Category Archives: Easter

Pentecost – A Long Term Plan for His Church

“…the plan was much deeper than a one-time help. God’s plan for His Church is long-term, and His plan for each one of us is eternal. Understanding this, His Spirit inspired the Apostles to select their successors who lead the Church today”

“Can you imagine waiting a full week after the Ascension, praying for Jesus to send what he had promised? It was a feeling of ‘What are we to do?'” said Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States at Pentecost Sunday Mass this morning.

Today concludes the Easter Season and it truly is an ‘Easter’ celebration because it brings the Paschal mystery to a full circle. Reiterating two previous posts, the Apostles were paralyzed with fear until they realized the truth of the Resurrection; however, fully understanding that this new-found courage was not sustainable, Jesus promised us an Advocate.

Pentecost is rightfully considered the birthday of the Catholic Church, for without the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church never would have sustained or come to fruition.

In John 14:26, we hear, “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.”

Among the gifts that the Holy Spirit showered upon the Apostles were wisdom, counsel, and fortitude. These preserved the Apostles from falling into dogmatic error and gave them the Divine help they needed to go on with their mission of bringing the Good News to the world as Jesus instructed immediately before His Ascension.

But as we know realize, the plan was much deeper than a one-time help. God’s plan for His Church is long-term, and His plan for us is eternal. Knowing this, He inspired the Apostles to select their successors and gave them and His Church access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well. At Confirmation, we too receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Like the Apostles, we too play a role in the conversion of the world. First, we must pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts. Only then can we act with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we were first given access to at our Confirmation.



Reflection on Ascension Thursday Mass

“and then the altar-server extinguishes the Paschal Candle to signal that the Lord Jesus has ascended to heaven.”

Can you imagine being present on Mount Olivet on that day? Can you imagine the confusion and fear knowing that God incarnate, who in great shock to the Apostles, actually rose from the dead but is now leaving?

In the Gospel for Ascension Thursday, we heard, “He upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart” (Mark 16:14). Following Jesus’ death, the Apostles hid in fear until they saw the risen Christ. Once they knew He had risen from the dead, their fervor returned.

Knowing that this Easter courage by itself was unsustainable, He warned them to prepare their hearts for the tough times ahead and promised them an Advocate(the Holy Spirit). Jesus also warns us against getting caught up in the excitement of being a Christian. The courage to proclaim the Gospel must lie deep in our hearts. We are instructed to transform our hearts and then to go out and share the Good News with the world.

The Gospel according to Mark ends right after the Ascension, “But they going forth preached every-where, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed” (Mark 16:20). In the Tridentine Rite, the minister of the Gospel proclaims in Latin, “The Gospel of the Lord”, and then the altar-server extinguishes the Paschal Candle to signal that the Lord Jesus has ascended to heaven.


“Eight Days Later” – A Gospel Reflection

The Gospel yesterday, Divine Mercy Sunday and the 2nd Sunday in Easter, came from John 20:19-31.

This Gospel tells the story of the establishment of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the evening of that first Easter Sunday. There is a post from March on this topic.  Jesus appeared to the Apostles who were gathered together in hiding and greats them with “Peace be with you”. He then transformed them by breathing on them as he gave them the power to forgive sins.

The Gospel notes that Thomas was not with the Apostles when Jesus appeared to the Apostles the first time, but he was with them the following week.

Interestingly enough, the bridge between the meetings of the Apostles is translated in English as, “a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.” In Latin, it does not say “a week later”, it actually specifically says, “et post dies octo” which is “eight days later.” So why does it seem to be a day off? The term eighth day was the way that the many of the early Christians referred to Sunday. Jesus died on the 6th day, Friday, and rose on the eighth day, Sunday. Therefore; the Gospel of John makes a point of stating that Jesus was appearing for the second time on a Sunday. This is one way that Christians explain why the Lord’s Day became known as Sunday.

The bishops of the Church are the direct successors of the 12 Apostles. In the Gospel of John 20:19-31, Jesus appears to the Apostles on Easter Sunday and the Sunday after Easter, which is referred to as "eight days later" in the Latin translation.

This Gospel passage is so rich. We often are consumed and fixated on the doubting Thomas, but that is not the heart of this passage. Like the Apostles, we are often scared to preach His message to the public, to which Christ responds, “Peace be with you.” It is also encouraging to know that Jesus both of His first two appearances to the Apostles after the Resurrection on a Sunday – He was giving us a model to follow. Sunday is the Lord’s Day.

“For certainly God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not charging them with their sins. And he has placed in us the Word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, so that God is exhorting through us. We beseech you for Christ: be reconciled to God. For God made him who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the justice of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21



Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Brings in 3,500 New Catholics This Easter Season

Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Brings in 3,500 New Catholics This Easter Season

I originally saw this article posted on Joyful Papist

We’re blessed to have courageous Catholics in that region. The Diocese of Hong Kong has experienced a few rough encounters while trying to promote human rights in the past decade. This story reminds me of the early Apostles!


Urbi et Orbi Blessing from Pope Benedict

At 12Noon on Easter and Christmas Day, the Pope delivers the Urbi et Orbi(to the City and to the World) blessing. The actual blessing begins at minute 18:52 in the video.

Before the blessing, the Pope addressed the world and spoke on current human rights issues including those in Israel, Palestine, Syria, South Sudan, and the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Plenary Indulgence: Those who are in a state of grace, meaning without mortal sin, are prayerfully granted a plenary indulgence, which is the remission of sins and time in purgatory. The word indulgence comes from Isiah 61:1 where in Latin is says “indulgentiam” meaning “release from captivity.” (Catholic Encyclopedia). It is NOT a permission to commit sin, and is not the evil and invalid indulgences as issued by corrupt officials in the Church many centuries ago.

Urbi et Orbi in English:
May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose power and authority we have confidence, intercede on our behalf to the Lord. -Amen

Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Mary Continue reading

Easter Vigil – A Transformation from Darkness to Light

The joy of the Risen Christ be with you all!

Today, we celebrate light returning to the world. Christ is risen! All 400,000 Catholic Churches throughout the world celebrate this joyful occasion following all of the sacred traditions exactly the same. Mass begins in darkness until Christ is proclaimed risen from the dead, then after scriptural readings, the catechumen (those awaiting Baptism and Confirmation) will be brought into fullness of Christ’s Church.

Service of Light

The altar is bare and the lights are turned off. Mass begins in total darkness and everyone holds an unlit white candle. A single flame is lit outside of the church. The Paschal(Easter) Candle is lit and is brought into the Church while the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation) is sung.

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Then, each member of the congregation lights his or her candle from the flame of the Paschal Candle. The Church often has a few altar servers and ushers who light their white candle from the Paschal flame and ask those around them to pass the flame on.


Liturgy of the Word 

Seven readings from the Old Testament, each followed by a Psalm

Gloria(which was not sung during all of Lent)

Continue reading