will give you another Advocate.
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all
together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there
came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it
filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided
tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue
rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the
Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as
the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under
heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd
gathered and was bewildered, because all heard them
speaking in their own languages.
Amazed and astonished, they asked, 'Are not all these
who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear,
each of us, in our own language? Parthians, Medes,
Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and
Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and
visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts, Cretans and
Arabs - in our own languages we hear them speaking about
God's deeds of power." [Acts 2:1-11]
"Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you
are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the
Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have
the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because
of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If
the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead dwells
in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give
life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that
dwells in you.
So the, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the
flesh, to live according to the flesh - for if you live
according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the
Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will
live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are
children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of
slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a
spirit of adoption. When we cry, 'Abba! Father!' it is
that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we
are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs
of God and joint heirs with Christ - if, in fact, we
suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with
him." [Rom 8:8-17]
"Jesus spoke to the disciples: 'If you love me, you will
keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he
will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will
love them, and we will come in them and make our home
with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my
words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is
from the Father who sent me.
I have said these things to you while I am still with
you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
will send in my name, will teach you everything, and
remind you of all that I have said to you.'" [Jn.
made a covenant with the people during the time of
Jeremiah (31:30-31) writing the law on the hearts of
people. Then he renewed it pouring his Spirit in the
hearts of people (Ez 36.26). Then we have Jesus saying
that the time has come that the true worshippers will
worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4.23). St.
Paul said the fruits of the Holy Spirit are (Gal
5.22-23) love, peace, joy, faithfulness, gentleness,
generosity, kindness, humility and self control. How
does the spirit in our life work? He works in various
ways, he is alive and active and is there right at the
moment you need him.
account of the giving of the Holy Spirit on Easter
differs from the account of the Pentecost event in the
Acts of the Apostles. Still, his short account with its
double salutation of 'Peace be with you" gives that
common greeting new significance for the early followers
of Jesus and for us today. Coupled with the commission
of being sent forth as Jesus had been sent by the
Father, it sets the stage for their reception of the
Holy Spirit with its power and responsibility of
A young man, who had been raised as an
atheist, was training to be an Olympic diver. The only
religious influence in his life came from his outspoken
Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much
attention to his friend's sermons, but he heard them
One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the
college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the
pool had big skylights and the moon was bright - there
was plenty of light to practice by.
The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and
as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the
board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on
The shadow of his body, was in the shape
of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally
asked God to come into his life.
As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and
turned the lights on.
The pool had been drained for repairs.
Today's First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we
hear of the glorious arrival of the Holy Spirit as
Advocate, such being with Almighty power. This all began
when "After His suffering Jesus presented Himself alive
to His disciples by many convincing proofs, appearing to
them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of
God. While staying with them, He ordered them not to
leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of
the Father." [Acts 1:3-4]
obedience to Jesus, the disciples gathered together in
Jerusalem. [Acts 2:5] Then suddenly from heaven there
came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it
filled the entire house where they were sitting. [Acts
2:2] "Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them,
and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were
filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other
languages, as the Spirit gave them ability." [Acts
Naturally, the manifestation of the power of the Holy
Spirit drew many to the house where the disciples were
gathered. And as we heard, those who came, they
witnessed the disciples speaking in all languages to the
extent that no matter what language anyone spoke, they
could understand the disciples preaching about God's
deeds of power.
When speaking of the gift of tongues through which the
disciples preached about God's deeds of power, it has to
be realized that this gift of the Holy Spirit was not
learned knowledge and understanding. It was not like
when someone has to go to school and learn something
until he understands it and then he is able to explain
it to others. The gift of speaking in tongues is
manifested in such a way that while the one who is
speaking in tongues may be speaking in his own language,
those who are present, while they may speak five
different languages, each and everyone of them can
understand what is being said in their own language. As
such, the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit
is not only working through those who speak in tongues,
but only through those who hear, each hearing in his own
today's Second Reading from The Letter of Paul to the
Romans, we heard that those who are in the flesh, they
cannot please God. [Rom. 8:8] These Words from the Holy
Gospel affirm the Sacred Words of Jesus to the Samaritan
woman. "The hour is coming, and is now here, when the
true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and
truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship
him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must
worship in spirit and truth." [Jn 4:23-4]
My brothers and sisters in Christ, "if
you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by
the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you
[Rom 8:13] "For those who live according to the flesh
set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those
who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the
things of the Spirit." [Rom. 8:5]
other words, "No
one can serve two masters: for a slave will either hate
the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and
despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
comes a time when we must ask ourselves, "Am I spending
more time towards my spiritual growth than I am spending
towards gaining wealth?" If our minds are continuously
preoccupied with fame, pleasures and wealth versus
adoring, seeking and knowing God and obeying His
commandment of love towards our neighbours, then we have
a serious problem that can lead to our condemnation.
