Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter

John 3:31-36

The One from Heaven

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

When the charismatic renewal was starting, one question often asked was: “Have you received the Holy Spirit?” answers varied according to one’s background.

Many non-Catholic groups took glossolalia (speaking in tongues) as the sign of the reception of the Holy Spirit. Catholic doctrine holds that Baptism confers the Holy Spirit, who makes us children of the Father. In this connection, Fr. Yves Congar, a noted writer on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology), was irritated when a non-Catholic friend asked him if he (Congar) had already received the Holy Spirit.

As a professor of the New Testament, I have often been asked when the Holy Spirit came or was given. Most Christians/Catholics follow the Pentecost story of the Acts of the Apostles, i.e., that the Holy Spirit was sent by the risen/ascended Lord from the Father on Pentecost Sunday.

In the account of the Fourth Gospel, the Spirit will be given when Jesus is “glorified,” i.e., returns to the Father. On Calvary, the Spirit (symbolized by water) is poured when Jesus’ side is pierced. On Easter Sunday the risen Lord breathes His Spirit into His disciples. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate gift won for us by Christ’s suffering, death and rising. Every Christian participates in this Gift and receives the Holy Spirit in (sacramental) baptism.

After Baptism, the Christian has to live “in the Spirit,” as children of God, living out the Great Commandment of love.

We who have received the Greatest Gift, the Holy Spirit, should gradually learn to become gifts ourselves, offering ourselves in loving service. This is the proof that we are paschal persons, who have accepted the effect of Christ’s saving activity. (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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On my flight to Los Angeles from Manila, I was sitting beside a young lady who was travelling for the very first time on a plane. In our conversation, she told me that she got an immigrant visa because her fiancée is a retired engineer who is 62 years old. She added that in a few weeks time they will be married and her 4 year old son who was left behind in their province will follow her. Her heart was heavy because of her loved ones who will miss her presence. She reasoned out that this was the easiest way to have access to a comfortable life.

Everybody dreams of a good life which the world offers. We all want to enjoy the things of this earth. Everyday countless Filipinos leave their motherland to look for greener pastures promised by other countries. They are willing to face the risk and let go of the things they value most. It is not a bad idea to aspire for better things in life. But we must be prepared for the consequences. God gives us the freedom to choose the manner of response to His invitations.

In the gospel of today, the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to us. Whenever we receive Him we recognize and understand that we must live according to God’s Word. We must follow His way and not apart from God’s love. We experience the life that comes from God Himself. We feel empty whenever we choose to live away from Him. This is the consequence of the freedom that God gave us. Never that God enslaves us by imposing on us the things that we must do. As a loving Father he provides us the guidance not to be led astray by the evil forces of this world. 9Fr. marlon Rmirez, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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The obstetrician was not at home.

His five-year-old daughter answered the doorbell. “Is your daddy in?” ask the stranger. “no, he’s gone,” the little girl replied. “When will he return?” “I don’t know. He’s out on an eternity case!”

The little girl meant “maternity” but her mispronunciation segues into a higher reality, every person born is not only a maternity case but an eternity case as well. We were born to live forever. What form of life, we don’t know. What we know is that Jesus lived, died and rose to life again. He says in today’s gospel: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”

What constitutes believing in the Son that would merit eternal life? It is obeying His words, for He ‘speaks the Word of God.’ It is imitating His life because His words reflect His life. And His life was defined by love and service. “He does not ration His gift of the Spirit.”

During the Middle Ages, a legend spread that somewhere in the New World was a “Fountain of Youth.” If old men drank from it, it made them young and alive forever. Roundabout us is a ‘fountain of youth’ which few recognize. It is a sparkling spring of opportunities where we can gain new purposes of living, where we can love and serve, like Christ, the first eternity case. (Fr. GdP, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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Whenever a seminarian decides to quit, he has to brace himself up for the many questions that will be thrown at him by relatives, friends and practically the whole neighborhood. To them it is understandable if he met a girl to marry, or had difficulty coping with the academic, religious, and apostolic demands of priestly life. But if he says he lost his desire to become a priest, more questions will be asked and no answer will ever be satisfactory.

Similarly when a marriage breaks up, it will surely become the subject of endless discussions in beauty parlors, coffee shops and gossip corners.

In both cases, we ask why such changes in the course of one’s life.

The words of St. John the Baptist in today’s gospel may help us to understand why. He said: “The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.”

In the final analysis, the basis or foundation on which we stand determines our future. If what we do and say are based on and anchored in spiritual values, and if Christ is the Rock and foundation of our decisions and actions, we will be charting the right direction.

