A Conversation with the Weekend Readings Theme: Pentecost 50 Days

First Reading: ACTS 2:1-11 Second Reading: 1 COR 12:3b-7, 12-13 Gospel: JOHN 20:19-23
Discussion Questions 1)In the footnotes of the Harper Collins NRSV Study Bible it is written: The Jewish festival of Pentecost (Shavuot) derives its name from the fifty days that separate it from Passover.  In the Christian tradition, Pentecost is referred to as the “birthday of the Church” and is separated by fifty days from Easter. What has been your understanding of the connection between the celebration of Passover and the celebration of the Last Supper?
2)The early Church consisted of primarily Jewish followers. The decision to allow Gentiles into the flock did not immediately emerge and when it did, Peter and Paul disagreed on the requirements for conversion.  This was a major agenda item at the first council in Jerusalem held around 48 AD. There was a swirling of customs and practices in these first few centuries. Jewish traditions s…

PCS 103 Assignment 1 Matthew 28:16-20

PCS 103 Assignment 1 (Matt 28:16-20)I was part of two liturgies this weekend: one with our Heart of Compassion Faith Community here in Windsor and the other with Mary Eileen's St. Bridget's community, in Hudson, OH as part of our six year ordination reunion (to the deaconate for me). As we explored Matthew's passage about Jesus' ascension, the pulse in both zoom prayer spaces was that of a covid cry: anguish about death, social isolation and suffering; fear about returning to "normal" (many have deepened into rest and their relationship with our Holy One); and joy about connecting electronically with persons from all over the world. I was taken into the question, What does baptizing mean in Covid-19 times? In sacramental lingo, in baptism we are claimed for Christ with the three-fold formula: in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, in Matthew's Gospel, appeals to us to baptize and bring othersto Him. In our pluralistic, glo…
We are taught as Catholics that Baptism washes away the stain of original sin.  As my beliefs have changed over the years I no longer understand baptism in that way.  I see it as an OPENING of a heart to the graces of God, and also a welcoming into the family of God by the community of faith.

Whenever our former Pastor baptized babies at Sunday mass, he would baptize them and then kiss their tiny little baby heads.  Every single time he did that.  It was so touching, showing his love for the newest little member of the family of God and of our parish.  We all pledged to help the baby to grow in faith and to welcome the baby into the community and support his/her parents and godparents in the faith journey. 

Of course, "Baptizing Nations" can lead to things like the Crusades, or violence at people who do not believe the way we do, so yes, it has led to abuse.  Recognizing that there is only one God, the same God of Christians, Jews and Muslims is a good place to start to stop…
I love the phrase "may the eyes of your heart be enlightened."  We WANT to "see" with our hearts - indeed, that is where God dwells and that is where we experience the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our hearts are where we have the most intimate, fullest encounters with our Lord.

When I receive the Precious Blood of the Lord, I always pray that Jesus will go down into the deepest crevices of my heart to my "hidden" self and bring his love there.  Maybe that is a place of woundedness, of pain, of anger or of sin that he really needs to reach into.  But I always want him to bring light to the darkness so that I may be heal and be fruitful.

Loving Jesus is about opening our hearts up to him and letting his light in.  May we all have our hearts enlightened today and everyday by the light of our Savior.

The Ascension Tree - Barbara Billey


Commentary on Ephesian David Kraemer, JTS

One of the things I love about The Jewish Annotated New Testament,2nd Edition, NRSV, by Amy Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler are the fabulous commentaries before each chapter.
Each one is penned by a biblical scholar.David Kraemer wrote the commentary on the book of Ephesians.He is a professor of Talmud & Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
From his commentary on the book of Ephesians, starting at p. 388 of the Annotated New Testament,
“...the author addresses his letter to a Gentile audience who have left their pagan ways behind... the author presents Christ as the saving power, the mystery of which has just been revealed.Christ's blood, offered by God out of divine grace, as a saving power, revivifies believers who were dead on account of sin amd re-orders the world, creating a single, spiritual Israel that nullifies the advantage of Israel of the flesh.
To accomplish this, the Law, which divides between Israel and Gentiles, must be abolished.But this re…