Happy Holy Trinity Sunday! Happy Memorial Day!
Happy Memorial Day! In last week's bulletin, I have already wished you a blessed Memorial Day weekend. I think I did it a little too early. This weekend we also celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Let us hold them in our prayers. At the same time let us also remember all those who are serving to keep us safe.
Last weekend, we celebrated Pentecost. I would like to thank everyone for those who served Mass to make the celebration of Pentecost beautiful. Special thanks to all those who did a reading in different languages: Marcia Lalonde, Aggie Moser, and Sarah Oswald. If any of you can read in any other language, please call the office, as it will be helpful for the future.
The Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate Holy Trinity. Trinity is a mystery, but Jesus makes it easier for us. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20), Jesus talks to his disciples about the mission. Jesus says “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.” Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” In Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.”
A simple definition of Holy Trinity is One God subsists three-person. Holy Trinity is the more visible way we can see it in the New Testament. We see in the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38, God the Father sent the angel Gabriel to Mary and told her the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive in her womb and bear a son, whom she will mane Jesus. Luke 3:21-22, when Jesus, the Son, was baptized, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came down like a dove, and the voice of the Father came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased.” In the Gospel of John 15:26, at the Last Supper discourse Jesus says, “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.” In the first reading from the book of Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40, Moses gives reason to be proud of their God, who is unique and there is no other god. The second reading from Romans 8:14-17, talks about the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and our relationship with God. St. Paul says we are children of God through adaptation. In the second Corinthians 13:13, St. Paul gives a beautiful greeting or blessing prayer, which proclaims the Holy Trinity. St. Paul encourages them to live in peace and love and asks them to greet each other with a holy kiss, and close with these words: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
If we look at the Book of Genesis 1:1-3, God created heaven and earth by uttering Word and Spirit of God moving the face of the waters. Gospel of John 1:1-5, says, the Word was in the beginning, the Word was God, and all things came through him.
We can find a lot of scriptural passages that talk about the Holy Trinity. It is ultimately a deep mystery because we can't fully comprehend how three can be one. St. Patrick uses the shamrock to explain the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to his flocks in Ireland. Each of the leaves represent one of the three persons, but yet, it was still only one shamrock. Trinity is a community of self-giving love; an intimate relationship. We are made to love as the Holy Trinity loved. A family is a simple form of community, it grows into a church, different organizations and it grows into a wider community. We are invited to live in a community of love. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others. We can call God our Father, Son Jesus “Emmanuel” and Holy Spirit “strength in our weakness.”
Happy Pentecost! Happy Memorial Day!!
We talk about the spirit in common conversation. Sometimes we say, I am in good spirit or we talk about community spirit, the national spirit. In these contests, we talk about the spirit of love, unity, life, and so on. Jesus promised theHoly Spirit, the advocate. After 50 days of Easter, we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means fifty.
The Jews celebrated the feast of Pentecost fifty days after the Passover. Originally it was an agricultural feast (Leviticus 23:15-17) and later giving of the law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-20). Now we celebrate the new Pentecost after the fifty days of Jesus' resurrection. When God came to Mount Sinai, there was fire and a loud sound with trumpet blasts. In the new Pentecost, there was a mighty wind, and tongues of fire came over to the Apostles.
We can see the presence of the Holy Spirit from the beginning of the Bible. In the Book of Genesis (1:2) we read, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the earth.” 2:7 we read, “The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” The Gospel of John 20:21&22, Jesus after the resurrection appeared to the disciples and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.” In the book of Genesis, we see the first creation of man, and in the Gospel of John we see the recreation.
One of the readings for the Vigil Mass is from the book of Genesis 11:1-9 which gives the background for the understanding of Pentecost as a reversal of Babel. The word babel means confused voice(s). The story of the Tower of Babel tells us that the sinful pride of the human beings separate them from God and to show their pride they decided to build the towel to touch the sky. They all spoke the same language, but God confused them and that prevented them to build the tower. At the Pentecost, however, even though there were people from many nations, they overcome the language barrier. All of them were able to understand each other. The Christian tradition views Pentecost as the undoing of the Tower of Babel, and the reunification of the human family through the mission and witness of the apostolic Church.
The reading from the book of Joel (3:1-5) he anticipates that the Lord will someday renew faithful with the divine spirit. In Acts 2:17–21, Peter addresses the people and in his address he cites Joel’s words to suggest that the newly constituted Christian community, filled with divine life and power, inaugurates the Lord’s Day, understood as salvation for all who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.
We received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation by the laying of hands. Anointing of the Holy Spirit takes place in us when we eagerly are asking for it. Sometimes we may attempt to think, it is for the saintly people. It is not a wrong concept. Anointing of the Holy Spirit is for all of us to grow in holiness. Jesus promised apostles an advocate, a helper. When they received the Holy Spirit, it changed their life, they got out of the fear. They went out to the street and proclaimed the Good News. Today, we are sent out to proclaim the good news. It may be our homes, our neighborhood, workplace, and son. Suppose, you didn't see your neighbor at the Mass, do you feel the need to call? Maybe I have to rephrase that question, “do you miss them?” Pentecost reminds us that we need to ask the Holy Spirit to inspire us to reach out to others because we are sent out to evangelize the Good News.
This weekend we also celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Let us hold them in our prayers. At the same time let us remember all those who are serving to keep us safe.
Happy Pentecost! Happy Memorial Day!!
Congratulations Senior Graduates!
