April 30, 2016

April 30

April 30, 2016:  Saturday, 5th week, Easter

  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "The Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching in Asia and Bithynia" (1st reading); "Because you don't belong to the world, the world hates you." (gospel)
  • 'Children around the world' tie:  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy." (psalm); "You don't belong to the world....  I've chosen you out of the world." (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Paul had a vision of a Macedonian inviting him (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "We're the flock he tends" (psalm)
  • White in shirt, socks:  Easter season


For the psalm
Pope Francis jubilee audience
"Be reconciled to God."  God constantly offers us his forgiveness; our sins can never keep us from his mercy.  Often we believe our sins push God away, but actually by sinning we push ourselves away.  He, seeing us in danger, keeps searching for us, never accepting the possibility that we could remain estranged from him, as long as he finds a sign of contrition.  We can only return to God by accepting his grace.  For this, he gave us his Son, whose cross leads us back to the Father.

The sinner sees only himself and so pretends to be self-sufficient; this distances us from God and can become a barrier.  But Jesus looks for us like a good shepherd, not content till he's found the lost sheep.  He rebuilds the bridge that connects us to the Father and allows us to rediscover our dignity as his children. With his life, he reconciled us to the Father and gave us eternal life.  Now is the time to accept this offer of reconciliation and bring it to the world.  Reconciliation with God brings healing and peace and also impels us to work for reconciliation within society and contribute to the building of a culture of peace, justice, and solidarity.  Accept the invitation to be reconciled to God, become new creatures, and radiate his mercy.

  • Acts 16:1-10  Paul reached Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy of whom the brothers spoke highly; Paul wanted him to come along.  The churches grew stronger in faith and larger in number.  They passed through Asia and Bithynia because the Spirit prevented them from preaching there.  After Paul had a vision of a Macedonian imploring him to come to Macedonia, they concluded God was calling them to proclaim the Good News there and so went.
  • Ps 100:1b-3, 5  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Know the Lord is God.  We're his people, the flock he tends.  The Lord is good, kind, and faithful forever. 
  • Jn 15:18-21  I've chosen you out of the world.  You don't belong to the world, and so the world hates you; it hated me first.  ‘No slave is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they'll persecute you too; they'll do all this to you on account of me because they don't know the one who sent me.”

    • Creighton:  Hate, like love, is a strong emotion.  Some view it as the opposite of love, but Wiesel considers indifference as love's opposite.  Hate, like love, is hot and active, but indifference is cold and insensitive.  Hate can turn into love (as with Saul), and love into hate (as possible for a terminated employee or failed relationship).  Hate of another also could be recognition of what we don't have or a realization that they have characteristics or shortcomings we subconsciously know we have, and so we hate them for the common attribute.  If Wiesel is right, indifference might be worse than hate, because if someone remains uncaring and so is unaware of the other's needs and humanity, there's no connection at all, and love is even harder to arise.
    Did the world hate Jesus, or was it indifferent?  Likely hate:  he challenged the status quo, reminded people that their life is a temporary loan and gift from God, called for justice and so threatened the powerful.  He was sensitive in the face of their insensitivity.  He loved those the world was indifferent to.  He was a threat to the established order of things. He reminded them that all life is precious, and that God passionately loves both the "greatest" and the "least."
    Are we hated, haters, or indifferent?  Do we try to preserve our privilege or good life even if it harms others?  Are we comfortable that we have so much while others have so little?  Do our possessions own us, or do we use them to help others?  Are we sensitive to cries for help?  Lord, help me challenge my attitudes, reduce my insensitivities, decrease my hatefulness, and so increase my love of others.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Daily bread":  The early Church grew daily because they went to the temple area together daily and broke bread in their homes, kept teaching and proclaiming the good news, kept studying Scripture, kept encouraging each other, kept denying themselves and taking up their crosses, and kept facing death for love of Jesus.  May we live in the Lord daily.
    • Passionist:  "Keeping the Word":  A frequent exhortation in the Gospels is “to keep the word”.   'The word'  (Gk. 'terao') connotes 'guard' or 'treasure.'  We should prize God’s words to us.   Mary treasured the angel's words in her heart.  God's word is powerful, living, and active; it's an extension of his very self.  The closest we can get to someone is by communication.  God shares his heart and mind with us and enables us to respond from our minds and hearts.  “My mother and brothers are those who hear and do God's word.”  “If you love me, keep my word, and my Father will love you, and we'll come to you and make our home with you.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "You are not of the world":  "The world" refers to people hostile towards God and his will.  The world rejected Jesus, and we can expect the same treatment.  We're either for him or against him.  May we love and obey God, even if the world is opposed to his way of justice, love, and truth.

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