Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP US PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS, OFFER SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES, AND BUILD THE COMMUNITY.
- Acts 6:1-7;
- Psalm 32 (33): 1-2. 4-5. 18-19. R/ v. 22;
- 1 Peter 2:4-9
- John 14:1-12
1. Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter. The readings today tell us that the Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the good news, offer spiritual sacrifices and build the community.
The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, that is, Jesus is the only Way to the Father, because he is the Truth of the Father’s love which gives Life. (NJBC) Life in creation, salvation and sanctification!
As we are in the Easter season of fifty days, and as we look forward to celebrate the Ascension in two weeks time, and Pentecost in three weeks time, the gospel today also tells us that the Lord will ascend into heaven, not to abandon us, but to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will continue his work! (NJB) We will continue to proclaim the good news, offer spiritual sacrifices and build the community! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“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; SM)
2. The first reading tells us about the proclamation of the good news. The first reading tells us that the Twelve Apostles chose seven “deacons” to help them to distribute food so that the Twelve will have more time to pray and preach the word of God. Among the seven were Stephen and Philip, but as we shall see, even Stephen and Philip were preaching the word of God and baptizing. They were not distributing food. (Ac 6-8) 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; SM)
The duty of the bishop and priest is to be priest, prophet and king, but his primary duty is to be prophet, that is, to preach and teach the word of God! Thus Vatican II teaches:
“The People of God finds its unity first of all through the word of the living God, which is quite properly sought from the lips of priests. Since no one can be saved who has not first believed, priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have as their primary duty the proclamation of the gospel of God to all. In this way they fulfill the Lord’s command: ‘Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mk 16:15). Thus they establish and build up the People of God.” (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Vatican II, n. 4)
3. The responsorial psalm tells us to pray for God’s love. (IBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Let your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” (Ps 32 (33): 22; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to praise God. The second stanza tells us that we praise God because he created the whole universe with his word. The third stanza tells us that we praise God because he is our only Savior. (NJBC) And the response tells us to pray for God’s love. (IBC)
Because it was out of love that God created the universe and it was out of love that God saved the universe, and it is out of love that God continues to sanctify the universe!
4. The second reading tells us that we are the holy priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices to God. Spiritual sacrifices include worship, social ethics, a life of faith and love, etc. In short, a Christian life! (HCSB; NJBC; Fuller)
The second reading also tells us that we are the living stones that build up the spiritual house of God, with Jesus Christ as the corner stone, that is, the foundation stone. We are to build up the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God! We are to build Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)! 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; SM)
5. Today in the Eucharist we celebrate Easter. In fact every Sunday is a small celebration of Easter. 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. The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the good news, offer spiritual sacrifices, and build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God! The Holy Spirit will help us build Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)! A happy Easter Season to all of you!
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