We are fast approaching the end of the school year. This weekend our cluster is celebrating graduation weekend for our seniors. I take this opportunity to congratulate you and wish you the best. We will hold you in our prayers. Senior year is the culmination of more than a decade of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Now, it is a turning point in your life. I am sure seniors, you are full of dreams and plans for the future. Teachers, parents, family, and friends will look at you with a question: what is next? What are you going to study? What do you want to become? Some of you have already decided and some are not sure yet.
Whether you are going to college, entering the workforce, joining the military, joining the priesthood or religious life, or unsure of the next step, we are here to offer a prayer for you for encouragement, and support. We want to thank you for your faith and witness. Wherever you go, please join the faith community there. Most of the campus’s have Mass, if not there will be a Catholic church nearby. When you come home from college, please don’t forget to come to your spiritual home and celebrate faith with us. There is a community of faith waiting to see you.
This weekend we are celebrating Ascension of Our Lord. God the Father sends his son, who lived thirty years of silent life, and three years did the public ministry. Then he suffered, crucified, died, and resurrected. This Sunday we celebrate Ascension Sunday! The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives an account of the event of Ascension of the Lord. In the first part of the reading, Jesus gives instruction and the second part Ascension of our Lord. Forty days between Easter and Ascension is a period of final instruction and then Jesus ascended into heaven. The number forty signifies the time of preparation. Jesus prepared the apostles for the mission and asked them to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the Holy Spirit. We know that Jesus himself underwent forty days of instruction before his public ministry. These forty days not only for the Apostles but for many who received the opportunity to experience personally Jesus’ Resurrection and his being alive in a glorified body. Paul writes in the first 1 Corinthians 15:6, “He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”
The Gospel echoes the first reading. Acts 1:9 and Mark 16:19 says, the Ascension of the Lord culminates with his heavenly enthronement at the right hand of the Father. The Ascension took place on Mount Olive. In the Acts, we read, “A cloud took him from their sight.” In the Bible, the cloud represents the divine presence. We can see references in the Book of Exodus 13:21; Isaiah 63:11; Daniel 7:13. In the Acts 7:55 Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Jesus departed from them, but at the same time, he pledged his future return. The same cloud that took him away will bring him back to retrieve the saints destined for glory (1Thessalonians 4:14-17). Daniel 7:13, tells about his vision, “I saw coming with the clouds of heaven. One like a son of man…” In the Gospel of Matthew 26:24, Jesus had told the high priest, “From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.” Christ’s kingdom began with his coming, is now present in the Church, and will reach its fulfillment when he returns in glory. Jesus entrusted the Church to the Apostles, and asked them to continue the mission with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Today, we are the church, called to continue the mission of Christ. We received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. Through the laying of hands at Confirmation the Holy Spirit activated in a new and profound way. Let us pray the Holy Spirit renews our life in a new and profound way as we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord and prepare ourselves to celebrate Pentecost. In a special way let us pray for our seniors to embrace the Holy Spirit in their new beginnings. Let us say together in a loud voice, “Come Holy Spirit, come into our heart.”
Happy Mother’s Day!
An Indian poet says in one of the poems, mother never dies. He says a mother gives her blood to her children when they are in the womb, and when they are born through breastfeeding those mothers share their life. Mothers live through their children. We pray on this Mothers’ Day, for all our mothers, whether they are alive or have gone to their eternal reward. Let us thank God for all mothers, stepmothers, foster mothers and all those who are like mothers, let us offer them at the altar and ask God's abundant blessing upon them. Happy Mother’s Day!
On Mother’s Day, let us Christians acknowledge the truth that we have two mothers: our earthly mother and our heavenly mother, Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Catholic Church proclaims the great nobility of the mother of Jesus, Mary most holy, and presents her as the supreme model for all mothers. She was born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God. She affirmed her obedience to the call of God and lived out her vocation throughout her entire life. Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood.
The month of May is traditionally the month of Mary. Through Mary, the work of Motherhood is glorified and sanctified. On this Mother’s Day, presenting all mothers on the altar, let us sing the beautiful song we sing on the Feast of the Presentation, “Gentle woman, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom, and teach us love.” This year Pope Francis invites us to join with him the entire month of May to pray the Rosary for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us join Pope Francis and pray for the whole world.
Last weekend we reflected on the vine and the branches from the Gospel of John 15. This weekend we have a continuation of the Gospel of John 15 emphasizing the commandment of love and inviting us to remain in, abide, and dwell in his love.
This passage is from the Last Supper discourse. Jesus tells them over and over this message because he knows how tough things going to be. Jesus looks at the Good Friday and preparing for that moment. Jesus told them they were called to love, joy, and called to friendship. The promise of intimacy with Jesus is conditional because Jesus demands us to keep his commandment and remain in his love. The fullest expression of love consists in pouring out our lives to God as Jesus did on the cross.
Jesus told them, “I have called you friends.” In the Old Testament often called a servant. Deuteronomy 34:5 “So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD, died as the LORD had said.” Psalm 89:21, “I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.” We see an exception in 2 Chronicles 20:7, “Was it not you, our God, who dispossessed the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham, your friend?” In the Gospel, Jesus told them that they are friends because among friends there is a mutual sharing.
In the first reading, we see a struggle of early Church. The questions were raised in the early church, who can receive baptism, do they have to be circumcised, and so on. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, while Apostle Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on them. Then Peter raised a question, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?” Then Peter ordered and they received the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. The spirit of love unified them and everyone embraced the faith.
The second reading tells that God is love. In the first letter of John tells us “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.” Love incarnated and invites us to remain in his love.
Let us remain his love!