PENTECOST SUNDAY- the explanation

by Bishop Robert Barron

From all eternity, the Father looks at the Son and the Son looks at the Father. What each sees is utter perfection and beauty. And so each, as Venerable Fulton Sheen said, sighs his love for the other. This shared breath is what our tradition calls the Spiritus Sanctus, the love breathed back and forth between the Father and the Son.

This is the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the chaotic waters at creation, that spoke through the prophets and patriarchs, that overshadowed the Virgin at the Annunciation, that drove Jesus into the desert, and that the Lord breathed (appropriately enough) on his disciples the night of Easter. How marvelous that this sacred breath is associated with the forgiveness of sins: Receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.  

In an acrobatic act of love, the Father sent the Son all the way to the limits of godforsakenness, all the way to the furthest end of our rebellion and isolation. This is the central drama of the cross. Then, in the Holy Spirit, he drew the whole fallen world, which the Son had embraced, back to himself. And this is precisely why the Spirit is the great principle of mercy. In the words of absolution, the priest prays, “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.”

On the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the fact that this breath, this wind, this hurricane of mercy has been loosed upon the world.

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Jesus told us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”(Jn 14:15-17)

Jesus knew the difficulties we would face in life. He knew the help and the strength and the wisdom and courage that would be needed so as to not fall into severe discouragement or even despair. When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit was given you to lead you into the fullness of Truth itself. He was given you to accompany you through the struggles and the joys that life on this earth would bring.  It is not a pious idea; it is not a metaphor. God chose to share with you, His very own Spirit.  When you became his sons and daughters in baptism, you genuinely were brought into the family of God. He desires to accompany you through all your daily activities and relationships. He wants to impart his priorities, equip you with all you need to live his will which is guaranteed to bring you to eternal life.

So often, I think we heard these truths when we were young and then discarded them as we grew older. We never really understood that God so loved us that he would not only never abandon us, but he would walk with us through every moment of life. The catch? There is no catch. We just have to invite him in to our everyday life–every day–and watch how he will guide us, if we ask for his help. Jesus wants to share his very own Spirit-that is, the love between the Father and the Son-a love so great that it is the third person of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit dwelling in you longs to care for you, guide you and lead you home to union with the Father and the Son for all eternity.

Today is the feast of Pentecost. Pray for your family, for your pastor, your parish, your friends, yourself. Pray with faith. God knows even better than we the state of the world and the Church. He knows our needs as only a loving father can. He wants to supply what he knows we need. Let’s trust him and ask. (in part-from the “Catholic TV Monthly)

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PRAYER: Today, O Lord, through the mystery of Pentecost, you sanctify your Church in every place and nation. Pour out the gifts of the Spirit upon the whole world, and bring to completion in the hearts of your faithful the work of love which you began with your first proclamation of the kingdom, who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (from the MAGNIFICAT)

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Remember, without the gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost there would be no Christianity and no Church. The apostles and the disciples would never have had tht courage to leave that upper room and spread the word of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Word would have died in that upper room. Ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit daily to help you do, go and say what Jesus wants. Ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in every word you speak.

GO WITH GOD…….AND HAVE A BLESSED LIFE. YOU CAN BE TREMENDOUS WITH HIS HELP!

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MORE ON CHRIST THE KING

Celebrating Christ the King invites us to fix our gaze on Christ, the King of the Universe….

Jesus brought about his Kingdom…through his closeness and tenderness towards us.  He is the Shepherd..

The Father, little by little, subjects all to the Son and at the same time, the Son subjects all to the Father, including even himself in the end.  Jesus is not a King according to earthy ways: for him, to reign is not to command, but to obey the Father; to give himself over to the Father, so that his plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfillment.  In this way there is full reciprocity between the Father and the Son.  The period of Christ’s reign is the long period of subjecting everything to the Son and consigning everything to the Father..

The Gospel teaches what Jesus’ Kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged.  This is how we will be judged….

THE STARTING POINT OF SALVATION IS NOT THE CONFESSION OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST, BUT RATHER THE IMITATION OF JESUS’ WORKS OF MERCY THROUGH WHICH HE BROUGHT ABOUT HIS KINGDOM.  The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity.  IN THE TWILIGHT OF LIFE WE WILL BE JUDGED ON OUR LOVE FOR , CLOSENESS TO AND TENDERNESS TOWARDS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.  Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the Kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other. Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us His Kingdom.  But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now–his Kingdom begins now–by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity, catechesis.  If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us:  JESUS HIMSELF AND HIS GOSPEL.

by: Pope Francis, His Holiness Pope Francis was elected to the See of Saint Peter in 2013

 

 

 

ARE YOU RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL OR WHAT? CONT’D

I ENDED THE LAST BLOG ON SPIRITUALITY WITH THIS STATEMENT FROM THE ARTICLE BY DR. RAY GUARENDI:  “To paraphrase C.S.Lewis: A position seldom seems so unclear to me than after I’ve just successfully defended it.  He goes on to say:

“Many define these two words quite narrowly. For example, “religious” may mean following the rules. Not only that but following rules made by people one considers hypocritical or judgmental.  “Religious” also may imply rote, unthinking actions with little heart behind them.

