Repent and Save Yourselves from This Crooked Generations

When those in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost heard the preaching of Peter and the other apostles, they asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. And Peter testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generations.” (Acts 2:37-40)

Repentance, a change of heart, rediscovering baptism as the source of joy, turning away from sin, growing as a new creation, fleeing from the culture of deatch and worldliness in all its aspects – this must be our programme in our preparation for the approaching “Holy Year”.

“What shall we do?” We too must ask ourselves the same question, as faith in the Gospel cannot be reduced to mere intellectual assent to doctrine. It is much more than that, it involves transforming our conduct and our lives. Saint Peter’s answer applies to us too. It is an asnwer that exhorts us to do three things: repent, draw on sacramental grace and distance ourselves from this “crooked generation”.

First of all then, “Repent!” We are not told to debate, dispute or discuss. Instead we are told to change ourselves from within, so that our life and our actions may gradually come to conform with the Easter mystery.

Then there is the second exhortation: Make your own baptism – which is a living reality in each of you – the inexhaustible source of your life of faith. By a faithful and ever more perfect participation in the Sacred Mysteries, banish all sin from your interior life, drive out the spirit of contradiction and allow the “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17) to grow within you. The risen Lord is tending the new life within you through the constant Pentecostal outpouring of His Spirit.

Finally, Saint Peter urges us, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” By “crooked generation” he surely does not mean humanity as a whole, to whom we must rather turn with charity, but rather everything within humanity that contradicts the eternal plan of the Father – the spirit of rebellion against God and His laws.

So understood, this “world” must not intimidate us with its bullying, nor entice us with its sordid glamour, nor indeed discourage us with its fleeting triumphs. Our Lord has already overcome the world of this “crooked generation” through His pascal triumph, and if we remain in Him, then we too will overcome it.

May the Blessed Virgin help us to repent and truly believe in the Gospel!

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, President of ACN.

The Mystery of Holy Trinity

The dogma of faith which forms the object of the feast is this: There is one God and in this one God there are three Divine Persons; the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Yet ther are not three Gods, but one, eternal, incomprehensible God! The Father is not more God than the Son, neither is the Son more God than the Holy Spirit. The Father is the first Divine Person, the Son is the second Divine Person, begotten from the nature of the Father from eternity; the Holy Spirit is the third Divine Person, proceeding from the Father and the Son. All three Persons contributed to and share in the work of redemption.

The Father sent His Son to earch, for “God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son.” The Father called us to the faith. The Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, became man and died for us. He redeemed us and made us children of God. He ever remains the liturgies par excellence to whome we are united in all sacred functions. After Christ’s ascension the Holy Spirit, however, became our Teacher, our leader, our Guide, our Consoler.

Rom 8: 14-17

Everyone moved by the Spirit isa son of God. The spirit you received is the no the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are childre of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.

Matthew 28: 16-20

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heavenand on earth has been given tome. Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”

Uniqueness of God as Trinity

The mystery of the Trinity as part of the revelation of God is something that we have come to know as part of the our faith. As we engage with the readings today, we encounter something of the biblical journey to the understanding we have.

Paul, beginning with the statement that those led by the Spirit are children of God, logically unfolds that relationship step by step, to reveal that we are joint heirs with Christ. In this short pasage, Paul presents Father, Son, and Spirit in relationship with believers, an important text for later development of the theology of the Trinity.

The Gospel contains the final verses of Matthew. The location – a mountain – immediately suggests a connection with the encounter with God. The eleven are gathered to see the resurrected Jesus before he ascends. They are then sent out to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The inclusion of teaching all future disciples to ‘obey everything I have commanded’ also echoes the words of Moses. Jesus words, ‘I am with you always’ links these final words with the beginning of Matthe’s Gospel and highlights the compassing presence of God from the beginning, and for all believers in future.

Pentecost Reflection

As Close As Our Breath by Richard Rohr

Jesus said t them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this. he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).

God has been trying through all of history to give away God. Jesus shows us that the gift is free and totally available, as available as our breath. It seems that God has hard time giving away God, however, because most of us aren’t interested. We’re interested in other things: money and power and success and good looks and politics. It takes a long time to get around to the one thing we were created for.

If you’ve ever ridden on the subways in London, before the doors open and you get out of the train, they say, “Mind the gap,” When the doors open, it’s written in big words in front of every door: “Mind the gap.” It means, of course, that there are a few inches between the doors and the sidewalk, and they don’t want anyone to fall in that gap. In teaching on the Holy Spirit, what we need to do is “mind the gap” – because the Holy Spirit fills the gaps of everything.

