2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12 ; Mark 12:18-27
Text by Kello Tadeo Obik
Coming to this week, with the memories of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost still vivid, I am as Paul begins in his letter today, grateful to God.
Pentecost is truly one of my favorite celebrations of the year. The images of the Holy Spirit are impossible to be confined- wind, fire, a dove, and breath. These images are a gift to me throughout the year as I try to enliven my faith and my actions each day.
2 Peter 3:12-15a, 17-18; Mark 12:13-17
Today’s scripture readings seem to be about opportunities and priorities. In 2 Peter, Peter says, “To him be glory now and to the day of eternity.” He encourages his listeners to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ. The psalmist proclaims, “Let your work be seen by your servants and your glory by their children.” And in Mark, Jesus encounters Pharisees and Herodians who attempt to ensnare him with a question about money. Jesus responds, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Pope Francis declared that, henceforward, the Monday after Pentecost Sunday will be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Memorial will be observed annually and has been added to the General Roman Calendar, the Roman Missal, and the Liturgy of the Hours. The Holy Father’s wishes for this new feast day is that it will foster Marian piety and the maternal sense of the Church
Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23
Today’s feast marks a beginning, the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of fiery tongues on our Lady and the apostles. The same Spirit who hovered over the waters of creation in the beginning now brings to birth a renewed humanity, a new creation, a new beginning.
But Pentecost is not only a fresh start for the human race – it is also an end, an end in the sense of completion, of bringing to completion the paschal mystery, the very goal of Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Pentecost is a unique event in a unique history, when the Spirit came down on the Church in a way he had never done before, and in a way that he has never done in quite the same way since. And the Spirit came down, once and for all, to bring Christ’s paschal mystery to completion and to begin the calling of a new humanity, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, into a single body, a single Church, in praise of a single God, the Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier of us all.
MARY, QUEEN OF APOSTLES
She is the Maid of Bethlehem,
Mother of Jesus, and Queen of Apostles:
That ragtag group of men
Chosen by Jesus
To change the world.
This is the prototype of all novenas. It commemorates the nine days between the Ascension of Our Lord and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost Sunday. During this time Our Lady and the twelve Apostles prayed in the upper room for the coming of the Paraclete.
Novena to the Holy Spirit
May 22 – May 30, 2020
Feast of Pentecost – May 31, 2020
Acts 25:13b-21; John 21:15-19
I find today’s Gospel both enigmatic – and, somewhat understandable. The enigma – what did Jesus mean with his three questions which were each stated a little differently – “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and, “Feed my sheep.” In that culture at that time with Jesus talking to a male apostle, was there specific language meaning to the choice of words? I don’t know. However, from this Gospel story I take this message for my life – how many times daily do I respond to Christ’s call to me to “tend to others”? How many times daily do I think I’m responding to “tending to others” when perhaps I am not? Am I a 21st century version of Simon Peter and have to be reminded three times every day?
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; John 17:20-26
An Intimate Conversation
Today’s readings speak about God’s protection. In the first reading Paul is being assured by the Lord that he must keep up his courage for further trials. The Psalmist speaks to the safe refuge found in God’s love. And in the Gospel, Jesus prays that his disciples and all believers may stay close to God. The theme that jumps off the page is an intimate conversation about God’s protection. In all three examples God’s protection was made known through an intimate conversation.
Acts 20:28-38; John 17:11b-19
Jesus prays that God will protect and guard all those given to him in the Father’s name. How can we go wrong, knowing that Jesus continues to pray on our behalf and that God continues to give us strength and power? We shouldn’t think about our lives, then, in terms of our weaknesses, but in terms of our strengths. But that is not so easy to do all of the time, especially as we grow older and have to acknowledge that we are physically weaker and our health is often challenged. I have come to think, however, that during those times, God is even more with us. It is during these times when we draw closer to God for strength that we are even more protected from evil. While we may be weak in some ways, we can become stronger in truth in the word.