May 1, 2016

6th Sun. of Easter

May 1, 2016:  Sixth Sunday of Easter

  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  The Father will send the Holy Spirit (gospel)

  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "Do not let your hearts be troubled" (gospel)

  • "My town" tie:  "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places; I'm preparing a place for you" (gospel)

  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

For gospel

For the psalm

Pope Francis
Regina Cœli:  Take the Gospel message into the world; you won't be alone:  "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.”  The Spirit will remind you of Jesus' teachings in the circumstances of life, so you can put them into practice.  The Church is guided by the light and strength of the Spirit so that the Lord can bring salvation, God's love and mercy, to everyone.

Read a passage from the Gospel every day; you're not alone:  Jesus is near us, among us, in us, present through the Spirit, through whom you can establish a living relationship with the Crucified and Risen One.  The Spirit, poured into us through Baptism and Confirmation, guides us, directing the way we think and act, helping us distinguish good from bad, helping us practice charity, giving to others, especially the neediest.
The sign of the Spirit's presence is also in the peace Jesus gives:  the peace of Jesus arises from victory over sin, over selfishness that prevents us from loving one another.  Every disciple called to follow Jesus carrying the cross receives the peace of the Risen Christ.
Easter greetings to Eastern Churches faithful [who celebrate Easter Sunday/Holy Pascha today]:  May the Risen Lord bring to the faithful of the Eastern Churches all the gifts of his light and peace.  Χριστὸς ἀνέστη (Christos anesti!)

Bear witness to the love of your neighbors amid the atrocities of the world torn by terrorism, war, and suffering (Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I).

