Acts 10:34, 37-43

Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

Colossians 3:1-4, or First Corin

John 20:1-9;
Easter Sunday - Apr 9, 2023

Rejoice, Rejoice! Everybody Rejoice!

On the first day of the week, the third day of his Passion, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Today is his day. Many great historical figures have led exemplary lives, taught wise doctrines, and even died for the truth. But only one has risen again. Among the vast array of humanity's greatest heroes, only about Jesus Christ can we say: "He rose again on the third day, in fulfillment of the scriptures." Only in Christ's resurrection do goodness and power finally unite. The good guy wins!

Rejoice, Rejoice! Everybody Rejoice!

Only in Christ's resurrection does love prove that it is stronger than death. In Christ and in his resurrection, a new - a wildly new - hope dawns for all mankind, the hope that if we stay united to him through faith and grace, we will rise with him, rise from our very tombs, and live with him forever in the never-ending adventure of heaven. No one else offers such a hope, because no one else has risen from the dead to be able to offer it - only Jesus.

Can you feel a brand new day due to this fact of the Resurrection? Don’t you just want to shout, Hello World!

The Resurrection is the definitive watershed in the history of religions; it makes Christianity absolutely unique. In the Resurrection, reality becomes more wonderful than myth. Only the reality of the Resurrection can explain the reality of the history of the Church:

A few weak, non-influential, and uneducated fishermen from Galilee, frightened out of their wits when Jesus was arrested and executed, suddenly become world travelers, phenomenally successful preachers, and valiant martyrs. And the Church they spread continues to spread after they die, holding fast to the exact same doctrine they preached, century after century, in nation after nation. 
Everybody come out And let's commence to singing joyfully.

Everybody look up And feel the hope that we've been waiting on

Everybody's glad Because the silent fear and dread is gone Only the abiding presence of the Lord can explain this, and only the resurrection explains the abiding presence of the Lord. This is what makes us, as Christians, different.

St. Ignatius Loyola's famous little book, The Spiritual Exercises, contains several contemplations on the Resurrection. One of these deals with what St Ignatius thought would have been Jesus' very first appearance after rising from the dead - an appearance to his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This appearance isn't mentioned in the Gospels, but St Ignatius considered it to be common sense. 
In fact, as a caption to this section of his book, he wrote, "Don't be stupid." And indeed, Mary's name doesn't appear on the list of women who went to the tomb on Easter morning. Why didn't she go with them, as she had done at the burial? Maybe because Jesus had already risen and appeared to her. Mary's great virtue is faith. She believed that "what was spoken to her by Abba God would be fulfilled." She had heard Christ's prophecies: "The Son of Man will be killed and rise on the third day"; "Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days." Mary meditated on this in her heart, and we can imagine how eagerly she was looking forward to seeing her risen son.

When Jesus finally appeared, we can imagine how lovingly she embraced him. What might they have talked about? Maybe they spoke about Mary's new mission - now she was the spiritual mother of the whole Church. Maybe they spoke about the Scriptures that Jesus had fulfilled through his passion, death, and resurrection. Maybe tears of joy were enough all on their own. And that joy was of a whole new kind - it was the joy of the resurrection, an everlasting joy that neither death nor suffering could tarnish ever again. And that's the joy that every Christian can look forward to, because of Easter; it's what makes us different.

Everybody be glad (be glad) Because the sun is shining just for us 
Everybody wake up (Wake up) Into the morning into happiness 
Hello world It's like a different way of living now! 
Thank you world! We always knew that we'd be free somehow

Today we should relish this joy of Easter, thanking God for letting us share in this victory, for giving us this hope. But let's not stop there. Let's not just enjoy Easter, let's let it change our lives. Christ's resurrection is not just a nice idea; it is the power of eternal life at work in us. Why not do something for the eight weeks of the Easter season to plug into that power? Almost every one of us made an effort to live Lent in a special way.

