April 30, 2018

April 30

April 30, 2018:  Monday, 5th week, Easter

See more than a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis
Homily:  Children’s "contemplative curiosity" is healthy; seeking explanations for what they don't understand develops autonomy.  But gossip is bad curiosity; it dirties others and tells people things they have no right to know.  Children who go online curious come across ugly things.  Help them live in the virtual world and not become prisoners of their curiosity.
The apostles' curiosity in today's gospel was healthy; they wanted to know what would happen, and Jesus gave them certainty, promising the Spirit as companion on our journey to lead us to joy and keep us from making mistakes.  Pray for grace to discern between good and bad curiosity and to open your heart to the Spirit.
To Una vita rara:  Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of having a son with a chronic disease, you did something for him and others affected by a rare disease.  Your association's name says you know how to look at the positive.  That positive outlook is a ‘miracle’ of love. Love finds the good even in negative situations and is open to others and to creating solidarity.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Blessed those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; they will be filled.”  Hunger and thirst are intense, involving our survival instinct.  Those who desire justice with such intensity will be satisfied, for justice will come.  We can help make it possible, even if we don't see the fruit of our efforts.
The world's justice is often marred, manipulated, or mired in corruption or daily quid pro quo politics.  Some follow the winners instead of fighting for justice.  Many suffer injustice, powerless while others enjoy the good life.  
The justice Jesus offers comes when we're just in our decisions, when we pursue justice for the poor and weak.  While 'justice' can mean faithfulness to God’s will, if we give the word too general a meaning, we can forget justice towards the most vulnerable:  “Seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”  Holiness is hunger and thirst for righteousness. [77-79]
  • Acts 14:5-18  Gentiles and Jews, with their leaders, tried to stone Paul and Barnabas, who realized it, fled, and continued to proclaim the Good News.  A cripple listened to Paul, who, seeing he had faith to be healed, called out, “Stand on your feet.”  Seeing him walking, the crowds cried out, “Gods have come down to us.”  The priest of Zeus brought oxen to offer sacrifice, but the Apostles shouted, “We're human like you and proclaim the good news to you so you may turn from idols to the living God....”
  • Ps 115:1-4, 15-16  "Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory."  Our God is in heaven; their idols, peoples' handiwork.
  • Jn 14:21-26  “Whoever observes my commandments loves me and will be loved by my Father, and I'll love him and reveal myself to him.  Whoever loves me will keep my word, and we will make our dwelling with him....  The Advocate, the Holy Spirit the Father will send, will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you.”
    'Paraclete' (παράκλητος, 'advocate'),
    not 'parakeet' :-)
  • Creighton:  Today's gospel promises the Spirit.  Acts goes against how we might expect the Spirit to work; Paul and Barnabas fled from a hostile crowd, then faced an awkward situation after a cure where they were identified as Greek gods.
Two of the Spirit's gifts are fortitude and wisdom. Fortitude is courage in adversity, not strength of will.  Paul and Barnabas fled but didn't give up; they worked where they had greater impact.  How we understood past things affects how we understand things now:  the crowd interpreted Paul's actions in the religious context they knew....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Taking instructions":  The Spirit instructed Paul and Barnabas to endure and flee persecution, proclaim the good news, and heal a cripple.  The Spirit instructs us about being witnesses for Christ, God's wisdom, what "eye has not seen,..." "what lies at the depths of God," the Church, vocations, parenting, work, lifestyle, repentance, forgiveness, death, eternal life, and Jesus' final coming.  May we be docile....
  • Passionist:  Before today's gospel Jesus had just washed his disciples' feet and begun a discourse on our relationship with God and one another.  Jesus wanted his disciples to believe he was the Way to God and to know that an Advocate, the Spirit, would guide them, remind them of his teachings, and give them new insights.  After Pentecost, the apostles were making paths by walking, creating new experiences of Church by believing, being faithful, doing, going out, preaching, teaching, and loving, never wavering.  If we're faithful to Jesus’ Word, surrendering our selfish ways, we're his disciples.  If we think we're more important than others, we're not his disciples.  Being his disciple takes vigilance, commitment, and prayer.  By following Jesus' Word, God dwells in us, and we receive grace and forgiveness to go beyond our weakness and go forward....

