Hail! Oh Pillars, and Princes of Our Faith, and Church!!
Readings: 1st: Acts 12: 1-11; Ps 33: 2-9; 2nd: 2Tim 4: 6-8.17-18; Gos Jh 16: 13-19

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church celebrates the feast of two of the most influential icons of faith (Saints Peter and Paul), in the history of the church. We celebrate the feast of the princes of the apostle and the pillars of our faith. The Lord stood by them and gave them power so that through them the whole message might be proclaimed for the entire world to hear. During their earthly lives, all the saints are an incentive to virtue for those who hear and see them with under¬standing. This is because they are human icons of excellence, animated pillars of goodness, and living books, which teach us the way to better things. Afterwards, when they depart this life, the benefit we gain from them is kept alive forever through the remembrance of their virtues. By celebrating their noble deeds, we offer them that praise which, on the one hand, we owe them for the good they did our ancestors, but which, on the other, is also fitting for us at the present time, on account of the help they give us now. In a special way what we celebrate today is faithfulness, courage, humility, and missionary zeal. These are the qualities that characterized these two iconic figures.
The first reading of this Sunday narrates the story of how God himself mysteriously delivered Peter from prison. This is in line (as we shall see in the gospel of today), with Jesus’ promise to Peter that: “the kingdom of heaven shall not prevail against you.” Having chosen Peter as the rock, God never abandoned him. Christ remained with Peter even when he (Peter) failed by denying Him. In spite of denying Christ thrice, Peter repented, pieced himself together, and continued from where he stopped. Anyone who looks at Peter will see that through repentance and painful grief he not only adequately healed the denial into which he had been drawn, but he also completely rooted out of his soul that passion which had made him fall behind the others. Wishing to demonstrate this to everyone, the Lord, after His passion, death, and His rising on the third day, asked Peter: “Simon, bar Jonah, agapas me pleon touton (Simon son of Jonah do you love me more than these?)” Peter responded: “Nai Kyrie sy oidas hoti philo (Yes Lord, you know I love you!)” (John 21:15). What does the Lord do? Since Peter has shown that he has not lost his love for Him and has now acquired humility as well, He openly fulfils the promise made long before and tells him, “Feed My lambs”(John 21:15). It is clear from this that the Lord’s desire for us to be saved is so great, that He asks of those who love Him only one thing: to lead us to the pasture and fold of salvation. Once Peter had made this heartfelt confession, the Lord ordained him shepherd and chief pastor of His whole Church, and also promised to encompass him with such strength. Peter remained faithful till his martyrdom. He encountered Christ while trying to run away from persecution in Rome and in response to Christ’s question: “Peter, quo vadis (where are you going?), returned to Rome and courageously faced his death and martyrdom for the sake of Christ.
In the second reading, we hear the testimony of a man (Paul) who has accomplished his mission: “I have fought the good fight of faith to the end, I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness….” Of course that crown did come as his reward. Paul though initially was not among the twelve apostles, came into the scene drawn by the power of Jesus Christ. His past negative life was that of persecuting and killing Christians (Acts 9). However, after his encounter with Christ, he became an important instrument in God’s hand. His greatest weakness (zeal to persecute and kill) automatically became his greatest strength (zeal to witness to the risen