May 9, 2014

May 9

May 9, 2014:  Friday, 3rd week of Easter

Readings
    The Conversion of Saul/ Michelangelo
  • Acts 9:1-20  Saul asked for authority to haul believers to Jerusalem.  On his journey, he was blinded and heard Jesus ask why he's persecuting him and tell him to go to Damascus.  God told Ananias where to find him; he went and laid hands on him, and Saul regained his sight and strength, was baptized, and began to proclaim Jesus as Son of God.
  • Ps 117:1bc, 2  "Go out to all the world and tell the Good News."  Praise the Lord; he's kind and faithful.
  • Jn 6:52-59  Jesus:  “Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him.  The one who feeds on me will live forever.” 
Pope Francis
  • Homily:  How can the Church be holy if we sinners are in it?  She's Christ's spouse, and he loves and sanctifies her with his Eucharistic sacrifice.  Mother Church sanctifies us her children with love and the Sacraments.  Holiness is a gift of Jesus; he shows us people in whom his sanctifying work is clear.  Many saints in the Gospel show us Christ must increase and we decrease; become humble so the Lord may increase.
Christ chose Saul, persecutor of the Church.  Saul's heart was changed and he obeyed like a child.  But he didn't become a hero; he ended his life when soldiers came and cut off his head.  The difference between heroes and saints is witness, imitation of Christ, following the way of the Cross.  Great saints end their lives humbly.  We saw St. John Paul II's last days:  God's athlete was destroyed by disease, humiliated like Jesus.  It's the path of sanctity of the great, and ours too.  Allow your hearts to be converted, bear the cross, and allow Jesus to increase; you'll bear witness to Christ and to the holiness of our sinner-filled Church.
  • To UN humanitarian office execs:  Challenge and correct injustice.  Resist the economy of exclusion, the throwaway culture, and the culture of death.  Fight the causes of poverty and hunger, protect the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor, and protect the family.  Human dignity must lead us to share the goods God has given us—material, intellectual, and spiritual—and give back what was unjustly refused before.  Zacchaeus, awakened from Jesus' gaze, made a radical decision of sharing and justice; Jesus didn't ask him to change jobs but inspired him.  The gaze of people cast off and left behind ought to awaken us and lead us to generosity and courage.  Be open to others' needs.  Promote fraternity and solidarity, especially with the poorest and most excluded.
    Wordle: Readings 5-9-14
    Word cloud of today's readings
  • To Mission Society:  Evangelize at the peripheries for effective outreach and renewal.  Evangelization requires a missionary Church engaging with cultures, renewed and transformed by contemplation and contact with Christ.  The Spirit helps us find new ways to evangelize and gives us strength and joy, so the light of Christ may enlighten others.  We need courage to reach the peripheries and not be held back by weakness, sin, or anything else.  Encounter with the Lord motivates us and gives us joy to proclaim him.  Reach everyone, beginning with the least; the Church is the home of the poor, afflicted, excluded, persecuted, and those who hunger for justice.  Welcome the poor with love, keeping our doors open so all may enter and find shelter.
      Music for gospel
      Reflections
        • Creighton:  Paul's turnaround took his openness, trust, courage, and humility.  Ananias, target of Saul's threats,  trusted God, forgave, and blessed his former persecutor.  Am I willing to accept, forgive, and bless those who hurt me?
        • One Bread One Body:  Jesus appeared to Saul on the road when Saul was about to arrest those "living according to the road [new way]." Other on-the-road conversions:  Ethiopian eunuch (yesterday), Emmaus disciples (Sunday).  Life is a road-trip, the Church is a road-house, and our job is road-work; hit the road!
            • DailyScripture.net:  In the Old Covenant, bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice to the Creator; Melchizedek's offering prefigured Jesus.  The manna in the wilderness recalled to the Israelites that they live not by bread alone but God's Word.  At the last supper, Jesus pointed to the upcoming sacrifice on the cross, where Jesus, Lamb of God, made himself an offering pleasing to the Father.  When he commands us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the center of our being.
              Apparel
              • "2-letters" ['B' and 'J' in the middle] tie bar:  Saul asked the high priest for 'letters' to synagogues (1st reading)
              • "Eyeball" tie pin:  Blinded Saul regained sight when Ananias laid hands on him (1st reading)
              • "Praying person" tie bar:  Ananias, you'll find Saul praying (1st reading)
              • "Hands" tie:  Ananias laid hands on Saul (1st reading)
              • "Wheat" tie bar:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
              Dress your life!