April 30, 2017

3rd Sunday of Easter

April 30, 2017:  Third Sunday of Easter

See 20 connections with today?
Legend below
For gospel
For Psalm 16
For future Sundays
Pope Francis
From post-Egypt inflight press conference:  We Catholics must learn from the mystical tradition of the Orthodox Churches.  Ecumenism is made on the path, with works of charity, helping, doing things together when possible.  Static ecumenism doesn’t exist!  Theologians must come to agreements, but we can't become one if we don't walk together:  praying, working, doing works of charity, all together!...
I call national leaders to work on resolving problems along the path of negotiation and diplomacy.  There are mediators like Norway, always ready to help.  I've been speaking for two years about a world war in pieces, but the pieces have gotten bigger now, concentrated, focused on hot spots.  Today a widespread war would destroy a good part of humanity.  The UN has the duty to resume their leadership.
With Catholic Action:  Walk looking ahead, not behind, and be missionary disciples who reach out to the peripheries.  Be open to the world; don't look back complacently at a glorious history, but go out bearing the Lord’s testimony of joy and hope.  Live up to the example of your predecessors.  Serve your dioceses and parishes, channeling your efforts towards evangelization, not self-conservation.  Sow the good seed of the Gospel in your lives and the world, through the service of charity and political commitment.  Be Church with the strength of the Spirit!
To Brazil Bishops:  Here's a summary of his application of today's gospel:  meet, patiently listen to, accompany, inspire, and lead those who don't feel the Church can offer them anything; warm their hearts.
          Emmaus Road/ Gerloff
        • Acts 2:14, 22-33  Peter:  “God worked signs and wonders through Jesus in your midst.  You crucified Jesus, but God raised him up.  David said of him:  'You will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.  You have made known to me the paths of life.'  David prophesied the resurrection of the Christ.  We see God raised Jesus, who poured forth the Holy Spirit he received from the Father.”
        • Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11  "Lord, you will show us the path of life."  I take refuge in you.  My heart and soul rejoice.  You won't abandon my soul to the netherworld nor allow your faithful one to undergo corruption.
        • 1 Pt 1:17-21  Christ's blood ransomed you; conduct yourselves with reverence.  He who was known before the world was founded is revealed now for you who believe in God who raised him, so your faith and hope are in God.
        • Lk 24:13-35  While two disciples were going to Emmaus, Jesus drew near and walked with them, but they didn't recognize him.  “What are you talking about?” / “Don't you know what happened to Jesus?...” / “How slow you are to believe!...”  He interpreted the Scriptures, they urged “Stay,” and he did.  At table he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them; their eyes were opened, they recognized him, and he vanished.  “Our hearts were burning as he opened the Scriptures to us!”  They returned to Jerusalem, found the Eleven and others saying, “The Lord has been raised!,” and recounted what happened and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
          • Creighton:  Easter Sunday has passed, but hope lasts all year. The apostles couldn’t believe what was happening, and I can’t believe what's happening in society, government, and more.  But hope abounds; Easter joy is with us....
            Supper at Emmaus/ Ter Brugghen
          • Passionist:  The disciples journeying to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus at first, but they must have enjoyed his company and words; they invited him to spend the night.  They recognized him in the breaking of the bread, then went to spread the news of the Resurrection.  Each Sunday can be a journey to Emmaus for us:  the Scriptures enlighten our minds, and the Eucharist unites us with Jesus.  May we proclaim the good news of God's power, love, fidelity, and desire to be with us....
          • DailyScripture.net:  "Our hearts burned while he opened the Scriptures to us":   Jesus' death scattered his disciples and shattered their hopes and dreams; they saw the cross as defeat until the Risen Lord appeared to them and gave them understanding.  The disciples "were so disturbed when they saw him on the cross that they forgot his teaching, didn't look for his resurrection, and failed to keep his promises in mind" (Augustine, Sermon 235.1).  "Their eyes were obstructed, that they should not recognize him until the breaking of the bread. And thus, ignorant that Christ would rise again, their eyes were hindered.  Not that the truth himself was misleading them, but they couldn't perceive it" (Harmony of the Gospels 3, 25, 72).  The Risen Lord is ready to speak to us and give us understanding.  How often do we recognize him?
          Dress legend
          • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "Their eyes were opened" (gospel)
          • 'Walking person' tie pin:  Disciples en route to Emmaus (gospel)
          • 'Hand' tie pin:  "The Lord is exalted at God's right hand"; "with the Lord at my right hand I shall not be disturbed" (1st reading, psalm); "Our chief priests handed Jesus over" (gospel)
          • '?' tie pin:  Emmaus disciples' and Jesus' questions to one another (gospel)
          • 'Dove' pin:  Jesus received the promise of the Spirit and poured him forth (1st reading)
          • 'Ruler' tie bar, 'crucifix' tie pin:  "You used lawless men to crucify Jesus" (1st reading); "Our rulers had Jesus crucified" (gospel)
          • 'Angel' pin:  "The women reported they saw angels announcing Jesus was alive..." (gospel)
          • 'Heart' pin:  "My heart is glad" (1st reading, psalm); "you slow of heart"; "our hearts were burning" (gospel)
          • 'Silverware' tie bar:  While at table, Jesus took bread... (gospel)
          • 'John's jokers' tie:  Jesus to disciples:  "Oh, how foolish you are!" (gospel)
          • 'Fire' pin:  "Weren't our hearts burning?"  (gospel)
          • 'Blood drop' pin:  "You were ransomed by the blood of Christ..." (2nd reading)
          • 'Lamb' tie bar:  "...as of a spotless lamb" (2nd reading)
          • White shirt, cuff links, socks:  Easter day and season
          • 'Accordion' pin:  Great instrument for El Peregrino de Emaús (gospel :-)
          • 'Wheat' pin (oops, forgot this one):  Jesus took bread...; their eyes were opened in its breaking (gospel)