On the other hand, if life is anchored only in pleasure, power and fame, it is possible that Christ is not totally in control of our lives. When we comply minimally to our Christian obligations, mediocrity reigns.

For a true follower of Christ, everyday is dying to everything that makes him belong to the earth so that he rises to a higher level of life. Crisis is inevitable and unavoidable but viewed from a Christian perspective it becomes a source of sanctification and peace. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life but the wrath of God remains in him.” (Fr. Ben Limsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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April 7, 2016 Thursday

We were born to a human family. We have our biological parents, brothers and sisters. But, when we received the sacrament of baptism we were born again no longer in a physical way but in a spiritual way. We became a new creation, a new person. Through baptism we become children of God, therefore, we belong to God who is in heaven. Our family expands when we receive the sacrament of baptism; we believe that others are God’s children and they are our brothers and sisters.

The gospel today tells us that Jesus came from above. He came into this world to give testimony to what is above. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God but nobody accepted his testimony. People did not accept the testimony of Jesus because they belonged to what was earthly, worldly. Their minds were focused on worldly things not on things of the Spirit. They were not transformed because they did not allow the Spirit of God to dwell in them.

When we receive the sacrament of baptism our body becomes the temple of God. The Spirit dwells in us, that is why God-is-with-us. If God is with us, then, we must give witness to the God whom we believe saved us. The Spirit will empower us to give witness to the world.

How can we be a witness of God? When we participate in the mission of the Church by transforming this society to a society of God we are giving witness to others that we belong to God. We give witness that Jesus came into this world to give us real life. That is why, it is only through conversion of mind and heart that we can experience newness in us. And we concretize this conversion of mind and heart through the sacrament of baptism.

May the sacrament of baptism that we received be a reminder that as followers of Christ we commit to sanctify ourselves, our family and society by transforming human and worldly society into a God-centered society. (Fr. Jay Francis Flandez, SVD (Hongkong) Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/574-april-7-2016-thursday

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The gospel for today is a continuation of Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodimus. Jesus says that he has “come from above,” from heaven, and he testifies to “what he has seen and heard” as the eternal Son of the Father. His words are not spoken “on earthly plane.” The words he speaks are not like any other words; they are spirit and life (cf. John 6:63). They show us the way to new and eternal life. If we believe in him, and follow his words, then we no longer live merely “on an earthly plane.” We live in hope, with our eyes fixed on Jesus and on his promises to us.

The difference between those who live on an earthly plane is shown once again by the confrontation between the apostles and the Sanhedrin. The members of the Sanhedrin are angry at the apostles for two reasons: First, the apostles have disobeyed their orders to stop teaching about Jesus. The most powerful men in the Temple end up frustrated that they cannot control a few simple fishermen. Second, they complain to the apostles “you are determined to make us responsible for the man’s blood.” The Sanhedrin want to show that they are in charge, yet they deny any responsibility for Jesus’ death. This is how we tend to think when we live “on an earthly plane.” We want power without responsibility. We want to be in control, yet we do not want to be held accountable for our actions.

The apostles, on their part, courageously speak the truth, even at risk to their own lives. In the face of the murderous fury of the Sanhedrin, they proclaim that their first obedience must be to God rather than men. They have no earthly power at all, but they have a power that comes from above – the power of “the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that obey Him.”

We can be like the apostles – if we are willing to depend on God – because we have received the same Spirit. It is certainly better for us too to obey God than men, no matter what others may think of us. We obey him when we do what he commands, when we believe and we love.

The grace of deeper faith is being offered to us. Just as Jesus appealed to Thomas in Sunday’s gospel, he appeals to us today: “Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” Let us humbly cry out, “Yes, Lord, give us the grace to believe in you, that we may enter into the new life you have won for us by your death and resurrection!”

Do I know my own sinfulness and need for God’s mercy? Do I cry out to God as a “poor one”? whom am I more concerned about obeying, God or men? Am I courageous to testifying publicly to my faith in Jesus? (Pondering the Word the Anawim Way – April 5, 2012 to May 26, 2012 Cycle B Year 2 – April 19, 2012 pp. 94-95)

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THURSDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – MGA BUHAT 5:27-33: KINSA MAY ATONG SUNDON – ANG MGA TAWO BA O ANG DIOS? Ang nabanhaw’ng Ginoo maoy naghatag sa mga apostoles ug kaisog sa pagsangyaw sa iyang ngalan. Bisan gidid-an sila sa mga kadagkoan sa mga Judiyo, gisangyaw nila si Hesus ngadto sa tibuok Jerusalem nga walay pugongpugong. Ngadto sa Pangulong Pari nga nagsukit-sukit kanila, ang mga apostoles nitubag: “Kinahanglan sundon namo ang Dios, ug dili ang mga tawo.” Kining mga pulonga magtudlo kanato nga ang Dios mao ang labing unang tingog nga atong paminawon. Ang Iyang kabubut-on ug kasugoan maoy una natong sundon. Ang tingog sa mga tawo atong sundon kon kini nahisubay sa mga balaod sa Dios. Nindot ang pahimangno ni William Penn: “Men must be governed by God, or they will be ruled by tyrants.”

