Theme: THE RISEN LORD EMPOWERS US WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DO WHAT HE DID!
- Acts 6:1-7;
- Psalm 32:1-2. 4-5. 18-19. R. v. 22;
- 1 Peter 2:4-9
- John 14:1-12
Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter! We are still celebrating the Easter Season of 50 days! The reading today tell us that the Risen Lord empowers us with the Holy Spirit to do what he did, namely, to proclaim the good news, to die and rise from the dead and to give the Holy Spirit, and to build the Kingdom of God!
The gospel today tells us that the disciples will do the things Jesus did, and will do even greater things, because Jesus was ascending to the Father, that is, to give the Holy Spirit! (NJB/Faley/Fuller)
Thus we read in today’s gospel: “I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.”! (Jn 14:12)
And indeed, the first reading tells us that the apostles preached and taught the word of God as Jesus did! In fact the first reading tells us that the apostles had to choose 7 “deacons” to help in the distribution of food so that the apostles will not neglect preaching and teaching the word of God! And in fact, even among the 7 “deacons”, Stephen and Philip became preachers of the word of God!
The Bishops today are the direct successors of the apostles. They have the duty to preach the word of God (Prophet), to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist (Priest), and to build the community (King), but the most important of the three is to preach and teach the word of God! (World Synod of Bishops 2001 – Archbishop Emeritus John Lee) The most important duty of the priest is also to preach and teach the word of God!
Thus we read in the first reading: “So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’”! (Ac 6:2-4)
The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise of God the Creator and Savior! The responsorial psalm has 3 stanzas. The first stanza is a call to praise God! (Ps 32:1-2) The second stanza praises God the Creator! (Ps 32:4-5) The third stanza praises God the Savior! (Ps 32:18-19) (HCSB/NJBC/Fuller)
God created the universe out of love, God saved the universe out of love, and God continues to sanctify the universe out of love!
Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.”! (Ps 32:22)
Again, the second reading tells us that we have to do what Jesus did! Besides proclaiming and teaching the word of God, we have also to “offer spiritual sacrifices” and we have to “make spiritual houses”, that is, we have to celebrate the Eucharist and we have to build the Community, respectively!
Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead, and gave the Holy Spirit; but before he died, he instituted the Eucharist and commanded us to do it in his memory; that is, to make present, real and effective his death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; so that we too may die and rise from the dead and give the Holy Spirit!
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, and ascension into heaven, and the giving of the Holy Spirit; Jesus left us a Community! And it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we build the community, build the Church, and build the Kingdom of God here on earth!
Thus we read in the second reading: “The Lord is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house.”! (1 P 2:4-5/Fuller)
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, to help us proclaim the good news, “offer the spiritual sacrifices”, and “make the spiritual house”, that is, to build the Christian Community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God here on earth! A Happy Easter season to all of you! Amen!