April 19, 2018

April 19

April 19, 2018:  Thursday, 3rd week, Easter

See 17 connections with today?
Legend below
Listen
For the gospel
For Psalm 66
Pope Francis
Homily:   Every Christian has an obligation and mission:  evangelization.  “Get up”, draw near”, and “start with an actual situation” are keys to it.
The “wind of persecution” experienced by the early Church drove the disciples out to other parts of Judea and to Samaria.  Just as wind transports seeds and sows them elsewhere, so too the disciples went elsewhere and sowed God's Word.  This is how the Lord wants us to evangelize.
Get up and go:  Evangelization is not proselytism; the Spirit guides it, indicating where we're to go and to whom to proclaim Jesus' name.  The Spirit told Philip to “Get up and go.”  There's no such thing as “armchair evangelization.”  Be on the move; go to where you must declare the Word.  Many missionaries left everything to bring the Word of God to far-off lands.
Draw near; use actual situations:  Instead of beginning with a theory, draw near to what's occurring and start there.  Evangelization is not theoretical; it takes place person to person, starting from a situation.  Philip announces Jesus Christ, and the Spirit moves him to baptize the eunuch.  Go till you feel your work has been accomplished.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  The limits of reason:  The truth the Lord has given us is hard to grasp and even harder to express, so we can't claim authority to supervise others.  Different ways to interpret aspects of doctrine and Christian life can help express the riches of God’s word, though it might seem undesirable and confusing to those longing for monolithic doctrine with no room for nuance [EG 40].  Some currents of gnosticism attempted to replace the trinitarian, incarnate God with a Unity....

Our understanding and expression of doctrine is not a closed system precluding questions and doubts.  People's questions, suffering, struggles, dreams, trials and worries have an interpretational value we can't ignore if we take incarnation seriously.  Their wondering helps us wonder; their questions question us” [9-1-15].

We can think that because we know or can explain something, we're better than the masses.  The better educated may be tempted to feel superior [Vita Consecrata 38], but what we think we know should motivate us to respond more fully to God’s love.  “You learn so as to live: theology and holiness are inseparable” [3-3-15].