Most likely we gave something up for Lent or did something which was very difficult for us. That was a practical way to give the special graces that God sends during Lent some room to work in our souls. So, if we gave something up as a way to help us live the penitential season of Lent, why not take something up as a way to help us live the joyful season of Easter?

In the Second Reading, St Paul encouraged us to "think of what is above, not of what is on earth." Why don't we make an Easter resolution that will help us do that, that will help us keep in mind the eternal life in Christ that is waiting for us if we stay faithful to him? It could be something simple: like inviting a friend or family member who has forgotten about Christ's victory to come to Mass on Sundays and then inviting them over for brunch or lunch like watching a classic movie together as a family each Sunday between now and Pentecost - a joyful, uplifting movie like having a special outing or get-together with friends on Fridays like taking some time each evening to re-read some of your favorite books, the ones that stir up joy in your soul

If we ask the Holy Spirit to give us some ideas, she won't be stingy. She just needs us to decide to let Easter make a difference in our lives, the way it should. Our souls need that as much as they needed the time of penance and contrition that we lived during Lent.

The Church is a wise mother in giving us six weeks of Lent and eight weeks of Easter. Today, as we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, let's promise him that we will find a way to benefit from that wisdom.
Rejoice, Rejoice! Everybody Rejoice!

2nd Sunday of Easter  -  April 16
In Ft. Lauderdale for Diocese Meetings

Acts 2:14, 22-28

Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 1

 First Peter 1:17-21

Luke 24:13-35;
Third Sunday of Easter - Apr 23, 2023

These two disciples gave up on Christ because of the cross. They were walking away from the community of apostles and Christ's followers - leaving the Church. It wasn't because they were big sinners. It was just that the Cross, the tragedy of Good Friday, had scared them away. "We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel," they say to the stranger as they walk back to their old lifestyles, sad and disappointed. They simply can't understand how salvation can come out of the Cross, victory out of defeat. So they give up.
But Jesus comes to their rescue. He walks along with them, talking to them about the Scriptures, the promises and revelations found in God's Word. And their hearts "burn within them." Their hope is stirred into flame. Their spiritual strength and their faith return. Suddenly they are able to recognize Christ's saving power and love even in the darkness of the shadow of the Cross. We too face the temptation of fear and discouragement when crosses come into our lives. In fact, we all know those who have left the Church, just as these two disciples were leaving Jerusalem, because the Cross crushed their hope, and they became cynical, angry.
What will prevent us from abandoning Jesus and our hope when we feel the weight of the Cross? The same thing that rescued these two sad disciples: conversation with Christ - prayer. Prayer is the source of light and strength for the Christian. When we take time to unburden our minds to the Lord, and to read and reflect on the Scriptures, maybe with the help of spiritual books, we give Jesus a chance to explain things to our hearts.
Jesus himself told us this when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane with his Apostles. The shadow of the Cross was beginning to fall, and he said to the Apostles, "Watch and pray so that you do not fall into temptation." And Jesus followed his own advice. How did he resist the onslaughts of the devil during his agony in the Garden, which made him feel anguish, fear, and sorrow? By praying - he threw himself onto the ground and prayed. Prayer was his strength.

St Teresa of Avila put it very bluntly when she explained the importance of daily, personal prayer:"He who neglects mental prayer needs not a devil to carry him to hell, but he brings himself there with his own hands."
We all remember the scene from Luke Chapter 10, where Jesus goes to visit Martha and Mary. Martha is busy in the kitchen, and she complains to Jesus about her sister Mary, who is just sitting there conversing with Jesus - praying. Jesus tells Martha that Mary chose the better part. Here's how St Augustine interprets that scene: "From the top of a hill the rain flows down to the valley. Just as more water collects at the bottom of the hill, so Mary, sitting in a low place at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words, receives more than Martha, standing and serving the temporal needs of her Master."

Prayer, the Catechism teaches us, is a "vital necessity" (2744). As St John Chrysostom taught: "Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy... For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin."

And St Alphonsus Ligouri put it even more concisely: "Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned."

