May 5, 2024

Dear Parishioners of Saint Polycarp,

The scriptural readings on this first weekend of May present us a new concept of the universality of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. To paraphrase from the First Reading taken from Acts of the Apostles, we have Peter, who was hungry and wished to eat, received in a vision a meal served with four legged animals from all corners of the earth. Peter refused to eat because he did not want to eat anything profane and unclean. While Peter was still pondering about the vision, Cornelius, an officer in the Roman army, who also received a vision from God, sent certain men to the house of Peter. In brief, Peter invited these men into his house; he treated them with great hospitality. Then the next day, he left with these men to the house of Cornelius.

Here, we have Peter—a Jew, who came to and entered the house of Cornelius. In other words, Peter entered and conversed with a person of a different religion and perhaps culture. After listening to Cornelius’ story, Peter declared, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him” (Acts 10: 34-35).

What we hear from the statement of Peter to Cornelius is an example of the works of the Holy Spirit, who enlightens the minds and hearts of Peter and Cornelius, that God is for all – God’s salvific work and plan is extended to all who revere Him.

The meeting and the conversation between Peter and Cornelius reflect Jesus’ great commission before He was taken up into heaven: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. I surely am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt 28:19).

As Christians, we are baptized in the Persons of the Holy Trinity (Father—Son—Holy Spirit). We are called by the Holy Spirit, who we received at Baptism and Confirmation, to make disciples of all nations. Like Peter, we are called to enter into the house of believers and non-believers to bring forth the universality of Christ to every nation – that God love is open to all.

Last Wednesday (May 01), we had 104 teens in the Confirmation Program receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Of course, we congratulate them; at the same time, we encourage them to share Jesus to others. Confirmation is not just a sacrament to be received and to store away, but it calls us to live and to share the Good News of salvation to others. Sharing the Good News is what Jesus is saying to us in today’s Gospel: “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (Jn 14:25-26). Parents remind yourself and your children of this task of bringing Christ to others.

In two weeks, we will celebrate the solemnity of Pentecost, let us pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, so that we can live out Jesus’ teachings fully. Lastly, together with my brother priests and the parish staff, I thank God for you always. May God, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, and Saint Polycarp, bless you always.

Fr. Viet Peter Ho

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