May 10, 2016

May 10

May 10, 2016:  Tuesday, 7th week, Easter

  • '?' tie pin:  "I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem" (1st reading)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "The Holy Spirit has been warning me" (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  "I'm not responsible for any of your blood" (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "Your flock settled in the land" (psalm)
  • 'Bear' tie bar:  The Lord 'bears' our burdens (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "Jesus raised his eyes to heaven" (gospel)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  “Father, the hour has come." (gospel)
  • 'Airplane' tie pin:  "Jesus has been taken up to heaven and will return." (Sunday 1st reading)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season


Pope Francis 
Homily:  Paul's call from the Spirit was an irresistible drive to donate his life to serving Christ and consume it on his behalf.  The flame burned in the hearts of Paul and the apostles and is alive in the hearts of many who have left family and home to announce Jesus.  Today's 1st reading recounts a touching episode where Paul knows he won't see the community again and tells them the Spirit is leading him to Jerusalem.  He acknowledges the Spirit's mastery over his life, pushing him to announce the gospel despite the problems.  The reading evokes missionary life throughout the ages.  The Spirit compelled them:  a vocation!  Today we see their tombs.  Many died before they reached 40; they couldn’t recover from disease.  They consumed their lives.  Think of their last moment on earth, far from their loved ones, saying, "It was worth it!"
Missionaries set out without knowing what's ahead.  In today's farewell speech, Paul said “the Spirit has warned me imprisonment and hardships await me.”  Missionaries know life won't be easy but go ahead.  Today's evangelization heroes go out without ever returning home; we thank God and rejoice for their witness.  I’m wondering what the final moment on earth was like for these people: how did they bid farewell?  They passed away, nameless. They were martyrs who offered up their lives for the Gospel. These missionaries are our glory! The glory of our Church!”  One key quality of a missionary is docility to the Spirit.  I pray that instead of the dissatisfaction afflicting today’s young people, the Spirit compel them to give their lives for a noble cause.  Young people who don't feel at ease, look at the horizon!  Look at our missionaries!  Pray to the Spirit who compels them to burn up their lives. We need to consume our lives in service, evangelizing, and journeying forward.
Amoris Laetitia capsule:  When these factors affect our understanding, the family can be seen as a way station, helpful only when convenient.  True freedom can be confused with 'freedom' to act arbitrarily, as if everything were permissible, as if there were no truths, values, and principles to guide us.  Marriage's commitment to exclusivity and stability is swept aside whenever inconvenient or tiresome.  Fear of loneliness and desire for stability and fidelity compete with a fear of entrapment in a relationship that could impede personal goals.
If we stopped advocating marriage to avoid countering contemporary sensibilities, or to be fashionable, or because we feel helpless in the face of human failings, we'd deprive the world of values we must offer.  We can't just decry present evils or try to impose rules; rather, responsibly and generously presenting motivations for choosing marriage and family will help people respond better to God's grace.
We need to be humble and self-critical; at times the way we've presented our beliefs and treated others has contributed to today’s problems.  We've emphasized the duty of procreation over the unitive meaning of marriage. We haven't always provided solid guidance to young married couples.  The theology of marriage we've proposed has been too abstract, removed from situations and practical possibilities; our excessive idealization has made marriage seem less desirable and attractive. (II: 34-36)

  • Acts 20:17-27  Paul to Miletus presbyters:  “Since I first came to Asia, I've served the Lord and taught you, and I bore witness to repentance and faith.  But now I'm going to Jerusalem; the Spirit has warned me hardships await me there, but I must bear witness to the Gospel and finish the ministry the Lord gave me.  You won't see me again.  I proclaimed God's plan to you, so I'm not responsible for your blood.”
  • Ps 68:10-11, 20-21  "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth."  You restored the land and provided your flock for the needy.  The Lord our salvation bears our burdens.
  • Jn 17:1-11a  “Father, glorify your son, so your son may glorify you and give eternal life to all you gave him.  I glorified you by accomplishing the work you gave me; now glorify me with the glory I had with you before.  I revealed your name to those you gave me.  They've kept your word and know everything you gave me is from you and that I came from you.  I pray for the ones you gave me because they're yours.  I'll no longer be in the world, but they are, while I'm coming to you.”
    • Creighton:  Jesus prayed for himself and his disciples; he was doing his Father's work in bringing eternal life.  His prayer shows his disciples are also agents of the gift of salvation.  Jesus knew that when he left this world, others would continue his work.  Isn't it remarkable that God entrusts anything significant to us?  We're hard to educate, prone to sloth, afflicted by fear, proud, and easily lose faith and get discouraged.  Paul’s transformation and witness is a fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer; it can teach us to think more deeply about the one speaking to us, so that we're receptive to the good they offer and not turned off by tone and our sensibilities.  We hope that when people behave heroically, it doesn't go to their heads so they're too hard on us.  After the resurrection, Jesus carried a message of peace, even to Thomas.  When we succeed, may we be gentle in bringing along others to work with us?  When we're failing, may we not lose confidence but try again....
      The Ascension of Christ/ Rembrandt
    • One Bread, One Body:  "A finish that shines":  Jesus tells his Father: "I gave you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me."  When Jesus faithfully completed his suffering on the cross, he exclaimed, "It is finished"; finishing what he started was important to him.  Paul also focused on finishing:  "I give no thought to what lies behind but push on to what is ahead.  My attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize God calls me to:  life on high in Christ."  "I have finished the race."  "I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry the Lord gave me, to bear witness to the gospel."  Jesus:  "If you decide to build a tower, won't you first calculate the outlay to see whether you have enough money to finish?
    • Passionist:  Paul and Jesus delivered eloquent “last messages,” summarizing the most important themes of their lives and teachings, hoping to pass their wisdom and lessons on to those they loved.  Reflecting on your "last message" makes you aware of your goals, principles, and values and challenges you to live them. 
    •  "This is eternal life, that they know the Father the only true God":  Jesus' glory is the cross, in which God reveals his love for sinners and his power of redemption.  Eternal life is divine life within us. When we possess it, we experience God's majesty, peace, joy, love, and holiness.   Knowledge of God is personal.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to know God as our Father. In Jesus we see God's perfect love.
    St. Damien of Molokai
    Lord, may I possess the grace to be at one with You!  Amidst all the things around me, all I crave is unity with you.  You are all my soul needs.  Dear friend, unite this little soul of mine with your perfect goodness.  You are mine; when shall I be yours?  Beloved, be the magnet of my heart; press and unite me to your sacred heart.  You made me for yourself; make me one with you.  Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness it came from. (Francis de Sales)

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