May 4, 2017

May 4

May 4, 2017:  Thursday, 3rd week, Easter

  • 'Horse' and 'chariot' tie pins:  Ethiopian eunuch was seated in his chariot (1st reading)
  • 'Angel' pin, 'Dove' pin:  Angel and Holy Spirit spoke to Philip (1st reading)
  • Tie with book and reader:   Eunuch reading Is 53:7-8... (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' and 'lamb' tie bars:  ...about the Servant "like a sheep [led] to slaughter" and "lamb who didn't open his mouth," that Philip interprets for him (1st reading)
  • Blue and white shirt, white socks:  Blue for waters of baptism (1st reading), white for Easter season
  • 'Feet' pin:  "He has not let our feet slip" (psalm)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)

For the gospel
For Psalm 66
Pope Francis
Homily:  Acts 1-8 summarizes Church history:  preaching, baptism, conversion, miracles, persecution, joy, but also the sin of those who join the Church for their own ends, 'benefactors' who in the end cheat the Church, like Ananias and Sapphira.  The Lord accompanied his disciples from the start, confirming the Word with signs; he never left them alone, even in the worst moments.  Note three “words” in the 1st reading:
“Get up and go,” a sign of evangelization, our vocation and great consolation.  To evangelize, you don't stay put.  To be faithful to the Lord, be on your feet and on the journey; if not, you're sick and could become closed into a little world of gossip, without horizons.  Evangelize on your feet, on the journey.
“Go up and join with that chariot”:  In the chariot was an Ethiopian who had come to Jerusalem to worship God, reading Isaiah.  The 1st reading is about the conversion of a “finance minister,” a miracle.  The Spirit called Philip to join himself to him; we must listen to the restlessness in every heart.  "Go and listen," not "Go and proselytize."  Listening is the step after "Get up and go."  What do people feel?  What do they think?  If they think mistaken things, I want to hear them, to understand the restlessness.  Find their restlessness.  The Ethiopian asks who the prophet is speaking about, and asks Philip to join him; then Philip preaches with meekness.  The man's restlessness found an explanation that responded to his hope; it was possible because Philip listened to him.  While the Ethiopian listened, the Lord worked in him, so he understood Isaiah was speaking of Jesus.  His faith grew to the point that he asked to be baptized.
“Joy”:  He continued full of joy after he was baptized and the Spirit bore Philip away.
May the Church be on its feet, listen, and with the grace of the Spirit find the Word to say.  Use the word, witnessing to obedience.  Rejoice, even in ugly moments.  After Stephen was stoned, a great persecution arose, and Christians scattered and preached.  Lord, give us the grace to live on our feet and go out, listening to the people's restlessness, and in joy.
To Secretariat for Communication:  Reform isn't just whitewashing things; it’s giving them different form.  It’s to be done with intelligence and a good kind of  ‘violence.’  Your work aims to find new criteria and new ways to communicate the Gospel of mercy to all through digital culture.  The reform isn't about coordinating or merging platforms but setting up something new better to serve the Church’s mission.  All these forms of communication are transmitted with the same binary code.
Our newspaper is called to find a new, different way  to reach more readers that it does via print.  Vatican Radio must be reshaped so it can conform to modern technologies and the our contemporaries' needs.  History is a precious patrimony of experience to be safeguarded and used as a push towards the future, or else it would just be interesting but unable to provide strength and courage for the journey.
Bring the reform to completion with courage, an apostolic and missionary spirit, and special regard for and attention to situations of need, poverty, and difficulty, knowing we must face them with adequate solutions.  Don't be chained to a glorious past; be team players and respond fearlessly to the communication challenges today's culture poses.
    • Acts 8:26-40  The Lord spoke to Philip:  “Head south,” so he did.  An Ethiopian eunuch was returning home, reading Isaiah.  The Spirit told Philip, “Join with that chariot.”  Philip:  “Do you understand?” / “How can I?”  He got in.  “About whom is the prophet saying Like a sheep he was led to slaughter...?”  Starting there, Philip proclaimed Jesus to him.  When they came to water, the eunuch said, “What's to prevent my being baptized?”  Philip baptized him, then the Spirit snatched Philip.  The eunuch continued, rejoicing.  Philip continued proclaiming the good news.
    • Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Bless God; He has given us life.  I appealed to him, and he didn't refuse his kindness!
    • Jn 6:44-51  Jesus:  “No one come to me unless the Father draw him, and I will raise him.  Everyone who learns from my Father comes to me.  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate manna and died, but this bread comes from heaven so one may eat it and not die.  I am that living bread; whoever eats it will live forever.  The bread I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
        The Baptism of the Eunuch
      • Creighton:  Today's gospel is about willingness to believe in Jesus, to believe that the human Jesus is also God; later it was connected with the Eucharist.  A main theme of John is reaching a decision about Christ and who he is himself and in relation to us; in the gospel Jesus often speaks of making that judgment in terms of witnesses, testimony, and the 'Paraclete' ('defense attorney,' or 'champion before the law').  Here he's asking his listeners to judge whether he's come from the Father in a special, unique role, being nourishment for believers, beyond manna.  He's asking people to advance in their trust in him.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Secrets to knowing the Bible":  We need others' help to understand the Bible.  The Ethiopian eunuch was probably more intelligent than Philip, but he needed Philip's help to understand what he was reading.  The Lord rejoices that what he's "hidden from the learned" he revealed to and through children.  Be humble, docile, and willing to depend on others, realizing that the Lord has given us a light on Scripture that others need, humbly seeking light from others, and letting your light shine.
        • Passionist:  "Hunger for God":  For many, physical hunger is in the distance, but unfortunately it's real for too many; thousands die daily of it.  Jesus worked many miracles to provide for the hungry.  The crowds came to him for food miraculously provided; today he responds with his life-giving message of love, proclaimed in word and deed.  Like the Ethiopian eunuch, we too seek life-giving nourishment from God’s Word to meet our deepest hunger.  Faith opens us to transforming joy today and life eternal.  What's my deepest hunger?  Our world's?  May we be open to God’s response....
        •  "If you eat of this bread, you'll live for ever":  God offers his people abundant life, divine life, but we can miss it.  The Rabbis believed that the father who missed the promised land also missed the life to come. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness with manna from heaven. This bread foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.  Jesus claims as only God can that he's the true bread of heaven that can satisfy our deepest hunger.  The manna prefigured the abundance of the bread of the Lord's Supper Jesus gave to his disciples.  Manna sustained the Israelites on the way to the Promised Land but didn't give eternal life, but the bread Jesus offers sustains us not on our journey and gives abundant life to sustain us forever.  Jesus offers us the abundant life of heaven, but we can miss or even refuse it....
          • The English Martyrs from the English Reformation's 150-year persecution, including 42 canonized, 242 beatified, and innumerable other martyrs

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