One temptation that we can fall into in our prayer life is the Shakespeare Temptation. This happens when our prayer becomes a monologue. We kneel down to pray, start talking - and we don't stop. We just rattle on for two minutes or ten minutes, maybe reciting memorized prayers, or telling God all of our problems and complaints. Abba God is pleased with this prayer and listens to it, because it shows that we believe in him and trust in him.
But that's only a half-way life of prayer.

Prayer is not meant to be a monologue; it's meant to be a conversation. Yes, we need to speak to Jesus about what is important to us, just like the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. But God also wants to speak to us about what's important to him, just as Jesus did with those two disciples.

How does he do that? Usually through the words of the Bible. This is why reading should be a regular part of our prayer life. As Christians, we all spend at least ten or fifteen minutes a day in personal prayer, in conversation with Our Lord - in addition to our prayers before going to sleep. And part of that time should be spent reading and listening to God's Word, giving him a chance to talk.

Reading a chapter from the Bible or from a good spiritual book is what the Holy Spirit uses to give us new insights, encouragement, and strength. Jesus wants to pour out into our hearts his own wisdom, comfort, joy, and strength.

Let's give him the chance.

Let's leave Shakespeare for the theatre and turn our daily prayer more and more into a conversation with the One we know loves us.


Acts 2:14, 36-41

Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

First Peter 2:20-25

John 10:1-10;
4th Sunday of Easter - Apr 30, 2023

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally called the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, and it is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Jesus, the shepherd who wants to lead us to green pastures if we respond to his call.

St. Peter in today’s First Reading explains to his astounded listeners how they can approach and enter into Jesus’s flock: through faith in Christ and Baptism. Peter has just concluded his discourse at Pentecost and given testimony to the Risen Christ as Savior to those who believe in him. Baptism is rightly called the “door which gives access to the other sacraments,” because it makes us members of Christ, incorporates us into the Church, and makes us share in his mission.

It is thanks to Baptism that the Good Shepherd transforms us into his sheep makes us a part of his flock. Peter describes this invitation as a call by God to whomever the Lord wishes. The most fundamental call is to holiness, to repent and believe in Christ, to be forgiven and to receive the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the first step in leading a holy life. In this sense, everyone has a vocation, and some, like Peter, the Apostles, and our pastors, are called to help us discover and answer the call as well.

In today’s Second Reading St. Peter reminds us that Christ is the shepherd and guardian of our souls and that we are called to follow him by imitating him as well as accepting his guidance and protection. As at Pentecost, Peter speaks of a call by Jesus, and in this reading, he explains what we are called to do: to be patient in suffering for doing what is good, knowing that it is a source of grace and an imitation of Christ. Jesus doesn’t call us to do something that he hasn’t done himself. The Shepherd laid down his life for us, his sheep, and he gathers us back into his flock, no matter how we’ve gone astray. He didn’t hand himself over to evil men alone; he surrendered to the Creator, and the Abba God did justice for him by raising him from the dead and opening the way to our salvation. Like the Apostles that fateful night of his betrayal, we too were scattered like sheep, but the shepherd and guardian of our souls has gathered together all those who seek his protection and care.

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us that the only way to satisfy the call to holiness in our souls is through him. The call to holiness is a call to recognize Jesus as the path and source of holiness. Jesus uses the image of sheep who are accustomed to the voice of its shepherd and frightened by the voice of anyone else. The call to holiness strikes a chord in us, and that chord will clash with anything not in tune with Jesus.
Temptation also makes an appeal to our hearts, and Jesus teaches us today that it will rob us of something if we let it. It is the voice of a stranger and, as our parents always taught us, we don’t talk to strangers. However, in his teaching today our brother Jesus doesn’t identify with the shepherd or the gatekeeper of the sheepfold. He describes himself as the “gate” to the sheepfold.

