sockey, whose book The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours is winning brand-new converts to an age-old method of prayer.

Mysticism: Who’s Called to it?
Many times when we hear of mysticism we think extraordinary phenomenon for the chosen few, the Saints: Saint Catherine of Siena’s visions or living image prayer, Saint Faustina’s locutions or dictated words from the Lord, Saint Padre Pio’s stigmata, the visible wounds of Christ in Pio’s flesh. We may feel discouraged for our experiences don’t match these spiritual giants.

However, Father Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. author of The Three Ages of the Interior Life promulgates something profound, “Reality, as God made it, is far richer than all our limited and narrow conceptions. Mystical life is not essentially extraordinary but something eminent in the normal way of sanctity for all of us!” What does he mean, “mysticism is the normal way of sanctity?”

Same Sex Parenting: What Do the Children Say?
During the oral arguments about Proposition 8, Justice Anthony Kennedy referred to children being raised by same-sex couples. Since I was one of those children—from ages 2-19, I was raised by a lesbian mother with the help of her partner—I was curious to see what he would say.

I also eagerly anticipated what he would say because I had taken great professional and social risk to file an amicus brief with Doug Mainwaring (who is gay and opposes gay marriage), in which we explained that children deeply feel the loss of a father or mother, no matter how much we love our gay parents or how much they love us. Children feel the loss keenly because they are powerless to stop the decision to deprive them of a father or mother, and the absence of a male or female parent will likely be irreversible for them.

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