          April 29, 2017

          Catherine of Siena

          April 29, 2017:  St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor

          • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Catherine of Siena, "doctor" of the Church (OK; I put this on just for the selfie :-)
          • 'Dove' and 'owl' pins:  "Select men filled with the Spirit and wisdom" (1st reading)
          • 'Hands' pin:  The apostles prayed, laying hands on the chosen men (1st reading)
          • 'Ukuleles' shirt:  Give thanks to the Lord on harp and lyre (stringed instruments :-) (psalm)
          • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord's eyes are on those who fear and hope in him (psalm)
          • 'Boat' tie bar:  The disciples embarked in a boat... (gospel)
          • 'Walker' pin:  They saw Jesus walking on the sea (gospel)
          • White shirt and socks:  Easter season; Catherine of Siena, virgin

                  For Psalm 33
                  Pope Francis
                  Cairo homily:  Peace!  Tomorrow's gospel about the journey to Emmaus can be summed up:  death, resurrection, and life.
                  Death:  The disciples are returning, full of despair and disappointment, to life as usual.  The Master is dead:  the crisis of the cross buried their hope; his defeat killed their aspirations.  They couldn't believe their Master, who raised others from the dead and healed the sick, would end up on the cross.  Why didn't God save him from such a death?  His death was the death of what they thought God to be.  But in fact they were buried in the tomb of their limited understanding.  How often do we not transcend our own ideas of God, a god created in our image!  We despair by refusing to believe in God’s omnipotence of of love, forgiveness, and life!  The disciples recognized Jesus in the “breaking of the bread.”  Unless we open our eyes and shatter our hard hearts and prejudices, we'll never recognize God.
                  Resurrection:  In their despair, Jesus walks beside the disciples and makes them see he's “the Way, Truth, and Life.”  Jesus turns their despair into life; when human hope vanishes, divine hope can shine.  “What's impossible with men is possible with God”  In our failure and helplessness, when we realize we're not the best, self-sufficient, the center of our world, God turns our night to dawn, our affliction to joy, our death to resurrection; he turns us back to Jerusalem, life, and the victory of the Cross.  After meeting the Lord, the disciples returned with joy and confidence, ready to bear witness.  He made them rise from the tomb of their unbelief and sorrow.  Encountering the Lord, crucified and risen, they discovered Scripture's meaning, the meaning of the apparent defeat of the cross.  If you don't pass from the cross to resurrection, you condemn yourself to despair!  You can't encounter God without crucifying your notion of a god. 
                  Life:  The encounter with the Risen Jesus transformed them; meeting Christ transforms every life, making what's barren fruitful.  The Church is born of faith in the resurrection.  “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching and your faith are in vain.”  The Lord vanished from their sight teach us we can't hold on to Jesus as he appeared in history:  “Blessed those who believe yet haven't seen.”  The Church needs to know Jesus lives within her and gives her life in the Eucharist, scripture, and the sacraments.  Those disciples realized it and returned to Jerusalem to share their experience.  Their experience teaches us full churches are of no use if God isn't in our hearts.  Prayer is of no use if it doesn't lead to loving others.  Our religiosity means nothing unless inspired by faith and charity.  For God, it's better to be an unbeliever than a hypocrite!  True faith makes us more charitable, merciful, honest, and more humane; it moves us to love without counting the cost, without distinction, without preference.  It makes us see others not as an enemies but people to love and help.  It spurs us on to spread, defend, and live the culture of encounter, dialogue, and respect.  It gives us courage to forgive, to help the fallen, to do works of mercy, to protect others' rights with zeal.  The more we grow in faith, the more we grow in humility and awareness of our littleness.
