Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

The Easter season has come to an end, and we might have expected that the Sunday after Pentecost would be simply one of those Sundays of the year ‘in ordinary time’. The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday, gives us the opportunity to reflect on the mystery of God, the God who has been revealed to us above all in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

In our gospel reading Jesus teaches Nicodemus, who is searching for the truth, about the basic motivation of God in sending us the only Son. This motivation is love. In creating us God also makes it possible for us to accept the love of God with complete freedom, for we can refuse this love. Believing in ‘the name of God’s only Son’ means acknowledging the reality of the love of God for each of us. We are challenged to allow the love of God into our lives again and again in the daily decisions we must make to embrace what is good and to shun what is evil. If we reject goodness, it is not God who condemns us. We condemn ourselves.

The essence of God’s attitude towards human beings is clear already in the first reading from the Book of Exodus, when the Lord is revealed as a ‘God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, and rich in kindness and faithfulness’. These qualities of God are illustrated as the story of salvation progresses and most fully when, in the fulness of time, God sends the incarnate Son to live and die for us, and pours out the Holy Spirit to be the constant presence of God’s love in the world.

St Paul’s final greeting to the people of Corinth in the second reading sums up our prayer on this feast: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’


Solemnity of Pentecost

The Lord often decides to work through people, especially members of His Body, the Church. After the Lord knocked Saul to the ground and confronted him, He did not continue His work in Saul’s life independently. He called for Ananias to be instrumental in converting Saul (Acts 9:10ff). Saul then became instrumental in converting both Jews and Gentiles.

The Lord also wants you to be His instrument. You are one of the Lord’s instruments in His plan to protect children in the womb from being aborted. You are also God’s instrument in proclaiming the Gospel to those with whom you live and work. You are God’s instrument in feeding the poor, healing the sick, and driving out demons. 

You are God’s mouth, hands, and feet. God has decided to make Himself handicapped without your obedient service. In Holy Communion, the Lord gives His Flesh and Blood to you (Jn 6:55). In a different way, you must give your flesh and blood to Him. He wants your body to be His weapon for justice (Rm 6:13). He wants you at this point in His plan of salvation (see Heb 11:40).

Many of us have prayed the “Prayer of St. Francis.” We have asked the Lord to make us “instruments” of His peace. The Lord has answered our prayer. Accept His answer. Be His instrument.

Seventh Sunday of Easter

In John’s Gospel, Jesus gives many instructions to his disciples following the Last Supper they share together. Moments before their time in Gethsemane, Jesus lifts his eyes in a prayer sometimes called the Priestly Prayer. Jesus makes clear in the prayer that he knows his time on earth is coming to an end. He has done the work God sent him to do and in the prayer, Jesus asks God to glorify him. In glory, Jesus will return to God. However, that glory can only come after the cross. The cross exposes what people did to Jesus, but the resurrection reveals what God did for him. It is only through Jesus and his death and resurrection that we can know the love God has for us. Jesus also asked God to strengthen the disciples. Since Jesus would return to the Father, his mission and message must now be entrusted to the disciples. Jesus asks God to protect and unite them.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

At the Last Supper Jesus told his apostles he would be leaving them to return to the Father. In today’s Gospel, he reassures them and us that we will not be alone. The Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples and is with each of us as a special helper and friend until Jesus returns to us. In the meantime, we continue to show our love for Jesus by following his commandments.


Fifth Sunday of Easter

“If you really knew Me, you would know My Father also.” —John 14:7

We have been created by and for God the Father. Our happiness will not be complete until we are home with our Father. Every person has a hole in his heart that only God the Father can fill.

However, all human beings have a fallen, wounded nature by which we are alienated from God the Father. This puts us in an impossible situation. We cannot relate properly to the very Person Whom we cannot live without. Consequently, we are cut off from life, love, joy, peace, hope, etc.

Considering our innate desire for God the Father and yet our alienation from Him, we are shocked and filled with joy to hear the words of Jesus: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14:6). Jesus is the Way to the Father, because He “is the Reflection of the Father’s glory, the exact Representation of the Father’s being” (Heb 1:3). In fact, Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him (Jn 14:11). Therefore, to see Jesus is to see the Father (Jn 14:9).

Jesus is the Way to overcome our alienation from the Father. He is our Savior. In Jesus, we are not separated from the Father but baptized into Him (see Mt 28:19). Jesus is our Hope, our Life, our only Way to the Father.


