PENTECOST SUNDAY (C) – 9th June 2019

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf v. 30;
  • Romans 8:8-17
  • John 14: 15-16. 23-26

Today is Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year C! Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Theologians tell us that the Holy Spirit is the perfect love between God the Father and God the Son! The perfect love between God the Father and God the Son is God the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today tells that the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus taught us! That is, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice! Jesus taught us to love one another as he has loved us:

“This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12; NJB)

The Holy Spirit will help us understand the love of Jesus and help us love one another as Jesus loved us! Thus we pray in the Gospel Acclamation:

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” (SM)

The fire of the love of the Holy Spirit will burn away our sins and help us love another as Jesus loved us!

The first reading tells us about the day of Pentecost! Pentecost was originally an agricultural feast. It was a harvest festival! The harvest that began at the Passover-Unleavened Bread was completed at Pentecost, that is, fifty days! Our harvest festival in Sabah, Malaysia, last for the whole month of May, that is, thirty days!

Later, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Law at Sinai, and still later, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Law of Love, in Jerusalem! That is why like the giving of the Law at Sinai, the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Law of Love, was also accompanied by loud sounds/noises and fire, that is, a theophany, that is, a manifestation of God!

The first reading also tells us that the good news of the love of God must be proclaimed to all the nations, because only the love of God can save the whole world! That is why the first reading tells us that all the Jews from the different nations gathered in Jerusalem heard the good news of God’s love each in their own language. St. Luke used the word “languages” instead of “tongues” to tell us about the universal mission of the Church!

Pentecost will undo what the Tower of Babel did! (Gn 11:1-9; Vigil Mass of Pentecost Sunday; First Reading) The tower of Babel divided the people because of sin! Pentecost will unite the people in the love of God!

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit is not only in salvation, but the Holy Spirit is also in creation! Thus the response:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 30; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives praise to God for creation. (vv. 1 & 24) The second stanza from which the response is taken, tells us that without the Holy Spirit the whole of creation will die, but with the Holy Spirit the whole of creation will live! (vv. 29 & 30) The third stanza tells us that God is happy with his creation and we his creatures are happy with God our creator! (vv. 31 & 34)

The second reading tells us that the flesh cannot give us life, only the Holy Spirit can give us life! That is why we must not live in the flesh, but we must live in the Holy Spirit! If we live in the flesh we will die, but if we live in the Holy Spirit we will live forever and never die!

The second reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit makes us into the sons and daughters of God, calling God Father! God becomes our Father, the Church becomes our Mother. We are born in the womb (baptismal font/pool) of Mother Church through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism and we become the children of God. And Jesus becomes our brother and we become brothers and sisters of one another! What more do the Christians want?

Today we give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sunday Eucharist, so that we will love one another as Jesus loved us, and so that we will proclaim the good news of Jesus’ love to the whole world, and so that the whole world may love as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ! A happy Easter and a happy Pentecost to all of you!

Amen!

Pentecost Sunday (Year A, B, C) – 20th May 2018

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS TO RENEW THE EARTH IN LOVE AND UNITY   

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103: 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R. cf v. 30;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13
  • John 20:19-23 

Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, that is, the descend of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was originally a harvest festival which began at the Passover. The word Pentecost means fifty. Just as our Kadazandusun brothers and sisters celebrate harvest festival for the whole month of May climaxing at the end of May, the Jews also celebrated their harvest festival for fifty days climaxing on the day of Pentecost. Later the feast of Pentecost became a celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai. In the New Testament Pentecost became a celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit! (Fuller) As creatures we need food, as human beings we need the law, and as children of God we need the Holy Spirit of God!

Another important point to note is that there are two different accounts of Pentecost in today’s readings. The gospel of John tells us that Pentecost happened on Easter Sunday, but the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us that Pentecost happened fifty days after Easter Sunday. The Acts of the Apostles also tell us that the Ascension happened forty days after the Resurrection, but the gospel of Luke also written by Luke tells us that the Ascension happened on the day of the Resurrection. Again, in the gospel of John there is no “speaking in tongues” on the day of Pentecost, but in the Acts of the Apostles there is “speaking in tongues” on the day of Pentecost. The details are not as important as the essentials. The essentials are these: Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead, and gave the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today tells us that on the day of His resurrection the Lord gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples and sent them out to proclaim the good news so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven. Thus we read in the gospel:

“And he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’” (Jn 20:21-23)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that after receiving the Holy Spirit the Apostles spoke in foreign languages. Note that Luke changed the words “speaking in tongues” to “speaking in foreign languages” to indicate the universal mission of the Church to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection! The universal mission of the Church is symbolized by the Jews from all the nations!

