April 5, 2016

April 5

April 5, 2016:  Tuesday, 2nd week, Easter

  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  The community was of one heart (1st reading); Divine Mercy (Sunday)
  • 'Coin' button, 'feet' tie pin:  Those who owned property sold it and put the proceeds at the apostles' feet, as Joseph did. (1st reading)
  • Tie with crowns:  The Lord is king (psalm)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "...So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (gospel)
  • 'Serpent' pin:  The Son must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "We testify to what we have seen" (gospel)
  • White in shirt:  Easter season
Pope Francis homily
'Harmony' sums up the sentiments and lifestyle of the first Christian community:  life in communion, based on shared values and shared wealth for the benefit of all.  That harmony came as a gift of the Spirit; it wasn't negotiated peace or contrived tranquil coexistence.  There are two signs of harmony:  no one is wanting, that is, everything was shared.  Proof of their harmony is that they freely gave of their goods so others would not be in need.  Contrast Barnabas' giving the proceeds from the sale of his field to the apostles with Ananias and Sapphira's pretending to do so but keeping some for themselves.  God and money are irreconcilable masters.
Reread Acts and understand the importance of their generosity and of bearing witness to such a lifestyle in our own lives.  The harmony of the Spirit grants us the generosity to possess nothing as our own as long as someone is in need.  It also fortifies us with courage to bear witness to the Risen Lord.
Brazen Serpent/ Rubens
  • Acts 4:32-37  The community was of one heart and mind and held their possessions  in common.  The Apostles bore witness to Jesus' resurrection.  Nobody was needy; they distributed property according to need.
  • Ps 93:1-2, 5  "The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."  He made the world firm; his decrees are trustworthy.
  • Jn 3:7b-15  Jesus to Nicodemus:  You must be born from above.  You people don't accept our testimony; how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has gone to heaven except the one who has come down, the Son.  Just as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son be lifted up, so all believers may have life.
    • Creighton:  Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leading Jew, came to Jesus at night, maybe symbolizing his move beyond the night the Pharisees found themselves in.  He appears only twice more in John, contesting the Pharisees' plan to arrest Jesus, and bringing myrrh and aloes to prepare Jesus' body for burial.  When we feel lost, we need to approach Jesus; rebirth takes time and is done in darkness.... 
      Bronze Serpent/ Bruni
    • One Bread, One Body:  "What!?!"  The early Christians "were of one heart and mind; they held everything in common.  All who owned property sold them and donated the proceeds, which were distributed to everyone according to their need."  To live like that now, we'd need to "be begotten from above," live the "radical newness of the Christian life that comes from Baptism" (Christifideles Laici 10), and trust the providence of our Father.  We could probably justify why we own our possessions, but could we to the poor, who need our help now, or to Jesus?
    • Passionist:  "The Lord is king, in splendor robed..."  We can categorize people and put them in boxes:  safe, scary, good, bad, left, right, radical, conservative, crazy....  When we do this, we're clothing them, draping our judgments on them so we don’t need to deal with their true selves.  Judging and labeling isn't the clothing Jesus commanded us to clothe each other with.  No; we should clothe them with dignity....  May I clothe everyone I meet in the robe of majesty they deserve.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "You must be born anew":  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of a "new birth in the Spirit" (to come through the cross and resurrection).  The Hebrew for 'spirit' means 'wind' and 'breath.'  "As you can hear, feel, and see the wind's effects though you don't know where the wind comes from, so too you can see the Spirit's effects.  Jesus points to the prophetic sign of the bronze serpent.  God showed mercy and instructed Moses to make a serpent; all who are bitten and look at it shall live.  This sign foreshadowed Jesus' saving work:
    "The serpent signifies sin devouring the human race, biting us and infusing us with evil; only heaven could save us.  God's Word was made flesh, 'that he might condemn sin in the flesh'; he became Giver of salvation to those who gaze on him with faith.  But the serpent signifies that Christ was manifested by his passion, so none could fail to see him." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John 2.1, paraphrased)
    The bronze serpent points to the cross that defeats sin and death and obtains life for believers.  The result of Jesus' "being lifted up on the cross," rising, exaltation, and ascension is our "new birth in the Spirit" and adoption as God's children.  God frees us from sin and fills us with his own life through the Spirit who gives us power and gifts so we may live in his strength as God's children.

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