Our brother Jesus is not the only one who wants his sheep; he’s just the one who has their best interests in mind. The flock in today’s Gospel is already gathered. It is only through Christ that they can be safe in the sheepfold or led to green pastures. Our pastors are charged to shepherd the sheep, but they can only do that through Christ. If they don’t remain united to Christ, part of his flock, they will lead their sheep astray.
If someone tried to enter your house through a window or by jumping a fence, you’d call 911 without even thinking. You’d do the same thing if you saw a stranger trying to enter the home of a neighbor. The goal of a neighborhood watch is to warn those who would come into the neighborhood for vandalism or crime that someone is on guard. Jesus reminds us today to be vigilant against those who’d vandalize or violate our souls or the souls of our neighbors. He also reminds us that he is on guard.

Let me give you a second illustration. Sheep have very good hearing. They have an instinct to move toward another sheep or a friend. Shepherds nurture this instinct to enable them to move an entire flock by attracting just a few.

However, contrary to popular belief, sheep are not as stupid as people think. If you attract a sheep’s attention and do not follow up with a sign of real “friendship” (feeding those that draw near), they realize you’re fooling them and will no longer respond. Sheep stay close to other sheep and to whoever they consider a friend. They keep a safe distance from the rest.

This is a life lesson to not only stay close to our Shepherd but to be wary of anyone who attracts our attention and doesn’t really “feed” us. Maybe they just want to feed on us.

As mentioned earlier, today is the World Sunday of Prayer for Vocations. Everyone is called to holiness, and Jesus has put people in our lives who want to help us live up to that calling and fulfill it. He also teaches us to pray for workers to be sent to an abundant harvest. There is more work than there are workers. When we pray “for vocations” we pray especially for those discerning a vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life. When we pray “for vocations” we also pray for the perseverance and holiness of those who have already undertaken the path to priesthood or consecrated life. The need for prayers doesn’t end at ordination or solemn consecration. Let’s pray for those who have responded to Jesus’ call to work in his harvest.

As you may know that I am also the Director of Vocations for the National Catholic Church of North America. If you feel that you are being to serve the faithful in a ministerial way as a Deacon or Priest, lets talk about it.

Lastly, let’s pray for everyone to simply seek and do the will of God in their lives. We all have a vocation to holiness, and holiness grows to the degree that we follow God’s will.


Acts 6:1-7

Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19

First Peter 2:4-9

John 14:1-12
5th Sunday of Easter - May 7, 2023

On the Fifth Sunday of Easter Jesus reminds that that we are called to continue his work and to achieve even greater things than he accomplished during his earthly ministry. He built his church with growth in mind, generation after generation, founded on him and the Apostles.
In today’s First Reading the Twelve are faced with more work than they can handle, and people are starting to complain.
The Twelve cannot take care of everyone.
This is no surprise. Jesus didn’t just appoint one person to carry on his work; he appointed Twelve, and, soon after, the Twelve needed helpers, and other apostles, like Paul and Barnabas, to continue the work in the face of the Church’s explosive growth.
The Twelve asked for candidates, but they were also clear that those who would help them in the ministry needed to be “filled with the Spirit and wisdom.”
These men would become known as the Seven, and, according to tradition, may have been the first deacons in the Church.
The Church’s mission is not just for the clergy. Everyone is called to help according to their possibilities and state of life.
As needs increase, each member of the Church must be dedicated to doing his or her part: bishops shepherding their dioceses, helped by priests and deacons; consecrated persons contributing according to their charism; and laity, ordering the world’s affairs in accordance with the Gospel and helping the Church in matters where they may have more expertise.
The Holy Spirit kept the apostles faithful to the work Christ wanted them to do, and the Spirit continues to do so for all of us.
In today’s Second Reading St. Peter reminds us that through Baptism we have been incorporated into the church, and are now living stones in an edifice constructed with a spiritual and priestly purpose.
Jesus described himself to the Pharisees and scribes as the stone rejected by the builders that would become the corner stone. They had rejected him, but the God built the church on him, and he made the Apostles the foundation for the church.
Jesus continues to build the church through us, on the solid foundations of those living stones who have preceded us and our own efforts at holiness.
A living stone is not just edified, but edifying. We are inserted into this spiritual and social structure and helped to support it and to remain solid.
If our works are edifying, it will attract even those who don’t know Jesus to see where that special something we have comes from and to seek it out as well.
In today’s Gospel Jesus, at the Last Supper, prepares his disciples for the moment when he’ll be separated from them on earth, and they’ll be expected to carry on his mission.
He reminds them that they have a place waiting for them in Heaven, just as they have a place in his church.
He tells them today that they know where he is going. They know the way to the Creator’s House too and don’t need him to show them.
When the moment was right, Jesus returned and led every one of them to the Creator’s House, just as he will lead us one day.
In the meanwhile, we have to stay the course he has taught us, and, if we get turned around, ask for directions to get back on track.
Helping people get back on track to the Father’s House is what we’re all called to do as Christians, but to do that we must know how to get to the Creator’s House.
Christ describes himself as the “way”: we show others the way to the degree that we imitate him.
Jesus became flesh and put some believers on the right track, and those believers have helped him guide us ever since.
Jesus sent apostles to the four corners of the world, and they still carry out their mission through us.
This is the work he said would be even greater than his ministry on earth. It spread to the entire Roman empire, then beyond its borders to the whole world.
We’re called to continue these “greater works” that he encouraged his first disciples to do. The key is having faith in him. This is “Taking it OUT THERE!”