When Francis of Assisi saw his disciples were teaching, he wanted to avoid gnosticism.  He wrote to Anthony, “I'm pleased you teach theology, but don't extinguish prayer and devotion during such study” [Letter], recognizing the temptation to turn Christian experience into intellectual exercises distancing us from the Gospel's freshness.  Bonaventure pointed out that true Christian wisdom is linked to mercy:  “The greatest wisdom is to share what we have....  As mercy is wisdom's companion, avarice is its enemy” [De septem donis 9, 15].  “Works of mercy and devotionare united with and facilitate contemplation [In IV Sent.].
Read
  • Acts 8:26-40  The Lord spoke to Philip:  “Head south,” so he did.  An Ethiopian eunuch was returning home, reading Isaiah.  The Spirit told Philip, “Join with that chariot.”  Philip:  “Do you understand?” / “How can I?”  He got in.  “About whom is the prophet saying Like a sheep he was led to slaughter...?”  Starting there, Philip proclaimed Jesus to him.  When they came to water, the eunuch said, “What's to prevent my being baptized?”  Philip baptized him, then the Spirit snatched Philip.  The eunuch continued, rejoicing.  Philip continued proclaiming the good news.
  • Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Bless God; He has given us life.  I appealed to him, and he didn't refuse his kindness!
  • Jn 6:44-51  Jesus:  “No one come to me unless the Father draw him, and I will raise him.  Everyone who learns from my Father comes to me.  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate manna and died, but this bread comes from heaven so one may eat it and not die.  I am that living bread; whoever eats it will live forever.  The bread I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
Reflect
  • Creighton"Jesus and carbs":  Jesus tells his followers that the path to the Father is through him.  He calls himself “the bread of life.”  Why does he make this connection, and what does it mean now?  Bread making dates back 30,000 years.  By Jesus' time, bread was a staple in most people’s diet:  inexpensive, easy to make, and portable.  Both Jesus and bread provide nourishment; we need both to live to the full.  Some tell us to eat “low carb,” but others say carbs are an important part of a healthy diet.  I think of Jesus as a high-carb eating plan.  Nutritional guidelines say most of our calories should be from carbs, from the right sources (including bread).  A no-carb diet is detrimental to the health of most, but creative marketing influences many to avoid even “good carbs.”  Society also influences us to avoid Jesus:  creative messaging can sway to think that buying a certain product or acting a certain way will bring happiness, but we can't be spiritually healthy without the Bread of Life.  Consume Jesus; be nourished, happy, and healthy.
    The Baptism of the Eunuch
    (Rembrandt)
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Full-Phil-ment":  Before we recognize the risen Christ, our hearts need to burn as the Scriptures are interpreted for us.  One of the ways Jesus interprets the Scriptures for us is sending us Philips.  We can't fully understand the Scriptures, for the Lord hides things from the learned and clever.  The Lord has set up the Church, so even the most learned will need the less learned in order to understand Scripture.  We need community, humility, and docility.  "What you've heard from me through many witnesses you must hand on to trustworthy people able to teach others."  We need each other, and others need us, to understand Scripture and meet Christ.  Listen to the Philips and be one.
  • Passionist:  Who sends a missionary and for what?  Jesus calls himself a missionary, “sent” by God to identify those drawn to God so they may receive eternal life; he knows who he is, who sent him and for what.  “Christians are missionaries to the extent they've encountered God's love in Christ:  we no longer say we're ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but ‘missionary disciples’” (EG 120).  This understanding helps us to reread Scriptures with the "missionary disciple" lens.  What Philip, Peter, James and the other disciples did after the Resurrection was remarkable.  The experience of the Risen Christ transformed them into missionary disciples fearlessly standing before leaders and proclaiming his gospel of truth, justice, forgiveness, and love.  Missionary disciples are empowered to do what the Risen Christ did for his frightened followers:  open them to Scripture and give them the Bread of Life.  Once they begin their missionary journey, there's no turning back.  Let us be inspired by the missionary Jesus and his once-timid missionary disciples and be courageous missionary disciples today.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "If you eat this bread, you'll live for ever":  God offers his people abundant life, divine life, but we can miss it.  The Rabbis believed that the father who missed the promised land also missed the life to come. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness with manna from heaven. This bread foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.  Jesus claims as only God can that he's the true bread of heaven that can satisfy our deepest hunger.  The manna prefigured the abundance of the bread of the Lord's Supper Jesus gave to his disciples.  Manna sustained the Israelites on the way to the Promised Land but didn't give eternal life, but the bread Jesus offers sustains us not on our journey and gives abundant life to sustain us forever.  Jesus offers us the abundant life of heaven, but we can miss or even refuse it....
Dress legend
  • 'Angel' and 'dove' tie pins:  Angel and Holy Spirit spoke to Philip (1st reading)
  • 'Money bag' tie pin:  Ethiopian eunuch, in charge of the treasury... (1st reading)
  • 'Horse' and 'chariot' tie pins:  ...was seated in his chariot (1st reading)
  • 'Runner' tie pin:  Philip ran up and heard him... (1st reading)
  • Tie with book and reader:   ...reading Is 53:7-8... (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' and 'lamb' tie bars:  ...about the Servant "like a sheep [led] to slaughter" and "lamb who didn't open his mouth," that Philip interprets for him (1st reading)
  • 'Jesus' (WWJD) pin:  Philip proclaimed Jesus to him (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "I'll give my Flesh for the life of the world" (gospel); let all the earth... (psalm)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' tie pin:  ...cry out to God with joy (psalm)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "God didn't let our feet slip" (psalm)
  • Flesh-colored suspenders:  "The bread I'll give is my Flesh..." (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
  • Blue and white shirt, white socks:  Blue for waters of baptism (1st reading), white for Easter season