Jesus, Acts, 9, 15-16). We learn from Paul that Repentance is preceded by awareness of our sins, which is a strong incentive to mercy. “Have mercy on me”, said the psalmist and prophet to God, “for I know my iniquities” (Ps. 50:1, 3). Through his recognition of sin he attracted God’s compassion, and through his confession, self-condemnation and conversion, he obtained complete forgiveness. The psalmist also tells us: “I said I will confess mine iniquities before the Lord against myself. And you forgave the ungodliness of my heart” (Ps. 31:5). This shows that acknowledgment of our sins is followed by condemnation of ourselves, which in turn is followed by that sorrow for our sins which Paul calls “godly sorrow” (2 Cor. 7:10). After godly sorrow, confession and prayer to God with a contrite heart come naturally, as does the promise to keep away from evil from henceforth. This is repentance! Repentance which is true and truly from the heart persuades the penitent not to sin any more, not to mix with corrupt people, and not to gape in curiosity at evil pleasures. True repentance like Peter and Paul’s, helps one to despise things present, cling to things to come, struggle against passions, seek after virtues, be self-controlled in every respect, keep vigil with prayers to God, and shun dishonest gain. It convinces one to be merciful to those who wrong one, gracious to those who ask something of him/her. It encourages one to be ready with all his/her heart to bend down and help in any way one can, whether by words, actions or money, and to all who seek one’s assistance. It helps one recognize that through kindness to ones fellow human being, one might gain God’s love in return for loving ones neighbour, draw the divine favour to oneself, and attain to eternal mercy and God’s everlasting blessing and grace.
In today’s gospel while Peter by the power of the Holy Spirit professed the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Christ in return made him the head of the church – the foundation rock. It was from this moment that Peter became the first bishop of Rome and Pope. He became the leader of the apostolic succession, the “primus inter paris”, and of course the “majo domo (holder of the key to the kingdom of God”. Although Peter was made the first among equals, he remained humble, faithful and died courageously as others did. So as we consider, and celebrate the outcome of the lives of these two iconic figures and pillars of our faith and church, let us imitate how they lived, or at least how they were restored through humility and repentance even if we cannot attain to their other great and exalted achievements, which are appropriate to great men and fitting for great men to emulate. The appearance to us this day of both these luminaries together brightens the Church, for their meeting produces a wealth of light, not an eclipse. It is not the case that one has a higher orbit and is placed above, while the other is lower down and passes under his shadow; Nor does one rule the day, while the other, the night, such that one would overshadow the other if they appeared opposite each other. In fact, some aspects of their lives are probably impossible for anyone to imitate. They teach us that amendment through repentance is more appro¬priate for us than for the great, since we all sin many times every day. Their lives teach us also that unless we lay hold of salvation through continuous repentance, we have no hope of it from any other source. Although, it is not easy to achieve all they achieved, let us ask God for the “Grace of God” which Paul tells us “is sufficient for us” (1 Cor 12, 9), to be able at least to do our best because, we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil 4, 13). May we all attain to this by the grace of the only begotten Son of God, to whom belongs all glory, might, honor and worship.
Peace be with you all!
Maranatha!!