First, we need to be aware that there usually is a gap. There’s a space because we don’t recognize that Gofdis as available to us as our breath. We always allow God, by our own silliness and stupidity, to be distant, to be elsewhere. We always find a gap between ourselves and our neighbour., between ourselves and almost everything. We therefore feel quite lonely and isolated in this world. Without some awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence, frankly, we’re not connected to anything or anybody. We just live an isolated life.

The Holy Spirit within us is the desire inside all of us that wants to keep connecting, relating, and communing. It isn’t above us. It isn’t beyond us – it is within us. It’s available as our breath, and that’s why the Risen Christ gives the Holy Spirit by breathing upon the disciples. He’s saying, in effect, “Here it is! Can you breathe in what I have breathed out?” As we grow on the journey, we’ll begin to experience that breath, that Spirit, as if it is the very air. It’s everywhere, all the time, and we can’t live one minute without it. Isn’t it amazing that air, the thing that’s most essential, most invisible to most people, is the one thing that’s everywhere all the time and free? The Holy Spirit likewise has been given to us freely.

Filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 4:8-12

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said :”Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men,this is the only one by which we can be saved.”

John 10:11-18

Jesus said:

‘ I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, sincehe is not the shepherd and the sheep donot belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.

The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’


One of the recurring themes in Acts is that of the apostles and disciples being ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ which, in turn, finds expression inthe boldness of their speech. As Peter addresses the rulers and elders, we observe his boldness in answering their query concerning the healing of a disabled person.

Peter qualifies that he does this ‘in the name of Jesus Christ the cruicified one whom God raised.’ He acknowledges that his power and authority come from God through Jesus Christ; he heals as he did. His actions, and not just his words, are testament and witness to the one whom God raised.

The Gospel of John speaks of Jesus as the good shepherd, ‘the one who lays his life down for his sheep.’ This image of Jesus contrasts with that of the shepherds mentioned in the Old Testament who were bad leaders who lead the people of Israel astray. It also interacts with New Testament writings that warn of false shepherds. Jesus, the good shepherd, can be trusted. He is the Son of God and not a hired hand. The focus of the passage is on Jesus as the one who laid down his life freely.

In John’s account, we hear that Jesus has the power to take up his life again.; This is possible, Jesus says, as it is ‘the command I have been given by my Father’ and it offers strong assurance of God’s power in Jesus, of this complete trust in the love of Gpd and his own love for his sheep.

Then God Created Light Again

It doesn’t matter whether you picture of the origin of time the way science does, as beginning with the Big Bang, or whether you take the biblical account of the origins of the world literally. Either way there was a time before there was light. The universe was dark before God created light. However, eventually the world grew dark again. When?

We are told in the Gospels that as Jesus was dying on the cross, between the sixth and ninth hour, it grew dark and Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” What really happened here ? Are the Gospels saying that it actually grew dark in the early afternoon, an eclipse of the sun, or are they referring to another kind of darkness, of a spiritual kind? Was there an eclipse of the sun as Jesus was dying? Perhaps. We don’t know, but that is of secondary importance anyway.

What the Gospels are referring to is a kind of darkness that envelops us whenever what’s precious to us is humiliated, exposed as powerless, ridiculed, terminally defeated, and crucified by our world. There’s a darkness that besets us whenever the forces of love seem overpowered by the forces of hatred. The light extinguished then is the light of hope, but there is deeper darkness and this is the kind of darkness that the Gospels say formed a cloud over the world as Jesus hung dying.

What’s being insinuated here is that at Jesus’ cruxifixion, creation went back to its original chaos, as it was before there was light. But what’s also being insinuated is that God created light a second time, this time by raising Jesus from the dead, and that is new light is the most staggering light of all. Moreover, unlike the original light, which was only physical, this light is a light both for the eyes and for the soul. For the eyes, the light of the resurrection is also a radically new physical phenomenon. At the resurrection of Jesus, the atoms of the planet were shaken up from their normal physical workings. A dead body rose from the grave to a life from which it would never again die. That had never happened before. Moreover, the resurrection of Jesus was also a radically new light for the soul, the light of hope.

The Resurrection

When darkness enveloped the earth a second time, God made light a second time, and that light , unlike the physical light created at the dawn of time, can never be extinguished. That’s the difference between teh resuscitation of Lazarus and the resurrection of Jesus, between physical light and the light of the resurrection. Lazarus was restored to his self-samebody from which he had to die again. Jesus was given a radically new body which would never die again.

The renowned biblical scholar Raymond E. Brown tells us that the darkness that beset the world as Jesus hung dying, would last until we believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Until we believe that God has a live-giving response for all death and until we believe God will roll back the stone from any grave, no matter how deeply goodness is buried under hatred and violence, the darkness of Good Friday will continue to darken our planet.