  • DailyScripture.net:  "If you love me, keep my word":  Jesus is preparing his disciples for his return to his Father, exhorting them to prove their love for him through their obedience to his word and promising them the instruction and consolation of the Spirit.  The Lord loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love (Augustine).  The Spirit helps us grow in knowledge of God and his love, enables us to experience God's love and be sure of his presence, and opens us to hear and understand God's word.  Holy Spirit, inflame me with love of God and his word.
Dress legend
  • 'Stone' tie pin:  They tried to stone Paul and Barnabas (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Paul looked intently at the cripple (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin: “Stand up straight on your feet” (1st reading)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  Lystra cripple, healed, began to walk about (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "God filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts" (1st reading)
  • 'People' tie:  Barnabas and Paul:  "We're people, not gods" (1st reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Glory to you, Lord, because of your mercy and truth (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”? (psalm)
  • Silver- and gold-colored accessories:  Their idols are silver and gold (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  The Father will send the Spirit... (gospel)
  • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:   ...who will teach and remind you (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

April 29, 2018

5th Sun. of Easter

April 29, 2018:  Fifth Sunday of Easter

See over a dozen connections with today?Legend below

Pope Francis
Regina Cœli:  Jesus presents himself as the true vine and invites us to remain united with him and bear fruit.  As a vine's branches are are fertile only if they remain one with the vine, the secret of Christian life is this binding relationship with Christ.  One must remain with the Lord to go out of ourselves, our comfort zones, our narrow and protected spaces, and go forth into the sea of others' needs and bear witness.  One of the most mature fruits borne from our communion with Christ is charity towards others, self-sacrificing love like Jesus' for us.
A believer's charity arises from encountering and remaining in Jesus, the vine from which we absorb the sap, the life we bring into society:  a way of living that puts the last first.  We're all called to be holy by living with love and bearing witness in everything we do.  Every activity, if in union with Jesus and with an attitude of love and service, is an opportunity to live holiness to the full.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Blessed are those who mourn; they will be comforted”  The world tells us exactly the opposite: entertainment, pleasure, diversion and escape make for the good life. The worldly person ignores problems of sickness or sorrow in the family or all around him; he averts his gaze. The world has no desire to mourn; it would rather disregard painful situations, cover them up or hide them. Much energy is expended on fleeing from situations of suffering in the belief that reality can be concealed. But the cross can never be absent.

A person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness. [The Church has valued the gift of tears: “Merciful God,... bring forth tears of compunction from our hardness of heart, that we may grieve for our sins, and, by your mercy, obtain their forgiveness” Missale Romanum 1962] He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus. Such persons are unafraid to share in the suffering of others; they do not flee from painful situations. They discover the meaning of life by coming to the aid of those who suffer, understanding their anguish and bringing relief. They sense that the other is flesh of our flesh, and are not afraid to draw near, even to touch their wounds. They feel compassion for others in such a way that all distance vanishes. In this way they can embrace Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).

Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness. [75-76]
  • Acts 9:26-31  Saul tried to join the Jerusalem disciples, but they didn't believe he was a disciple till Barnabas told them how he'd spoken boldly in Jesus' name.  He spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him.  The church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace, being built up, and, with the consolation of the Spirit, growing in numbers.
  • Ps 22:26-28, 30-32  "I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people."  The lowly shall eat their fill.  All the ends of the earth shall turn to and bow before and serve the Lord alone....
"I am the vine..."
  • 1 Jn 3:18-24  Love in deed and truth.  We have confidence in God because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.  His commandment:  believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.  Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them.  We know he remains in us from the Spirit he gave us.
  • Jn 15:1-8  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the grower; he takes away every branch that doesn't bear fruit and prunes the ones that do so they bear more.  Remain in me, as I do in you; as a branch can't bear fruit unless it stays on the vine, neither can you unless you stay in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, but without me you can do nothing.  My Father is glorified when you bear fruit and become my disciples.”
  • Creighton:  Saul tormented and killed early Christians without remorse, but after his conversion, Barnabas mustered up his courage to assist and let the Lord do his best work.  Ask the Lord for courage.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Disciples who make disciples":  Jesus' disciples bear fruit for the Lord, fruit evident to other disciples.  Disciples also imitate the Lord in his character and ministry, bringing others to the Lord. Seeing only Saul's fury, anger, and persecution, the Jerusalem Christians doubted he was a disciple.  But they trusted Barnabas, whose generosity they'd seen, and who saw Saul's works for the Lord in Damascus.  Without the testimony of Barnabas, a great reconciliation might not have occurred.  God is glorified when we bear lasting fruit.
  • PassionistWe must be connected to Christ to bear fruit. We're not whole unless we nourish the soul.  We feed our brain, body, and psyche; let's nurture our souls by prayer, scripture, spiritual reading, Mass, meditating on the saints....  Feeding the soul brings us closer to Christ, and as we grow closer to Christ, we grow in our closeness to one another and our capacity to love.  We're connected to the Vine because Christ loves us.  Being fruit on the vine means we work to become who God created us to be and so “bear fruit.”  We need a life of nurturing to bear the fruit we're meant to bear.  Nurturing is required in good and hard times; in struggles we depend on the vine the most.  When we're connected to Christ, we have the grace to pass through the struggle.  “Be brave about everything.  Drive out darkness; spread light.  Don’t look at your weakness; realize that in Christ you can do everything” (Catherine of Siena).
  • DailyScripture.net:  The vine image was rich for the Jews since Israel was covered with vineyards. "The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel."  God planted Israel "as his choice vine."  The vine was also used as a sign of degeneration:  Israel "yielded wild grapes."  Israel had become a "degenerate and wild vine."  When Jesus called himself the true vine, he made clear that only through him can one become grafted into the Lord's vineyard; we must be rooted in the "Tree of Life":  the eternal Father and his only-begotten Son.  Vines become fruitful through pruning so non-bearing branches don't sap strength from the others.  If we abide in Jesus and allow him to purify us, we'll bear fruit of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit."
Dress legend
  • 'Gun' pin:  The Hellenists tried to kill Paul (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Barnabas reported how Saul had seen the Lord (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The church was at peace,... (1st reading)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  ...walking in fear of the Lord... (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  ...growing in numbers,... (1st reading)
  • 'Dove' tie pin:  ...with the consolation of the Spirit (1st reading); we know he remains in us from the Spirit he gave us (2nd reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "May your hearts live forever" (psalm); God is greater than our hearts; if our hearts don't condemn us...; love one another (2nd reading)
  • Tie with grapes, other fruit:  “I am the true vine; my Father is the vine grower; you're the branches"; bear fruit to glorify my Father (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  "If you don't remain in me, you'll wither and burn like branches thrown into a fire" (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

April 27, 2018

April 27

April 27, 2018:  Friday, 4th week, Easter

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Pope Francis
Homily:  Paul tells the Jews the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their religious leaders didn't recognize Jesus, condemning him to death.  But he was raised.  Paul calls Jesus’ resurrection the fulfillment of God’s promise.  The people of God walked with this promise in their heart, knowing their status as elect.  Even when they were unfaithful, they trusted in the promise, knowing God is faithful.
We too are on the path to heaven, but we don’t know how best to explain heaven.  Some wonder whether it'll be boring there, but no!  Heaven is the encounter with Jesus.  Recall, “I'm travelling toward Jesus,” a meeting that will make us happy forever.
In the meantime, Jesus is working for us and praying for us.  Each of us must say, "Jesus is praying for me, working to prepare me a place."  He's faithful; he does so because he promised it.  Heaven will be this encounter, this meeting with the Lord who went ahead to prepare a place for us.  This increases our faith.  Jesus is the priestly intercessor, right up to the end of the world.  May the Lord make us aware of walking along a path with this promise and give us the grace to look to heaven and think:  ‘The Lord is praying for me.’”
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Peer into the depths of your heart:  where do you find your security?  Usually the rich feel secure in their wealth and think the meaning of their life can collapse without it.  Jesus spoke of a man sure of himself yet foolish, for it didn't dawn on him that he might die that day.

Wealth ensures nothing.  Once we think we're rich, we can become so self-satisfied that we leave no room for God, loving others, or enjoying the important things.  Jesus calls the poor in spirit, those with a poor heart, blessed, because he can enter with his perennial newness.

Spiritual poverty is closely linked to what Ignatius of Loyola calls “holy indifference,” which brings us to interior freedom:  “We need to train ourselves to be indifferent in our attitude to all created things... [so] we don't set our hearts on good health rather than bad, riches rather than poverty, honour rather than dishonour, a long life rather than a short one...” [SpEx 23d].