When you consider asking someone for directions, don’t you often size them up a little first to see whether they’d be willing or able to help? Some are unwilling, even though they’re able. They’re in a rush or having a bad day. Some are unable, even though they’re willing. The minute they break out their phone and open Google Maps or Waze you know they’re just as lost as you are. You can usually gauge from their first response how confident they are about their answers. A believer is called to show others the way to God, and to do so he must be willing, able, and confident, or else they’ll seek directions elsewhere.
In today’s Gospel Jesus describes Heaven not just as his home, but as a place for us to call home as well. Thinking of home evokes so many warm sentiments–rest, security, peace–and it also invokes the memory of the people there waiting to be with us. Many people today live a difficult situation at home, if they have a home at all, but they all dream of that peaceful place where they can be together with their loved ones. A simple family dinner, where everyone sets aside work, school, etc., to spend time together becomes a glimpse of Heaven as each enjoys the company and there are no worries to dampen the evening.

Jesus has prepared a place for each of us with Abba God in Heaven. How often do we dream of that? How often do we dream of the day in which life’s journey, with all the fatigue and trial, will be over and we’ll finally and permanently be home with the ones we love? How often do we see the need to remind others of our true home as well so that one day we’ll all be there together?

Let’s ask Jesus today to help us always keep our true home in mind. If we know he’s shown us the way, no burden or obstacle of this life will rob us of our hope in getting there.

6th Sunday of Easter - May 14, 2023

During these Sundays of the Easter Season, the Church takes us back to the Last Supper, giving us a chance to dig deeper into its meaning. We can use our imaginations to picture the scene. Jesus and the Twelve are in the Upper Room, gathered for the Passover. Jesus begins to tell them about his coming sufferings. He tells them that he will be leaving them to go back to the Father. We can picture the Apostles frowning in confusion, and maybe beginning to feel a creeping sadness. They have staked their lives on Jesus! They have given up everything to follow him. And now he says that he must go away from them, and that they cannot follow where he is going?

Jesus knows their hearts. He knows their fears. Twice during the Discourse he tells them, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." He only repeats it because he knows that their hearts are truly troubled. And then he makes them a promise. He says, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." He promises never to abandon his chosen followers.

The crucifixion will come, the darkness, the suffering, the persecution, the apparent failure and defeat. But through it all, the Apostles can cling with firm faith to this promise: I will not leave you orphans; I will never abandon you.

Jesus knows that our hearts too are often troubled. He knows that we are filled with fear and confusion, with regret and sorrow in the midst of our own Good Fridays. And he makes the same promise to us: I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. I will be with you. His Resurrection is the first and definitive step in his fulfillment of this promise. Jesus Christ is faithful. We can count on it.

