Also Read: Mass Readings for 23 May 2021
First Reading: Acts 2: 1-11
Together in one place!
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” (1)
There is a certain uniqueness about the oneness of God’s people, that the devil doesn’t like; in fact, he hates it. Wherever we gather as one, in God’s name; sooner rather than later there is a sudden unexpected cause for strife! Sounds familiar? We see it occurring across the world, be it in small units of families or major conglomerates, or even clergy. What must God’s people do to counter this? -Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us! HE is our only hope!
We may speak different tongues, but when the Holy Spirit is with us; we can understand the most difficult of languages! Amen.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 104: 1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (24)
And He alone brings his creatures together into a knit family.
“May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.” (34)
Second Reading: Galatians 5: 16-25
Life in the Spirit
“Live by the spirit, I say and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires are opposed to the spirit and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.” (16-17)
In the opposing here mentioned by St. Paul, there is a nature of the flesh and nature of the spirit being portrayed here. The flesh opposes the spirit specifically at the point when our Dear Holy Spirit guides us in moving in a certain way. We intrinsically always want to do what the spirit guides us to do. But it is the flesh that fights back in deceptive and subtle ways. Sometimes, it is by creating a false fear in our minds; while sometimes it is in simply throwing us those distractions through the gadgets we own. We must be watchful and ask the Holy Spirit for His discernment, in helping us thwart those sly advances. Amen.
“If we live by the spirit, let us also be guided by the spirit.” (25)
If we claim to be Christ’s followers let us be very clear in this regard. We have been granted the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and must live by His promptings. For this way of life to take root in us, we need to cover ourselves in prayer, read and meditate on the word of God, and spend “Me-time” in God’s presence. This is a sure way of hearing Him speak. Amen.
Gospel: John 20: 19-23
Peace through forgiveness!
“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (21)
Peace comes from the Holy Spirit! On the Ressurection Sunday evening, when Jesus came to his disciples in the midst of their locked room of fear; He gave them His Peace. In encountering Christ that evening, the apostles knew peace in their hearts. They rejoice as soon as they realize, The Lord’s victory over death! Once the rejoicing begins, Christ breathes his spirit on them with a blessing of Peace again. The Spirit gives us an unexplainable peace, comfort, and joy, deep within the confines of our heavy hearts. When we encounter our Saviour we will naturally begin to rejoice in the sweetness of his presence in our souls. It is then that in the midst of our locked-down hearts and spirits we will rejoice.
“If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”(23)
After the joy and comfort in their hearts, the apostles are charged with a mission. They are to “forgive the sins of any”! Considering the backdrop of the settings of that evening, this was a tall order! The apostles themselves had hidden in fear for their lives from the forces that crucified their Lord. They must surely have held a hurt feeling at least against the persecutors, if not a resentful one? But, Jesus tells them the opposite! “Forgive any”! -that must begin with the ones who have hurt them the most!! A tall order indeed! When we forgive others, we ourselves are released of the pain, hurt, and resentment. This is the first step towards Peace.
Help us O Lord to hear your voice through the Holy Spirit in us! May we never grieve the Holy Spirit by not following His word. Help us, Dear Mama Mary. Amen!