ASCENSION of the LORD
The Easter days are coming to an end – we have been studying how Jesus was demonstrating he was alive, we read – “He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” – this was to make sure they were certain of his being alive and of his presence with them. Two key things: ALIVE, & PRESENT.
ALIVE – how critical to realize; remember these words of St. Paul:
o But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 1 Cor. 15:13ff
PRESENCE is also essential to what will come next – the Age of the Church – our Age now. The Church is not simply about the life and teachings of someone who lived good life long ago – who continues to inspire people today. We, the Church, are not just carrying on, working it out alone – He is PRESENT with us now, as He was, He is and will be forever – PRESENT
Let me make a little example how important PRESENCE really is –
o Supposing you have someone very dear – they move to China to study and work – you miss them terribly – one day you come home from work, hang up coat, turn on TV – then suddenly hear a conversation coming from kitchen and the voice, voice of your dear friend – they not in China now – they’re here PRESENT! – you would fly from the chair to embrace them.
The first Easter days were full of joy at Jesus’ PRESENCE – even though it was a different kind of real presence they had to get used to. But now things are going to change again – not His PRESENCE – but a new way of his being PRESENT.
Remember how disciples were having a hard time understanding when Jesus was preparing them for his death, He said:
o "A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me." So some of his disciples said to one another, "What does this mean that he is saying to us, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" So they said, "What is this 'little while' of which he speaks? We do not know what he means."
Well, now another “little while” is underway – from Ascension to Pentecost – now his risen PRESENCE will be made visible in a new way – by the Holy Spirit. Now comes the age of the Holy Spirit – this age we are now living in. Today we need to ask that same question: “… what does all this mean, for the Church and for me?
Jesus is ALIVE, Jesus is PRESENT. Do you realize Jesus’ PRESENCE in your life now? Is He real to you here or still far, far, away – in China? This is a grace, the gift of the Holy Spirit – we don’t make it happen – but we ask for it to happen.
Monday, 29 May 2017
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Monday, 22 May 2017
As we progress through the Easter season, we are preparing to celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church - our birthday. Since Pope John XXIII, and his prayer for a new Pentecost in the Church, many have experienced that prayer fulfilled in a real and personal way. Notably, the Charismatic Renew experienced this "Grace of Renewal" in prayers for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Here are some resources to help prepare for Pentecost and a new outpouring of the GRACE OF RENEWAL.
On the Special Series page you will find links to a series on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit -
[ LINK ]
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
From a Sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop
I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God’s desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity.
Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no loss to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.
Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status.
How marvelous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate to God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly it is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed.
The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven.
Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.
Office of Readings for Tuesday in the 4th week of Easter
Friday, 5 May 2017
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
So many voices, so many ways to hear, so many thieves seeking to deceive and steal; how are they to hear His Voice?
Someone must be listening first, then that person can begin to encourage and direct others to listen as well. Such a person can rightfully be called an evangelist.
During his homily on the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on June 28, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI renewed the Church’s call to the New Evangelization. He clarified that the New Evangelization is new, not in its content but rather in its inner thrust; new in its methods that must correspond to the times; and new because it is necessary to proclaim the Gospel to those who have already heard it.24 Pope Benedict XVI calls the Church to evangelize by entering into dialogue with modern culture and confronting the cultural crisis brought on by secularization. (Disciples called to Witness: the New Evangelization. USCCB)
The US Conference of Bishops document is an excellent read on Evangelization.
Here is the [ LINK ]
In their document, the US bishops have a section dealing with the importance prayer has in evangelization. (page 18)
In 2013, I did a series of posts on New Evangelization and 8 Steps to Prayer & Evangelization ... [ LINK ]
Someone Has To Be Listening