Christ proves his faithfulness over and over again. The miracles he performed during his earthly ministry were all signs of God's faithfulness. The greatest sign of all was Jesus' Resurrection - his definitive victory over sin and suffering, the bedrock of our hope. These signs have continued throughout the history of his Church.
In the First Reading we heard about the deacon Philip healing cripples and casting out demons. His miracles brought joy to the whole city, because they showed that the Good News of the gospel, which Philip was preaching, was more than just wishful thinking. And the miracles have never stopped flowing. Skeptics always try to explain them away, and they aren't the main pillar of our faith, but they still keep happening.

Every year the bishop of Rome beatifies and canonizes new saints. But beatifications and canonizations cannot happen unless miracles confirm the holiness of the new saints and blessed. Most of us have probably experienced miracles ourselves. Let me tell you about a couple.

Walter Hooper, a convert to Catholicism and literary advisor and trustee to the estate of the famous Christian author C.S. Lewis, once told of a miracle he experienced when he met Pope John Paul II. Hooper had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and he was in great pain. On a trip to Rome he had a chance to greet the pope. When he kissed the pope's ring he immediately felt his pain disappear At the same time John Paul II winced and tightened his grip, just for a moment. It was as if the pope had taken upon himself the pain of the cancer, freeing Hooper from his sickness. Walter looked up at the pope and said, "I'm sorry..." and the pope responded, "Don't worry - it's OK." And the cancer was gone.

The second person I would like to tell you is now Blessed Carlos Acutis who was born May 3, 1991 and died of leukemia on October 12, 2006. His picture and a saying is in our missalette today. I highly encourage you to learn more about this very modern and millennial person who has had 2 miracles attributed to him.

The steps to be declared a saint is a long one. Servant of God after your life has been scrutinized more than the FBI would. Next is Venerable, when that scrutinized process is complete and the Office of the Causes of Saints gives a positive vote and it is sent to the Bishop of Rome for final approval. The next step will be the title of Blessed. To get that the Venerable needs a miracle recognized as happening through their posthumous intercession. This step is not easy. Miracles are commonly and normally a physical healing that medicine and science can’t explain. The miracle is presented to Rome, and the Office for the Causes of Saints has a group of specialists, believers and nonbelievers, who examine the miracle, which must be complete and lasting and have no natural explanation.

On November 14, 2019, the Vatican's Medical Council of the Office for the Causes of Saints expressed a positive opinion about a miracle in Brazil attributed to Carlos Acutis's intercession Luciana Vianna had taken her son, Mattheus, who was born with a pancreatic defect that made eating difficult, to a prayer service. Beforehand, Vianna had already prayed a novena asking for the teenager’s intercession. During the service, her son had asked that he should not "throw up as much". Immediately following the service, Mattheus told his mother that he felt healed and asked for solid food when he came home. Until then he had been on an all-liquid diet. After a detailed investigation, Francis confirmed the miracle's authenticity in a decree on February 21, 2020, leading to Carlos’ becoming Blessed.

We are the fortunate ones. We have heard and believed Christ's promise. We have experienced his presence, his faithfulness. We know we are not orphans. We have the Eucharist, which was the center of Carlos’ faith, the Mass, the sacraments, the Bible, the guidance of our bishops, priests, deacons and each other...

We have our share of crosses in life, yet we never have to carry them alone. But what about the other five billion people on earth who do not know Jesus Christ personally, who are searching for someone they can trust, someone who can give them the promise of eternal life? Or what about our very own neighbors, coworkers, teammates, family members, and classmates?
How many of them are keeping up appearances on the outside, but suffering loneliness, frustration, and maybe even hopelessness on the inside? Jesus made his promise to them as well. But they need someone to tell them about it.
They need someone to bear witness to the faithfulness of that promise. That someone is you and I.

We are Christ's messengers and witnesses. Just as we received the news from someone else, we are each called to pass it on to someone else. As St Peter put it in today's Second Reading:
"Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." Whether they ask with words or without words, we have the answer: Christ.

