April 12, 2018

April 12

April 12, 2018:  Thursday, 2nd week, Easter

See ten connections with today?
Legend below

For Psalm 34
Pope Francis
Homily:  Easter joy brings obedience, witness, and realism.  The 50 days between Easter and Pentecost were a time of joy, though not without doubt and fear.  After the Spirit descended, the Apostles’ joy became courageous.
Obedience:  The Apostles, forbidden by the Sanhedrin to proclaim Jesus, refused to obey men over God and returned to preach, despite the threat of prison.  Obedience, the key to today's readings, is doing God's will of God, the path Jesus opened up for us.
Witness:  The Apostles' witness annoyed their contemporaries just as Christian witness does today. Christian witness knows no compromise; it's bothersome to those who deny the truth.  It's patient when guiding others who don’t think like us or share our faith; it tolerates and accompanies, but never sells, truth.  There have been so many persecutions.  There are more now than in early Christianity; in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere, witnesses are imprisoned and killed.
Realism:  The Apostles spoke of concrete things, not fairy tales.  As they had seen and touched Jesus, so too each of us has experienced him in our lives.  Sin, compromise, or fear can make us forget the encounter that changed our lives.  Our memory can get watered down to make us "rose-water Christians," superficial.  Ask for the grace of the Spirit of realism.  Jesus and the Spirit have entered my life and heart.  The grace lives on in me even if I forget.
Lord, give us the joy that comes from the Spirit: the joy of Easter witness and Easter realism.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  The Lord calls:  The Lord calls each of us personally to holiness, including you.  “Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, the Lord calls all the faithful to perfect holiness...” (Lumen Gentium 11).
Don't grow discouraged before examples of holiness that appear unattainable.  Some testimonies may prove helpful and inspiring, but copying them could lead us astray from the Lord's path for us.  Discern your own path, bring out the best of yourself, the most personal gifts God has put in your heart; don't hopelessly try to imitate something not meant for you. We're all called to be witnesses, but there are many ways to bear witness.  Spiritual Canticle John of the Cross explained his verses were composed so everyone could benefit from them in their own way; [God's life is communicated] to some in one way and to others in another” (Spiritual Canticle prologue).
Woman's genius is seen in feminine styles of holiness, essential means of reflecting God’s holiness. When women was most ignored or overlooked, the Spirit raised up saints who produced new spiritual vigor and reforms in the Church, such as SS. Hildegard, Bridget, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Thérèse, and all those unknown or forgotten women who sustained and transformed families and communities.
This should excite and encourage us to give our all and to embrace that unique plan that God willed for each of us from eternity. [10-13]

  • Acts 5:27-33  High priest / Apostles:  “You defied our order to stop teaching.” / “We must obey God.  You killed Jesus, but God raised and exalted him; we're witnesses.”  They became infuriated and wanted to kill them.
  • Ps 34:2, 9, 17-20  "The Lord hears the cry of the poor."  Taste and see God's goodness.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and delivers the just.
  • Jn 3:31-36  The one who comes from heaven is above all and speaks God's word, testifying to what he's seen and heard.  The Father has given everything over to the Son.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.
  • Creighton:  The Easter Acts readings sound like news accounts of the early Christians.  Today Peter responds to the high priest, “We must obey God rather than men.”  In the gospel, we hear, “God is trustworthy.”  How shocking Peter’s statement must have been to the Sanhedrin members who believed they spoke for God.  When faced with a decision, sometimes we're choosing between our heart/gut and the social norm.  Do I speak up for someone whose rights are being trampled, even if it would put me at odds with my boss?  Peter knew God wanted him to preach, sure at least in part because God is trustworthy.  If we believe, reflect, and pray, we can trust God is guiding us and we're acting justly.  If new information emerges or things don’t turn out as planned, we can still be sure God is pleased with our attempts and will show us the way forward.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Obedience school":  Sin and death entered the world through disobedience; salvation and life us through Jesus' obedience of Jesus, who obeyed his Father even to death.  Thus, life is a matter of being obedient to God, and love is authentic only if we obey his commandments. To obey the Lord is our delight, food, and life; to disobey is to put ourselves under a curse, to become slaves of the evil one, and endure God's wrath.  Many of us are about to face difficult temptations.  We must refuse to be intimidated and say, "Better for us to obey God than you!"  The Spirit is "given to those who obey" God. "Obey God."
  • Passionist:  In the world confirmed within us at Easter, we're accompanied, and we find wisdom, energy, meaning, direction, and our destiny. “Whoever believes in the Son has life.” Pray that all we do is with him, in him, and through him (WIT).  People still get upset when the truth of the Son is proclaimed....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "He who believes in the Son has eternal life":  The Jews understood that God gave his prophets a portion of his Spirit.  Jesus tells his disciples they can believe his words because the Father anointed him by pouring out his Spirit on him, without holding anything back.  The Spirit reveals God's truth to us, opening our hearts and minds to recognize and understand it.  "I believe in order to understand; and I understand the better to believe" (Augustine).  Faith opens us to receive and obey God's word.  The freedom God gives us carries the responsibility to recognize the consequences of our choices:  belief leading to life and union with God, or rejection leading to spiritual death and separation from God.  Where are my choices leading me?
Dress legend
  • 'Tree' pin:  You had Jesus killed by hanging him on a tree (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  God exalted Jesus at his right hand (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  You want to bring that man's blood upon us (1st reading)
  • 'Fruits' tie, 'eyeball' pin:  "Taste and see the Lord's goodness" (psalm)
  • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  "The Spirit, whom God gave those who obey him, is a witness (1st reading); "He doesn't ration this gift of the Spirit" (gospel)
  • White and red shirt:  White for Easter season, red for Holy Spirit

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