April 10, 2018

April 10

April 10, 2018:  Tuesday, 2nd week, Easter

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

For Psalm 93
Pope Francis:  Gaudete et exsultate nugget
On the call to holiness today:  Rejoice and be glad,” Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake. The Lord asks everything of us, and offers us life and happiness.  He wants us to be saints.  The call to holiness is present in scripture from the Lord’s words to Abraham.  My goal is to repropose the call for today.  The Lord has chosen each of us “to be holy and blameless in love.”
The call to holiness
The saints who encourage and accompany us:  Hebrews presents testimonies encouraging us to run the race set before us:  Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Gideon and others.  It invites us to realize a cloud of witnesses impels us to advance; the witnesses may include our family.  They may not have been perfect, but they kept moving forward and pleased the Lord.
The saints preserve their love and communion with us.  “I saw those slain for God's word and the witness they bore; they cried out, ‘Lord, how long before you judge?’”  “Surrounded, led, guided by God's friends, I don't have to carry alone what I can't.  The saints protect, sustain, and carry me” (Benedict XVI).
The beatification and canonization processes recognize heroic virtue, martyrdom, and constant offering of life for others:  imitation of Christ worthy of admiration, such as in Bl. Maria Gabriella Sagheddu, who offered her life for Christian unity. [0-5]
Brazen Serpent/ Rubens
  • Acts 4:32-37  The community was of one heart and mind and held their possessions in common.  The Apostles bore witness to Jesus' resurrection.  Nobody was needy; they distributed property according to need.
  • Ps 93:1-2, 5  "The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."  He made the world firm; his decrees are trustworthy.
  • Jn 3:7b-15  Jesus to Nicodemus:  You must be born from above.  You people don't accept our testimony; how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has gone to heaven except the one who has come down, the Son.  Just as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son be lifted up, so all believers may have life.
  • Creighton:  Nicodemus was learned, and strong in his convictions.  When Jesus asks him to think differently, Nicodemus has a hard time embracing the new ideas, which is why Jesus asks him to be born anew.  I think Jesus is telling us we have to open up, lean in, working with the tension that leads to understanding and meaning.  Lord, open us to let the Spirit in....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "We need Barnabases":  To witness to the Resurrection, we need people like Mary to pray for the Spirit's coming, and Matthias to replace unfaithful leaders.  To proclaim the Good News, we need repentant preachers, martyrs, missionaries; we need self-sacrificing, generous, zealous children of encouragement like Barnabas.  People like Barnabas set the tone for community.  We can be selfish, petty, worldly, and begrudging, and look to do the minimum but get the maximum. Through Barnabases, we're pulled out of minimalism and mediocrity; we repent, give rather than take, serve rather than insist on being served, die rather than sin, and sacrifice rather than do our thing.  A church without Barnabases nauseates Jesus; one with Barnabases looks like the body and bride of Christ.
    Bronze Serpent/ Bruni
  • Passionist:  Many Catholics lament questioning of faith, but Nicodemus encourages me about it.  A faithful Jew, leader of his community, and respected Sanhedrin member, he first came to Jesus in the dark, perhaps to avoid the risk of publicly admitting his faith or connection with Jesus.  But he was willing to challenge his beliefs and try to understand better.  He asked questions, listened even when Jesus confused him, and came to be a disciple.  Searching prompts us to go deeper, not complacently relying on assumptions.  Have we failed in listening, sincere dialogue, believing others have something to teach us, and being open to change as God reveals truths in unlikely places?  The Spirit blows where it will, often moving hearts to seek God and truth.  As the early disciples were witnesses in their teachings and their selfless living, may we be witnesses in word and deed to the grace and faith we've received, instruments of God’s healing and love, with wisdom to know what to say and when, and allowing the Spirit to blow freely...
  • DailyScripture.net:  ""You must be born anew":  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of a "new birth in the Spirit" (to come through the cross and resurrection).  The Hebrew for 'spirit' means 'wind' and 'breath.'  "As you can hear, feel, and see the wind's effects though you don't know where the wind comes from, so too you can see the Spirit's effects.  Jesus points to the prophetic sign of the bronze serpent.  God showed mercy and instructed Moses to make a serpent; all who are bitten and look at it shall live.  This sign foreshadowed Jesus' saving work:
"The serpent signifies sin devouring the human race, biting us and infusing us with evil; only heaven could save us.  God's Word was made flesh, 'that he might condemn sin in the flesh'; he became Giver of salvation to those who gaze on him with faith.  But the serpent signifies that Christ was manifested by his passion, so none could fail to see him." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John 2.1, paraphrased)
The bronze serpent points to the cross that defeats sin and death and obtains life for believers.  The result of Jesus' "being lifted up on the cross," rising, exaltation, and ascension is our "new birth in the Spirit" and adoption as God's children.  God frees us from sin and fills us with his own life through the Spirit who gives us power and gifts so we may live in his strength as God's children.
Dress legend
  • "Resurrection cross" (sans Jesus):  Apostles bore witness to Jesus' resurrection (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  The community was of one heart (1st reading); Divine Mercy (Sunday)
  • 'Money bag' tie pin, 'feet' pin:  Those who owned property sold it and put the proceeds at the apostles' feet (1st reading)
  • Tie with crowns:  The Lord is king (psalm)
  • Suspenders with globe:  The Lord he has made the world firm (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  "So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (gospel)
  • 'Serpent' pin:  The Son must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "We testify to what we have seen" (gospel)
  • White shirt (and socks):  Easter season

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