Advertisements

Homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Year A

WORSHIPING CHRIST IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Readings: 1st: Deu 8: 2-3.14-16; Ps 147:12-15.19-20; 2nd: 2Cor 20: 16-17; Gos Jh 6: 51-58

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today the Holy Mother Church celebrates the wonderful gift of God to her and the entire world – the Body and Blood of his only son Jesus Christ which is “Really Present” under the form of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist. The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which means “Body of Christ.” This feast originated in France in the mid thirteenth century and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. This feast calls us to focus on two manifestations of the Body of Christ: The Holy Eucharist as its primary purpose, and the Church.
In the study of Human Nutrition and other food related courses the following statements stand very true: “You are what you eat” and, “good food and nutrition nourishes the body.” In as much as these are true, however, physical food is limited to nourishing the physical body, even though it is usually said that a healthy soul or mind dwells in a healthy body. While the physical food we eat nourishes the body, the spiritual food – the Body and Blood of Christ nourishes our soul, prepares and preserves it for eternity. The Eucharist does not only make the mind or soul fit to dwell in a healthy body, but also makes it worthy or fit to appear before its Lord and God. The Eucharist (Body and Blood of Christ) is the food that God has providentially made available to us in order to nourish us on our spiritual journey. This is why in the case of the sick or those critically sick, when it is administered it is referred to as “via ticum, that is, food for the journey.” The Eucharist is one way through which God’s abiding presence continues to be with us. What this means therefore is that whenever we eat this food worthily we welcome God’s presence and he remains with, and nourishes us. In light of this, our worship of Jesus in His Body and Blood calls us to offer to God our Father a pledge of undivided faith, love and an offering of ourselves to the service of others.
In the first reading of this Sunday, God nourished and sustained his chosen people Israel through their journey in the desert by giving them food (Manna) and drink from heaven. In this reading, Moses reminded his brethrens of how good God was to them, by caring for all their needs especially, by providing them manna from heaven: “He humbled you, he made you feel hunger, he fed you with manna…Do not forget the Lord your God…who in this waterless place brought you water from the hardest rock; who in this wilderness fed you with manna that your fathers had not known.” In giving this food and drink to his people, God demonstrated his love for them, his willingness to see them through and of course, his ability to sustain them physically and spiritually. In like manner, in our own time God has given us his son Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He has given us the body and blood of Christ for the life of the world as well as for our own life too. This is why the Church describes the Holy Eucharist as the “Sacrament of Universal Salvation” It is given to us for the salvation of the entire world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (Jh 3, 16).
In the second reading Paul reminds us of the unity of the church orchestrated by sharing in the one Body and Blood of Christ. This is typical of what happens during the Eucharistic celebration, people, communities, races, and nations are united as they share in the Body and Blood of Christ. At every Mass our attention is called to the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ in it. The secondary focus of the feast of Corpus Christi which we celebrate today is upon the Body of Christ as it is present in the Church. The Church is called the Body of Christ because of the intimate communion which Jesus shares with his disciples. He expresses this in the gospels by using the metaphor of a body in which He is the head. This image helps keep in focus both the unity and the diversity of the Church. So each time we come together for the Eucharistic celebration, Christ makes himself available to us, he draws us closer to himself, unites us with one another as one body and He himself being the head of this one body. He equally offers himself to and for us, being both the victim and the priest.
In today’s gospel Jesus vehemently and fearlessly proclaimed: “I am the living bread…The bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world…if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood; you will not have life in you.”  One of the most serious and grievous accusations leveled against Jesus Christ and the Early believers was cannibalism. It was on the instance and account of this truth proclaimed by Jesus in today’s gospel that the Jews based their argument and accusation against Christ. Even some of Christ’s disciples on hearing this deserted him. “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” (Jn. 6:61). John says that after, many of His disciples stopped following Him altogether. Later on, the Romans (ca. 64- 313 AD) accused Christians of cannibalism, and that same charge has been made against Catholics in various ways ever since. Maybe, one of the most disconcerting and “scandalizing” Catholic doctrine is the “Real Presence” of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Many people and perhaps even Catholics with epileptic kind of faith today have the same reaction as those disciples who heard Jesus preach it for the first time in Capernaum and were scandalized. However, the truth is that as Christ has said it, His body is true food and his blood true wine. Nevertheless, it is different from the “ordinary food” we eat daily and the Manna that the Israelites eat in the desert and yet died because, “whoever eats the body and drinks the blood of the Son of Man will never die.” The Eucharist sustains our spiritual life, while the ordinary food we eat daily and the Manna that the Israelites eat sustains only the physical life which will definitely die.
According to Pope Francis, “The Eucharist is not just a weekly way of celebrating our faith, but should radically affect our relationship with others, especially with those most in need.” There are three ways of discovering how the Eucharist can make a real difference in our lives and in our relationships with those around us. The first is the way we look and behave towards people from all walks of life. Just as Christ loved to be with others and gave himself to all on the Cross, so we are called to give ourselves generously to our brothers and sisters, sharing in their joys and sorrows. Secondly, the Eucharist gives us the grace to feel forgiven and to be ready to forgive others. We go to Mass, not because we are worthy or want to appear better than others, but because we know that we always need God’s love and mercy that comes to us through the Body and Blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. Thirdly, the Eucharist affects the life of our Christian communities. It is from the Eucharist that we as a Church receive our identity and mission. It is not something we do simply to commemorate what Jesus did for us. Rather it is something that Christ does for us, filling us with grace and nourishing us with His own life. Therefore we must live and worship the Eucharistic Christ, in a spirit of faith and prayer, a spirit of forgiveness, joy and concern for all our brothers and sisters with whom “we form one single body.”
Peace be with you all!
Maranatha!!

