Pentecost: Do we live out the supernatural unity of the Holy Spirit?

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Pentecost Sunday, Year A: June 11-12, 2011
At the Vigil Mass: Gen 11:1-9; Exod 19:3-8, 16-20; Ezek 37:1-14; Joel 3:1-5; Ps 104; Rom 8:22-27; John 7:37-39
Mass during the Day: Acts 2:1-11; Ps 104; 1 Cor 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

It was the time of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks; called in Greek “Pentecost,” which means “50th”—and many of the People of Israel were gathered in Jerusalem. 50 days earlier, they had celebrated the Passover, celebrating when the Lord had delivered them from slavery in Egypt. Now they celebrated when he then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai, for the Law was utterly central to their identity and life. The deliverance and the gift: two events that made them a people and defined their relationship with the Lord.

But that year, it was different. (more…)

Ascension of the Lord: Where did he go, and why?

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Ascension of the Lord, Year A: June 5, 2011
Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47; Eph 1:17-23; Matt 28:16-20

We heard St. Paul write: May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened. And that is a good prayer on this day when we celebrate our Lord’s ascension. For it is sometimes said that we Western Christians—in comparison to our brethren who are Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholics—have a very impoverished understanding of what Christ’s Ascension means. In a sense, we react almost like a small child, who pouts and says, “Why did Jesus have to leave!”—without seeking to understand where he has gone and why. Or, it has been said, that we, in effect, banish him to the past, almost as if we are sealing him back in the tomb; as if he has no effect upon our lives but is simply someone locked in the past, no longer alive in the present. (more…)