April 19, 2016

April 19

April 19, 2016:  Tuesday, 4th week, Easter

  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Disciples were docile to the Spirit; Barnabas was Spirit-filled. (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  A large number was added to the Lord  (1st reading)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Barnabas encouraged them to remain faithful in firmness of heart (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All you nations, praise the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The hand of the Lord was with them (1st reading); No one can take my sheep out of my hand (gospel)
  • 'Good Shepherd' tie, 'sheep' tie bar:  "My sheep hear my voice... and follow me" (gospel)
  • Green, blue, and white shirt; white socks:  Verdant pastures and restful waters (Ps 23:2, Good Shepherd gospel-inspired), Easter season

Pope Francis homily
The skeptical Jews' “If you're the Christ, tell us plainly” springs from a closed heart.  Being part of God’s flock requires an open heart.  Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life....”  Have these sheep believed because they studied how to follow Jesus?  No; the Father draws us to Jesus.
The Scribes and Pharisees’ hearts remain closed all the way to Calvary; they see Jesus' works but refuse to believe.  Even after the Resurrection, they tell soldiers to support the story that the disciples stole the body; those who saw the Risen Christ didn't reach them either.  They thought they were their own masters but were orphans because they had no relationship with the Father; they didn't let themselves be drawn to the Father.
But in the 1st reading, the news that reaches Jerusalem of the pagans who heard the disciples' preaching and turned to the faith shows what it means to be open to God, like Barnabas who accepts the novelty and lets the Father draw him to Jesus.  Jesus invites us to be his disciples, but we must let the Father draw us.  Pray, "Father, lead me to Jesus, help me to know he and the Father will send the Spirit to open me heart and lead me to him."
  • Acts 11:19-26  The disciples scattered by the persecution were preaching only to Jews, some among them started proclaiming Jesus to Greeks too.  Many turned to the Lord.  When Barnabas arrived at Antioch, he rejoiced and encouraged them to remain faithful; then he brought Saul from Tarsus to Antioch, where they taught for a year.
  • Ps 87:1b-7  "All you nations, praise the Lord."  Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!
  • Jn 10:22-30  Jews gathered around Jesus and said, “If you're the Christ, tell us.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you and my works testify, but you don't believe because you're not my sheep.  They hear my voice and follow me; I give them life, and they'll never perish.  The Father and I are one.”
    • Creighton:  In the 1st reading, Luke says the disciples dispersed after Stephen was martyred.  Imagine their fear!  They still spread the word, and God worked through them.  It's exciting to see how God’s message affects those new to it.  May we remember it too, especially when things are tough.  In the gospel, Jesus responds to doubters by saying he's told them he and his Father are one, and his works show it; then he talks about faith and hearing and following him.  If we have faith and allow God to guide us, we'll never perish.  Doubt is natural, but by hearing God's word we gain comfort and inspiration to advance.  We'll have struggles, but our Father accompanies us.  
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Take my hand":  God's hand makes it possible to convert many people.  God's hand holds and protects us.  We're secure in his love; no one can snatch us out of His hand.  The souls of the just who have died "are in God's hand, and no torment shall touch them."  Our names are written on the palms of his hands.  His hands are marked with the nails of his crucifixion and death for love of us.  The risen Jesus tells us, "Take your finger and examine My hands."
    • Passionist:  In today’s Gospel, Jesus is dealing with a hostile crowd out to make him feel rejected.  Nothing he can say or do will change their minds.  Many begin successful lives by being rejected and demeaned by others.  This Gospel helps me accept our personal value in God’s all-inclusive unconditional love for us.  Our human value comes from God’s love for me and us.  Jesus knew that his opponents would never believe but was willing to die for them.  Don't lose heart if people don't believe you, the Gospel, or God's love....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "My sheep hear my voice":  Jesus speaks of his trust in his Father and the trust we should have because he's our Good Shepherd.  Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless and often get lost, so shepherds live with their sheep, guard them from danger, and lead them to food, drink, and rest.  The sheep recognize and heed their shepherd's voice.  We're like sheep who stray, becoming prey to forces that can destroy us.  Jesus came to free us from the grip of sin and to lead us to places where we can feed on his "word of life" and drink from the "living waters" of his Spirit.  Sheep who heed the Good Shepherd need not fear; he leads them to peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.  We can face our difficulties alone or can follow Jesus....
      • Alphege, abbot, bishop, martyr
      • Henry Walpole, convert, Jesuit priest, martyr

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