Mohandas K Gandhi once observed that we can see the truth of God always creating new light, simply by looking at history: “When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible, But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always.”

“Be God’s Light to those still in darkness.”

Christmas Reflection

Jesus Christ is, and remains, the Alpha and the Omega, the origin and goal of the entire creation and of every individual human life.

At Christmas, the eternal and ineffably high God stretches out HIs arms to us as the Child in the manger. This Child does not question us about our faults, our frailties or our sins but simply rejoices at our presence, at our love. He smiles at us and wants to be embaced and loved by us. Even though this Child reaches out to us in frailty and weakness, nevertheless He is our way, our truth and our life for all eternity. No one can reach perfection with the Eternal Father except through Him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

He wants to become our saviour and redeemer. He callls on us to come to HIm in the manger and invite Him into our daily lives. Whether we are rich or poor; whether we are experiencing poverty, suffering, sadness, or stress; or whether we are stuck in calm complacency, He wants to come to us as “Jesus”, which means “God saves”.

So let us travel in spirit to Bethlehem; let us fall down and adore God in the Child – like the angels, the shepherds, the kings from the East. For in Him, God saves the world.

Every year I am struck by the phrase from the prologue of St.John’s Gospel: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:11-12). So let us drop everything, let us set out and go to Him. Let Him come into our homes, into our hearts, into our world, into our lives. He will save, transform and change the world, healing and perfecting it. He can do all things, for He said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)

He also helps us to understand our times and their signs, for “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts“. We find grace, we find comfort, when we entrust ourselves to Him, to our redeemer, like little children, with the needs of our world which we are so many and so well known to us at ACN. He shows us how we can best help suffering Christians throughout the world. Through our prayers and gifts, we can – and must – truly bring them the redeemer Who comes to us.

At the manger we also find His mother, Mary, who is our mother as well. She accompanies us on our journey to Him, leading us to salvation. In this Christmas season, I entrust you especially to her prayers and intercession.

The Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower in Bible

The teachings and commandments of Jesus are not subjects to be debated but values to be integrated in our systems of values and become part of our mentality, attitudes and behavior. Let us today read and reflect one of the most favorite parables from bible : the Parable of the sower and seeds in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.


That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ” A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang out quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. He, who has ears, let him hear. – Matthew 13:1-9

On a closer look, it tells us not so much about the SOWER, but about the SEEDS, that were scattered and sown. It describes the different outcomes of the scattering of those seeds, what happened to them as they landed on different kinds of ground : footpath, rocky ground, thorny field, and rich soil.

In Isaiah 55:10-11, the prophet Isaiah compares the word of God as the rain falling on the world, which ensures a good crop and thus feeds the people. Using images from the countryside familiar to his listeners, Jesus tells the crowds who follow him a parable. Here God acts as a sower, scattering seeds freely on ground which is not always ready or able to receive it.

The seeds scattered and sown symbolize “the word of the kingdom.” The various types of ground where the seeds were sown represent the disposition and receptiveness of the people – us, and our hearts – ‘who hear the word of God.’


Jesus explained further in verse 19-23 what the parable of the sower means:

  • The seed sown along the path describes a person who hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.
  • The seed which fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
  • The seed which fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
  • The seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He goes on to apply and spread God’s word and produce a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.

Are we true listeners to the word proclaimed by Jesus ? Are we receptive to the Kingdom that Jesus preached and taught? Are we hard-working and disciplined enough to apply in our daily lives what we have learned from Jesus so that we can reap a rich harvest of wonderful gifts and wondrous deeds? Let us be rich soil of the Word of God. Amen!

Refreshment from Jesus

Mattthew 11:28, Refreshment from Jesus
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus goes on to present himself as one who has come to lift humanity’s burdens, including but not confined to the burden of sin. In contrast to the interpretations of the Mosaic law given by the scribes and Pharisees, his yoke is ‘easy’ and his burden ‘light’. This ease and lightness do not stem from a lowering of standards, but from the fact that mercy and love, rather than precise legal perfection, have become the supreme criterion. Twice in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea to this effect : ‘What I (God) desire is mercy, not sacrifice’ (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13, 12:7, also 23:23), for He has not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

The Spirit of Christ living within us gives us hope, that even in the midst of the trials of our times, Jesus is with us, sharing in our suffering, carrying us in ways that we may not yet even recognize. Let us pray that we, as the body of Christ in the world today, will have the courage and strength to carry compassionately all those who feel weighed down by the effects of the recent pandemic.