On Pentecost, we celebrate the birthday of the Church, that glorious moment the Holy Spirit “appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.” In the Holy Spirit, God dwells not just among us but within us.
The day-to-day challenges of life find us struggling with our incompleteness. Our unenlightened and dimly lit eyes fail to see the beauty of what is yet to be. Imagine how differently we would feel and how creative we would become if we gave more attention to who we are becoming!
Like Benedict’s monks and the Apostles, each of us is called to do our part in realizing this mission, but we are also called to reach across the boundaries — whatever form they might take — and invite others to join us in living out this mission.
Jesus connects us not only to himself but to one another. Just as the branch is vitally connected to the vine, so the believer is vitally connected to Jesus. And just as, apart from the vine, the branch shrivels up and dies, so those who are not connected to Jesus have no life within them.
Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down on my own.” Jesus’ intrinsic freedom is the shining quality here. He was not “compelled” or “obligated” or “coerced” into the path that led to Calvary: he chose it.
In this last year we’ve all been reminded of our mortality as the COVID-19 pandemic has swept over the world. But as part of the Body of Christ, there is a hope that awaits our mortal bodies, and to see it, we need look no further than this Sunday’s readings!
In this Divine Mercy Sunday’s Gospel, John presents two encounters of the Apostle Thomas coming to embrace the Good News and believe. Let us put ourselves into the Scripture, remembering we have all experienced “doubting-Thomas” moments.
The inconvenience, discomfort, sadness, and pain we may feel if we open our hearts and pay attention to what is happening in and to the world around us are the only real antidote to indifference, because those feelings should call us to action.
We know that we all have a “rebellious lower nature” inside of us, an instinctual impulse towards mediocrity, hedonistic pleasure, self-justification, etc. When we give ourselves the chance, we recognize that our character flaws control us more than we prefer.
In this culture of faux freedoms, God is calling us back to Himself. We are free to choose to follow Him or not, but we are not free to choose the consequence of that choice. Only in choosing to follow Christ do our hearts find the answer to our deepest longings.