“Spiritual” is to many the loftier word.  It speaks of a connection, however loose, to another power, perhaps a higher one. What’s better, the power commands little obedience to traditional morals or worship. “Spiritual” is among the mushiest words in the lexicon.  It can mean whatever one wishes it to mean.  Someone who is “spiritual” defines his own terms; therefore, he follows them to the letter.”

Ray continues: “Suppose I announce to my wife. “Honey, from this point forward, I want to be more marriage-minded and less married. I think the expectations and structure of marriage are impediments to our true connection. Let’s not stifle our relationship with rules.” By saying this, I effectively declare myself free from the active love, responsibilities, and yes, sacrifice crucial to a good marriage.  Somehow, though, I don’t think my wife would be enamored with my new philosophy.  Essentially I would be saying, “As long as I think lovingly about you, I don’t have top do all the nitty-gritty of actual loving.” Come to think of it, more people do now seem to want the marriage-mind set without the marriage.

“I’m spiritual, not religious” is what logicians would call an “either/or” proposition.  In the mind of the self-describer, one is either religious or spiritual, but not both. The traits are so dissimilar that they don’t overlap.  TO A BELIEVER IN THE GOD OF THE BIBLE AND HIS PLAN OF SALVATION, religious and spiritual represent a both/and proposition. They exist together, part of the same reality.  RELIGION PUTS THE SUBSTANCE TO THE SPIRITUAL. It defines worship and morality.  THE WORDS OVERLAP SO much they are nearly interchangeable.

Maybe the next time you hear someone say, “I’m not religious; I’m spiritual,” you can ask, “Can someone be both religious and spiritual?”

Of course you can also go back and ask the questions I listed before:  “What do you mean by religious?”  “”What is your image of someone who is religious?”  “What makes a person “spiritual?” “Are their different kinds of spiritual?” “How does spiritual show itself?”

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AND I ASK AGAIN;  Christ came on this earth to build HIS CHURCH.  How can HE HAVE A CHURCH if there are no people?  Do Spiritual people go to church?  He said “if two or more are gathered together…..”  How do Spiritual people who do not go to church claim to be Christians, if they are not part of HIS CHURCH?  HOW DOES THE CHRISTIAN FAITH SPREAD if Christians do not gather together to pray to the Father as Jesus said and did? If the Christian Faith does not spread further than it is now, what happens to the Church that Jesus died to began?  Does being Spiritual get you to Heaven to be with Jesus and his Father?  Or do you need to be part of HIS CHURCH????Just questions begging for answers……

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My next blog will be about preparing for Lent.

SCOTT & KIMBERLY HAHN

I am reading a terrific book by Scott & Kimberly Hahn titled ROME SWEET HOME; Our Journey to Catholism. The were both Presbyterian, both college educated, majoring in theology and specifically scripture. Scott became a Presbyterian minister, both had several college degrees. Scott became interested in the Catholic Faith when he somehow-I forget how- happened to read a book about scripture and the Catholic Church. It went on from there for many years. Anyway, I am learning a lot about my Catholic Faith and scripture plus many differences between Catholic and other Christian faiths that I did not realize. This is the second book I have read about conversions and differences between our Christian Faiths.
It is too late tonight, but tomorrow night I will list the things that Kimberly learned about Catholics and Mary that she did not know.

For tonight, please pray the Our Father, and ask that someday we will all be one big Christian Church as Jesus wants us to be. And please pray for the Christians in the world that are being persecuted.

BETTER TO SUFFER FOR DOING GOOD…..

IT IS BETTER TO SUFFER FOR DOING GOOD, IF THAT BE THE WILL OF GOD, THAN FOR DOING EVIL. (1 Pt 3:17)

Friday we remembered Saint John the Baptist.  John put his trust in the Word of God he had been sent to preach and not in the princes who he offended by his commitment to the truth.  He defeated the power of evil not by violence but by his self-surrender to God’s will.

PRAYER:  OH GOD OF HOPE AND GLORY, you sent John the Baptist to preach the Good News of salvation to those who received it with joy and to those who rejected its demands.  By his example and intercession, grant your Church courage in proclaiming and living the Gospel, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

THIS IS BACK TO CHURCH SUNDAY

Did you know? this is back to church Sunday. The Sunday after 9/11 everyone in the U.S went to church. What happened.  Do we need prayers less then we did the Sun. after 9/11? Does the Country need prayers less?

WE ARE THE CHURCH.  If you stay home, say you are a Christian, say you believe in Jesus, but don’t take part in the worship in HIS CHURCH, are you really Christian? Some say they don’t like organized religion, will worship on their own, but He came on earth to establish HIS CHURCH.  He even said:  “If two or more pray…..” It’s not the building that is the church, it is His people gathered together where ever they pray to honor Him. GO to His Church this Sunday.