There comes a time when we must allow ourselves to be
led by the Spirit of God in order to qualify to be
called children of God. Through our faith in Christ and
the Sacrament of Baptism, we received a spirit of
adoption so we may qualify to be called children of God
and heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. To inherit
these titles, we must be ready to "suffer with Christ so
that we may also be glorified with Him" [Rom 8:17].
allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify us in Christ, He
who dwelled in Jesus and who raised Him from the dead,
surely, by dwelling in us, He will raise us also by
giving life to our mortal bodies. In thanksgiving for
the blessed hope that awaits us, we are indebted to the
During today's Gospel Reading, Jesus said, "If you love
me, you will keep my commandments." [Jn 14:15] In other
words, if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus,
then you do not love Him.
who keep the Words of Jesus, they are privileged to
enjoy the indwelling of the fullness of God, the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. [Jn 14:23] Not only do
they enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus
promised that the Father and He would come and make
their home in them.
friend, in Christ, Jesus and the Father gave us the Holy
Spirit so we may be sanctified. Our sanctification is
achieved through our daily personal communion with God
and the Church. As we spiritually grow in Christ, God is
pleased and the Holy Catholic Church benefits. If we
receive gifts as the disciples received gifts on
Pentecost, it is for the benefit of the whole Body of
Christ. Through the growth of the Body of Christ, we
grow alongside the other faithful members of the Church.
If the Body of Christ suffers because of the neglect of
some, we all suffer.
I hired a carpenter to help me restore an old farmhouse.
He had just finished a rough first day on the job: a
flat tire made him lose an hour of work, the electric
saw quit and now his ancient pickup refused to start.
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On
arriving, he invited me to meet his family.
As we walked toward the front door, he
paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the
branches with both hands.
When opening the door he underwent an
amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in
smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his
wife a kiss.
Afterwards he walked me to the car. We
passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I
asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied.
"I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one
thing's for sure, troubles don't belong in the house
with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on
the tree every night when I come home. Then in the
morning I pick them up again."
"Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come
out in the morning to pick "them up, there aren’t nearly
as many as I remember hanging up the night before."
this week, let us reflect upon the purpose of the Holy
Spirit in the Church. As Advocate, what can the Holy
Spirit do for the Church and for each and every one of
us? In view of what He can do, let us ask ourselves if
we have allowed the Holy Spirit to freely flow through
us so He can guide and teach us according to the purpose
that He has been sent by the Lord God. We need to be in
his presence and leave the rest in his hands. End this
homily with a story that tells you and me that we are
one Church in the Holy Spirit and we cannot be saved
until all are saved:
Buddha reached the gate of heaven. Of
course, the people there were waiting. They opened the
door, they welcomed him, but he turned his back towards
the door looked at the world - millions of souls on the
same path, struggling, in misery, in anguish, striving
to reach this gate of heaven and bliss.
The doorkeeper said, "Come in, please. We
have been waiting for you."
And Buddha said, "How can I come when
others have not reached? It doesn't seem to be the right
time. How can I enter when the whole has not yet
entered? I will have to wait. It is just as if my hand
has reached into the door and my feet have not reached
yet. I will have to wait. Just the hand cannot enter
It is said in this beautiful story that
Buddha is still waiting. He has to wait - nobody is an
island, we make a continent, we are together.
I may have stepped a little further than
you, but I cannot be separate. And now I know it deeply,
now it is not a story for me - I am waiting for you.
Now it is not just a parable, now I know
that there is no individual enlightenment. Individuals
can step a little ahead, that's all, but they remain
joined together with the whole…
he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all
truth.” (John 16:13)
days we see some guided by the Spirit of truth and
others guided by a different spirit. In our second
reading, Paul also wrote about the difference between
those guided by the Spirit and those who are not.
by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the
desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against
the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are
opposed to each other…(Gal 5:16-17)
went on to give examples of exactly what he meant.
About those not guided by the Spirit Paul wrote, the
works of the flesh are obvious:
“immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury,
acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of
envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.” (Gal
can such people really be happy? What a mess to be in.