April 18, 2018

April 18

April 18, 2018:  Wednesday, 3rd week, Easter

  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Saul, trying to destroy the Church, 'handed' believers over (1st reading)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' tie pin:  There was great joy in Samaria (1st reading); shout joyfully to God (psalm)
  • 'International flags' tie:  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy." (psalm)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "They passed through the river on foot" (psalm)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Come see God's works (psalm); God wills that everyone who sees and believes in the Son may have eternal life (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season
Listen

For the psalm
Pope Francis
General audience:  At baptism the priest and parents trace the sign of the cross on the child to express Christ's imprint on the one who's going to belong to him.  It signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.  The words and gestures in the Baptism liturgy unfold the Sacrament’s meaning as the beginning of our new life in Christ.  The celebration of Baptism begins a process that allows one to live united to Christ in the Church.  We become God’s children and begin a journey of faith.
The name the parents give their child represents their identity and is a constant reminder of the person's uniqueness.  God calls every person by name, loving us uniquely in the concreteness of our lives.  This requires a personal response, not a simple copy/paste.
The cross is the Christian’s distinctive sign, the badge showing who we are:  our speaking, thinking, looking, and working are all under the sign of the cross, the sign of Jesus' love.  We become Christians in the measure in which the cross is imprinted in our lives.  Making the sign of the cross–when we wake, before meals, in the face of danger, to defend against evil, and before bed–reminds us whom we belong to and who we want to be.
Appeal for Alfie Evans and Vincent Lambert:  The only author of life, from beginning to end, is God.  It's our duty to do all we can to safeguard life.  Let us pray that the lives of all persons, especially these two brothers of ours, be respected.  Let us pray that all the sick be respected in their dignity and cared for appropriately, with the help of family members, doctors, other healthcare workers, and great respect for life.
Post-audience:  May the upcoming World Bank Meeting yield positive results favoring authentic integral development respectful of human dignity, policies favoring economic inclusion, and promotion of the lives of the poor.
To Caritas:  Become apostles of charity to those on society's margins.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  A doctrine without mystery:  Gnosticism exalts knowledge or a specific experience and considers its vision perfect; feeding on itself, it becomes even more myopic.  A disembodied spirituality, it seeks to domesticate the mystery of God, grace, and others’ lives.
Somebody with an answer for every question is on the wrong road.  God transcends us; we can't determine when and how we'll encounter him.  Someone who wants everything clear presumes to control God.

God is present in every person, even if apparently wrecked or full of vice.  When we let the Spirit guide us, we find the Lord in every human life.  Gnostics can't accept this because it's beyond their control. [40-42]
Read

  • Acts 8:1b-8  A severe persecution of the Church broke out, and all were scattered, except the Apostles.  Saul tried to destroy the Church, imprisoning believers.  The scattered preached the word and worked wonders, crowds paid attention, and there was great joy.
  • Ps 66:1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Say to God, “How tremendous your deeds!”  Come see God's works.  He rules by his might forever.
  • Jn 6:35-40  Jesus:  “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me won't hunger, and whoever believes in me won't thirst.  I won't reject anyone who comes to me, because I came to do the Father's will, and the Father wants everyone who sees and believes in the Son to have eternal life and be raised up.”

