April 7, 2016

April 7

April 7, 2016:  St. John Baptist de la Salle, Priest

  • 'Tree' pin:  you had Jesus killed by hanging him on a tree (1st reading)

  • 'Fruits' tie, 'eyeball' tie pin:  "Taste and see the Lord's goodness" (psalm)
  • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" (psalm)

  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "He doesn't ration this gift of the Spirit" (gospel)
  • White and red shirt:  white for Easter season, red for Holy Spirit

    Pope Francis
    Homily:  The courageous Peter of the 1st reading has nothing in common with “Peter the coward” who denied Christ on Holy Thursday.  Christian witness follows the path of Jesus, even up to giving one’s life.  Christians put their life on the line by giving true witness.  Consistency between our life and what we've seen and heard is the beginning of witness.  But without the Holy Spirit, there's no Christian witness, because Christian life is a grace the Lord gives us through the Spirit.
    True witnesses are consistent in what they say, do, and have received, the Spirit.  This is Christian courage and witness.  It's the witness of today's many martyrs, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted; they have the courage to confess Jesus to their death.  It's the witness of Christians who live their life seriously and say, "I can’t do this; I can't do evil to another; I can't cheat; I can't lead life halfway."   Their witness consists in saying what they saw and heard in faith:  the Risen Jesus, with the Spirit.
    The Church needs witnesses, martyrs, saints of ordinary life, life lived with consistency; they're the Church's lifeblood, carrying us forward, attesting that Jesus is alive, bearing witness through the consistency of their life, with the Spirit they received.
    To Methodist Council and Church:  We're brothers and sisters, united in our baptismal faith that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead.
    May the Lord bless the work of the new Methodist Ecumenical Office, a sign of our growing closeness and shared desire to overcome what impedes our full communion.  Though differences remain, our dialogue is based on respect and fraternity and enriches our communities.  Catholics and Methodists have much to learn from one another in how we understand and live holiness.  We must meet regularly, come to know each other, and encourage one another to seek the Lord.  We must read Scripture in an atmosphere of prayer and open ourselves to God's love.  Our differences must become the impetus for reflection and dialogue.
    John Wesley wrote that Catholics and Methodists are called to “help each other on in whatever... leads to the Kingdom” and “if we can't think alike in all things yet, at least we may love alike.”  May we help one another in our lives of prayer and devotion, and may our current differences about ordained ministries and ethics keep us from loving and from offering a common witness to the world.  Our lives must include loving service; we're bound to work in different ways to give concrete witness to the love of Christ.  When we serve those in need, our communion grows.  Christians must offer a joint witness and become a sign of God's victorious love.  May this love, also through our service, reach our brothers and sisters looking for it even without knowing.

    • Acts 5:27-33  High priest / Apostles:  “You defied our order to stop teaching.” / “We must obey God.  You killed Jesus, but God raised and exalted him; we're witnesses.”  They became infuriated and wanted to kill them.
    • Ps 34:2, 9, 17-20  "The Lord hears the cry of the poor."  Taste and see God's goodness.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and delivers the just.
    • Jn 3:31-36  The one who comes from heaven is above all and speaks God's word, testifying to what he's seen and heard.  The Father has given everything over to the Son.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.
      • Creighton:  "God is trustworthy!"  If we trust God, we'll be obedient and repentant and receive God's deliverance, justice, and saving grace.  It takes trust to recognize we're poor and need God....
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Making waves?"  The more we obey God, the more we receive the Spirit....
        John Baptist de la Salle/ Leger
      • Passionist:  John Baptist de la Salle, born into privilege, rejected this life in favor of educating the poor; he incurred the disdain of the elite of his day by moving in with teachers of the poor.  This led to his founding of the first school dedicated to training teachers and the first religious institute of nonordained brothers, whom we know as the Christian Brothers.  Help me God in my unbelief.  Give me the courage to give up my position as de la Salle did, and to follow the apostles' example, risking death to witness to your works.
      • DailyScripture.net:  "He who believes in the Son has eternal life":  The Jews understood that God gave his prophets a portion of his Spirit.  Jesus tells his disciples they can believe his words because the Father anointed him by pouring out his Spirit on him, without holding anything back.  The Spirit reveals God's truth to us, opening our hearts and minds to recognize and understand it.  "I believe in order to understand; and I understand the better to believe" (Augustine).  Faith opens us to receive and obey God's word.  The freedom God gives us carries the responsibility to recognize the consequences of our choices:  belief leading to life and union with God, or rejection leading to spiritual death and separation from God.  Where are my choices leading me?
        • Henry Walpole, convert, Jesuit priest, martyr

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