April 16, 2016

April 16

April 16, 2016:  Saturday, 3rd week, Easter

  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Church was at peace (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie pin:  I will call upon the name of the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Tabitha opened her eyes (1st reading); precious in the eyes of the Lord... (psalm)
  • Red and white shirt:  red for "the death of his faithful" (psalm) and Confirmation (tonight), white for Easter season
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
  • Tie with bread and other food:  feeding of the 5,000 (Jn 6:1-15, pre-gospel), Jesus as Bread of Life (gospel)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Spirit consoled early Church (1st reading); the Spirit gives live (gospel)

For the gospel

For the psalm
I was hungry/ Marchionda (Pope/Patriarch/Archbishop joint declaration)
Pope Francis
At Lesbos refugee camp:  We call attention to this grave humanitarian crisis and plead for its resolution.  We speak out on your behalf.  We hope the world will heed these scenes of desperate need and respond worthy of our common humanity.  God created us to be one family; when any of us suffers, we're all affected.  We know how easy it is to ignore others' suffering and exploit their vulnerability, but we also know these crises can bring out our best. Thank God he never leaves us alone; there's always someone who can help us.
Don't lose hope!  The greatest gift we can offer is love:  a merciful look, readiness to listen, encouragement, prayer.  Share this gift with one another.  We love to tell the story of the Good Samaritan, a story about God’s mercy meant for everyone and a summons to show mercy to those in need.  May our brothers and sisters come to your aid in a spirit of fraternity, solidarity, and respect for human dignity.  May God bless you, your children, the elderly, and all who suffer!
Lesbos:  Joint declaration with Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos:  We're concerned about the tragic situation of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers fleeing from conflict and threats to survival.  We can't ignore the humanitarian crisis created by violence and armed conflict, persecution and displacement of minorities, and uprooting of families, in violation of their human dignity, rights, and freedom.  Forced migration and displacement is a crisis of humanity calling for solidarity, compassion, generosity, and commitment of resources.  We appeal to the international community to respond with courage.  We desire peace and are ready to promote conflict resolution through dialogue and reconciliation.  We call upon leaders to ensure that individuals and communities remain in their homelands in peace and security.  A consensus and an assistance program are needed to uphold law, defend human rights, protect minorities, combat human trafficking, eliminate unsafe routes, and develop safe resettlement procedures.