Reflect
  • Creighton:  When Deacon Stephen was martyred, the seeds of faith were scattered, even though Saul tried to contain them.  While the Christians were in Jerusalem, he could contain their influence, but once they scattered, the word was preached all over, people heard, saw Jesus' victory over evil and illness, and responded with joy; then the persecutors had a bigger problem.  Tyrants believe killing their opponents will stamp out opposition. On occasion, this tactic may even appear to work, but the doctrine of the resurrection is revolutionary:  "Tyrants may believe this life is all there is, but if [you] believe in the resurrection of the body, [you] needn't fear" (Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God); what tyrants do isn't the last word.  As a mother and seven sons were executed for their faithfulness to God's law, one brother about to lose his tongue and hands said, "I received these from heaven; for the sake of his laws I disregard them; from him I hope to receive them again."
Jesus says that his Father's will is that those who believe in him will have eternal life and be raised up.  Persecutors can't win; Jesus will raise them up those they kill.  Jesus is Lord; tyrants may win battles, but they'll lose the war.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "His body":  Creation, the human body, and the Church are composed of many interrelated parts.  "If one member suffers, all do; if one member is honored, all share its joy."  The Lord constantly graces the Church so it may be whole, its harmony complete, but the devil tempts us to drop out or cut off parts of the Church's life.  If we exclude the apostles, house-churches, preaching, miracles, deliverances, healings, and joy of the 1st reading, the Church is warped.  The Lord wants a Church united, healthy, and strong to use to transform the world.
  • Passionist:  Jesus, Bread of Life, doesn’t come just to satisfy physical hunger but to fulfill our yearnings when we come to him.  Nouwen talks of our yearning as the force field of desire that draws us to God.  We're called to shed our old ways and trust our yearnings and our responses to God's presence.  Do we trust that God listens to us, accepts and loves us, and wants to fulfill our desires, and that we can always go to Jesus who can transform our fear, doubt, and pain into hope, peace and new life?
  • DailyScripture.net:  "I'll raise you up at the last day":  Bread sustains us. The life Jesus refers to is connected with God, author of life.  Jesus makes real life possible, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy with God.  Jesus claims to be spiritual food producing divine life in us, he promises friendship and freedom from fear of being cut off from God, and he offers the hope of sharing in his resurrection.
    • Bl. ("Mother") Marie-Anne Blondin, religious, Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne foundress, victim of injustices, example of self-denial and forgiveness.  “The deeper a tree sinks its roots into the soil, the greater are its chances of growing and producing fruit.”  “May the Holy Eucharist and perfect abandonment to God’s Will be your heaven on earth.”  “God will know well how to discern the false from the true and to reward each one according to his deeds.”  “There is more happiness in forgiving than in revenge.”

April 17, 2018

April 17

April 17, 2018:  Tuesday, 3rd week, Easter

See about 16 connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

For the gospel
For Psalm 31
Pope Francis
Homily:  Stephen accused the people of being stiff-necked, opposing the Holy Spirit and persecuting the prophets.  Hearts closed, they didn't want to listen him or remember Israel's history.
Just like their ancestors persecuted the prophets, they rushed upon Stephen and stoned him.  When a prophet speaks truth and touches hearts, anger and persecutions are unleashed.  True prophets not only speak truth with strength but also can weep for their people who turn away from it.  Jesus both reprimanded his people as an evil generation and wept for them.
Prophets can give hope:  opening hearts, healing roots, reinforcing the sense of belonging to God's people.  They know when to scold but also how to open the door to hope.  They put themselves on the line.  Stephen submitted to martyrdom to be coherent with truth.  “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians” (Tertullian).
The Church needs each of us to be a prophet, not a critic.  If you just criticize and aren't happy with anything, you're not a prophet.  Prophets pray, look to God, and look at their people, and when the people err, they weep.  May the Church always have this service, so we may always go forward.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Subtle enemies of holiness
Gnosticism and pelagianism, heresies reflecting anthropocentric immanentism, can lead us astray; they give rise to an elitism that leads us to classify others, instead of opening the door to grace out of love for them.

Contemporary gnosticism:  Gnosticism presumes a subjective faith whose only interest is an experience or ideas and information meant to enlighten, but that keeps you imprisoned in your thoughts and feelings.