                  God is pleased by a faith our lives proclaim; the only fanaticism believers can have is of charity!  Now return to your Jerusalem, your daily lives, families, work, and country.  Open your hearts to the Lord, and let him transform your uncertainty into a positive force for yourselves and for others.  Love your friends and enemies; believers' strength and treasure is a life of love!  May the Holy Family enlighten and bless you....  Full text
                  To Coptic orthodox leader:  In the celebration of Easter we relived the experience of the first disciples who together “rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”  Our common worship of the Risen One and our embrace of peace make that paschal joy more precious.  As we progress on our ecumenical journey, recall our predecessors' Common Declaration acknowledged Christ is “perfect God with respect to his divinity and perfect man with respect to his humanity” and “our Lord and God and Savior and King”; we confessed that we belong to Jesus and that he is our all and that, because we belong to him, we can no longer go our separate ways or take refuge behind the pretext of differing interpretations, from the other.  "Our communion... represents a deep and fundamental reality" (Ecumenical Meeting).  There's an ecumenism of gestures, words, commitment, and a growing effective communion in living relation with the Lord Jesus, rooted in faith and grounded on our baptism.  There's “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”  We constantly set out to hasten the day of our full communion around the Lord's altar.

                  The saints, already one, impel us to be a living image of the “Jerusalem above.”  Peter and Mark must rejoice in our encounter.  Mark put Peter's profession of faith, in answer to Jesus' question, “Who do you say I am?,” at the heart of his gospel.  Today few raise that question, and fewer answer it with the joy of knowing Jesus, whom we have the grace of confessing together.  We're called to bear witness to Jesus, to live our faith and carry it to the world, speaking the language of gratuitous, concrete love.  We speak the common language of charity.  Let's undertake charitable works together; through our concrete daily lived witness, the Spirit will surely open paths to unity.  Thank you for the fraternal attention you show the Coptic Catholic Church and the hospitality you offered to last year's Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue meeting.  
                  Peter reciprocates Mark's affection by calling him “my son,” but Mark and his apostolic activity are also associated with Paul, who before being martyred mentions Mark’s great usefulness and speaks of him frequently.  Fraternal charity and communion in mission are evangelical seeds we water together that grow with God's help.
                  The ecumenism of blood also deepens our ecumenical journey.  As Jesus came “with water and blood,” our new life of love in our common baptism can cost our life.  So many in this land shed their blood rather than denying the Lord and yielding to evil; their innocent blood unites us.  Your sufferings are our sufferings.  Let us oppose violence by preaching and sowing goodness and fostering concord, praying that these sacrifices may foster full communion and peace.
                  The signs God worked in Egypt and at the Red Sea were followed by the miracle of monastic life, born here, that made the desert blossom with sanctity.  Here the Lord came down in glory and humbly found refuge as a child.  May he help us to be pilgrims of communion and messengers of peace.  May Mary, Mother of God, Theotokos, who brought Jesus here and leads us to him, take us by the hand....
                  To Egypt civil authorities:  Here God revealed his name to Moses and entrusted the Commandments to his people, and the Holy Family found refuge and hospitality.  Today you welcome millions of refugees and make praiseworthy efforts to integrate them into your society.  You have a unique role to play among countries seeking solutions to pressing problems that need to be faced now:  brutal violence, arms trade, social problems, and atrocities religious extremists do using God's name.  The people call for an Egypt with bread, freedom, and justice for all.  It can happen if you to turn words into actions and aspirations into commitments, enforce your laws, and draw on your people's genius.