Fourth Sunday of Easter

Three weeks ago, at Easter Sunday Mass, the Church led us to renew our baptismal promises. We prepared for this renewal by forty days of Lenten penance through almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (see Mt 6:3, 6, 17). The Lord wants these baptismal promises to be the center of our year and the foundation of our life in Him.

How aware (see Rm 6:3) are you of having renewed your baptismal promises three weeks ago? Have you turned off the TV and set down your phone after remembering you had rejected all of Satan’s empty promises? Have you decided not to buy something because you had rejected all of Satan’s works? When you are tempted to be manipulated by fear, do you resist because you believe God is your Father? (see Is 41:13) Has your faith in Jesus’ lordship affected your decision-making? Has your belief in the Holy Spirit noticeably affected your lifestyle?

On Easter Sunday, when we renewed our baptismal promises, we repented from all our sins, accepted Jesus as Savior, Lord, and God, sold all that we had to enter God’s kingdom (Mt 13:44-46), and surrendered our lives to the Holy Spirit. Now we must keep and apply the promises we’ve made.


Third Sunday of Easter

The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is perhaps the most endearing of the Easter appearances. The Risen Jesus brings new hope to two men who have lost all hope. He feeds their minds and their hearts by explaining the Scriptures to them. His true identity is revealed in the bread he breaks for them. Their experience is offered to us too at every Eucharist, as we receive the Word and the Sacrament and are strengthened in holiness.


Second Sunday of Easter

The Gospel of John provides an account of the appearance of Jesus to the eleven in the upper room and a second account one week later (eight days in Hebrew reckoning). Jesus brings the gift of peace and the gift of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus, who has died for sinners, ensures the gift of forgiveness for all those who will seek it, the forgiveness available to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The reluctance of Thomas provokes Jesus’ praise for those who believe without seeing. But Thomas should also be remembered as the one who gives the fullest declaration of faith in Christ found anywhere in the gospels: ‘My Lord and my God!’


Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Alleluia! Jesus is risen! His tomb is empty! “Death has no more power over Him” (Rm 6:9). Alleluia!

Because we’ve been baptized into Christ, we have died with Him (Rm 6:4). “If we have been united with Him through likeness to His death, so shall we be through a like resurrection” (Rm 6:5). This very day we have already “been raised up” with Jesus to share in His glorious, heavenly, risen life (Col 3:1).

For many in the United States, the joy of Easter means returning to the things we gave up for Lent. It’s back to chocolate, sweets, soft drinks, ice cream, etc. Yes, we do have to “celebrate and rejoice” on Easter (Lk 15:32), and these treats help us to celebrate. However, if we find our joy simply in returning to the old life we lived before Lent, we will have missed Easter.

Jesus is the Reason for the season! He is risen! We are invited to a risen life with Him so new, powerful, and exciting that we can’t sufficiently celebrate it with the “old yeast,” that is, our old joys and lifestyle (1 Cor 5:7). Let us “be intent on things above rather than on things of earth” (Col 3:2). Let’s celebrate the fifty-day Easter season by immersing ourselves in God’s Word, which is sweeter than the tastiest candy (Ps 119:103), and in the Eucharist, the “bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8).


Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Today begins “Holy Week.” The Lord wants this week to be unlike any other week in our lives — a week of grace, sorrow, repentance, and love. The week begins with the praises of Palm Sunday, changes into the screams of the crucifixion, and ends with the dead silence of the tomb. Throughout the week, we hear the sounds of crying, whipping, hammering, and blaspheming. The sounds of Holy Week are piercing and thunderous. “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, and then gave up His spirit. Suddenly the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, boulders split, tombs opened” (Mt 27:50-52).

Eventually the roar subsides, and it’s our turn to join the choir. What sound will we make? Will we be sound asleep? (Mt 26:43) Or will we betray Jesus with a quiet kiss? Will we cry: “Crucify Him”? (Mt 27:23) Or will we make an act of faith and say: “Clearly this was the Son of God”? (Mt 27:54

The Lord God will give us a well-trained tongue to speak to the crucified Jesus a word that will proclaim His Resurrection and His divinity (see Is 50:4). Dare to hear the sounds of Holy Week. Make the sounds of loving praise and faith-filled commitment. Jesus listens for you. ”