 

Homily for Holy Trinity Sunday, Year A

Sharing in the Unity and Fellowship of the Trinitarian God
Readings: 1st: Ex 34, 4-6.8-9; Ps. (Dan 3, 52-56); 2nd: 2Cor 13: 11-13; Gos Jh 3: 16-18

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this Most Holy Trinity Sunday, our celebration is a song of praise to the Almighty God who has taken us up to share in the very life of the Trinity. Two of the most complete, heavily loaded, and yet very concise prayers and blessings are this: “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you!” and “May the Almighty God bless you the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit. I call these Trinitarian formulas and fellowship. In these prayers, and blessings, the Trinitarian God unite to perform this function for which they are being consulted. Paul knew this and so, constantly employed this Trinitarian formula in concluding of most of his letters to the churches he wrote to (1 Cor, 16, 23; 2Cor 13, 14; Gal 6, 18; Phil 4, 2).
The doctrine of the Trinitarian God has over the centuries proved a very hard nut to crack, appreciate and understand for many. The first question that comes to mind at the very first encounter with this dogma and teaching is: “Three Persons in One God, how could this be? Indeed it provokes and should provoke such questions. However, this question becomes meaningful if only one could humble oneself and ask the Holy Spirit the Counselor of this “team” to teach him/her. It also calls for appreciating the limitedness of human reasoning as Saint Pope John Paul II the great taught in his encyclical Fides et ratio. This is because there are so many things that cannot be grasped by the human mind while it still subsists in the mortal body. In order words, by applying only human philosophy without faith on the dogma of the Trinity, one crashes completely. It also calls for faithful obedience in accepting what the Holy Mother Church’s Magisterium (the highest teaching authority) teaches on the Trinity. Definitively, she teaches that the Trinity is first a mystery and as such a Dogma which must be believed. This dogma on the Trinity could therefore be summed up as follows: “The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire…The divine persons are really distinct from one another. “God is one but not solitary.” “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another…The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another (CCC253-255, p.82-83).
One of the simplest ways of explaining the mystery of the Trinity is that reportedly given by St Spyridon of Trimithund at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325). According to tradition, when asked how it is that three can simultaneously be One, St Spyridon responded by taking up a brick and squeezing it. From the soft clay in his hands a flame showed up while simultaneously water flowed downwards. “As there is fire and water in this brick”, said St Spyridon, “in the same way there are three Persons in the one Godhead”. Also in another debate, one philosopher argued long and hard with the Fathers of the Council, trying to prove logically that the Son cannot be consubstantial with the Father. Exhausted by long debates and eager to leave, the Fathers were suddenly confronted by a simple elderly shepherd who announced that he was prepared to argue with the philosopher and disprove his arguments. Turning to the philosopher, the shepherd looked at him severely, and said: ‘Listen, O philosopher, God is one, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has created all things through the power of the Son and the operation of the Holy Spirit. This Son of God became incarnate, lived among people, died for us and rose again. Do not labour in vain to seek evidence for that which is comprehended by faith alone, but answer me: “Do you believe in the Son of God?” Struck by these words, the philosopher could only say, “I do’”. The shepherd said: “If you believe, and then let us go to the church and there I will bring you into communion with this true faith”. The philosopher immediately stood up and went with the shepherd. On his way out, he said to those present: “When people tried to convince me with words, I countered words with words; but when a divine power came forth from the mouth of this old man, then words were no match for this power, as man cannot contend against God.”
In the first reading we see the obedience and humility of Moses before God. This humility won not only him, but his fellow Israelites the favour of God. Here also, God proved that he is indeed a Father. This is because, although he was not happy with the ways of his chosen ones, he relented in his anger at Moses’ plea, forgave their faults, and continued. In the second reading, Paul encouraged the believers to “be united and live in peace.” And then, he concluded with his characteristic benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” In this Paul shows great interest in the unity of Christian community. In order words, by invoking the Trinitarian fellowship on them, he wishes that they emulate this fellowship and be united in heart and soul just in the way they are united. This is because, a divided family or community or people lack the fellowship of the Trinitarian God, and until they give this fellowship a chance they will continue as such. The gospel of today is a very popular one: “God sent his son so that through him the world might be saved.” This sending is one way through which we share in the Trinitarian Community. They keep coming to us to unite us and to make us be like them. The Trinitarian Community continues to seek fellowship with us because they wish that we be united as they do.
In conclusion, human words cannot convey the divine reality. God’s enlightenment and His grace are needed, for us to comprehend the Trinitarian theology. No terminology or formulation is adequate to communicate the Mystery of the Trinity. Yet the Christian faith is above all Trinitarian, and it is crucially important for every Christian to partake fully in this mystery. Therefore, for us Christians, Trinity is not an abstract theological concept instead, it is a reality which is to be believed and lived through. The Trinity is someone to whom we pray, but it is also a community, the communion of three in one, the family in whose image we build up our own human community. In appreciation of this fellowship and communion extended to us let us praise the Trinitarian God as we say: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Peace be with you all!!
Maranatha!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Homily for Pentecost Sunday, Year A

