April 22, 2017

Easter Sat

April 22, 2017:  Saturday, Easter Octave

  • 'Flags' shirt with NATO "radio code":  Go into the whole world and proclaim [not necessarily with radio code] the Gospel to every creature (gospel) (BTW the link includes special words for digits I didn't know till now.)
  • '?' tie pin:  "What are we to do with these men?"  (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord's exalted right hand has struck with power.  (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  While they were at table, Jesus appeared to the Eleven (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Jesus rebuked them for their hardness of heart (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter day and season
Pope Francis homily at Liturgy of the Word for modern-day martyrs
Today the history of martyrdom joins the memory of Christians killed in the last century only because they were Jesus' disciples.  The memory of all these heroic witnesses enhances our awareness that the Church is a Church of martyrs, "ones who came out of the great tribulation; they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  They suffered and gave their lives, confessing Jesus until the end, and we receive God's blessing for their witness.  There are also many hidden martyrs, faithful to the gentle strength of love and the Spirit's voice, who every day seek to help others and love God.
The cause of every persecution is the devil's hatred toward those Jesus saved and redeemed.  Jesus, master of love, uses 'hatred,' a strong word:  "Don't be afraid!  The world will hate you; but before it hated you, it hated me."  Jesus chose and redeemed us from the power of the world and the devil.  Satan doesn't want us saved, so he hates us and encourages persecution, which continues to this day.
Our Church needs martyrs, witnesses, saints of ordinary life, lives lived coherently, with the courage to witness until death.  They're the Church's lifeblood, the witnesses who carry it forward, witnessing that Jesus is risen and alive with coherent lives and the Spirit's strength.  The legacy of martyrs gives us peace and unity; they teach us that with the strength of love, with gentleness and patience, you can fight arrogance, violence, and war and achieve peace.  Lord, make us witnesses of the Gospel and your love; pour out your mercy; renew your Church; protect persecuted Christians; grant peace to whole world, soon.
  • Acts 4:13-21  The leaders, amazed at Peter and John's boldness and the cured man, ordered Peter and John not to teach in Jesus' name.  Peter and John:  “We can't not speak about what we've seen and heard.”  They released them; they couldn't punish them because of everyone praising God for what happened.
  • Ps 118:1, 14-15ab, 16-21  "I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me."  God's mercy endures forever.  The Lord is powerful; I'll declare his works.
  • Mk 16:9-15  Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  She told his companions, but they didn't believe.  Then he appeared to two more; they told the others, but they didn't believe either.  Then he appeared to them all at table and rebuked them because they hadn't believed.  “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to everyone.”
    • Creighton:  It's our duty and joy to spread the Good News.  All Christians are called to connect with others and share the news of Christ's gift.  May we be like John and Peter who found it impossible not to speak about what they'd seen and heard.  How can I deny Christ's work in my life and not share it?  Lord, bless my journey as a believer and reluctant apostle, called but unsure of my voice.  Give me a grateful heart, passionate spirit, and courage to speak about what I've seen and heart, and help me recognize opportunities....
      The Risen Christ appearing to Mary Magdalen

      (more appearances of the Risen Christ)
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Going to extremes":  Mary Magdalene "announced the good news to his followers," but "they refused to believe it."  "Later, as two of them were walking,... he was revealed to them," but when they announced his Resurrection, the apostles "put no more faith in them than in Mary Magdalene."  Jesus didn't want his apostles to miss out again, so at table he "was revealed to the Eleven. He took them to task for their disbelief and stubbornness."  So that we don't miss out either, he reprimands us, encourages us to repent, commands us to proclaim the good news, calls us to pray, and generally goes to extremes to help us believe....
    • Passionist:  When the apostles heard about Jesus' resurrection, they first doubted, then they were excited he was back, then scared (that he wouldn't forgive them after they forsook him?).  When he appeared before them, they wondered what he'd do.  He rebuked them for not believing those who saw him earlier, wished them peace, and sent them forth to proclaim the gospel.  They were still on his team, pardoned!   They saw not only his wounded hands and feet but his face of love and forgiveness.  Sure of his love, it's no wonder they were bold.  As we gaze on the Lord, may we be sure of his love and be his bold companions.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Go preach the Gospel...":  The first to the tomb to pay her respects, and the first to see the risen Lord, was a woman known for her demonized living!  Unfortunately, the disciples didn't believe her.  Jesus scolded his apostles because of their stubborn hearts.  The Lord makes his presence known to us through the work of the Holy Spirit, giving us faith to know him personally and understand his death and resurrection.  Jesus commissioned his apostles to go preach the gospel to all creation; Christ gives this "great commission" to the whole church.  All believers are to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Christ.  The Lord works in and through us by the power of his Spirit.

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