Sunday, May 27, 2012


In the readings for the  liturgy of the Mass in  preparation for Pentecost, we are at the table talk at the last supper. As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends us. Just as God loves Jesus, Jesus loves us. And just as Jesus is one with the Father, he wants us to be one with him; by sharing this love and oneness we are sharing in his joy. Jesus prays for us and leaves us with a message of love and unity, the Eucharistic Mission.

This is clearly the message of John's Gospel. It is easy to relegate it to the literary form of poetry and to forget it. The message of Pentecost is: yes impossible, but God can make it possible with the  message of this feast.

The word liturgy comes from a  word meaning 'public work'. In Korea, during the years of economic difficulty, the government would require citizens to lend a hand in building roads, helping in flood relief and doing whatever else was necessary for the  public good. This is the origin of the word in Greek: 'public doing'. In the same manner, at each Mass liturgy we are being sent out to do the public work Jesus has given us.

During this week of preparation for the feast of Pentecost, the Mass leaflet the Catholics use at Mass has a meditation on one of the readings that tells the tale of the frog in the pot of hot water. The frog can't stand heat, but the water is heated gradually over a long period of time so the frog doesn't realize the change in temperature, gets accustomed to the heat, but finally dies because of the heat.

In the readings at the last supper,  we are told that the world we are in is not going to be happy with the message we have received, and we will not be liked because of it. The meditation tells us  we should not get accustomed to what is happening in the society that makes us  forget the message we have received from Jesus.

Jesus calls us to his public work at each Sunday Mass.  He gives us our orders and message, sending us into the world to spread his message, armed with his promise of help.    

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