An intellect without God and flesh:  Thank God, our perfection is measured by our love, not our knowledge.  But Gnostics judge others based on their ability to understand certain complex doctrines.  Thinking the intellect is separate from the flesh, they can't touch Christ’s suffering flesh in others.  By disembodying the mystery, they prefer “a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church, a Church without her people” (11-11-16).
This superficial conceit attracts some people, since the approach is allegedly pure and can seem harmonious or ordered.  They think their explanations can make faith and the Gospel comprehensible.  They absolutize their theories and force others to submit to their thinking.  Healthy, humble use of reason to reflect on the Gospel is one thing, but reducing Jesus’ teaching to cold logic that seeks to dominate is another (see Bonaventure, Journey of the Mind into God, VII, 4‑5).
Read
  • Acts 7:51-8:1a  Stephen:  “You oppose the Spirit, like your ancestors who killed the prophets.”  They ground their teeth, but he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at God's right hand.”  They stoned him; witnesses laid their cloaks at Saul's feet.  He called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit....  Don't hold this sin against them,” then fell asleep.  Saul consented to his execution.
  • Jn 6:30-35  Crowd / Jesus:  “What sign can you do, that we may believe in you?  Our ancestors ate manna in the desert.” / “My Father, not Moses, gives the true bread from heaven and gives life to the world.” / “Give us this bread always.” / “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Today’s gospel focuses on bread, the bread of life.  I imagine an energetic crowd listening to Jesus on a sunny day.  It is a warm, sunny day with a gentle breeze blowing.  Some are excited to see and hear Jesus; others are skeptical, asking for a sign. Jesus explains that God sent him from heaven to give life to the world.  Lord, make me more open to hearing your promise.  Help those who struggle with hunger.  Help all who work to grow, harvest, transport, and prepare food.  May we all all prepare to experience everlasting life.
  • One Bread, One Body"Hungry for God's food?"  God fed the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, till they could eat in the promised land.  The manna from heaven foreshadowed what God the Father did through Jesus, sent from heaven to give us life.  Jesus taught that he was the Bread of Life, sent by the Father to feed his people and thereby give them life till they reach the heavenly promised land.  If the Israelites didn't eat the manna, they'd starve, but we don't think we'll starve if we don't receive the Eucharist, though Jesus says that if we don't eat the heavenly manna, we have no life....
  • Passionist:  Stephen's death resembles Jesus’:  both are accused of blasphemy, condemned to death by the Sanhedrin, see a vision of someone at God's right hand, and pray that God forgive those who kill him.  Stephen could die like Jesus only because he strove to live like him, daily giving himself to him.  We look for something to satisfy our deepest longings, fill our emptiness, ease our anxiety, and make us whole.  Sometimes we seek it in things that disappoint us.  Instead of wasting our lives on “food” that can leaves us spiritually famished, may we open ourselves to Jesus, Bread of Life, who offers himself to us every every day and so know the joy and peace that filled Stephen to his death.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "I am the bread of life":  The Jews regarded the manna as bread of God.  There was a Rabbinic belief that the Messiah would give manna from heaven.  The Jewish leaders were demanding that Jesus produce manna from heaven to prove his claim to be Messiah.  Jesus responds that God, not Moses, gave the manna, and it was only a symbol of the bread to come; then he claims as only God can that he himself is the bread of life.  Only the bread he offers can satisfy our deep hunger with divine life to sustain us forever; it's the "one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live forever in Christ" (Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20,2), healing for body and soul, strength for our journey to heaven.
    Dress legend
    • 'Jesus' (WWJD) pin:  Stephen saw the face of Jesus (1st reading); Jesus, Bread of Life (gospel)
    • 'Heart' tie pin:  "You people uncircumcised in heart..." (1st reading)
    • 'Dove' pin:  "...oppose the Spirit"; Stephen was filled with the Spirit (1st reading)
    • 'Angel' pin:  "You received the law as transmitted by angels but didn't observe it" (1st reading)
    • 'Car with teeth' pin:  They ground their teeth at Stephen (1st reading)
    • 'Gun' pin:  "Your ancestors killed those who foretold the righteous one's coming; you've become his murderers" (1st reading)
    • 'Feet' pin:  The witnesses laid down their cloaks at Saul's feet (1st reading)
    • 'Hands' pin:  "I see Jesus standing at God's right hand" (1st reading); "Into your hands I commend my spirit" (psalm)
    • Red/white shirt, white socks:  Red for Stephen's martyrdom (1st reading), white for Easter season
    • 'Stone/rock' tie pin:  They stoned Stephen (1st reading); "You are my rock" (psalm)
    • 'Sun' pin:  Let your face shine on your servant (psalm)
    • 'Signs' tie:  "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?" (gospel)
    • 'Wheat' pin:  "He gave them bread from heaven"; Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
    • Suspenders evoke secret knowledge /neo-Gnosticism (nugget)