                  Egypt's task is to strengthen regional peace even as senseless acts of violence assault it and cause many to suffer unjustly.  I encourage your efforts to complete national projects and peace-making initiatives.  Development, prosperity, and peace merit sacrifice; they demand hard work, commitment, planning, and respect for human rights such as equality and freedom of religion and of expression.  True development is measured by concern for human beings:  their education, health, and dignity.  Your greatness is revealed in how well you care for the most vulnerable:  women, children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, and minorities.
                  A civilized society must repudiate evil, violence, and extremism that suppresses others and attacks diversity by profaning God's name.  Teach your children that God protects us and wants our life and happiness.  Detesting and rejecting violence, he calls to love, pardon, mercy, respect for every life, and fraternity among believers and nonbelievers alike.  Proclaim that history doesn't forgive those who preach justice but practice injustice, who talk about equality but discard those who are different.  Unmask peddlers of illusions about the afterlife, those who preach hatred to rob people of their dignity, and those who take away people's freedoms.  Dismantle deadly, extremist ideologies; uphold the incompatibility of faith and violence, of God and murder.

                  History honors people of peace, who build a better world with courage.  Egypt saved other peoples from famine; now you're called to save this region from a famine of love, to vanquish violence and terrorism, to bring peace, dignified employment, and humane education.  Prove that religion belongs to God and the nation to all; demonstrate it's possible to live in harmony with others, sharing values and respecting everyone's freedom and faith.  Peace is God's gift but also our work.  We must build and protect it, upholding the force of law, not the law of force.  Peace to all people of good will!  You show it's possible to live together in mutual respect and fairness, finding in difference a source of richness, not conflict.  May God bless you all, grant Egypt peace, prosperity, progress, and justice.

