Alleluia! Jesus is alive!! After spending a number of Lenten weeks walking with Jesus toward his passion and death, and commemorating the events of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday, we rejoice at Easter, celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. The Gloria and Alleluias return to our worship and we are invited to share in the joy of Jesus’ new life. Imagine how the apostles felt and acted after Jesus was falsely executed as a criminal and then mysteriously, and triumphantly, rose from the dead. They must have been confused and fearful, wondering what would happen to them. However, the Scriptures tell us that they were emboldened to tell the Good News of Jesus’ life and teaching when they received the gift of Jesus’ Spirit, the sending of which we remember on Pentecost.
The Church’s Easter Season gives us a glimpse into the life of the apostles and early Christians, as our Sunday Mass first readings are all from the Acts of the Apostles. You can learn more about this book by watching two videos from the Bible Project. According to its website, the Bible Project is a “nonprofit, crowdfunded organization that produces 100% free Bible videos, podcasts, blogs, classes, and educational Bible resources to help make the biblical story accessible to everyone everywhere”. The Acts of the Apostles’ video has two parts, and you can view them at https://bit.ly/BPActs1 and https://bit.ly/BPActs2. If you prefer to read about The Acts, you can go to https://bit.ly/FJActs which is a website organized by Felix Just, SJ, a Jesuit priest who works in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the areas of Ongoing Formation of Priests and in Theological and Liturgical Formation of Deacons.
The Ascension of the Lord falls within the Easter Season on Thursday, May 18. On this day, we remember that Jesus left the earth and went back to his father in heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way: Jesus’ ascension is the “irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory…” (#659); you can read more at https://bit.ly/CCCAscension. It is in the gospel reading for this day that we hear Jesus commission his disciples to spread the good news; he also tells them that he will always be with them. Here’s the gospel text from Matthew (Mt 28:18b-20): “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.” The US Bishops post all daily Mass readings on their website, https://bit.ly/USCCBCalendar.
Finally, the Feast of Pentecost, this year celebrated on May 28, concludes the Easter Season. On this date, we remember that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and gave them the courage to speak the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Each one of us who has been baptized and then confirmed has received this gift of the Spirit and the subsequent call to tell others (through word and action) of the wonders of God’s love for us. Busted Halo, a website sponsored by the Paulist Fathers, has a great two- minute video about Pentecost and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Here’s the address; check it out: https://bit.ly/BHPentecost2.BACK TO LIST