Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gospel Reflection

May 15, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Easter Season
by Rev. Fr. Jose D. Sumampong, Jr.
(Assistant Resident Priest, St. Anthony of Padua Quasi-Parish, third District, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
6:00PM Mass, St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral, Tagbilaran City, Bohol


Reading 1 Acts 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears. And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. They were all weeping loudly as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him, for they were deeply distressed that he had said that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm PS 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
“Confess the power of God!”
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”


This Sunday, we are going to commemorate one of the great solemnities of our Church - the day of the Pentecost. When you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the easiest way to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our families, in our Christian communities, and in the world around us, is to understand the Church's teaching about prayer. It is because prayer is the movement of the Holy Spirit in us. When we pray, we are creating a kind of space in our life. And what is that space for? That is the space for the Holy Spirit who descended from God, from the heavens. When we pray, we let the Spirit of God occupy the inner space in our life that we are reserving for it. That is why in order to understand the Feast of the Pentecost in our Church, we go into a vigil - a moment of prayer for Pentecost. 

If we take note of today's Gospel, Jesus was praying. And when He was praying, His basic attitude, according to the Gospel of John, was to look up to the heavens and pray. Why look up the heavens? This is to welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

What was the prayer of Jesus? There are two things. Number one, Jesus prayed that we will all be united. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that unifies us. People from all walks of life, people from all races, regardless of the color of our skin - are united through the Holy Spirit. Second, Jesus prayed that we are to be consecrated, that we are to be made whole. That is why we have to create in our life an empty space within ourselves in order to accommodate the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

I remember Thomas Merton, a very popular monk. He was asked what he wanted in life. And he said that he wants to be a good Catholic. His companion said, "Thomas, don't just be a good Catholic. Be a saint." And that opened a new world for Thomas Merton. As he was open to the possibility that he can be a saint, Thomas dedicated 27 years of his life in prayer and in accepting the movement of the Holy Spirit in his life. 

Let us bow down our heads and pray. God our Father, we are anticipating this Sunday the gift of the Holy Spirit to Your Church. Through that gift, the Church becomes alive. We ask You, O Lord, that we may create in each one of us, through prayer, a space to accommodate very gently this gift in our life. Amen.