Luke doesn't speak of poverty “of spirit” but simply of the “poor,” inviting us to live a plain and austere life, share in the life of those most in need, and configure ourselves to Jesus who “made himself poor.” [67-70]
  • Acts 13:26-33  Paul in synagogue:  "To us this word of salvation has been sent.  Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize Jesus; they found no grounds for a death sentence but still asked Pilate to have him killed, but God raised him, and many are now his witnesses.  God fulfilled in the resurrection what he promised our ancestors."
  • Ps 2:6-11ab  "You are my Son; this day I have begotten you."  “I'll give you the ends of the earth to rule.”  Serve the Lord, and rejoice before him.
  • Jn 14:1-6  “Don't let your hearts be troubled.  Have faith in me.  In my Father’s house are many dwelling places.  I'll take you to myself, so that where I am you may be too.  I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Creighton:  Jesus' words of encouragement aren't a vague hope for an unknown future; he reminds his disciples who they are, to whom they belong, and what they know and have (faith).  Thomas, then Philip, are understandably confused; Jesus says, “I am the way,” and, “You know my Father and me....”  When we're confused, troubled, or afraid (maybe from a conflict or decision), we want clarity and control.  Jesus tells us our clarity, security, and safety is only in and through him. We need to listen for his voice of Jesus, in prayer or through a faithful companion, encouraging us to trust.  Lord, help us recognize the faith you've given to us....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "No limits":  Why was Jesus exasperated with Philip but serious with Thomas?  Maybe because Thomas asked with the intent of knowing the way and following Jesus, while Philip ended his question saying that if he got what he wanted, it would be "enough."  Do I put limits on what Jesus can do in my life?
  • Passionist:  Jesus is speaking to his disciples the night before he is to die.  Everyone, including Jesus, is anxious.  The disciples are reflecting on separation from Jesus.  Anxiety is a signs of our times.  We hear bad news and read people's worries on social media.  Uncertainty gives birth to hostility, and anger crushes kindness.  May we heed Jesus' “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and be quiet in God's presence.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Don't let your hearts be troubled!"  Jesus knew we'd face trials and persecution.   Adversity can discourage us or press us closer to God and his promises.  Just as God went ahead of Moses and the Israelites to lead them to the promised land, Jesus says he's going ahead through his ascension to prepare a place for them in his Father's house:  a place of peace, friendship, and happiness with God.  God's house is never closed nor overcrowded; there's room for all believers.  Jesus' promise of eternal life puts our greatest fears to rest.
Traveling alone in unfamiliar places can be unnerving and bewildering, and some places are impossible to pass through without the right person.  The Lord Jesus promised his followers that he'd be their guide and friend and lead them to the source of peace, friendship, and life.  Jesus alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with him from the beginning.  He gives us more than a map or GPS; he personally is the way to the Father's kingdom, and we won't miss it if we follow him.  He accompanies us and watches over us.
Only Jesus can say, "I am the Truth."  One with the Father, he possesses the fullness of truth.  Jesus promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they'd learn the truth, and it would set them free.
"I am the Life":  Jesus shows us the path of life and gives us everlasting life.
Dress legend
  • 'Heart' pin:  "Don't let your hearts be troubled" (gospel)
  • 'Castle' button:  "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places (sometimes translated 'mansions'); I'm preparing a place for you" (gospel)
  • 'Cars on roads' tie:  "I am the way" (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  "I have set up my king on Zion..." (psalm)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "Take warning, you 'rulers' of the earth." (psalm)
  • Crucifix tie pin, 'tree' pin:  Jerusalem inhabitants and leaders had Jesus put to death and took him down from the tree... (1st reading)
  • 'Alps' tie pin:  "I have set up my king on my holy mountain" (psalm)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "I'll give you the nations, the ends of the earth" (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  "How can we know the way?" (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