Purify your heart to feel the Risen One's presence (Gennasius, Orthodox Metropolitan of Italy and Malta).
Forgive, don't judge others, and don't be afraid of the world in spite of its ideologies, disunity, hatred, and violence (Irinej, Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church).
Amoris Laetitia capsule:  The work of your hands
In Psalm 128 the father appears as a laborer who sustains his family's well-being and tranquility.  Work is essential to human dignity; “God put the man in the garden of Eden to till and keep it.”  People work the earth, harness nature, and produce “the bread of anxious toil,” as well as cultivate their gifts and talents. 
Labor makes possible the development of society and provides for the sustenance, stability and fruitfulness of one’s family.  Proverbs describes mothers' daily work.  Paul was proud not to burden others, since he worked, and he laid down a "no-work, no-eat" rule.
Unemployment and lack of steady work bring suffering, as reflected in Ruth, Jesus’ parable of the laborers forced to stand idly, and Jesus' experience of meeting people suffering from poverty and hunger.  Lack of employment still takes its toll on family life.
Sin also brings about social degeneration, such as when we tyrannize nature, leading to desertification of the earth and to social and economic imbalances denounced by prophets from Elijah to Jesus.  (I: 23-26, the section immediately following the last capsule.  Given its topic, how fitting it runs on the day on which we would have celebrated St. Joseph the Worker had it not been trumped by the Sunday celebration.)
  • Acts 15:1-2, 22-29  Some from Judea were instructing, “Unless you're circumcised, you can't be saved.”  Because of the ensuing debate, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some others should visit the apostles and elders about the question.  The apostles and elders chose representatives, Judas and Silas, and sent them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas and this letter:  Since we've heard that some of our number have upset you with their teachingswe chose representatives and sent them to you along with Barnabas and Paul.  We're sending Judas and Silas to convey this message:  ‘It's the Spirit's and our decision not to overburden you; just abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, blood, strangled animals' meat, and unlawful marriage..’”
  • Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8  "O God, let all the nations praise you!"  May God have pity on us and shine upon us.  May everyone know your way and salvation; may all be glad and exult because you rule with equity, guiding the nations.  May God bless us, and may all fear him!
  • Rev 21:10-14, 22-23  The angel showed me the holy city, radiant like a precious stone, coming down from God.  It had a massive wall, with twelve gates, three facing each direction, with an angel at each gate.  The wall had stones as its foundation, inscribed with the apostles' names.  Its temple is the Lord and the Lamb.  God's glory gave it light, the Lamb its lamp.
  • Jn 14:23-29  “If you love me, you'll keep my word, my Father will love you, and we'll dwell with you.  Whoever doesn't love me doesn't keep my words; yet the word is the Father's.  The Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to teach you everything.  I leave you my peace.  Don't let your hearts be troubled or afraid.  I'll come back to you....
    • Creighton:  The followers were divided.  To seek unity, they gathered to pray, listen, and discern.  Should Gentiles follow the same laws as Jews?  Identity questions return us to our roots:  what really matters?  How is the Spirit leading us?  The pope and bishops met for the synod on the family after listening to Catholics around the world.  “Two ways of thinking recur throughout the Church’s history:  casting off and reinstating.  The Church’s way, from the time of the Council of Jerusalem, has been the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and reinstatement….  The way of the Church is not to condemn forever but to pour out God’s mercy on all who sincerely ask for it…  For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous” (Amoris Laetitia 296).  Our understanding depends on being present to those in our lives; practicing faith begins and ends with persons, where we find the face of God.  The Spirit teaches, but not all truths rush in at once.  The Word puts down roots in many soils.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Teaching abstinences":  The Holy Spirit will teach us everything.  To receive the teaching we need, we must be teachable, docile.  It takes a miracle to be teachable in some areas.  The Spirit taught the early Gentile Christians about "strictly necessary" burdens, all about abstaining from certain practices.  Am I docile enough to let the Spirit teach me about necessary abstinence?  The Spirit's teaching affects our daily lives....
    • Passionist:  The 1st reading recounts the first gathering of “apostles and elders” to deal with divisive early church issues.  Would Gentiles have to become [circumcised] Jews before they could be Christians?  Some said yes, Paul and others said no, and some sought middle ground.  The leaders came to a consensus expressed in the letter they delivered, with the compromise of abstaining from forbidden foods and unlawful marriage.  “The decision of the Holy Spirit and of us” is key, referring to the Spirit from today's gospel, in which Jesus reassured his disciples that he'll send them the “Paraclete” to teach them.  The power of the Spirit and the outreach of the Christian message to the world are fundamental New Testament themes.  God’s Spirit and mercy are all-embracing.  Today's church is still a human community filled with the Spirit who keeps reminding us we're called to oneness in Christ, transcending our differences.
    •  "My peace I give to you":   Jesus spoke of his love for his disciples and exhorted them to prove their love through loyalty and obedience.  He promised them the Spirit's instruction and consolation.  The Lord loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love (Augustine).  God made us in love to know him, grow in knowledge of his love, and love him in return.  The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in knowledge of God and his love, to experience God's love and to abiding presence.  The Spirit opens our ears to hear and understand God's word.
    Jesus gives peace as his farewell gift, not the absence of trouble but all that makes for our highest good.  The world refuses to face unpleasant things, but Jesus offers peace that conquers fear and anxiety.  The Spirit helps us to attain that peace, to give up our anger, fear, and pride.  The Spirit helps us in our weakness and strengthens us with his gifts and virtues so we may live as Christ's disciples. 
    "Peace is serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity.  It removes hatred, settles wars, restrains wrath, tramples on pride, loves the humble, pacifies the discordant, and makes enemies agree....  It doesn't seek what belongs to another or consider anything as its own.  It teaches people to love because it doesn't know how to get angry, extol itself, or become inflated with pride.  It's meek and humble to everyone, possessing rest and tranquility.  When a Christian exercises Christ's peace, Christ brings it to perfection.  All who love it will be God's heirs, while anyone who despises it rebels against Christ.  When our Lord was returning to the Father, he left his followers peace as their inherited good....  If you've received this peace, keep it; if you've destroyed it, look for it; if you've lost it, seek it...." (Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 174.1) 
    • Universalis:  St. Joseph the Worker:   The Christian view of work is not materialist; workers are people created in God’s image, and creation is an activity of theirs.  Our work echoes God's glorious work; it must not be wasted, abused, improperly paid, or directed to wrong ends.  An economic system shines when it gives many the chance to build something worthwhile; its shame, when people are coerced, by greed or poverty, into being “lumps of labor.”   See Wikipedia on Catholic social teaching.

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