Sunday Mass Text - Latin
Text - English
Mass - Queen of Apostles
put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whomsoever kills
you will think that he doth a service to God.”
On Thursday we observed the feast of
our Lord’s Ascension into heaven on the fortieth day after His Resurrection
from the Dead. We now look forward to Pentecost, the day on which the Holy
Ghost descended upon the Apostles. Nine days intervene between the
Ascension and Pentecost, and we are wise to think of those days as a novena
in preparation for this great feast.
We have already received the Holy
Ghost in the Sacrament of Confirmation, but every year the feast of
Pentecost should remind us of our vocation as “soldiers of Christ” who
should be prepared to live the Catholic Faith even in times of persecution.
The liturgy of the Mass is instructive as to how we are to prepare.
Yesterday was the feast of Mary, the
Queen of the Apostles, and we read just a little more of the Acts of the
Apostles than we did on Thursday:
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that
is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day' s
journey.  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper
room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and
Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes,
and Jude the brother of James.  All these were persevering with
one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and
with his brethren.
So we learn that the Apostles
observed their novena together, in an upper room (perhaps the cenacle of the
Last Supper), and that they made their novena with “Mary the mother of
Jesus.” This, of course, should be second nature to Catholics—everything we
do is done best when done with the Blessed Mother. After Holy Mass, I would
suggest her Rosary as the ideal devotion for the novena. This might be a
good excuse to repeat the glorious mysteries every day if you are unable to
pray more than five decades.
Today’s Epistle gives us some
additional pointers for our novena.
“Be prudent therefore, and watch
in prayers.” During this holy time, and, really, at all times, our
lives should be lived in constant prayer. Obviously, that does not mean the
constant repetition of verbal prayers—we wouldn’t be able to concentrate on
much else—but it does mean acknowledging God’s presence with us at all
times. As the Catechism teaches us, “God is everywhere,”
pure spirit that cannot be seen—pure spirit that cannot be limited by time
or place. In all things we must conduct ourselves, as it were, “with God in
“Have a constant mutual charity
among yourselves: for charity covers a multitude of sins.” God loves us
most when we love each other for love of Him. That is one of the “Great
Commandments of the Law.”
It also makes a great deal of sense in times of persecution. When times are
hard, we must depend on one another: fellow Catholics, neighbors, and, above
all, family members. That means that we must practice mutual charity
before any persecution begins in earnest.
“As every man hath received
grace, ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold
grace of God.” Often, the graces we receive vary from person to person,
and we can be particularly helpful by freely sharing our particular graces
with those around us. Some are more compassionate, some are more learned,
some are more prudent, some are more prayerful—we each have graces to
share—and by sharing, we do greater good for God’s greater glory.
“If any man speak, let him speak
as the words of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the power
which God administers….” This goes far beyond the work of the ordained
ministry. Each one of us should be familiar enough with the Sacred
Scripture and the teachings of the Church to speak to those around us with
“the words of God.” We can minister to one another in the public prayers of
the church and in the private prayers of our prayer groups and families.
Our Lord’s words about persecution
were not limited to the persecution of His followers in the early Church.
Pope Saint Pius X quite correctly observed before a group of seminarians
that the Church is not just “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic,” but it is
Persecution is a “mark” which denotes faithful Catholics and a faithful
History demonstrates that the
teachings of Jesus Christ are not popular with self‑serving politicians and
the power brokers of the world. When the Church is true to Her mission,
teaching God’s truth and demanding His morality there will be persecution.
When the Church, Its people, or Its leaders are worldly, careless in morals,
and lax in belief, the rulers of the world are on friendly terms, eager to
hobnob and take pictures with priests and bishops. Indeed, the worldly
members of the Church are likely to side with the politicians and power
brokers, joining in the persecution of those who actually keep the Catholic
So, in preparing for this Pentecost,
resolve to stand with the Holy Ghost, giving testimony on behalf of Jesus
Christ, for “They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour
cometh, that whomsoever kills you will think that he doth a service to God.”
Persecution is a “mark” which
denotes faithful Catholics—if and when it comes, wear it as a badge of
honor, and an assurance of eternal life!