We plead for an end to war and violence in the Middle East, a just peace, and the return of those forced to abandon their homes.  We ask religious communities to assist and protect refugees of all faiths.  We urge all countries to extend asylum, offer refugee status to those who are eligible, expand relief efforts, and work for a prompt end to conflicts.  We appeal to Christians to remember the Lord’s words, on which we'll be judged:  "I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me….  Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me."  We'll promote the unity of all Christians.  We know "reconciliation involves promoting social justice within and among all peoples…  We'll do our part towards giving migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers a humane reception" (Charta Oecumenica, 2001).  By defending the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, migrants, and the marginalized, we aim to fulfill the Churches’ mission of service.  We want to help bring courage and hope to those seeking refuge and all who welcome and assist them.  We urge the international community to make it a priority to protect human lives and support inclusive policies.  The terrible situation of all affected by the present crisis calls for our constant prayer.
Prayers for migrants at port of Lesbos:  We pray for all who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.  May we honor their sacrifice with deeds. We entrust to you all those who have endured fear, uncertainty, and humiliation to reach a place of safety and hope.  Be close to your children through our tenderness and protection.  May we seek a world where none are forced to leave their home and all can live in freedom, dignity, and peace.  Wake us from the slumber of indifference, open our eyes to their suffering, and free us from insensitivity born of comfort and self-centeredness.  Inspire us to see that those who come to us are our brothers and sisters.  May we share the blessings we've received and recognize that we're all migrants, journeying in hope to you, where we'll be at peace and safe in your embrace.  (Pope Francis)
We pray to You for our brothers in difficult circumstances.  Nurture infants; instruct youth; strengthen the aged; give courage to the fainthearted; reunite the separated; travel with travelers; defend widows; protect orphans; liberate captives; heal the sick. Remember those in mines, in exile, in harsh labor, and in affliction, necessity, or distress; and all who entreat Your loving kindness; pour out upon all Your rich mercy.  Grant eternal repose to Your departed servants, those who lost their lives during their exodus from war-torn regions to places of safety, peace and prosperity.  For You are the helper of the helpless, the hope of the hopeless, the savior of the afflicted, the haven of the voyager, and the physician of the sick.  You know the requests, household, and need of each person; deliver them from famine, plague, earthquake, flood, fire, sword, invasion, and war.  (Patriarch Bartholomew)
O God, Who have trodden down death, destroying evil and bestowing life to Your servants, give rest and refreshment in place of pain, sorrow, and mourning.  Forgive every sin, seeing that we all sin.  For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Your servants; to You do we send up Glory....  (Archbishop Ieronymus II)
To Lesbos civil authorities and people:  Many migrants are living in trying conditions, in anxiety and fear, even despair, due to hardship and uncertainty.  They're persons with faces, names, and stories; we have a duty to respect and defend their rights.  You Lesvos residents show that the heart of humanity still beats; a humanity that recognizes others as brothers and sisters and wants to build bridges, not walls.  Barriers create divisions instead of promoting progress.  We must build peace where war has brought destruction and death, arms trade and arms trafficking must be vigorously countered, those who carry out acts of hatred and violence must be denied support, cooperation among nations, organizations, and agencies must be promoted, and those on the front lines must be assisted.  This can be achieved only if we work together to seek humane solutions to the refugee issue. The contribution of Churches and religious communities is indispensable.  We are cooperating so today's challenges will lead to the growth of the civilization of love, not conflict.
God is not distant from the tragedies that wound humanity; our Father helps us work for good and reject evil.  In Jesus he's shown us the way of peace:  his service of love that saved the world.  Only those who serve with love build peace.  Service makes us go beyond ourselves and care for others, not standing by while people and things are destroyed; it overcomes the indifference that clouds hearts and minds.
  • Acts 9:31-42  The Church was at peace, being built up, walking in the fear of the Lord, consoled by the Spirit, and growing in numbers.  Peter, finding paralytic Aeneas in Lydda:  “Jesus Christ heals you.”  All who saw turned to the Lord.  When disciple Tabitha died, the disciples sent for Peter who prayed, and she rose.  Many came to believe in the Lord.
  • Ps 116:12-17  "How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?"  I'll call on the Lord's name.  Precious in the Lord's eyes is the death of his faithful.  You have loosed my bonds; I'll offer you sacrifice of thanksgiving.
  • Jn 6:60-69  Disciples / Jesus:  “Who can accept this hard saying?” / “The Spirit, not the flesh, gives life.  No one comes to me unless my Father grants it.”  Many returned and no longer walked with him.  Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”  Peter:  “To whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We're convinced you're God's Holy One.”
    • Creighton:  Contact with blood was offensive to Jewish sensibility, and the law, so it's easy to sympathize with those who found Jesus’ speech a “hard saying.”  When we read, “What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”, remember it was written after Jesus' resurrection and ascension, that made the revelation of Jesus complete.  Our sharing the Eucharist is a matter of eating, and becoming what we eat, but also learning God's wisdom about how to live:  imitating Jesus' self-offering in service of one another.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Steps right up":  The Lord leads us step by step, as he did Peter.  May we keep stepping with Jesus.
    • Passionist:  In the Gospels, belief is often prompted by a miracle that affects not only the person involved but their entire network.  Faith is easier when things are going smoothly, but it's superficial, self-centered, and can be short-lived.  Can faith be sustained when the Gospels’ difficult sayings and challenges demand personal sacrifice?  Many left Jesus when the going got rough.  Jesus doesn't promise an easy life, but he promises faithfulness, strength, and resurrection.  Jesus is a realist; he brings meaning to suffering instead of negating it.  “Lord, to whom would I go?”
    • DailyScripture.net:  "You have the words of everlasting life":  Many were attracted to Jesus because he offered them a sign of God's mercy and favor through his healings, deliverances, and miracles.  But many stumbled when he made claims only God can make, such as being the bread of heaven.  God helps us grow in faith and trust in his word, even his hard sayings.  Faith is a response to God's revelation of himself, based on the truth and reliability of God's word.  The Spirit enlightens us to understand the truth and wisdom from God.  Faith is the key to understanding and experiencing God's action and work in our lives. We can know God personally and grow in recognizing him as we listen to and obey him....
    • 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.

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