                  • Acts 6:1-7  “Brothers, select 7 filled with the Spirit and wisdom for us to appoint to distribute food.”  They chose them; the Apostles prayed and laid hands on them.  The word of God spread and the community kept growing.
                  • Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19  "Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you."  Exult in the Lord; his word is upright and works trustworthy.  The Lord sees, delivers, and preserves those who fear and hope in him.
                  • Jn 6:16-21  The disciples embarked in a boat and went across the sea stirred up by a strong wind.  After a few miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea coming near:  “Don't be afraid.”  The boat immediately arrived at their destination.
                      Christ at the Sea of Galilee/ Tintorello
                    • Creighton:  In the gospel, “the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.”  Imagine the disciples trying to manage the boat through rough waters, worrying about why Jesus hadn't arrived, wondering whether he'd be angry they left without him.  I too worry and struggle to stay afloat with my head above water, managing my tasks and keeping my head above water.  I can miss what's most important:  what's happening now.  The disciples were caught in the storm, but when they turned to Jesus, the boat landed safely.  They'd been so afraid, they lost their perspective.  May we fret less, trust God more, and pay attention to life as it is.
                    • One Bread, One Body:  "When sheep make shepherds":  The early Church leaders placed responsibility for finding deacons on the community.  We  too are to be on the lookout for those who would make good Church leaders.  Jewish priests and Levites were born into their positions, but Jesus called and chose the apostles.  The early Church called lay people to raise up future leaders.  We can ask God to reveal to us those "spiritual and prudent" people, and we can encourage and pray for them and get them in touch with church leaders....
                      The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena
                      di Paolo (about/more)
                    • Passionist:  "Respond to the Spirit who's calling you! Come!  Don’t wait for time; time isn’t waiting for you” (Catherine of Siena, Letter to Pope Gregory XI).  Catherine's influence on the Church during the Great Schism was divine intervention because she listened to God with love and was open to the Spirit.  The 1st reading is about the selection of the first deacons, who likely relieved the apostles who were apparently wearing themselves out doing everything.  Where are you called to serve today?  "Come!"
                    The rough seas in the gospel could be an analogy of rough times ahead for Jesus' disciples.  Jesus appears and reassures them.  As they focus on him, the boat lands safely.  Catherine helped Pope Gregory focus on Jesus through her letters.  When we focus on Jesus, even "storms" can be calmed, and we can land safely.
                    • DailyScripture.net:  "It is I; don't be afraid":  John described the situation of the apostles alone at sea in a storm as "dark."  These experienced fishermen feared for their lives, and the Lord's appearance and water-walking likely heightened their fear.  We can be like them in our moments of darkness, fear, and trial.  The Lord is present even if he seems distant; he'll "bring us to our desired haven" and place of rest.  The Lord keeps watch over us, especially in our moments of difficulty.  Do you rely on him for strength and help?   Do I respond to trials with faith and hope?

                    April 28, 2017

                    April 28

                    April 28, 2017:  Friday, 2nd week, Easter

                    See about a dozen connections with today?
                    Legend below

                    For Psalm 27
                    Pope Francis:  Thursday homily
                    After the angel freed Peter and the apostles from prison, the Sanhedrin forbade them from teaching in Jesus' name; Peter told the Sanhedrin, “We must obey God rather than men" yet the high priest said, “You've filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring his blood upon us.”  Acts describes the early months of the Church as a growing Christian community with many miracles.  There were people with faith, but other "wily" ones tried to take advantage of the situation and make a career for themselves like Hananiah and Sapphira.   The same happens today, and there are those who despise God’s faithful people.
                    Peter, who out of fear had denied Jesus, now courageously answered  the high priest.  His answer makes it clear that a Christian is a witness of obedience as Jesus was in Gethsemane when he prayed, “not my will but yours be done.”  If we're not witnesses of obedience and growing in our witness, we're not Christians.  Jesus isn't the testimonial of an idea, philosophy, company, bank, or power but of obedience.  But to become a witness of obedience we need the grace of the Holy Spirit.  We can't just listen to spiritual guides or read books; only the Spirit can change our heart.  Ask the Father and the Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit so that I may become a witness of obedience, a Christian.
                    Being witnesses of obedience has consequences:  after Peter's response, the high priests wanted to kill him.  Jesus' Beatitudes end with, "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you."  There's no Christian life without the cross, insults, and persecutions.  Being a Christian isn't about social status or a feel-good lifestyle; you need to be a witness of obedience.  We need to pray, recognize we're sinners with worldliness in our hearts, and ask God for the grace of becoming witnesses of obedience unafraid when we're insulted and persecuted.  The Spirit will tell us how to answer.
                        I don't think it was like this
                      • Acts 5:34-42  Gamaliel to Sanhedrin:  “Be careful.  If their endeavor is of human origin, it'll destroy itself, but if divine, you won't be able to destroy them.”  He persuaded them.  They flogged the Apostles, ordered them to stop speaking in Jesus' name, and dismissed them.  The Apostles left, rejoicing that they suffered for the Name's sake; they kept teaching and proclaiming Jesus.
                      • Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14  "One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord."  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
                      • Jn 6:1-15  Jesus, seeing a crowd coming to him, asked, “Where can we buy food for them?” / “A boy has five loaves and two fish, but what good are those?”  Jesus distributed the loaves.  They had their fill, filled twelve baskets of leftovers, and said, “This is the Prophet.”  Jesus knew they were going to make him king, so he withdrew.