A Promised Fulfilled: The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon Us!
Readings: 1st: Acts 2: 1-11; Ps 103: 24-34; 2nd: 1Cor 12: 3-7.12-12; Gos Jh 20: 19-23

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is Pentecost Sunday. After a period of fifty days of rejoicing over the resurrection of Christ, we have come to the definitive end of Easter Season. Pentecost is a feast which occupies a very important and prominent position in the Church’s history and liturgical calendar. This is because it serves as the bridge between Lenten/Easter Season and Ordinary Time of the year. In order words, without any further ceremonies tomorrow we return to the ordinary time of the year. A great number of scholars have suggested that the feast of Pentecost marks the beginning of the church. This is because today marks the actual beginning of the church’s missionary endeavor. Given this, then what we celebrate today is equally the birthday of the Holy Mother Church. So it suffices to say, happy birthday to all the faithful! The principal actors or agents in today’s celebration include the Lord who today has fulfilled his promise, the Holy Spirit who has harkened to the voice of Jesus and made himself available, and finally, all believers who with open minds and hearts have welcomed the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we celebrate today a great feast, when Christ filled and equipped his church with the power of his Spirit and sent us out into the world to bring peace, unity, joy, forgiveness, love and eternal life to all humankind. It would not be out of place to note here that given the boisterous and radical nature of the events of Pentecost most Christians have completely misunderstood or abused it. This is mostly with respect to speaking in tongues and the nature of the claims they make “in the name of the Holy Spirit.”
Once at a certain “Pentecostal gathering,” a young lady who was in dare need of a life partner targeted a very handsome young man, who was a fellow prayer warrior. Since she could not approach him to ask for his hand in marriage as it might be seen as contrary to customs, she started prophesying in strange tongues and equally interpreted it in songs to the hearing of the young man and the entire gathering: “Muo nso si na i ga alu m” (the Holy Spirit says you shall marry me). Though embarrassed at first, the young man caught the joke and trick, and immediately, went into his own trance and frenzy, and began to give a contrary prophesy in his own fabricated tongue and song: “Muo nso si na mu agaghi alu gi (the Holy Spirit says I should not marry you). Immediately the gathering was thrown into a pandemonium. It became obvious that both of them have lied against the Holy Spirit. What a shame and sacrilege!
The first reading of this Sunday tells the story of how Christ eventually fulfilled his promise to his disciples who faithfully heeded the injunction, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the advocate comes” (Acts 1, 5). From the perspective of this reading therefore, today’s celebration is that of a promise fulfilled, and the reward of faithful obedience and steadfastness in prayer. Like the early disciples, every true believer has been empowered specially by the Holy Spirit. We have been refilled with a new unction for function and therefore, must like them also, welcome and appreciate the various gifts made available to us by the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note here as we see in the short story above that one of the greatest aspect of this feast that is grossly misunderstood and abused is the gift of tongue. In this regard, one must be careful in exercising or claiming to have received this gift by fabricating and learning all forms of “junk and mock speeches” that cannot be understood, interpreted or explained by anyone. The danger inherent in this is, sinning against the Holy Spirit. We must note Jesus’ warning: “Any sin against the Son will be forgiven but…against the Holy Spirit will