Let us pray that people who live that way today may come
to find the Lord and leave that way of life behind. But
Paul says those who have the Spirit have these fruits,
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23)
Traditionally the Church has also added another three
fruits of the Spirit – goodness, modesty and chastity -
giving us a total of twelve fruits of the Spirit. Those
showing these qualities in their lives are obviously
happy people, not people without crosses and trials and
sufferings, but happy people because they have opened
their hearts to God and are receiving God’s blessings.
What Paul wrote to the Galatians is precisely what we
see in our world today, there are those guided by the
works of the flesh and others who have opened themselves
to God and have the produced the fruits of love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity,
gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and
THE ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH
Visitation of Mary
May 31, 2007 Year: C
Zeph. 3:14-18 or Rom. 12:9-16; Lk. 1:39-56
Mary set out and went with haste
"Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice
and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he
has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the
Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear,
O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your
God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he
will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you
in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as
on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not
bear reproach for it."[Zeph. 3:14-18]
"Beloved; Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold
fast to what is good; love one another with mutual
affection; outdo one another in showing honour.
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in
prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend
hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse
them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those
who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be
haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to
be wiser than you are."[Rom. 12:9-16]
"Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in
the hill country, where she entered the house of
Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard
Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and
exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this
happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the
child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who
believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was
spoken to her by the Lord.' And Mary said, 'My soul
magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my
Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness
of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations
shall call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great
things for me, and holy is his name.
The Lord's mercy is for those who fear him from
generation to generation. He has shown strength with his
arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their
hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their
thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the
hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
The Lord has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance
of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our
ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
And Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and
then returned to her home."[Lk. 1:39-56]
Monsoon rains are round the corner. We
wait in hope that this heat of the day may be reduced
with the showers of cool rain. When we celebrate this
feast of visitation, we always remember God’s love for
his people and His visits to comfort them. Some
religious people believe that the arrival of monsoon is
a kind of visit by God to the expectant farmer and to
the scorched land that waits for water on earth.
The Wise Woman:
A wise woman, who was traveling in the
mountains, found a precious stone in a stream. The next
day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the
wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry
traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to
give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The
traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew
the stone was worth enough to give him security for a
But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone
to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said. "I
know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in
the hope that you can give me something even more
precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled
you to give me this stone."
Mary visited Elizabeth
in spite of her own preoccupations with regard to her
becoming the mother of God. Visit is always a kind
gesture that helps us to re-bridge relationships,
strengthen and rejuvenate our love and concern. Jesus
visited Martha and Mary and he visited multiple others
like Peter, Zaccheus, and other people’s houses.
We feel happy when relatives visit us,
friends visit us, and we prepare our surroundings and
keep everything in order.
I remember in my own life, when I visited
people how overwhelmed were they and filled with joy. I
experienced the same thing when someone visited our
house and we were all preoccupied as to how we should be
available to them.
There are various types of visits.
Friendly, intimate, loving, caring, understanding, etc.
Mary’s visit marks the
beginning of God’s generosity.
One who has God with him/her that person becomes
generous. God is generous.
How can we visit our friends around us in
our parish? First of all giving a little bit of time to
organized programmes in our parish like frequenting SCC
meetings and prayer sessions; faithfully attending the
annual Zonal Eucharistic celebration or community get
together once a year. Moreover, visiting the old and
aged in your neighbourhood, trying to reach out to them
with words of consolation, encouragement and trying to
help if they need any real help.
Examples in our Parish
Leena has been a great help to our
parishioners. Always concerned about others and always
visiting families and helping them out. Bridget, another
wonderful lady is never tired of taking Holy Communion
to the sick. Always ready to help. She says that she
never gets tired taking the Holy Eucharist to the old
and the aged. At times she has taken communion to 12
people a day. O how wonderful is that woman, a hidden
saint in deed.
Visiting our own Family members
All may not have such a charism
constantly visiting neighbours, yet we can afford to
visit some of our own relatives, can’t we? At times our
relatives live a life of total abandonment and
helplessness. Rosy, told me that her sons and daughters
are all abroad and she never receives a consoling phone
call from them, even during big occasions like Easter
and Christmas. Yet, she is happy that two families in
the neighbourhood always take care of her brining her
food, and giving her company at times of pain and
Gospel Reflection Continues
The narration of the Gospel Reading [Lk
1:39-56] that we have just heard reminds us of the Feast
that is being celebrated today, the "Visitation
Immediately after the archangel Gabriel had appeared to
the Mother of God to announce that she would give birth
to the Divine Child, the Blessed Virgin Mary left to
wait upon her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with
As Elizabeth reported, the unborn child, John the
Baptist, leaped with joy in his mother's womb when he
found himself in the presence of Our Lady. Three months
later, Mary returned to Nazareth, most likely
accompanied by St. Joseph. By this time, Joseph must
have had peace of mind regarding the pregnancy of Mary
because of his vision of the angel in a dream. [Mt.