    April 16, 2018

    April 16

    April 16, 2018:  Monday, 3rd week, Easter

    See ten connections with today?
    Legend below
    Listen

    Psalm 19 settings related to today's psalm
    Pope Francis

    Today's homily:  Follow Jesus because of faith in his word, not self-interest in his miracles.  Remember the wonderful things God has done in your life, so as to respond with love.  Jesus rebuffed the crowd wanting to make him king after the multiplication of the loaves:  “You're looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate and were filled.”  They were seeking Jesus to feel his Word in their hearts, but they were curious to see his miracles.  They were good people, but their faith was a little too curious and self-seeking.
    Stephen spoke so clearly that his interlocutors couldn't resist his wisdom.  He followed Jesus, sure in faith, whatever the consequences.  He loved; he wasn't self-interested.  When led into the trap they set and stoned, he gave witness.
    Ask, "How do I follow Jesus?"  Remember his love and all he's given you.  Then ask, "What should I do for Jesus?’ These can help us purify our faith from self-interest.  When I see what he's given me, I say, "Yes, Lord; I'll give my all.  I won’t commit these sins again.  I’ll change my life...."  This is the road to conversion by love:  "You’ve loved me so much; I'll give you my love."
    Sunday homily:  “Joy makes us young!”  The disciples knew Christ had risen, but the truth had not yet entered their hearts.  They were incredulous for joy and amazed.  This happens to us too when someone gives us good news.  The disciples not only believed, but were convinced.
    Sin makes us grow old, but the risen Jesus renews us!  Jesus’ Resurrection is the primary truth of our faith.  Ask for the grace to believe Christ is risen and alive!  When you go to Communion, are you sure that the risen Christ is there?  Christ is in our midst.  If we don't believe this, we can't be good Christians.
    Pray for the grace to touch Jesus in prayer, the Sacraments; receiving his forgiveness, and meeting the sick, prisoners, the needy, children, the elderly....  If we want to do something good, it's Jesus urging us.
    Parish visit:  It's the parish's duty to be there for people; those with the greatest need are at the center of the parish and the Gospel.  Don't let your sorrows or difficulties take your hope or joy away; Jesus came to ‘ransom’ our wounds with his.  This is our joy:  Jesus paid for us, is close to us, and wants what's good for us.
    My favorite Bible passage is conversion of Matthew; it shows how Jesus can change a heart.
    We're all God's children, good and bad, even those who follow other religions.  He loves everyone, and has put in every heart a conscience to distinguish good from evil.  But when we're baptized, the Holy Spirit enters into that conscience and strengthens your belonging to God.
    Only God knows who is in heaven, but how could God, who has a dad's heart, keep a good father, even if an unbeliever, far from him?
    Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  More alive, more human:  Don't be afraid of holiness; it won't sap your energy or joy.  You'll become what the Father had in mind, faithful to your deepest self.  Depending on God sets you free and leads you to recognize your dignity.
    The more you grow in holiness, the greater fruit you'll bear.  Be evangelized and evangelize by taking up your role as salt of the earth and light of the world.
    Set your sights high; let God love and liberate you.  Let the Spirit guide you.  Holiness doesn't make you less human; it's an encounter between your weakness and God’s grace. “The only great tragedy in life is not to become a saint” (Bloy). [32-34]
    Read
    • Acts 6:8-15  Stephen was working wonders and signs.  People debated with him but couldn't withstand the wisdom and Spirit with which he spoke.  They falsely accused him, stirred up the people, elders, and scribes, brought him before the Sanhedrin, and false witnesses testified.  All saw his face was like an angel's.
    • Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30  "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"  Your decrees are my delight, my counselors.  You answered me; teach me your statutes.  I've chosen the way of truth.
