April 21, 2016

April 21

April 21, 2016:  Thursday, 4th week, Easter

  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "I've found David a man after my own heart" (1st reading)
  • Sandals (not shown):  "I'm not worthy to unfasten his sandals” (1st reading)
  • 'Sailboats' tie:  Paul and his companions set sail for Perga and beyond (1st reading)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  "You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior."  (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "I've anointed David that my hand will always be with him" (psalm)
  • 'Feet' pin:  post-Jesus' washing of disciples’ feet (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season
(I dressed up in the purple tie and suspenders before hearing Purple Rain's Prince died today.  RIP.)

Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia:  summary of Introduction (1-7)
The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.  The desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant and is an inspiration to the Church.
The complexity of the issues arising in the Synod revealed the need for open discussion.  Current debates range from desire for total change to solving everything via general rules.  The magisterium doesn't need to intervene in all discussions.  Unity of teaching and practice is necessary, but that doesn't preclude various ways of interpreting teaching or drawing consequences from it.  The Spirit guides us towards truth till he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see as he does. Each region can seek solutions better suited to their culture, traditions, and local needs.
This exhortation is timely in this Year of Mercy:  it invites Christian families to value the gifts of marriage and family and to persevere in love, and it encourages everyone to be signs of mercy and closeness wherever family life remains imperfect.  I'll open with a chapter inspired by Scripture, then examine the actual situation of families, then recall essential Church teaching on marriage and family, leading to two chapters dedicated to love.  Then I'll highlight pastoral approaches to building homes according to God’s plan, and devote a chapter to raising of children. Finally, I'll offer an invitation to mercy and discernment of situations that fall short of what the Lord demands, then conclude with a brief discussion of family spirituality.  Don't rush through this text, and pay special attention to what deals with your specific needs.  Love and cherish family life; families are an opportunity, not a problem.
  • Acts 13:13-25  Paul and his companions arrived at Perga, but John returned to Jerusalem.  They continued to Antioch.  One sabbath when they were invited to speak in the synagogue, Paul said, “The God of Israel chose our ancestors, led them out of Egypt, put up with them, gave them their land, provided judges, gave them Saul as king, then raised up David.  From his descendents God brought us a savior, Jesus, whom John heralded.
  • Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  I anointed David, my servant; my faithfulness and mercy shall be with him.  He'll say, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.’”
  • Jn 13:16-20  Jesus told the disciples after washing their feet, “No slave is greater than his master, no messenger greater than the one who sent him....  Whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
    • Creighton:  Our Christian story goes way back.  Paul’s speech starts with Israel’s salvation history; Jesus’ story is part of the larger narrative of God’s saving work with Israel.  Today's gospel echoes this theme of fulfillment:  Psalms foretells Jesus’ betrayal, and Jesus' identity as I AM echoes God's revelation.  Today it's easy to see ourselves as “inventors” of our identities:  the future is ours to make; the past dispensable.  But we're not our own creators; we're “grafted” onto the story of Israel and God’s saving work in Jesus.  Thank God....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "I for I AM":  Take and make every opportunity to proclaim Jesus is God.   Jesus himself did by foretelling his betrayal "so that when it takes place you may believe I AM."  We can convert times we've been betrayed or rejected into opportunities to proclaim Jesus as the great I AM, especially by receiving God's power to forgive.  When we forgive our betrayers, when we embrace our prodigal children, others will either say we're crazy or acknowledge Jesus as God; they know forgiving enemies isn't normal for human beings.  May I use the events of my life to proclaim Jesus as I AM.
    • Passionist:  Memory of the past and hope for the future are compelling forces in our lives; today's readings engage both.  Paul reflects on God's active presence in the history of the Jewish people.  He talks about God's presence to the Jewish people over hundreds of years:  in Egypt, in the Sinai desert, in the Promised Land, and during the time of their kings.  The sense of God’s presence, security, and protection never left them.  In the gospel Jesus shows how presence factors into his teaching; he uses the servant/master and messenger /sender relationships.  In each, the presence of one evokes a sense of the presence of the other.  In dealing with the one, we're dealing with the other; it moves us beyond God's presence in human form to awareness of his presence in other situations.
      We believe the present is empowered and energized by the Presence.  The bible is the story of God's driving force in our lives.  A pervasive sense of God's presence at the roots of their history drove the Jews, on the move, awaiting the Messiah.  Jesus intrigued them:  might he be the Promised One?  Paul's preaching drove at that, and Jesus was saying that receiving him now is receiving the driving force of Jewish history.  The Jews center their lives around their conviction that Messiah is coming; may we Christians, convinced the Christ has come in Jesus, be empowered with a sense of God’s presence among us.  
      • DailyScripture.net:  "The one who receives me":  At the Last Supper Jesus addressed the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships.  Jesus knew one of his disciples would betray him, but rather than distancing himself from him and protecting himself from harm, he expressed his love, affection, and loyalty to his own, even his betrayer.  He used a quotation about treachery by one's closest friend.  To eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust; at the moment Judas is conspiring to betray Jesus, Jesus extends friendship to him.  Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness even to death.  Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father.  May we stand in the world for Jesus Christ, speaking and acting on his behalf....

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