                          • Creighton:  The Sanhedrin wants to shut down the apostles proclaiming the good news, but a Pharisee tells a story about other prophets thought important whose movement died when they did.  If there’s nothing to this new movement, he said, it'll die like that one, but if there's something to it, nothing will stop it, so just wait and see.  Thousands of people followed Jesus because they saw him performing signs.  The gospel shows the miracle of the loaves and fishes, a real, recognized, miracle of feeding the hungry.  No one has heard of Theudas today; everyone, Jesus, whose "movement" is still going strong.  We still tell his story and live his words.

                            Miracle of the Bread and Fish/ Lanfranco

                            • One Bread, One Body:  "Will you pass?"  Jesus will present us with "impossible" situations, maybe even persecutions, to see whether we'll walk by faith, whether we'll judge by God's or human standards.  Will we hate and be intimidated by our persecutors, or forgive and love our enemies, considering it our privilege to be "judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of [Jesus'] Name"?  God's grace given to us long before the tests, as well as at the last moment, helps us.  Strength is usually gained gradually over a long period; now is the time to prepare.  How we fare later may stem from graces we accept now.  "Grow strong in your faith through prayer in the Spirit."
                            • Passionist:  The apostles were with Jesus, but then he was gone.  How challenging to try and spread the good news while mourn their friend's loss.  I bet they had regrets and wished they'd used their time with him better, but look how joyous they are in Acts to suffer, serve, teach, and heal!  Today we can rejoice that we've been found worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus' sake.  We must continue to teach and proclaim Jesus the Christ.  When God's people are cranky, stubborn, overwhelming, and bring us down, we can question our call, but when our leaders seem unjust, hurtful, or inconsiderate, we must persist in leading them to higher ground.  Jesus died so we may have new, abundant life.  Glory in the new life and spread the good news that Christ is risen!

                            • DailyScripture.net:  "The miraculous sign of Jesus":  Jesus' disciples complained it would cost at least six months' wages to feed the crowd, but Jesus used the little they had to satisfy everyone.  Jesus' signs, including this one, signified that God had sent him as the Messiah.  The miracle pointed to God's provision of manna and foreshadowed the true heavenly bread Jesus would offer.  Jesus claims, as only God can, that he is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy our deepest hunger.  When we receive the Eucharist, we unite ourselves to Christ and share his body and blood.  It "provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Christ" (Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20:2); it heals body and soul and strengthens us for our journey.  What do I expect to receive in the Eucharist?  The Lord has more for us than we can ask or imagine:  intimate union with Christ, charity, strength to break with disordered attachments and to be more firmly rooted in Christ....  Today's miracle shows God's great generosity and kindness.  He gives more than we need for ourselves so we may share with those in need.  God takes what we have and multiplies it for others' good.
                            Special greetings to and prayers for the communities at


                            Dress legend
                            • 'Street light' tie bar:  The Lord is my light (psalm)
                            • 'Castle' button:  I seek to dwell in the Lord's house (psalm)
                            • 'Wheat' pin:  5 loaves (gospel) [I don't have a 'barley' pin.]
                            • 'Fishes' tie (gospel)
                              • 'Abacus' tie pin:  5 loaves, 2 fish, 5,000 men, 12 baskets:  do the math (gospel)
                              • 'Eyeball' pin:  I seek to gaze on the Lord's loveliness; I'll see his bounty (psalm)
                              • 'Clock' tie bar:  Wait for the Lord with courage (psalm)
                              • 'Alps' pin:  Jesus went up on the mountain (gospel)
                              • 'Crown' tie bar:  They were going to carry Jesus off and make him king, but he withdrew (gospel)
                              • Red and white shirt:  Red for apostles/others who suffer/die for Christ, white for Easter season