April 26, 2018

April 26

April 26, 2018:  Thursday, 4th week, Easter

See six connections with today?
(What's missing??)
Legend below

For Psalm 89
Pope Francis
Homily:  Today's gospel contains three foundational truths for the Church:  Jesus teaches us love through the Eucharist, he teaches us service in the washing of the disciples’ feet, and says no servant is greater than his master.
Jesus makes two “institutional gestures” at the Last Supper:  he gives his body and blood to eat and drink, and he washes the disciples’ feet.  These actions reveal two commandments that will make the Church grow, if we're faithful:
Love:  no longer “love your neighbor as yourself” but a step further:  “love one another as I have loved you.”  Love is without limits.  Without it, the Church can't move forward, grow, or even breathe; it becomes empty.  Jesus shows us we should love until the end.
Serve one another, a commandment borne out in the washing of the feet.  You can serve, but only I send you.  You're not greater than I.  This is true humility.
He's greater than all of us, and we're servants who can't go beyond Jesus.  We can't use Jesus.  Giving himself to eat and drink, he tells us to love one another like this.  Washing the feet, he tells us to serve each other.  But no servant is greater than the master.  These blunt words and actions are the foundations of the Church.  If we proceed like this, we'll never fail.  Martyrs and saints act with the awareness of being servants.  Jesus warned his disciples that one among them would betray him.
Take a moment to let the Lord look at you, let his gaze enter.  We'll feel many things:  love, maybe nothing…  We might feel trapped or feel shame.  But always let Jesus’ gaze in, the same gaze he looked at his disciples at supper with.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Going against the flow:  Jesus’ words run counter to how things are usually done.  Even if we find his message attractive, the world pushes us in another way.  We can only practice the Beatitudes if the Spirit fills us with his power and frees us from our weakness, selfishness, complacency, and pride.

Listen to Jesus, with the love and respect he deserves.  Allow his words to unsettle and challenge you and demand real change, or else holiness will be an empty word.  We turn now to the Beatitudes in Matthew. [65-66]
  • Acts 13:13-25  Paul and his companions arrived at Perga, but John returned to Jerusalem.  They continued to Antioch.  One sabbath when they were invited to speak in the synagogue, Paul said, “The God of Israel chose our ancestors, led them out of Egypt, put up with them, gave them their land, provided judges, gave them Saul as king, then raised up David.  From his descendants God brought us a savior, Jesus, whom John heralded.
  • Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  I anointed David, my servant; my faithfulness and mercy shall be with him.  He'll say, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.’”
  • Jn 13:16-20  Jesus told the disciples after washing their feet, “No slave is greater than his master, no messenger greater than the one who sent him....  Whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
  • Creighton:  We're living in God's kingdom, empowered with the Risen Lord’s Presence and Spirit, called to imitate him, living for Christ, not ourselves.  The Church ties Paul's preaching about Jesus and John the Baptist to Jesus’ words to the Apostles after washing their feet:  “No slave is greater than the master.”  We're not greater than Jesus, but with his Spirit we're partners in bringing about God’s Reign.  We're to exercise God's power according to God’s will, not ours.  Unworthy though we are, we can raise the dead to new life, love and forgive, calm storms, and more, if we do according to the Father’s will....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The best from the worst":  When Judas betrayed Christ, the Lord brought good out of his sin by predicting it so that Jesus' disciples would believe. "God makes all things work together for good...."  "The Lord has made everything for his own ends, even the wicked...." "Everything is ordered to your benefit, so grace may bring greater glory to God...."  The Lord wants to bring good out of your sin, to lead you and others to repentance and healing.  Let Jesus do the miracle of working all things together for good.
  • Passionist:  Today's readings retell our faith journey. Paul recounts the Exodus through John the Baptist, and Jesus reminds the apostles that he is sent and he journeys with us so we may reach the Father.  Note the movement:  encountering Jesus compels us to go proclaim the Good News, sent as Jesus was.  Our faith journey moves us out of ourselves to places where we can proclaim the Good News, to nations, our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors....  We journey not alone but with Jesus.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "The one who receives me":  At the Last Supper Jesus addressed the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships.  Jesus knew one of his disciples would betray him, but rather than distancing himself from him and protecting himself from harm, he expressed his love, affection, and loyalty to his own, even his betrayer.  He used a quotation about treachery by one's closest friend.  To eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust; at the moment Judas is conspiring to betray Jesus, Jesus extends friendship to him.  Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness even to death.  Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father.  May we stand in the world for Jesus Christ, speaking and acting on his behalf....
Dress legend (+plus what I forgot)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "I've found David a man after my own heart" (1st reading)
  • Sandals (not shown):  "I'm not worthy to unfasten the sandals...” (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "...of his feet" (1st reading); post-Jesus' washing of disciples’ feet (gospel)
  • 'Sailboats' tie:  Paul and his companions set sail for Perga and beyond (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  They asked for a king, and God gave them Sau, then David (1st reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  "My mercy shall be with him..." (psalm)
  • +'Horn' pin:  "...and his horn shall be exalted" (psalm)
  • +'Rock' tie pin:  "You are the Rock, my savior" (psalm)
  • +'Hand' tie pin:  Paul motioned with his hand (1st reading); "I've anointed David that my hand will always be with him" (psalm)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season