not” (Mtt 12, 31-32). It is important therefore that we grasp very well Paul’s teachings on the issue of gifts and speaking in tongues in Cor 12 and 14. It is quite unfortunate these days that so much lies have been told against the Holy Spirit especially through the speaking of false, forced and learned tongues. It is a gratuitous gift from God and does not come through learning and practicing. Today, it is quite easy and alarming to hear people using parlance like: “the spirit says”, “the spirit moved me”, “the spirit ministered to me”, “I heard the spirit speak to me”, etcetera. Anyone who prays or speaks false tongues is both blaspheming against God and committing sacrilege – a sin against the Holy Spirit. This gift was given to the apostles to aid them spread the good news to different people who gathered from all nations to listen to them: “Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem…each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language about the marvels of God.” It was not given to them to boost their ego, for their own personal or selfish interests, or to break away and found their own Churches so as to extort money and materials from people. Instead, it was given to them in order to pass on the message of eternal life on to others.
In the second reading of today, Paul makes a very important statement: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.” What this means is that it is God himself that enables us through the gifts we received today to recognize the lordship of Christ, as Christ equally tells us: “No one comes to me except the Father draws him” (Jh 6, 44). Recognizing the lordship of Christ is one task that was very difficult for Satan the tempter, because, he was without the Holy Spirit. The obvious fact is that when Paul uses the phrase “say Jesus is Lord”, he is not simply referring to the literary pronouncement of the lordship of Jesus as one could easily pay lip service to it. Instead, what Paul means by “say” here is, making Jesus the Lord of one’s life. To do this one needs the power, and conviction of the Holy Spirit. To say Jesus is Lord is to live it, and to actually have him as the lord of our lives. Only those who are being led by the Holy Spirit are truly sons and daughters of God (Rom 8, 14). It is the Spirit that we receive today, that will therefore prompt us to proclaim the lordship of Christ from our bowls and with utter conviction. This is why Paul says: “But you received the spirit of sonship and by him we cry Abba Father. The spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom 8, 15-16).
In the gospel of today we see the synergy of the Trinitarian God in action, each doing and completing His action. They operated as though they were involved in a relay race where each hands over the baton to the other. However, in spite of this hand over, none of them becomes passive. To say others are passive at a time could amount to one falling victim to the heresy of millenarianism as did Joachim of Fiona who thought that there were three eras, each dominated by a particular member of the Trinity while others went to bed or into passivity. Jesus says “as the Father sent me so I am sending you, receive the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit we received today has in no way come to replace Christ. Rather, as he was with Christ, He has come to help us achieve what he helped Christ achieve. For example he has come to help us forgive the sins of one another, for without his aid we can do this. This is why having breathed the Spirit on his disciples, Jesus commissioned them as ministers of the Sacrament of Penance, “…whoever sins you forgive are forgiven…” This day therefore, the Spirit we have received commissions and empowers us to move out in full force yet, with wisdom and gentility in order to testify to the lordship of Christ. Today we have a new Pentecost. Let us therefore beckon on the Lord: “Send forth your spirit O Lord and renew the face of the earth.

Peace be with you all!!

Maranatha!!!