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JUAN 3:31-36. UNSAON MAN NATO PAGPAKITA ANG ATONG GUGMA? Ang tinuod nga gugma puno sa kamanggihatagon. Si Hesus miingon, “Ang Amahan nahigugma sa Iyang Anak ug gitugyan sa Amahan ang tanan ngadto Kaniya.” Sa laing higayon si Hesus misulti, “Ang tanan nga akoa imoha; ug ang tanan nga imoha akoa” (Juan 17:10). Ang gugma sa Dios Amahan ug Dios Anak wala magpabilin diha Kanila tungod kay ang tanan nga nadawat ni Hesus Iya mang gihatag kanato (Juan 15:15). Ang pulong nga “tanan” nagpasabot sa “dalan, kamatuoran, ug kinabuhi” nga gihatag ni Kristo kanato. Sa atong paghigugma sa usag-usa, hinaot nga dili lamang materyal nga butang ang atong mahatag kondili ang panig-ingnan sa kinabuhi nga nagagikan ug nagapadulong sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/04/thursday-of-2nd-week-of-easter-year-b.html

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NO CONTEST – “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29

Obeying laws of men should be good and proper. They’re designed to protect the welfare of everyone.

Pleasing people isn’t totally bad. We should be kind and nice to others. Tolerance is a big word nowadays to respect and accommodate others’ beliefs and way of life.

Yet there comes a time when pleasing and obeying men’s laws will run in conflict with God’s laws and His Divine will. This is especially so with moral issues. And you have to make a choice.

Time and again I find myself in this predicament. I try to find a “win-win” situation, a compromise, where I hope to serve and please both. But there comes a time when you have to choose only one — God or man.

If and when it comes to that, there should be no contest at all. For if you choose man and drop God, you lose everything.

While if you seek God first and His righteousness, everything else shall be added unto you. Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)

Reflection: Are you making a decision to choose between God and man? Is it about love, career, finances or ministry? Remember to seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will follow.

Father in heaven, grant me the grace to seek You and put You first in every decision I make. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-04-16

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OBEYING GOD RATHER THAN MEN – Nowadays, obedience is not easy to come by. We have laws, but it seems nobody wants to follow them. Only small-time taxpayers whose taxes are already deducted from their payslips seem to pay taxes religiously.

People cut corners, turn two-lane roads into five lanes, and create bottlenecks everywhere. Sidewalks have become stalls, stores, extension gardens and repositories of junked vehicles.

Obedience to laws for the sake of the common good is a tough nut to crack. One needs political will, tenacity of purpose, and clarity of vision. One does not obey because something is mandated. Something is mandated because there is a value attached to it — a value that goes beyond mere personal benefit or convenience, but has to do with the common good, and more besides, like spiritual goods.

Today, Peter and the Apostles disobeyed the orders of the authorities. The powers-that-be were rattled as the small ragtag group of preachers filled Jerusalem with [their] teaching.” Now, that’s what you call zealous preaching! I know of some preachers who could easily preach for an hour but, of course, length does not translate to powerful and substantial, especially if all one does is to sing a few songs to force-fit to the readings.

Because of their disobedience, the Apostles were made to stand before the Sanhedrin. They were placed under duress and threatened. But heroes and holy men are not only bold and courageous. They also have clarity of vision. They knew who, ultimately, was their Boss, to whom alone obedience is due.

Peter and the Apostles knew whom to obey. In the face of conflicting values, they chose wisely and did rightly. They obeyed God rather than men. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How easy or hard is it for you to obey man-made laws? How about God-ordained laws?

I pray for the grace of obedience to You, Lord, so that I may reap the rewards of eternal life.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-04-16

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UNLIMITED GIFTS – He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. – John 3:34

Imagine a life filled with wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecies, discernment, of understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, fear of the Lord, and of living by the Spirit’s fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… and more!

Our verse above promises this to us. Read the other version of this verse: “God does not ration His gift of the Spirit.” “God gives the Spirit without measure.”