Today, as Christ fulfills his promise once again in this Mass and pours his own strength into our souls as we receive the Eucharist,
let's ask him to make us more courageous messengers, and let's promise him that this week we will bring the Good News of his unfailing love to someone or to many who really need to hear it.


Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

Psalms 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

First Peter 3:15-18

John 14:15-21;

Acts 1:1-11

Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

Ephesians 1:17-23

Matthew 28:16-20
Ascension - May 21, 2023

Today we’re celebrating Christ going home to Heaven. His mission on earth is accomplished. The angels are cheering at his return. The souls that were waiting for many years, since the beginning of human history, for Jesus to come and re-open the way to Heaven are celebrating too from their new and eternal home.

We are also thanking Jesus for the first thing that he did, and now continues to do as soon as he got back to Heaven. Jesus is now at the Creator’s right hand forever, asking him to help us get to Heaven too, and everyone we love. Like Jesus promised at the Last Supper, he and Abba God are sending the Holy Spirit to help us get home by bringing us grace. Christ has ascended and now the disciples are waiting for the “whoosh” of the Holy Spirit.

In today’s First Reading the disciples are still confused and have doubts, even though they’ve seen that Jesus has risen from the dead. They were expecting, like all of Israel expected, one big whoosh right away: they thought the Kingdom of Heaven was coming right now. They were waiting for one last bang and for everyone to be in Heaven and evil to be ended.
They ask Jesus when it’s going to happen. Jesus answers: wait for the Holy Spirit to come, and they still didn’t get it, which is why the angels have to tell them to move on. When Jesus tells them it’s not for them to know the times or seasons, he’s teaching them what the whoosh of the Holy Spirit is like: unexpected and big. The disciples thought there’d be one big whoosh and everyone would be in Heaven. Jesus is telling them to hold on to and be ready for the whoosh.

In today’s Second Reading St. Paul prays that we too receive this “whoosh” of the Holy Spirit when Christ arrives home. This “whoosh” will bestow on us wisdom and revelation, not just on the level of knowledge, but in our hearts as well.

Paul describes well where Jesus is headed today: to the Creator’s right hand, where he’ll be put in charge of all things and be above all other powers. It also says he’s being given to us, the Church, as head over all things.

In today’s Gospel Jesus prepares the disciples, and us, for Pentecost. He may be ascending soon, but the Holy Spirit is coming in force. In the Gospel today, and for the rest of this week, we’re waiting for that first big whoosh of the Holy Spirit that came to the Church on Pentecost, which is what we’ll celebrate on May 28th Pentecost Sunday.

Jesus tells the Apostles to go out and baptize the whole world. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit whooshed down on him. Whenever we receive the sacraments, whenever we pray, and whenever we love each other the same thing happens to us. The Holy Spirit also fulfills the promise Jesus made in the Gospel today: by the power of the Holy Spirit the bread and wine today in Mass will become the Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Christ – and Jesus will stay with us in the Eucharist “until the end of the age” when he will return with the last big whoosh that will bring us all home to Heaven.

The whoosh of the Holy Spirit is like a garden hose: when you’re watering plants, or washing your car, or planning to play on your lawn, somebody has to turn on the hose, and somebody has to guide it, or the water goes splashing all over the place. Jesus is ascending to heaven to turn on the hose and let the Holy Spirit bring the flow of grace.

That whoosh of the Holy Spirit comes out strong and in all kinds of ways; like water from a hose it cools you when you’re hot and thirsty, it washes away the dirt and sweat, and it wakes you up if you’re sleepy.

That all depends on you holding on to the hose and pointing it where it needs to go, or else everyone and everything just gets splashed and wet and you waste a lot of water. 
If your parents tell you to wash the car, and you just have water wars on your lawn and get all wet, the car is still dirty, you’re in big trouble, and the job doesn’t get done.

