April 13, 2015

April 13

April 13, 2015:  Monday, Second Week of Easter

  • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  "As they prayed, the place shook" (1st reading)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (1st reading); one not born of water and Spirit can't enter the Kingdom (gospel)
  • 'Hands' tie:  today: "Enable us to speak your word, as you stretch your hand to heal" (1st reading); Sunday: Jesus showed them his hands; Thomas:  "unless I put my hand into his side" (gospel)
  • 'Key' tie pin:  the doors were locked (Sun. gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  “Peace be with you!” (Sun. gospel)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Divine Mercy Sunday
  • White shirt:  color of day/Easter season

  • Let us break their bonds asunder, from Part 2 of Messiah/ Handel; another (psalm) [The first is from a concert of just Parts 2 and 3, a great idea considering the preponderance of Part 1+Hallelujah chorus concerts.]
Pope Francis homily
Speak frankly without fear:  Peter and John had been jailed and threatened not to speak in Jesus' name but continued to do so and to encourage others to proclaim God's Word  "with frankness."  They prayed that God's servants proclaim the Word boldly.  Fear gave way to openness, to saying things with freedom.  Today too the Church's message is the path of openness and Christian courage (parrésia, frankness).
Proclaim Christ without "advertising":  In today's Jesus-Nicodemus story the true protagonist is the Holy Spirit, the only one who can give us courage to proclaim Jesus Christ.  This courage is what distinguishes us from simple proselytism.  We don't need to advertise; we announce with courage, and the proclamation causes, through the Spirit, that astonishment that keeps us going.  When Jesus talks about being ‘born again,’ he makes us understand it's the Spirit that changes us:  our attitude, our life story, our being.
Courage, a grace from the Holy Spirit:  The Spirit gave Peter and John strength to proclaim Jesus Christ up until their final witness of martyrdom.  Many paths give us some courage, but if there's no Spirit, what we do is of no use.  After Easter, the Church prepares us to receive the Spirit.  Lord, give us the grace to receive the Spirit to give us courage to announce Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 4:23-31  Peter and John reported what the chief priests and elders told them.  The people said, “Lord, you said through David:  Why did the Gentiles rage?  Kings took their stand against the Lord and his anointed.  Herod and Pilate, with Jews and Gentiles, gathered to do what you'd willed long ago.  Lord, let your servants speak your word boldly and do signs and wonders in Jesus' name.”  They were filled with the Spirit and continued to speak God's word boldly.
  • Ps 2:1-9  "Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord."  Why do the nations rage?  Kings rise up against the Lord and his anointed.  The Lord derides, then terrifies them.  The Lord told me, “You are my Son.  You shall rule and shelter the nations.”
  • Jn 3:1-8  Pharisee Nicodemus / Jesus:  “Rabbi, we know you're from God; no one can do these signs unless God is with him.” / “Unless you're born from above, you can't see God's Kingdom.” / “How can an old man be born again?” / “Unless you're born of water and Spirit, you can't enter.  Flesh begets flesh and spirit spirit.  The wind blows where it wills; you hear it but don't know where it's from or where it's going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
    • Creighton:  Jesus says that unless his Spirit animates us, replacing our soul, we won't share his life. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” through God's gift.  Paul insists, “Be who you are,” not “Become holy”; we're already holy because the Spirit of Jesus animates us.”  We can ignore that life by not responding to its urgings, but life in the Spirit is a reality to live, not an ideal to strive for.
      The incredulity of St. Thomas/ Caravaggio
      (for Sunday gospel)
    • One Bread One Body:  "Many happy returns?":  We've completed the Easter Octave (8-day) celebration.  When Jesus rose, he returned to His followers, acted with power, taught the Scriptures, and conferred the Spirit.  Peter and John imitated him in praying with building-shaking confidence, filled with the Spirit.  Like them, we've been celebrating our release from captivity.  Will we return to our old ways, or to our brothers and sisters in the Spirit's power?
    • DailyScripture.net:  Nicodemus was no ordinary Jew; he was a religious ruler, Sanhedrin member, teacher of Israel, a devout Pharisee seeking to follow the law of Moses.  He probably chose to meet with Jesus at night because he wasn't ready publicly to associate with Jesus in the face of opposition, and he wanted to speak with him privately; the rabbis said the best time to study the law was at night.  Nicodemus addressed Jesus as rabbi, teacher, and acknowledged his teaching came from God.  The new birth Jesus spoke about was spiritual birth, from God himself.  He explained it could only come about through the Spirit.  To be reborn in the Spirit is to enter the community in which God is honored and obeyed.  Those who willingly accept God's rule in their lives become citizens of God's kingdom and his adopted children and enter into his everlasting life of love, peace, joy, and freedom.

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