May 25, 2014

6th Sun. of Easter

May 25, 2014:  6th Sunday of Easter

        It's 'paraclete' (παράκλητος, 'Advocate'), not 'parakeet'
      • Acts 8:5-8, 14-17  Philip went to  Samaria and proclaimed the Christ.  The crowds paid attention to what he said and saw the signs he did.  Unclean spirits came out of many, and paralytics and cripples were cured.  There was great joy in that city.  When the apostles heard Samaria had accepted God's word, they sent Peter and John to pray that the Spirit fall on them.  They laid hands on them, and they received the Spirit.
      • Ps 66:1-7, 16, 20  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Say to God, “How tremendous your deeds!”  See God's works:  he changed the sea into dry land, he rules by his might, he heard my prayer, and he showed his kindness!
      • 1 Pt 3:15-18  Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.   Explain the reason for your hope with gentleness and reverence.  Keep your conscience clear; it's better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  Christ suffered for your sins, to lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.
      • Jn 14:15-21  “If you love me, you'll keep my commandments, and I'll ask the Father to send you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.  I won't leave you orphans; I'll come to you and you'll live.  You'll realize I'm am in my Father, you in me, and I in you.  Whoever keeps my commandments loves me; my Father and I will love them, and I'll reveal myself to him.”
      Wordle: Readings 5-25-14
      Today's readings
      Pope Francis
      The Child Jesus was the sign to those who awaited salvation, and remains the sign of God’s tenderness and presence.  The angel announced, “This will be a sign for you: you'll find a child….”  Children are a sign of hope and life but also a “diagnostic” sign of our health.  Where children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, families and society are healthier, and the world is more human. 
      The Newborn of Bethlehem was frail; the Word made flesh couldn't speak.  As Jesus was vulnerable, so too today's children need to be defended, from the moment of their conception.  Children live in inhuman situations, exploited, maltreated, enslaved, trafficked, in exile, as refugees, lost at sea; we feel shame before God who became a child. 
      Who are we before the Child Jesus and today’s children?  Like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed and cared for Jesus with love—or Herod, who wanted to eliminate him?  Like the shepherds, who knelt before him and offered their gifts—or indifferent?  Do we use pious words but exploit pictures of poor children to make money?  Do we “waste time” with children, listening, caring, and praying for and with them—or are we too caught up in our affairs? 
      The crying of children—hungry, cold, wanting to be held—challenges us:  they cry in vain, hungry and sick as tons of food and medicine get discarded daily.  While we insist on protection of minors, children are pressed to be soldiers and slaves, and their cry is stifled.  Their mothers cry for them, as modern-day Rachels, inconsolable.
      Every child is a diagnostic sign, and frank diagnosis can lead to life with relationships marked not by conflict, oppression, and consumerism but fraternity, forgiveness, reconciliation, solidarity, and love.  Mother of Jesus, who accepted, teach us to accept; who adored, teach us to adore; who followed, teach us to follow!  [More]
        • Creighton:  The Holy Spirit is God's presence in our lives, an encourager, advocating, calling us together, and supporting us.  When we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit prays in groans beyond words.  We can die to ourselves quietly and daily by putting others' needs ahead of ours, reaching out, and showing mercy to those in need.  When our hearts are like Jesus', we find Jesus more easily.
        • One Bread One Body:  A 'paraclete' is one who helps, usually at a legal trial, convincing judge or jury—but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, is with and within us so we may be more than conquerors in life (Rm 8:37) and be judged faithful in heaven.
            •  We love because it's our nature to love, and it is because the Holy Spirit has made it so.  (John Henry Newman)  How do we know that God loves us?  The cross.  Jesus' best gift for us is the Holy Spirit, Advocate, Counselor, Paraclete, Helper.  As a counselor defends and guides during a trial, the Spirit guides and strengthens us and brings us through our challenges and adversities.  The Spirit gives life and guides us to love, truth, goodness, and peace.
            "O God, you are the abyss of peace, the sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection; you send peace to those who will receive it.  Open to us the sea of your love, and water us with streams from your grace and springs of your kindness.  Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace; enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen us by your power; bind us to you and each other in our firm bond of unity." (Syrian Clementine liturgy)
                Special greetings to and prayers for
                my parish community,
                St. Bede the Venerable 
                parish and school!
                Read St. Bede online:,Crossroads, or Online Library of Liberty.
              • Passionist:  What's the reason for my hope?  I've seen the Risen Jesus at work here and now:  he's lifted me up repeatedly, I've seen him raise others, and I've seen people help those in need and people work together across divisions and barriers.  Where there's love, there's hope; Jesus loves us and exhorts us to love each other.  If we stay in a loving relationship with God and others, there's hope; Philip, Peter, and John reached across the divide to build relationships with "different" people and were accepted.  If we follow Jesus and accept "it's better to suffer for doing good...  then doing evil," there's hope.  Bring hope; don't give in to despair, selfishness, resentment, or fear.
              • Universalis:  Today's saints if Sunday hadn't trumped them:  St. Bede the Venerable, monk, Church doctor.  Pope St. Gregory VII, monk, Church reformer.  St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, religious, prayed for reform and conversion.
                • "Signs" tie:  the crowds saw the signs Philip was doing (1st reading); children as diagnostic sign (homily)
                • "Medical" pin:  paralytics and cripples were cured (1st reading), St. Bede is a 'doctor' of the Church.
                • "Hand" tie pin:  Peter and John laid hands on the people of Samaria; they received the Spirit (1st reading)
                • "Hearts" suspenders:  "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts." (2nd reading)
                • "Dove" pin:  The Father will give you an Advocate, the Spirit of truth. (gospel)
                • White and red shirt:  white for Easter season, red for Holy Spirit
                Dress your life!

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