Recently I discovered a quote that said: “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” I was saddened to think that doing right should astonish people. Shouldn’t we always try to do right?
“Whoever receives you receives me.” These words of Jesus from today’s Gospel remind me of the great responsibility I have as a believer in Jesus. In reality, I become another Christ as I live my life of faith patterned after the life and values of Jesus.
Sometimes we forget how special we are to God. Sometimes we forget because we don’t like what we see when we examine our lives. In today’s Gospel we hear about God’s special love for each of us. We need to appreciate the love God has for us particularly because God knows all about us, and “even the hairs of our head are counted.”
As a priest, there is no greater honor than to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy we call Eucharist. The word Eucharist is from a Greek word meaning, thanksgiving, and it is fitting that we render thanks to our God. I am honored to lead you, parishioners, in this great thanksgiving prayer, and to pray over the bread and wine to be transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” These words are how we begin all of our prayers. We were baptized into the faith using these same words. The creed that we profess is a profession that recalls the saving activity of God the Creator, God the Redeemer and God the Sanctifier. That which distinguishes us from other people of good faith is our belief that God has been revealed to us as Three in One.
Today marks an important turning point in the early Church. As we hear in today’s first reading, once the disciples had received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they found new strength and courage to proclaim the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As they proclaimed the message, they were heard in various languages, for the message of salvation could not be contained in only one dialect.
In the 2nd reading today St. Paul writes: “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 the Gospel today Jesus says: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” One of the commandments Jesus gave to his disciples before his ascension into heaven was to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The missionary work of the church is to carry the message of Jesus to all parts of the world.
All of us at some time or another experience times of anxiety and anguish, but if “being troubled” becomes habitual, then we live in a state of captivity. Day after day we can allow ourselves to be enslaved by negative thoughts and emotions.
In today’s gospel Jesus refers to himself as a shepherd. The shepherd leads the sheep to verdant pastures, protects them from harm and guides them to waters of life. This is a wonderful image for those who lead the Church and thus, today is appropriately designated as World Day of Prayer for Vocations.