The first reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity. The Holy Spirit unites all the languages and nations of the world. Pentecost undoes and reverses the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:1-9) where and when the people were confused in their language and were divided and scattered all over the world! Thus we read in the first reading:

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language.” (Ac 2: 4-6)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit does not only create the earth, but the Holy Spirit also sustains the earth. More importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit does not only sustain the earth, but the Holy Spirit also renews the earth! Thus the second stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“You take back your spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 29-30)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 30)

Like the first reading, the second reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity. Thus we read in the second reading:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Co 12: 4-7. 12-13/HCSB)

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, and send us forth to proclaim the good news of his resurrection to renew the earth in love and unity!   Amen!

Pentecost Sunday (Year A, B , C) – 4th June 2017

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS AND TO BUILD CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES OF LOVE AND UNITY 

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103:1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf v.30;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13
  • John 20:19-23

A happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you! Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year A.

The first reading tells us that on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. The first reading tells us that there was a loud noise which sounded like a strong wind that filled the room and there were tongues of fire resting on the apostles and the apostles spoke in foreign languages! The wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:8). In Greek, as in Hebrew, one word serves for both ‘wind’ and ‘spirit’ (NJB). The loud noise and fire symbolize the presence of God as at the covenant on Sinai (Ex 19:16. 18).

The first reading also tells us that the Jews from all the nations of the world assembled at the loud noise and each of them heard the apostles preaching the marvels of God each in their own language! The first reading foreshadows the universal mission of the Church to preach the good news to the whole world! When we receive the Holy Spirit we preach the good news to the whole world!

 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103:30; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a hymn of “Praise of God the Creator” (CSB). But in today’s liturgy, it is a hymn of praise to God the Savior! The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The second stanza from which the response is taken is the most important! Thus the second stanza:

“You take back your spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103:29-30; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit gives us life, without the Holy Spirit we die, but with the Holy Spirit, even though we die we will live!

 

The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of unity! The second reading tells us about unity in diversity, not unity in uniformity! The second reading tells us that though there are many different gifts, they are from the same Spirit; though there are many different services, they serve the same Lord; and the same God is working in all of us! And all the different gifts are given for the common good!

The second reading also tells us that just as the human body has many parts, the many parts make up one body, so it is with the body of Christ. We are different parts of the one body of Christ! We were all baptized with the one Spirit, “Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens”, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink in baptism! Again, the second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of unity, not of division!

 

The Gospel Acclamation tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Thus the Gospel Acclamation:

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.”

The fire of the Holy Spirit is the fire of God’s love that burns away our sins! Only the fire of God’s love can burn away our sins! That is why at a Penitential Service we were asked to write our sins down on a piece of paper and burn it with the fire of the Easter Candle and throw it into a bin symbolizing hell! And we were told that hell is a place where God burns away our sins with the fire of his love so that we can go to heaven! Hell is the love of God experienced by a sinner for his conversion!

 

The gospel today also tells us about Pentecost, but the gospel today tells us that the Holy Spirit was given on the day of the Lord’s resurrection and not fifty days after his resurrection! The gospel today is from St. John. The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side and the disciples were filled with joy! Again, he said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the father sent me so I am sending you’. After saying this he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, those whose sins you retain they are retained’.

That is, proclaim the good news, those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven. (NJBC; Fuller) The Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the sacrament of Baptism! The Holy Spirit also forgives our sins in the sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. And above all, the Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the sacrament of sacraments, the Eucharist, the “Perpetual Pentecost”! The Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the Church, particularly, in the sacraments of Baptism, Penance and Eucharist! That is why it is most important that we come to Mass every Sunday!

 

Today, fifty years after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the Charismatic Renewal, the Life in the Spirit Seminars, and the Prayer Meetings; the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities; and the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities)! All these three movements involve the proclamation of the good news and the building of Christian communities of love and unity, so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world!

That is why it is important that we attend Mass every Sunday and we attend the Life in the Spirit seminars and we attend the Neo-Catechumenate Catechesis and the BECs so that we may receive the Holy Spirit and proclaim the good news and build Christian communities of love and unity and so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! Again, a happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you! Amen!

