Today is Trinity Sunday. We worship God who creates, redeems and sanctifies: three persons, one God.
By what authority?
Today’s gospel comes just after Jesus cleansed the temple, which was a very daring thing to do. There were people in charge of the temple and Jesus certainly had not been authorized by them to do what he did. The question the religious authorities responsible for the temple put to Jesus is very understandable, “What authority have you for acting like this?
Our link with our ancestors
In Peter, the link with the ancestors is kept very firm. In cleansing the temple, Jesus also referred back to Isaiah. Peter advises us, “Be mutually hospitable without complaining; put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure that each has received.” Even while doing one’s best, we are not to be surprised if “a trial by fire” may occur..
The vigorous blind man
A lovely stained-glass window that I’ve seen in a church depicts today’s scene, the healing of the man born blind. At the bottom of the picture is written the exchange between Jesus and the man, “What do you want me to do for you?,” “Lord, let me see again.” Apparently this man almost did not get close enough to Jesus to really talk with him; some friends of Jesus scolded the man and told him to keep quiet…
On different wavelengths
There are several clashes between Jesus and his disciples in Mark’s gospel, as they make their way to Jerusalem, where Jesus will be crucified. They are clearly on different wavelengths, which finds expression in the very different questions they ask of each other. James and John ask Jesus for glory, honour, status.
What’s to become of us?
Today’s gospel begins with a question from Peter, “What about us? We have left everything and followed you.” He and the rest of the twelve had given up a great deal to become followers of Jesus. They may have wondered if it was really worth it all. We too have responded to the Lord’s call, maybe not in the same very radical way that those first disciples had answered..
Paradox: Gaining by Losing
This imperative echoes in today’s austere message, where in a memorable image Jesus expresses the no pain, no gain philosophy. “It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God…
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the second climax of the Easter season. We celebrate ‘the great beginning of the Church’, the day the Holy Spirit first came to confused and frightened disciples.
Source of the Higher Impulses
The Holy Spirit used to be the forgotten person of the Trinity. Perhaps he suffered from being a spirit, since for many of us, only concrete things are real. The Father and Son make an impact because one took flesh and the other was given a beard. Have you ever imagined the Holy Spirit with a beard? Whatever the reason, even among devout Christians the Holy Spirit had been overlooked.
Ending on a high note
The readings today are the final verses of Acts and of John’s gospel. “Wait until I come.” Eternity will be the continuation of the final moment in our earthly journey. Jesus comes to us again and again. Our prayer now is a foretaste of heavenly joy.
Pastor, par excellence
In the heat of the moment we often fall short of our best. This happened even to the great Peter, our church’s chief apostle and pastor, when out of fear he denied Jesus three times. After the resurrection when Peter had returned to his former fishing vocation, Jesus reappeared to him and three times asked the incisive question, “Do you love me?”
Church unity, a difficult goal
Jesus calls unity the most characteristic mark of his disciples, a vital goal of true faith, when he prayed: “that they may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” Yet in the Acts, Saint Paul defends himself by deliberately stirring up debate, pitting the Sadducees pitted against the Pharisees on the subject of resurrection from the dead. Wherever he went there was controversy.
Giving is more blessed than taking
Paul offers his colleagues both advice and example. They are to remember his example of manual labour and tirelessly preaching the gospel. Conviction and commitment are revealed in his words. Just as he worked (“with these hands of mine”) to support himself and his companions he urges the elders to do the same….
Through the Cross
For the next couple of days we will be reading from Our Lord’s prayer during the Last Supper. He begins by praying for himself, “Father… glorify your Son.” Jesus is aware that the path to glory is through the cross. His lifting up on the cross is the cause of his lifting up in glory…
Not entirely alone
Jesus is very aware that those closest to him will soon abandon him. Rather than following his way, the disciples will go their own way, leaving him alone. Yet he speaks with the conviction that he is never really alone because God his Father is always with him. What Jesus says of himself we can all say of ourselves…
The Ascension of the Lord is celebrated today. The Church also calls this Sunday ‘World Communications Day’.
As he left his disciples, Jesus sent them out to spread the Good News. This is our task too. We ask for the grace we need.