May 4, 2016

May 4

May 4, 2016:  Wednesday, 6th week, Easter / ACC Staff Appreciation Day

  • 'Question mark" tie pin:  altar inscribed ‘To an Unknown God’ (1st reading)
  • 'Stone' tie pin, silver and gold accessories:  God isn't like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  God doesn't dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands... (1st reading)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain, red in suspenders:  The Spirit of truth (gospel)
  • Tie with horns, angel with trumpet (a horn):  God has lifted up the 'horn' of his people (psalm)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Praise God, you his angels (psalm)
  • White shirt, socks:  Easter season

For the psalm
The Lord uses the image of shepherd leaving his flock to search for one lost sheep to express God’s closeness to sinners.  God doesn't want even one person to be lost; he's always ready to meet us.  Today's “throwaway culture” is foreign to him; he'd never “throw away” anyone.  God loves all and reaches out to every person; he's all about love and mercy.  The "good shepherd" example challenges us to search for those in need of God’s mercy, especially those who have gone astray.  In Jesus' eyes there are no lost sheep, only sheep needing to be found.  He looks for us up to the very last moment.
Resist the temptation to close yourself in the pen where there may be no ‘stink of sheep’ but the stuffiness of a closed and airless room.  Never be closed:  not within ourselves, not within small communities or parishes thinking we're ‘right.’  Embrace the missionary spirit that takes us into the world to encounter others.
We're all lost sheep found by the Lord’s mercy.  No distance can keep the shepherd from his sheep; no flock can afford to give up on one member.  Rejoice in his merciful love, bring it to others, and join him in gathering all into the fold.
  • Acts 17:15, 22-18:1  Paul:  “I saw your altar, ‘To an Unknown God.’  What you unknowingly worship, I proclaim.  God gave life so we may find him.  As your poets say, ‘We're his offspring.’  God isn't an image we fashioned; he raised Jesus from the dead, established a day of judgment, and demands we repent.”  When they heard about resurrection, some scoffed, but others said, “Some other time....”  Paul left for Corinth. but some joined him and became believers.
  • Ps 148:1-2, 11-14  "Heaven and earth are full of your glory."  Praise the Lord who has lifted up his people!
  • Jn 16:12-15  “I have more to tell you, but you can't bear it now.  When the Spirit comes, he'll lead you to truth, taking what's mine and declaring it to you.”
    • Creighton:  God gives life to everything; thinking we have power to give or take away life is an insult to God.  But we see it in our culture of death, where we see ourselves as powerful enough to determine who is worthy of life, e.g. in the death penalty, in granting mothers the “right” to abort their pre-born babies, and in permitting assisted suicide.  The writer of Acts writes, “It is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.”  God is not served by us because he needs it; he created us out of love to know, love, and serve him.  God gives us the responsibility to care for his children.  He doesn't need me, but he wants me.  How do I pretend that I'm the determinant of “life and breath and everything”?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Prayer or failure":  In Athens Paul seemed to have lost his anointing from the Spirit:  though a few believed, others sneered at him, called him a 'magpie,' and didn't take him seriously.  Like him, we may see less power in our prayer, ministry, marriage, family, or witnessing; we may feel like failures.  Friday begins the Pentecost novena.  We must pray for our renewal in the Holy Spirit to avoid the futility of Athens.  Let's join the saints and angels, who are already praying for our renewal.  Come, Holy Spirit!
    • Passionist:  “I Have Much More To Tell You…”  Today’s readings touch upon the “education” of both Jesus’ disciples and those Paul addressed in Athens.  The Good News of God's love flowed from Jesus’ words and deeds.  Jesus’ disciples needed time to assimilate his inviting yet challenging message.  Jesus, knowing his disciples' limitations, said to them:  “I have more to tell you, but you can't bear it now.”  Love, service, mission, suffering, rejection....  Jesus’ disciples are people “on the grow,” living and learning every day.  Jesus encourages us to be patient, open to the Spirit, and Spirit-filled.  Given today's challenges of poverty, injustice, violence, abuse, homelessness, hunger, and so on, as people of faith, we call out:  Come, Holy Spirit!  Kindle in us the fire of your love!
    •  "The Spirit will guide you into all truth":  Truth is God's gift, not something we create or discover.  It's the Spirit's role to reveal what's true, right, and good.  Some fear truth because they think it'll inhibit their freedom, but Jesus said the truth will set you free.  It liberates us from what's false, misleading, doubtful, or deceptive.  The closer we draw to God, hear his word, and understand his will for us, the better we'll know him and his love, wisdom, and providence.
    Jesus said he'd send the Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth; he knew we'd need ongoing guidance after he returned to his Father.  "When he says, 'He will teach you all truth,...' I do not think the fulfillment is possible in this present life. For who... can know all truth when even the apostle says, 'We know in part'?  But it is effected by the Holy Spirit,... that we shall attain to the fullness of knowledge the same apostle references ('then face to face'; 'I shall know even as I am known'), talking about the future.  This is what the Lord promised when he said, 'He will guide you unto all truth.'" (Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John 96.4)
    When the Spirit was poured out upon Jesus' first disciples, they began to carry out the mission Jesus entrusted them, to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and make disciples.  Through the same Spirit's guidance, we too proclaim the same faith.  Do I listen attentively to God and let his Spirit give me understanding of God's truth and will?
      • The English Martyrs from the English Reformation's 150-year persecution, including 42 canonized, 242 beatified, and innumerable other martyrs

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