Pentecost Sunday (C) – 15th May 2016

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf v. 30;
  • Romans 8:8-17
  • John 14: 15-16. 23-26

 

Today is Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year C! Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Theologians tell us that the Holy Spirit is the perfect love between God the Father and God the Son! The perfect love between God the Father and God the Son is God the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today tells that the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus taught us! That is, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice! Jesus taught us to love one another as he has loved us:

“This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12; NJB)

The Holy Spirit will help us understand the love of Jesus and help us love one another as Jesus loved us! Thus we pray in the Gospel Acclamation:

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” (SM)

The fire of the love of the Holy Spirit will burn away our sins and help us love another as Jesus loved us!

 

The first reading tells us about the day of Pentecost! Pentecost was originally an agricultural feast. It was a harvest festival! The harvest that began at the Passover-Unleavened Bread was completed at Pentecost, that is, fifty days! Our harvest festival in Sabah, Malaysia, last for the whole month of May, that is, thirty days!

Later, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Law at Sinai, and still later, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Law of Love, in Jerusalem! That is why like the giving of the Law at Sinai, the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Law of Love, was also accompanied by loud sounds/noises and fire, that is, a theophany, that is, a manifestation of God!

The first reading also tells us that the good news of the love of God must be proclaimed to all the nations, because only the love of God can save the whole world! That is why the first reading tells us that all the Jews from the different nations gathered in Jerusalem heard the good news of God’s love each in their own language. St. Luke used the word “languages” instead of “tongues” to tell us about the universal mission of the Church!

Pentecost will undo what the Tower of Babel did! (Gn 11:1-9; Vigil Mass of Pentecost Sunday; First Reading) The tower of Babel divided the people because of sin! Pentecost will unite the people in the love of God!

 

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit is not only in salvation, but the Holy Spirit is also in creation! Thus the response:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 30; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives praise to God for creation. (vv. 1 & 24) The second stanza from which the response is taken, tells us that without the Holy Spirit the whole of creation will die, but with the Holy Spirit the whole of creation will live! (vv. 29 & 30) The third stanza tells us that God is happy with his creation and we his creatures are happy with God our creator! (vv. 31 & 34)

 

The second reading tells us that the flesh cannot give us life, only the Holy Spirit can give us life! That is why we must not live in the flesh, but we must live in the Holy Spirit! If we live in the flesh we will die, but if we live in the Holy Spirit we will live forever and never die!

The second reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit makes us into the sons and daughters of God, calling God Father! God becomes our Father, the Church becomes our Mother. We are born in the womb (baptismal font/pool) of Mother Church through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism and we become the children of God. And Jesus becomes our brother and we become brothers and sisters of one another! What more do the Christians want?

 

Today we give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sunday Eucharist, so that we will love one another as Jesus loved us, and so that we will proclaim the good news of Jesus’ love to the whole world, and so that the whole world may love as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ! A happy Easter and a happy Pentecost to all of you!

Amen!

24th May 2015 – Pentecost Sunday

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE WILL HELP US LOVE GOD, LOVE NEIGHBOR AND LOVE OURSELVES 

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf. v. 30;
  • Galatians 5:16-25
  • John 15:26-27; 16:12-15.

Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year B. The word “Pentecost” comes from a Greek word meaning “fifty” or “the fiftieth day”. The Easter Season of fifty days which began on Easter Sunday will end today with Pentecost Sunday. After the Masses of Pentecost Sunday, the Easter candle will be removed from the sanctuary and it will only be used for baptism and burial Masses. Pentecost Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles on “Pentecost day”.  

 

The “Gospel Acclamation” today asks the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and kindle in us the fire of God’s love: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love”. The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and help us love God, love neighbor and love ourselves!

 

The gospel today tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and that he will reveal to us the complete truth. Jesus revealed to us the truth of God’s love, but it is only in his death and resurrection that the complete truth of God’s love is revealed to us in the Holy Spirit!

 

Indeed the second reading today tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. (SM) But of the nine fruit mentioned, the first three are more important, that is, love, joy and peace. But of the three, love is the most important, that is why it is mentioned first!

Indeed God is love and the perfect love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love.

 

The first reading tells us that on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in “tongues of fire” and the Apostles began to speak “foreign languages”! In the context of today’s liturgy and readings, the tongues of fire are the fire of God’s love and the “foreign languages” emphasizes the universal mission of the Church to preach the good news of God’s love in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to all the nations, so that all the nations will be united in the love, joy and peace of God!

 

The responsorial psalm is a response to the beauty of God’s creation with awe! (CSB) But in the liturgy today the responsorial psalm tells us about salvation in the Holy Spirit! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 30; SM)

 

Today as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, we thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and we ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and kindle in us the fire of his love. The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and help us love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves! A happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you!