With all the news this past week about the horrific conflict in Israel and Gaza, it is natural that part of the conversation at the friary dinner table has been about the conflict, Holy Land pilgrimages we have participated in, what we’ve seen, all adding to the discussions of the terrible tragedy that unfolds. Inevitably the conversation will mention the wall that separates the Holy Land in and around Jerusalem. Jerusalem, The Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, the Holy Sepulcher on one side of the wall. Bethlehem, Bethany, and other places on the other. As one travels around the area outside of metropolitan Jerusalem, you see other walls – those of the Jewish Settlements. There are settlements in hardscrabble places of Israel. But there are more that kinda’ resemble Reston Town Center only with high walls and secure entrances.
In our Pentecost Sunday gospel, as noted in yesterday’s post, to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room on that first Easter evening Jesus first words were: “Peace be with you.” His second words were: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” His thirds words were “Receive the Holy Spirit.” What had been promised in many ways in John 13-17, is now fulfilled in the giving of the Spirit. It also marks a turning point in salvation history as a fulfillment of the prophets, not just that the Messiah would come, but that the Messiah would begin the eschaton, the final era when the Kingdom of God would become manifest – and the future become present.
In our gospel for Pentecost Sunday, Jesus’ first words are “Peace be with you.” His second words are “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) That should give each one of us pause, for we too by virtue of our Baptism are sent into the world…just as the Father sent Jesus.
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).
With our celebration of the Ascension complete, as a Church we look forward to the celebration of Pentecost, that great event in which the promise of Jesus begins its fulfillment in the coming of the Advocate, the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth who will lead the disciples in all things (John 16).
Holy Trinity Sunday 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. Yet, It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church! Continue reading
Ever since the shift to daylight savings began my “inner alarm clock” wakes me up somewhere between 3:00 and 3:30 am. I am used to early rising, but really. And yes, naps are required at point(s) during the day. I was chatting about this yesterday with a friend who remarked, “You know, my 90 year-old aunt has the same problem…” Yikes! My new measure is one of even-more-senior citizens? Oh well, I am still young at heart. Continue reading
Note: This Sunday marks our first Sunday public Mass since the beginning of the pandemic closures. It has been a busy week getting ready, planning, re-planning, and making sure our staff and volunteers are ready. Deacon Ray is taking on the homily responsibilities at the Mass I will celebrate. But in case, you might be interested, here is my homily from 2017.
It is Memorial Day 2020. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost a loved one who died while actively serving their country. In the morning, before the sun was up, I celebrated a private Mass (lots of those these days!) for all those we honor on this day, for my Naval Academy classmates who have already gone on to God’s bright glory, and in thanksgiving for all our parishioners who have served and are serving their country. God’s blessings be upon all. Continue reading
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:19-23) Continue reading
“And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim… At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language… They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?” But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine.” Continue reading