John the Baptist spoke these words when he was asked about Jesus. He testified to Him as the One whom God sent with Unlimited Spirit.

We, too, as followers of Jesus, can receive God’s Unlimited Spirit. Like Jesus, we have to open ourselves fully to this unlimited gift of the Spirit by obeying and surrendering to the Father’s great plan for us.

You will be awed and amazed at what yielding to the Spirit will do to you. Only a fool would reject God’s unlimited gifts. May I not be that fool. Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)

Reflection: Are you open to God’s unlimited gifts of the Spirit? Do you consciously and actively ask for them? Are you ready for the responsibilities that come along with it?

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-07

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reflection for April 7, Thursday Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest; John 3:31-36

Reflection: Why is it hard to introduce the teaching of Jesus to our fellowmen most especially to Catholics who seldom go to church for Holy Mass? This is for the reason that many of us don’t live the teachings of Jesus. We are not humble, we are not loving and forgiving thus there’s resistance from those whom we want to share Jesus.

What must we do if we are in this kind of predicament?  Should we easily give-up or should we change our ways. The wise choice is to change our ways and not give up. Because if we will give up, who will evangelize them? We leave them to be evangelized by those from other Christian faiths?

We must teach our faith but we must do it with humility, patience and love. We have to employ humility, patience and love so that we could impart to them the teachings of Jesus and our faith. For example our gospel for today tells us about the love of God the Father for His Son. How will they know about this if we will not teach them?

We will always become effective evangelizers of our faith if we are humble, loving and forgiving. For these are the qualities of Jesus when He walked on this earth more than two thousand years ago. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/04/reflection-for-april-7-thursday.html

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Thursday, April 7

Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Acts 5:27-33; Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20; John 3:31-36

A Witnessing God

Today’s gospel is the summary of the message of the chapter. The main ideas present are a) Father as the source of Jesus’ revelation. b) Jesus as the source of the communion with the Father c) Every Christian is entitled to be born by the Spirit. d) Jesus comes from above and reveals only heavenly things. f) Father had given all authority to Jesus and whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life.

God gives the Holy Spirit without reserve (3: 34)

In his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 6, versus 12-20, St.Paul speaks of ways “how to live pure and holy” in daily life. There are three reasons.

Christological: – we belong to Christ. We are bought with a price. We Are possessions of Christ. We are consecrated and set apart. Let Jesus be our Master. Let Jesus be the center of our life.

Pneumatological: – We are the temple of Christ and the Spirit of the Lord lives in us. Glorify God in your body. You are the sanctuary (Holy of holies- word used “Nauos”). Do not sin in your body.

Eschatological: – Our body is destined to be resurrected. So we need give greater esteem to the body. Respect your body and the body of others. Do not misuse, abuse, exploit or make the body an object of pleasure for your desires. It is not ‘selling” your body but “giving” your body in sacrifice that makes you a disciple of Christ.  The challenge is to live your sexuality in loving obedience to God’s will. Purity of mind and body is to be constantly watched and preserved.

John in verse 33, shows the transformation that occurs when a man truly believes in and receives Jesus as his Savior. The man who believes and receives Christ’s testimony attests to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah who comes from God. The believer’s act of faith in Jesus Christ proclaims who Jesus is. Paul stresses this truth saying, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Prayer- “Lord Jesus Christ, let your Holy Spirit fill me and transform my heart and mind that I may choose life — abundant life in you and with you.  And give me the courage and strength to always discern good from evil and to reject everything that is false and contrary to your holy will.” Fr. Shepherd Theleppilly CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-04-7

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April 07, 2016

REFLECTION: Today we are remembering a great modern saint from France, John Baptist de la Salle, who was born at Reims in 1651. Ordained a priest in 1678, he soon became interested in helping the poor get a suitable education. But his first concern was to assist badly prepared schoolteachers to better teach the large number of poor boys in their classes. Little by little these schoolteachers formed a community of celibate laymen living a religious lifestyle. In 1686, de la Salle and 12 of these teachers bound themselves by religious vows and decided to henceforth call themselves Brothers of the Christian Schools. Eventually de la Salle founded a sort of normal school, the first of its kind, to train lay teachers for country parishes. Unfortunately, he met a lot of opposition from people who wanted to have a monopoly on teaching. He was sued more than once and lost his suits. He was pressured to modify the rule of his Order, etc.

His last years were full of trials. Not surprisingly, the day of his death marked the day of Good Friday on that year 1719.

This man was not a theorist. His method of education was strictly practical. He remains one of the greatest educators of all time.

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3496-april-07-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter

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