A Bit of Historical Background
Now one would think that traditionally, this feast has
been celebrated since the early days of the Church. But
this is not the case. While there are records to show
that the feast was adopted by the Franciscan Chapter in
1263 upon the advice of St. Bonaventure, and this feast
was not extended to the entire Church until 1389.
On November 9, 1389, it was decreed by
Pope Boniface IX that the Feast of the Visitation should
be extended to the entire Catholic Church in the hope
that Jesus and His Mother would visit the Church and put
an end to the Great Schism that was taking place.
In today's Gospel Reading, we find the
origin of the "Magnificat" which is also known as the
"Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary." It begins with "Magnificat
anima mea Dominum" (My soul doth magnify the Lord). As
one of the three "evangelical canticles," it is included
in the Roman Breviary for Vespers daily throughout the
year and prior to Vatican II, it was often sung on
solemn occasions. The Magnificat was recited by the
Blessed Virgin on her visit to Elizabeth after the Angel
Gabriel had announced to her that she was to become the
mother of Christ. [Lk. 1] In style, it resembles the
Canticle of Anna [1 Kgs. 2:1-10].
"The Magnificat is the crown of the Old Testament
singing, the last canticle of the Old and the first of
the New Testament. It was uttered (or, not improbably,
chanted) by the Blessed Virgin, when she visited her
cousin Elizabeth under the circumstances narrated by St.
Luke in the first chapter of his Gospel. It is an
ecstasy of praise for the inestimable favour God
bestowed on the Virgin, for the mercies shown to Israel,
and for the fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham
and to the patriarchs." [The Catholic Encyclopaedia,
Volume IX, Copyright (C) 1910 by Robert Appleton
As we proceed with the celebration of the
Holy Mass, let us ask the Lord Jesus and His Mother to
continue to visit the Catholic Church so that it may
bloom as an aromatic flower for the glory of God.
As we celebrate this feast of the
let us focus our attention on various types of visits we
can pay to people around:
Visit through Prayers:
We can always pray for those who are in need of our
prayers, not just dry prayers, but praying and doing a
bit of sacrifice to help them. When we pray for
missionaries, we try to help them on certain occasions
contributing our mite. When we speak of 1% contribution
to the parish to help the
parishioners, we can do it with our
Visit through a letter:
Writing letters has become old fashioned today. Yet,
some people still cherish reading a letter and keeping
it as a souvenir. We speak of especially aged members,
how happy are they when we write them a few lines of
appreciation and love.
Visit through a Phone call:
In this world of highly advanced technology of
communication media, we often use mobile phones. Well,
it is really pleasant to call some one whom we really
love. But what about others who are neglected? Well, at
times it can be a joy to call and speak to a person whom
we have forgotten long back. Phone call visit can revive
Visit through an email message:
Today you just spend nothing sending an email message.
Just forget if you do not receive a reply, but be sure
you have done that noble task of keeping in touch. We
all need one another at one time or the other. This easy
means is a kind of visitation we can experience.
Visit through a kind remembrance:
There is nothing like remembering our people. I just
remembered you. I just called you because I remembered
you. I just prayed for you, because I value you. All
these ways of remembering can enhance our health,
memory, relationship and love.
Visit through a smile:
You have a capacity for this, just smiling or keeping a
smiling face. This creates a wonderful atmosphere of
relax. Just do it and you will see. When I was absent
from the parish, a few parishioners told me when I
returned, ‘father, we missed your smile, during mass and
in our campus’. I was happy to hear that, and was happy
of people’s appreciative ways.
Visit through a kind word of
Try always to encourage others, at home, in the school,
in the working place and when you travel. You may meet a
Good Samaritan who will encourage you during you travel,
or will help you to find your way as you are lost in
finding your destination. This has happened to many a
people, and you can also at times take time to help
others. This is another way of visitation.
Dear friend, my
homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit
them and if you need more resources, you could contact
Let us make this ministry
fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of
joy for me and for you and help people become more aware
of its riches. You are also welcome to share your
feedback with me. Thanks and God bless.