June 4, 2017, Pentecost Sunday

Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under Heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

God wants to be heard, and He will make the impossible possible in order to do so.  The Holy Spirit came and drove out fear and filled the Apostles with zeal.  They all spoke in different languages so that all people could understand God’s Message.  It is amazing to think God has this power.  He defies status quo to reach His people.  We must allow the Hole Spirit to fill us because we have the potential to perform astounding acts for the Lord.

Reading 2 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
Who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. 

We all have the Holy Spirit in us working to bring more of God into the world.  We may judge others because they sin differently than us, but they also have different spiritual gifts.  We are all have various talents and passions, but we all thirst for the same Spirit.  We need to recognize that some people will be great at some things, but you will be better at others and vice versa.  Therefore, we need to do our part and perform well in the areas God wants us because we can serve better.  The Holy Spirit is in all of us that proclaim that Jesus is Lord, and He can unify us all under His Name.

Gospel Jn 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When He had said this, He showed them His Hands and His Side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Jesus gives peace.  We are all yearning and striving for peace.  The world is chaotic, and we all want an escape.  Jesus gives a different kind of peace.  This is the Holy Spirit, the Lover of our souls.  This peace surpasses anything the world has to offer because true peace isn’t the absence of problems but the Presence of Christ.

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May 28, 2017

Reading 1 Acts 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up to Heaven the apostles
returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a Sabbath day’s journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

How beautiful is it that the Apostles were bonded because of prayer.  So many of us do not recognize the power of prayer.  It is what makes us strong and directly connects us to God.  It is what keeps our spirits alive and adds hope and peace to our lives.  It is our souls’ oxygen.  As said here, it unifies people through the Holy Spirit in each of us.  Prayer brings God and drives out fear.

Reading 2 1 Pt 4:13-16

Beloved:
Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when His glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the Name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the Name.

This is such a positive way to look at persecutions due to being Christian.  Our suffering makes us like Christ because He suffered.  Therefore, we may rejoice even more because of the pain.  God is with those that suffer for Him, and we should not be embarrassed.  The Holy Spirit comes to those that are ridiculed and mocked because of God.  We need to take this strength and glorify Him through the pain and confusion.  Maybe it is because you are saving yourself for marriage, don’t drink, don’t curse, talk about church “too much”, pray in public.  Whatever it may be, remember God sees it and will reward it, maybe not in this life but in the one to come.

Gospel Jn 17:1-11a

Jesus raised His Eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify You,
just as You gave Him authority over all people,
so that Your Son may give eternal life to all You gave Him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know You, the only true God,
and the One whom You sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified You on earth
by accomplishing the work that You gave me to do.
Now glorify Me, Father, with You,
with the glory that I had with You before the world began.

“I revealed Your Name to those whom You gave Me out of the world.
They belonged to You, and You gave them to Me,
and they have kept Your Word.
Now they know that everything You gave Me is from You,
because the words You gave to Me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from You,
and they have believed that You sent Me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones You have given Me,
because they are Yours, and everything of Mine is Yours
and everything of Yours is Mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

Is it beautiful to see Jesus’ devotion to the Father.  This is our Model.  We are supposed to love the Father how Jesus does.  He wants to do God’s work and be completely connected to Him.  It is a complete, intimate love that only comes from having God intertwined in your whole being.  The part about Jesus praying for us gives me chills.  JESUS PRAYS FOR US.  How crazy that He thinks about, cares about, and loves us so much.  We are in the world while He left.  We are called to be His representation while He is with our Father.

 

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May 25, 2017, the Ascension of the Lord

Reading 1 Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day He was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom He had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after He had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
Heenjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard Me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked Him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by His Own Authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When He had said this, as they were looking on,
He was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as He was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus Who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen Him going into heaven.”

Jesus told the Apostles that it is not for them to know the times or seasons the Father established.  This goes for us as well.  How often do we question God and want to know what and when things are going to happen.  We must know and trust God that even though events are not always revealed to us, He is working it all together for our good.  The Apostles were going to be Jesus’ witnesses all over to the ends of the earth. We need to be mirrors of Christ all over to all people, too.  We need to cover all the ends and expose parts of darkness that need the light.  All parts of the world thirst for Jesus, whether it is because they have heard so little about Him or because they reject Him but need to rehear His Message.

Jesus is retuning to us, and we have to remember we are never alone.  He left earth but gave us the Holy Spirit.  If there is ever distance between us and God, it is because of us.  He goes out of His way to make sure His Presence is in this world is near, and we just have to be open.  It is comforting to know Jesus is coming back for us because we have not been abandoned and are constantly being thought of.

Reading 2 Eph 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of Him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to His Call,
what are the riches of glory
in His inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of His Power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of His great Might,
which He worked in Christ,
raising Him from the dead
and seating Him at His right Hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And He put all things beneath His Feet
and gave Him as Head over all things to the church,
which is His Body,
the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

I need a Spirit of wisdom and revelation.  I want to be smart, make good decisions, and see God in this world.  Knowledge of Him is all of our lives’ goals.  Knowing Him and making Him known is more important than any degree, career, spouse, title, raise, etc.  Knowing Him more makes life easier and gives us guidance and direction on where to go and what to do.   Having the eyes of my heart enlightened would mean that I get to remove everything that clouds me from fully seeing God when He is right in front of my face.  There is hope in His call to us and meaning behind what He is telling us to do.  We are promised an inheritance and to know His Power and Might.  Facing the Creator’s Power and Might seems overwhelming but at the same time thrilling and awe-inspiring.  That same Power that raised Jesus from the dead is the Power within us, fills us, and keeps us alive.

Gospel Mt 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw Him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” 

We need to worship whole-heartedly and never doubt during.  We need to let go of anything that holds us back from fully giving ourselves to Him in worship.  Only after being fully open to the Lord can we go and bring people to Him.  This is a command.  We have the responsibility to teach people all Jesus’ teachings.  Our lives belong to Him, and we have to give back to Him what He gave to us.  He cares so much about us that after giving us this task, He reminds us that He is always with us no matter what until the end of time.

 

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