April 15, 2016

April 15

April 15, 2016:  Friday, 3rd week, Easter

See 10 connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

Pope Francis homily
Zeal for holy things doesn't mean your heart is open to God.  Saul of Tarsus was extreme in his fidelity to his faith, but his heart was deaf to Christ, so much so that he even agreed to persecute Jesus’ followers.  His plans and took a sudden turn on the road to Damascus; he allowed God to change his heart.
Saul the strong and confident was on the ground; there he understood he wasn't the man God wanted him to be.  The voice from heaven not only asked, "Why are you persecuting me?" but also invited him to rise.  “Get up; you have much to learn.”  He couldn't get up because he recognized his blindness.  When he lost his sight, he let himself be led.  They led him to Damascus where he stayed, blind, and didn't eat or drink.  He'd hit bottom but realized he must accept the humiliation.  The true path to opening your heart is humiliation.  When the Lord sends humiliations or allows them to visit us, it's to open our heart so it can convert to him.
Paul’s heart opened.  In the days of loneliness and blindness, his vision changed.  Then God sent Ananias, who laid his hands on him and opened his eyes.  Remember the protagonist is the Holy Spirit.  The protagonist of the Church is the Spirit who guides God's people.  The hardness of Paul’s heart became docility to the Holy Spirit.”
The Lord can change hearts, turning hardened, stubborn hearts to ones docile to the Spirit.  All of us have a hardened heart.  Lord, make us see that hardness of heart leaves us on the ground.  Give us the grace and the humiliations to rise, the grace of a heart open to the Spirit.
Read
  • 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.” 
Reflect
    • Creighton:   The Lord encountered Paul while Paul was still threatening disciples of the Lord; then he sent him.  We are encountered by the Lord daily.  Every daily encounter is a daily sending.  In the ordinariness of our lives we're called to proclaim the Lord with the witness of our living, not necessarily doing different things but doing things differently.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Amazing grace": With great power, Jesus converted Paul, great opponent of Christians, into a great evangelist.  Do you feel trapped in a situation?  Renew your hope in Him.  Nothing is impossible with God; his ways are far above ours.  This hope will not leave us disappointed....
      The Conversion of Saul/ Michelangelo
    • Passionist:  Saul's original blindness about Jesus is now matched by his loss of eyesight. When Ananias comes lays hands on him, he can see again and begins to proclaim the Good News.  Many listening to Jesus speak of himself as the Bread of Life are also blind to who he is:  "How can he give us his flesh to eat?"  What blindness is in me?  Does stress or busyness blind us to God’s love, presence, and call?  Even the mystics had times when it was hard to see God at work.  Only openness to Jesus will restore our sight.  The Eucharist, studying the Word, opening ourselves to each other, trusting in the Lord's love will all help us see more till we eventually see him face to face.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "He who eats this bread will live forever":  The Jews were scandalized and the disciples divided when Jesus said "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life."  The miracle of the loaves prefigured the abundance of the bread of the Eucharist.  Bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment of the Creator, giver and sustainer of life. The sacrifice of Melchizedek, priest and king, prefigured the offering of Jesus, our high priest and king.  The remembrance of the manna recalled that we live not by bread alone but by the bread of the Word of God.  When Jesus blessed and gave his disciples the wine, he was pointing to the sacrifice he was about to make on the cross....  Paul tells us "Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed."  Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift pleasing to the Father, and "offered himself without blemish to God" and "gave himself as a sacrifice to God."  When Jesus commands his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the center of our being.
    Dress legend
    • 'Letters' tie:  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)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  Ananias laid hands on Saul (1st reading)
    • 'Piano' pin:  Paul is God's chosen 'instrument' (1st reading)
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "The Lord sent me... that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit" (1st reading)
    • 'Wheat' tie bar:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  If you drink my Blood you have eternal life, and I'll raise you up... (gospel)
    • Red, white, and blue shirt:  red for Jesus' blood (What color is blood?) (gospel), white for Easter season, blue for waters of baptism (1st reading)