Watch out against the sin of resisting the Holy Spirit and always be open to the surprises of God. This was the exhortation of Pope Francis in his homily at Mass, Monday morning, in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. He was commenting on the episode of the Acts of the Apostles where St. Peter confronts the first Christian community regarding being open to pagans who joined the Church. Reflecting on the Acts of the Apostles episode, the Pope stressed that Holy Spirit always moves the Church and the Christian community.

Published in Reflections

“I will not leave you orphans” (Jn 14:18).

The central purpose of Jesus' mission, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children and to restore us as his sons and daughters.

Published in Reflections

Pope Francis said missionaries are docile to the call of the Holy Spirit which leads them to be consumed by a burning desire to dedicate their life to announcing the gospel, even in the most distant places. The characteristics of those men and women who choose to serve the Church by going on mission were the focus of the Pope’s homily at his morning Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta residence on Tuesday.

Published in Reflections

Pentecost Sunday (Year C) May 15 (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-14; John 20:19-23)

Humans have always dreamed of being endowed with powers that will lift them far beyond ordinary human limitations. Mythology — both ancient and modern — is often an expression of this wish. The immense popularity of the superhero genre of film is a fine example.

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

The Holy Spirit strengthens us so that we may bear witness to the Lord even through persecution – even to the point of sacrificing our life. But also through the small persecutions like gossip and criticism. That’s what Pope Francis said Monday at the daily Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse in the Vatican.

Published in Reflections

There is always resistance to the surprises of the Spirit, but it’s the Spirit who continues to lead the Church forward. That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass on Thursday at the Santa Marta chapel as he reflected on the reading about division and resistance within the early Church in Jerusalem.

Published in Reflections

Ascension of the Lord (Year C) May 8 (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Luke 24:46-53)

What is it like to ascend to the heavens? The sight of astronauts floating effortlessly around a space station or outside on a repair mission has become so commonplace that it doesn’t even elicit much comment. When we read the account of the Ascension in Acts, it seems to pale in comparison to the accomplishments of our own time.

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

One must be docile to the Holy Spirit, said Pope Francis Thursday at Mass in his residence of Casa Santa Marta, and one must not resist Him. Pope Francis warns against those who resist the Spirit with "so-called fidelity to the law" and invites the faithful to pray for the grace of the docility to the Spirit.

Published in Reflections

A Christian community that lives in "harmony" is fruit of the Holy Spirit and should not be confused with "tranquility" that often is a hypocritical whitewashing of its contrasts and divisions.

Published in Reflections

The efforts of Christians are aimed at opening the door of the heart to the Holy Spirit. That was the message of Pope Francis during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The Pope emphasized that conversion, for the Christian, a daily task that leads us to the encounter with Jesus. As an example of this, Francis told the story of a mother suffering from cancer, who gives her all to overcome the illness.

Published in Reflections

The Synod on the Family is not about communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, or how to reach out to gay Catholics, or even celibacy of priests. It’s about the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis reminded 318 delegates as they began closed door discussions on family issues.

Published in International

One of the joys of the Easter season, just concluded, is the ample readings from the Gospel of John. Indeed in the final days of the Easter season, as Pentecost approaches, the Church gives us at Holy Mass the last verses of John, culminating with the summary of the Christian life given to Peter by Jesus: “Follow me!”

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year B) May 10 (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17)

Human beings have long laboured under the illusion that God is just like us, complete with human emotions, prejudices and ideas of justice. Fortunately, they are wrong, and God often demonstrates this in dramatic ways.

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B) May 3 (Acts 9:26-31; Psalm 22; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8)

Small wonder that Saul — later Paul — was feared by the Jerusalem community. They wanted nothing to do with him, for he had terrorized the community of believers in Christ relentlessly. By his own admission in his letters, Paul had hunted them down and arrested them, voting in favour of the death penalty at their trials.

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

The Gospel for the fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B) features a nocturnal conversation between two important religious teachers: on the one hand a notable “teacher of Israel” named Nicodemus, and on the other, Jesus, whom Nicodemus calls a “teacher from God.”

Published in Guest Faith Columns