April 29, 2014

Catherine of Siena

April 29, 2014:  St. Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor

Readings
Wordle: Readings 4-29-14
  • Acts 4:32-37  The community was of one heart and mind and held their possessions  in common.  The Apostles bore witness to Jesus' resurrection.  Nobody was needy; they distributed property according to need.
  • Ps 93:1-2, 5  "The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."  He made the world firm; his decrees are trustworthy.
  • Jn 3:7b-15  Jesus to Nicodemus:  You must be born from above.  You people don't accept our testimony; how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has gone to heaven except the one who has come down, the Son.  Just as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son be lifted up, so all believers may have life.
Pope Francis
  • Homily:  Harmony, witness, poverty, and care for the poor come from above, through the Holy Spirit.
    • The early Church was at peace; there was love, forgiveness, and humility, with no room for gossip, envy, calumnies, or defamation.  What about our community?
    • They witnessed to faith, even though they had problems (infighting, doctrinal and power struggles...).  How do we witness to the Resurrection, that Jesus is alive and among us?
    • They cared for the poor.  What's our attitude toward the poor?  Are we poor ourselves,  in heart, in spirit?  Or do we trust in riches or power?
The Spirit builds up the Church, creating unity, leading us to witness, making us poor, and leading us to care for the poor.
      Reflections

        • Universalis:  St Catherine of Siena, ambassador of peace, defender of liberty, corresponded with public figures, defended liberty and rights of Popes, renewed religious life...
        • Creighton:  When we let ourselves be loved, we're transformed; the 1st reading reports the Apostles' transformation.  Jesus’ love, and their willingness, transformed them.  Ponder Jesus’ Resurrection as an invitation to enter into a deeper love of one another and of Christ. 
        • One Bread One Body:  To witness for Christ, we must be united deeply and concretely like the early Church.  Culture values independence and individualism over community, but "the cultural change we're calling for demands courage to adopt a new lifestyle" (Pope St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 98).  Change, live, and witness.
            • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus tells Nicodemus:  As you can hear, feel, and see the wind's effects without knowing their origin, you can see the Spirit's effects in Spirit-touched lives.  Hebrew ruach means 'spirit,' 'wind,' and 'breath.'  "Son of Man" comes from Daniel's vision of the Messiah-King.  A king who began to reign was "lifted up" above the people; Jesus tells Nicodemus he'll be recognized as Messiah-King when he's "lifted up" on the cross.  He points to the sign of Moses and the serpent:  after Israelites died because of their rebellion, Moses interceded and God showed mercy, instructing him to lift up a bronze serpent so all could look on it and recover.  This foreshadowed Jesus' salvific work; see St. Cyril's explanation.  The result of his being lifted on the cross and rising is our new birth in the Spirit.
            • Moved to greater love and Easter joy in my work, school, recreation, family, and community:  St. Catherine wrote that love transforms us into what we love.  What do I love?  How I direct my time and energy informs what I desire.  My joy comes from Jesus' love for me.  Where am I tepid or distracted?  If I died and someone cleaned out my room, what would they learn?  What distracts me from joy and simplicity?  What are 2-3 things I can get rid of?
              Apparel

              • "Hearts" suspenders:  the community was of one heart (1st reading)
              • Tie with crowns:  The Lord is king (psalm)
              • "Keyboard with dove" tie pin:  "...so it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (gospel)
              • "Serpent" pin:  The Son must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent (gospel)
              • "Peace sign" tie bar:  St. Catherine of Siena, peacemaker
              • White in shirt:  Easter season
              Bonus

              Dress your life!