This coming Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday which is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost in most of the liturgical churches in Western Christianity. It is a solemn celebration of the belief in the revelation of one God, yet three divine persons. It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church, but as with many things the advent of new, sometimes heretical, thinking often gives the Church a moment in which to explain and celebrate its own traditions; things it already believes and holds dear. In the early 4th century when the Arian heresy was spreading, the early church, recognizing the inherent Christological and Trinitarian implications, prepared an Office of Prayer with canticles, responses, a preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays to proclaim the Holy Trinity. Pope John XXII (14th century) instituted the celebration for the entire Church as a feast; the celebration became a solemnity after the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Continue reading
Category Archives: Scripture
Whose sins you forgive
This coming Sunday is Pentecost with the gospel reading taken from the Gospel of John. Many scholars see a parallel between John 20:23 and Matthew 18:18: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The parallel becomes clearer when we know that the words “forgive” in John 20:23 are the Greek words aphiēmi and krateō which mean “send away” and “hold” respectively [EDNT 2:314]. But even with the parallels aside, the meaning, extent and exercise of the Matthean and Johannine powers has been a source of division with the post-Reformation Christian community. Continue reading
Receive the Holy Spirit
This coming Sunday is Pentecost with the gospel reading taken from the Gospel of John. John 20:21–22 form a key passage in Johannine theology. The disciples receive the Holy Spirit at this second coming of Jesus: the eschaton, the final era, is now; future is present. In 7:39, the Spirit had not yet been given, since Jesus was not yet glorified. On the cross, Jesus, manifesting the nature of God, which is love, delivers over the Spirit (19:30), symbolized immediately afterward by the flow of the sacramental symbols of blood and water. And now, at his first encounter with the believing community, he breathes the Spirit again as he celebrates the re-creation of God’s people. Continue reading
As the Father has sent me, so I send you
This coming Sunday is Pentecost with the gospel reading taken from the Gospel of John. The Fourth Gospel speaks often of Jesus being sent into the world by the Father: to do his will (6:38–39; 8:29), to speak his words (3:34; 8:28; 12:49; 14:24; 17:8), to perform his works (4:34; 5:36; 9:4) and win salvation for all who believe (3:16–17). That the disciples were sent to continue the words and works of Jesus is foreshadowed at various places in the Gospel. Continue reading
Peace be with you
This coming Sunday is Pentecost with the gospel reading taken from the Gospel of John. While the first reading (Acts 2:1-11) describes the events we associate with Pentecost Sunday, the Gospel of John account tells of the appearance of Jesus following of the events that took place at the tomb in the early morning of the first day of the week (John 20:1–18). There near the empty tomb of Jesus, the risen Savior first appeared to Mary Magdalene. Our gospel contains the second and third appearances of the risen Jesus. These three appearances take place in Jerusalem. There is a fourth and final appearance of Jesus later in a section referred to as the “Epilogue” of John. This appearance is at the “Sea of Tiberias” in Galilee (John 21). Continue reading
The first reading for Pentecost Sunday is the account from Acts 2 so familiar to every Christian. Luke’s account is a very public event compared to the very private Johannine account. The Lucan account occurs 50 days after the Resurrection. The Johannine account occurs on the evening of the same day as the Resurrection. Continue reading
Pentecost and the Festival of Weeks
This coming Sunday is Pentecost with the gospel reading taken from the Gospel of John. The Greek name (pentēkostē) refers to the Jewish Feast of Weeks. The name itself means “50th” and is taken because the festival occurs 50 days after Passover (Acts 20:16; 1 Cor 16:8). Because the early Christians received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on this day, the term is now more commonly used to refer to that event recounted in Acts 2:1–13 and celebrated on Pentecost Sunday. Continue reading
Christmas and Ascension – Life Lessons
Fr. Antony Kadavil, in a 2019 post from Vatican News, wrote: “The Ascension is most closely related, in meaning, to Christmas. In Jesus, the human and the Divine become united in the Person and life of one man. That’s Christmas. At the Ascension, this human being – the person and the resurrected body of Jesus – became for all eternity a part of who God is. It was not the Spirit of Jesus or the Divine Nature of Jesus that ascended to the Father. It was the Risen living Body of Jesus: a Body that the disciples had touched, a Body in which He Himself had eaten and drunk with them both before and after His Resurrection, a real, physical, but gloriously restored Body, bearing the marks of nails and a spear. This is what, and Who, ascended. This is what, now and forever, is a living, participating part of God. That is what the Ascension, along with the Incarnation, is here to tell us – that it is a good thing to be a human being; indeed it is a wonderful and an important and a holy thing to be a human being. It is such an important thing that God did it. Even more, the fullness of God now includes what it means to be a human being.” Continue reading
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” One should be struck by the repetition of the word “all” in this passage:
- Jesus has been given all power (v.18).
- Disciples are to be made of all nations (v.19).
- Disciples are to obey all that Jesus commanded (v.20).
- Jesus will be with the disciples always (literally “all the days”; v.20).
Doubt and Hesitation
This coming Sunday is the Solemnity of the Ascension. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Many English translations offer “but some doubted.” Unfortunately the word “some” does not appear in the Greek text. The only two valid translations are “they worshiped, but they doubted (hesitated)” or “they worshiped and they doubted (hesitated).” It is hard to avoid the simple statement of the text: those who worship are also those who doubt. Continue reading