    • Jn 6:22-29  After Jesus had fed the 5,000, the crowd found him and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”  Jesus:  “You look for me because you ate the loaves and were filled.  Work for the food that endures for eternal life, that the Son will give you.” / “How can we do God's works?” / “Believe in the one he sent.”
    Reflect
    • Creighton:  In today's gospel, Jesus says, “Don't work for food that perishes but for food that endures."  How do I ensure my work/life balance incorporates caring for my spirit and working for the everlasting food?  Healthy eating, exercise, spending time with friends, family, and community.  Gallup’s well-being model includes career, social, financial, physical and community.  But I must be as intentional with my spirit as I am with nutrition, exercise, and social practices, not creating silos but blending them. Every day God offers me the opportunity to find him in the day's events and give thanks. If I'm intentional about my prayer. my choices are in harmony with Jesus.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Peace on a roller coaster":  As the early Church received grace, it also received suffering.  The first people to receive the Spirit were accused of being drunk, but that day 3,000 were baptized.  After Peter and John healed the cripple, they led thousands more to Christ but then were arrested.  Once they were released, many wonders occurred through the apostles' hands.  Then the apostles were arrested, threatened, and beaten, there was a serious disagreement between Jewish and Gentile Christians that the first deacons dealt with, and the disciples' number "enormously increased."  The Church's next suffering was Stephen's martyrdom.  Luke commented, "Stephen's face seemed like an angel's"; "the Church was at peace." The first word the risen Christ says is "Peace."
      Christ feeding the multitude (Coptic icon)
    • Passionist:  When the crowd asks Jesus what they can do to accomplish God's works, he replies, “Believe in the one he sent.”  To believe in Jesus leads to belief in God's saving plan, God's love, Jesus' self-sacrifice and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and for everlasting life.  If we accept that love, we're compelled to respond with love for God, others, and the world.  We're called to go out, filled with God's love and the Spirit's power, and proclaim the Good News in all we say and do.  May we believe in the One God sent, and love....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Labor for the food which endures":  After Jesus multiplied the loaves, what were the people seeking him hungry for?  Things that satisfy heart and soul? Jesus echoes Isaiah: "Why spend your money for what isn't bread, your labor for what doesn't satisfy?"  Only God can satisfy our hunger for truth, life, and love.  Jesus offers a new relationship with God and a life of love, service, forgiveness, holiness, and trust; this is the work Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Spirit.
      St. Bernadette
    • Universalis:  St. Bernadette Soubirous, religious, patroness of the sick, didn't let her serious illness get in the way, showed great humility, inspired great love of prayer and good works, especially service of the poor and the sick.  Mary appeared to her near Lourdes to call sinners to change.  See also Wikipedia.
    Dress legend
    • 'Boundless mercy sign' pin:  Stephen worked great wonders and signs among the people (1st reading); "You're looking for me not because you saw signs..." (gospel)
    • 'Wheat' pin:  "...but because you ate the loaves and were filled"; Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
    • 'Owl' pin:  Stephen spoke with wisdom... (1st reading)
    • 'Dove' pin:  ...and the Spirit; (1st reading)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Stephen's face was like an angel's (1st reading)
    • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus hadn't gone along in the boat; other boats came.... (gospel)
    • 'Food' tie:  You ate and were filled; work for food that endures for eternal life (gospel)
    • Red stripe in suspenders:  St. Stephen's martyrdom (today's 1st reading, leading to tomorrow's)
    • White shirt, cuff links, socks:  Easter season