April 28, 2016

April 28

April 28, 2016:  Thursday, 5th week, Easter

See ten connections with today?
Legend below

Listen
For the psalm
Pope Francis homily
The Holy Spirit gave the apostles strength to proclaim the Gospel and carries the Church forward despite our problems.  Even when we're persecuted, the Spirit gives us strength to stand firm.  In the 1st reading, both those who believed Jesus came only for the Jews, and those who wanted to impose the law of Moses, including circumcision, on all converts, resisted the Spirit.  But the Spirit led them through the confusion, surprising them. Much debate took place, likely heated since the Spirit was pushing them on but they were facing situations they'd never seen or imagined, such as pagans receiving the Spirit.
The disciples didn't know what to do with the "hot potato," so they met and recounted their experiences of how the Gentiles had received the Spirit.  They came to an agreement, but first the assembly fell silent and listened to Paul and Barnabas describing how God had worked among the Gentiles.  Never be afraid to listen with humility, or else you don’t have the Spirit in your heart.  When they had listened, they decided to send disciples to reassure the pagan communities that had become Christians.
They wrote a letter saying “The Holy Spirit and we have decided….” not to require circumcision.  This is the way of the Church when faced with novelties of the Spirit.  The Church resolves these problems through synodality, meeting, discussing, listening, praying, then deciding.  The resistance we experienced around Vatican II continues, but the Spirit moves ahead.  The Spirit is the protagonist; the Lord asks us not to fear when the Spirit calls us.  Just as the Spirit stopped Saul and set him on the right road, so the Spirit will give us courage and patience to win over adversity and stand firm in the face of martyrdom.  Ask the Lord for grace to understand how the Church can face the surprises of the Spirit, be docile, and follow the path Christ wants for us.
Read
  • Acts 15:7-21  Peter:  “From early days God chose that through me the Gentiles would hear the Gospel and believe.  God made no distinction between us and them, purifying them and granting them the Spirit, so why are you placing on them a yoke neither we nor our ancestors could bear?  We're all saved through God's grace.”  The assembly fell silent while Paul and Barnabas described the wonders God had worked among the Gentiles.
James:  “Symeon has described how God first concerned himself with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name, and the prophets agree.  We ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God but tell them to avoid idols, unlawful marriage, meat of strangled animals, and blood.
  • Ps 96:1-3, 10  "Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations."  Sing to the Lord a new song; tell his glory and wondrous deeds to all...
  • Jn 15:9-11  “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  If you keep my commandments, you'll remain in my love, my joy will be in you, and your joy will be complete.”
Reflect
    • Creighton:  “The whole assembly fell silent and listened”:  In the 1st reading, the church meets about the Jewish and Greek Christians.  As Paul and Barnabas speak, the assembly listened.  They discerned the Spirit saying they're no longer Gentile or Jew, but one in Christ.  Discernment is a path for clarity, a process, and a way of living aware of the Spirit active in us, and in life.  We need to be attentive.  At meetings may we stop, pray, and listen....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Meeting(s) of the minds":  At the meeting recounted in the 1st reading, church leaders removed an obstacle to world evangelization.  Do our meetings further evangelization?  The Church "exists in order to evangelize" (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14).
    • Passionist:  Paul and Barnabas presented a case whereby Gentiles should be deemed worthy to enjoy church membership:  aren’t we all invited to be saved through faith in Christ?  It was agreed that the Gentiles who observed certain stipulations were to be welcomed.  How can we be more welcoming?
    The gospel reminds us of the commandment to love.  How can we love as Jesus taught us?   How can we love those who feel unloved, who haven’t felt compassion and care?  We're challenged to live out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  May we find ways to show others the hands, feet, eyes, and heart of Jesus.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Abide in my love":  God's love is creative, life-giving, and joy-producing for all who accept it.  Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, a new way of love going beyond what's required or "deserved":  self-giving love to the death for the sake of others, overcoming selfishness, fear, and pride.  Jesus proved his love by giving his life for us; we prove our love for God and one another when we embrace the way of the cross.  What is the cross in my life?
    Dress legend
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  God granted the Gentiles the Holy Spirit (1st reading)
    • OneLife LA 'sign':  Paul and Barnabas described the 'signs' God worked... (1st reading)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  "Let's stop troubling Gentiles who turn to God, just telling them to avoid pollution from...  blood" (1st reading)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  "Say among the nations, The Lord is King" (psalm)
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  God, who knows the heart, purified the Gentiles' hearts. (1st reading); "As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  Remain in my love."  (gospel)
    • 'Jubilee year' pin:  "So that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete" (gospel)
    • 'Children around the world' tie:  "He has made the world firm, not to be moved." (psalm)
    • Red and white shirt:  red for Holy Spirit (1st reading) and Peter Chanel's martyrdom, white for Easter season