The Holy Spirit wants to do something with the whoosh, so you need to listen to her and point the right way for the grace she brings to be effective. We keep that “hose” steady so that the grace can do what God wants it to do, and it helps us and others get to Heaven.

The Apostles guided the hose, and so do we: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit through the Apostles, to the other disciples, and to all the generations of disciples after them, and to us.
The Holy Spirit whooshes in when we least expect it, so we must always be ready, and live good lives so that we don’t block the hose by putting kinks in it and stopping the flow.


Acts 2:1-11

Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

First Corinthians 12:1-13

John 20:19-23
Feast of Pentecost - May 28, 2023

Today the Easter season concludes with Pentecost Sunday, commemorating that day in the budding Church when the Father and the Son poured out the Holy Spirit in a special way on the Apostles and they took up the mission of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the whole world. The Holy Spirit throughout the Church’s history has showered down gifts upon her to keep her faithful to the teaching she’s received from Jesus, and to keep the fires burning to inspire hearts to turn to Jesus and be reconciled with God and with man.
In today’s First Reading with wind and fire, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the Twelve in a way that cannot be contained. It’s a sign no one can ignore. A rushing wind and tongues of fire. It draws a crowd. It’s a sign everyone can understand. It goes beyond the barriers of language to help humanity reunite once again in the Spirit. It’s the sign everyone has been seeking: the truth about God, the world, and man.
Every point of origin the shocked witnesses mention today was a full-fledged Christian by the time St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. The fire of the Holy Spirit spread like wildfire, uncontainable.
In today’s Second Reading Paul reminds us that the presence and action of the Holy Spirit are often perceived as gifts, gifts for the edification and unity of the Church. The Holy Spirit gifts us the gift of prayer to express in faith that Jesus is Redeemer. The spiritual gifts are unified in the Church through their source: the Holy Spirit. The ways we serve are unified in serving Jesus. All the workings of the Spirit in us come from God. Each gift is for our benefit, another’s, or both.

In today’s Gospel, we’re reminded of one of the Spirit’s greatest gifts, a gift Jesus conferred to the Apostles on the eve of his Resurrection: the gift of reconciliation with God. Jesus first bestows the gift of reconciliation with his dearest friends, the friends who abandoned him in his moment of need: “Peace be with you.” It’s no coincidence that he repeats this desire for reconciliation even as he is breathing the Holy Spirit upon them. It is the Holy Spirit who makes reconciliation possible. The Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and gave him new life so that reconciliation would be possible.

One of the most saddening ways to break off a relationship with someone is to say, “you are dead to me;” In God’s eyes, even in those situations, the Spirit can make that person come alive again through the grace of mercy, whether mercy received or mercy given.

The separation between God and man, recalled by the story of the Tower of Babel, is reversed by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: in pride, man distanced himself from God and his fellow man, and communication broke down. Through the gift of tongues, the Holy Spirit re-establishes the lines of communication. In the Spirit, man reconciles not only with God but with his fellow man.
The miters that bishops wear during the liturgy symbolize the tongues of fire that came upon the heads of each of the Apostles at Pentecost. The red we use in the liturgies commemorating the Apostles and Evangelists does not just represent the blood of martyrdom; it also represents the fire of the Holy Spirit, which is why the vestments are red today.

When we describe a believer as on fire we are referring not only to his zeal in the service of the Gospel, but the fire of the Holy Spirit that inspires him. Often the Holy Spirit works quietly and unassumingly, just as the Spirit often did during Jesus’ earthly ministry and does frequently through believers. Moments also come where we feel consumed by the Spirit’s presence, inspiration, and insight. A spiritual fire takes hold of us.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday were crowning gifts for the good of the Church and the world. This Sunday is not just a moment to ask the Spirit for more gifts, although they are abundant; it is a moment to take stock of the all the spiritual gifts we have received in gratitude.

People receive gifts that they don’t think they need and chuck them in the closet all the time. Have we relegated any of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to the closet? St. Paul reminds us today that gifts are for the benefit of someone. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can best use his gifts.