May 9, 2017

May 9

May 9, 2017:  Tuesday, 4th week, Easter

See 12+ connections with today?
Legend below

"Good Shepherd" music
Today's readings speak of docility towards the Holy Spirit.  After Stephen was killed, a persecution broke out against Christians, and many fled, but the persecution gave new opportunities to Christians:  they'd only been preaching to Jews, but now some began to preach to pagans, because they felt the Spirit was pushing them to.  This shows their docility.  James exhorts believers to “Receive the word with docility”; for this you need an open attitude that's not rigid.
The first step in the journey of docility is to receive the Word and open your heart.  The second is to know the Word, to know Jesus, who says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me."  The third is to be familiar with the Word, to read it, to open our hearts to the Lord and to the Spirit who makes us understand the Word.  The fruit of this, to receive and understand the Word, to take it with us and be familiar with it, is great!  When you do it, you display goodness, kindness, joy, peace, self -control and meekness; this meekness gives us the docility.  When I receive the Spirit with docility, the docility brings me to receive and know the Word, to call the Spirit to help me understand and give space for this seed to grow into goodness, meekness, gentleness, peace, charity and self-control.  
It wasn't the Apostles who preached to the pagans in Antioch, but others we don't know.  When Barnabas arrived there, he saw God's grace in the faithful.
The Spirit guides us to know the Spirit in the Word and live according to the Spirit.  This is the opposite of the resistance Stephen scolded the doctors of the law for.   Do we resist the spirit, or receive him with docility?  Let us call for this grace.
  • Acts 11:19-26  The disciples scattered by the persecution were preaching only to Jews, some among them started proclaiming Jesus to Greeks too.  Many turned to the Lord.  When Barnabas arrived at Antioch, he rejoiced and encouraged them to remain faithful; then he brought Saul from Tarsus to Antioch, where they taught for a year.
  • Ps 87:1b-7  "All you nations, praise the Lord."  Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!
  • Jn 10:22-30  Jews gathered around Jesus and said, “If you're the Christ, tell us.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you and my works testify, but you don't believe because you're not my sheep.  They hear my voice and follow me; I give them life, and they'll never perish.  The Father and I are one.”
    • Creighton:  John focuses on Jewish feasts, especially Passover and Tabernacles; they identify the season and help unfold Jesus as fulfillment of the institutions of the Jewish tradition.  The Feast of the Dedication” (Hanukkah) commemorates the successful rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who tried to stamp out all that was distinctive about his Jewish subjects.  The Jews reclaimed and rededicated the Temple and took back their autonomy (till the Romans conquered them). So during Jesus' time the feast sparked speculation:  could he be the Messiah?  John’s mention of Hanukkah and Solomon (son of David) evoked what people would be thinking. When Jesus’ adversaries challenged him to identify himself as the Messiah, he said he's shepherd of those who accept him.  Ezekiel's vision pictured another “David” who, unlike self-serving shepherds, would find, heal, and feed the lost; the true shepherd will be God.  John's readers would catch that this passage, in which Jesus had referred to his body as God's temple, takes place in the temple, which the Romans had already destroyed.  They knew Jesus, their risen Lord, embodied what the Jerusalem temple stood for, the “place” of God's presence of God, the “tenting” of God's Word among us.  The risen Jesus is our true shepherd, not just consoler and protector but healer and leader who continues to gather God's scattered children, the leader we trust....
      Christ, the Good Shepherd/ Murillo
    • Passionist:  When Barnabas goes to Antioch check out the report that non-Jews are responding to the Good News, he rejoices and encourages them, then goes to Tarsus to get Paul to work with him (though their relationship will come apart).  Today's "Good Shepherd" passage is introduced as taking place during the Feast of the Dedication, it's connected to earlier verses in turn connected with the healing of the man born blind, a gospel about coming to faith.  In contrast with him, who bowed to worship Jesus, the Pharisees ask Jesus whether he's the Messiah, Jesus says he told them already and they didn't hear.  The sheep who hear and follow Jesus don't perish because the Father protects them.  This week's gospels affirm our faith in the Father’s care for us  The Dedication feast celebrated the rededication of the recently desecrated temple.  The Father’s works celebrated in the temple are now present and visible in Jesus, the way to the Father....
    •  "My sheep hear my voice":   Jesus speaks of his trust in his Father and the trust we should have because he's our Good Shepherd.  Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless and often get lost, so shepherds live with their sheep, guard them from danger, and lead them to food, drink, and rest.  The sheep recognize and heed their shepherd's voice.  We're like sheep who stray, becoming prey to forces that can destroy us.  Jesus came to free us from the grip of sin and to lead us to places where we can feed on his "word of life" and drink from the "living waters" of his Spirit.  Sheep who heed the Good Shepherd need not fear; he leads them to peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.  We can face our difficulties alone or can follow Jesus.  Today's gospel takes place during the Feast of the Dedication (Festival of Lights, Hanukkah), at which time Jesus also declared he is the Light of the World, in whom we can see God and find the path to heaven.
    Dress legend
    • 'Dove' pin:  Disciples were docile to the Spirit; Barnabas was Spirit-filled. (1st reading)
    • 'Abacus' tie pin:  A large number was 'added' to the Lord  (1st reading)
    • 'Heart' pin:  Barnabas encouraged them to remain faithful in firmness of heart (1st reading)
    • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All you nations, praise the Lord (psalm)
    • 'Mountains' tie pin:  The Lord loves his foundation upon the holy mountains (psalm)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord's hand was with them (1st reading); no one can take my sheep out of my hand (gospel)
    • '?' tie pin:  "How long are you going to keep us in suspense?" (gospel)
    • 'Good Shepherd' tie, 'sheep' tie bar:  "My sheep hear my voice... and follow me" (gospel)
    • Green, blue, and white shirt; white socks:  Verdant pastures and restful waters (Ps 23:2, Good Shepherd gospel-inspired), Easter season

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