At the end of Saint Matthew’s gospel is the Great Commission: Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. And in Saint John’s gospel we learn the way in which this is possible. Jesus sends us forth, all of us with the breath of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Paul is the victim of injustice. Held by the Romans, for charges brought by the Jewish leadership. Charges brought about because of fear and jealousy. Even the miraculous deeds performed in their sight does not counter the worst of human emotions.
Peter and Judas. It has been observed by many that both Peter and Judas sinned greatly against Jesus by betraying and abandoning him when Jesus needed them most. Yet Judas is remembered as a traitor, while Peter is remembered as the first pope. Why the difference?
It is no secret, especially to those who keep an eye open for studies on faith participation, that these days for the Christian faith present a challenge. It is simple. For more and more people, especially the young, Christian faith is simply not a factor in their lives.
It was once said to me that life is a series of beginnings and endings. We start something, but invariably it comes to an end. We finish something and can find ourselves sad until we begin something new.
When everything works according to plan, hard work is possible. We can travel incredible distances in short times because of planes, cars, trains and busses. We can lift heavy objects with the help of machines. Information can be processed faster than our ancestors could have imagined thanks to technology. Even at great distances, we can see and hear those we talk with on a phone or computer.
I played a dangerous game in high school. I compared my individual talents to others, and I found myself lacking. That is because for each individual talent I had, there was always another person who was better. Rather than being able to see the many blessings God gave me, I focused on what I did not have. In today’s first reading, the apostle Paul shows how being baptized helps each of us to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
When I was in college, there was a program, popular in parishes and other settings, called “Life in the Spirit Seminars.” It was largely a program that encouraged people to participate in the charismatic renewal by highlighting the importance of a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament by Saint Paul. The culmination of the program was to be “baptized in the spirit.”
One of the great images of the Second Vatican Council was viewing a family as a domestic Church. This is a natural outcome when the Church is seen as the Bride of Christ, for it is this relationship that marriage is called to emulate.
In the first reading from Mass today we encounter the beginning of the ministry of deacons. But just what is a deacon? The Friar takes a look at this vocation, explains its meaning and discusses what deacons are called by God to do.