April 16, 2018

April 16

April 16, 2018:  Monday, 3rd week, Easter

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Psalm 19 settings related to today's psalm
Pope Francis

Today's homily:  Follow Jesus because of faith in his word, not self-interest in his miracles.  Remember the wonderful things God has done in your life, so as to respond with love.  Jesus rebuffed the crowd wanting to make him king after the multiplication of the loaves:  “You're looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate and were filled.”  They were seeking Jesus to feel his Word in their hearts, but they were curious to see his miracles.  They were good people, but their faith was a little too curious and self-seeking.
Stephen spoke so clearly that his interlocutors couldn't resist his wisdom.  He followed Jesus, sure in faith, whatever the consequences.  He loved; he wasn't self-interested.  When led into the trap they set and stoned, he gave witness.
Ask, "How do I follow Jesus?"  Remember his love and all he's given you.  Then ask, "What should I do for Jesus?’ These can help us purify our faith from self-interest.  When I see what he's given me, I say, "Yes, Lord; I'll give my all.  I won’t commit these sins again.  I’ll change my life...."  This is the road to conversion by love:  "You’ve loved me so much; I'll give you my love."
Sunday homily:  “Joy makes us young!”  The disciples knew Christ had risen, but the truth had not yet entered their hearts.  They were incredulous for joy and amazed.  This happens to us too when someone gives us good news.  The disciples not only believed, but were convinced.
Sin makes us grow old, but the risen Jesus renews us!  Jesus’ Resurrection is the primary truth of our faith.  Ask for the grace to believe Christ is risen and alive!  When you go to Communion, are you sure that the risen Christ is there?  Christ is in our midst.  If we don't believe this, we can't be good Christians.
Pray for the grace to touch Jesus in prayer, the Sacraments; receiving his forgiveness, and meeting the sick, prisoners, the needy, children, the elderly....  If we want to do something good, it's Jesus urging us.
Parish visit:  It's the parish's duty to be there for people; those with the greatest need are at the center of the parish and the Gospel.  Don't let your sorrows or difficulties take your hope or joy away; Jesus came to ‘ransom’ our wounds with his.  This is our joy:  Jesus paid for us, is close to us, and wants what's good for us.
My favorite Bible passage is conversion of Matthew; it shows how Jesus can change a heart.
We're all God's children, good and bad, even those who follow other religions.  He loves everyone, and has put in every heart a conscience to distinguish good from evil.  But when we're baptized, the Holy Spirit enters into that conscience and strengthens your belonging to God.
Only God knows who is in heaven, but how could God, who has a dad's heart, keep a good father, even if an unbeliever, far from him?
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  More alive, more human:  Don't be afraid of holiness; it won't sap your energy or joy.  You'll become what the Father had in mind, faithful to your deepest self.  Depending on God sets you free and leads you to recognize your dignity.
The more you grow in holiness, the greater fruit you'll bear.  Be evangelized and evangelize by taking up your role as salt of the earth and light of the world.
Set your sights high; let God love and liberate you.  Let the Spirit guide you.  Holiness doesn't make you less human; it's an encounter between your weakness and God’s grace. “The only great tragedy in life is not to become a saint” (Bloy). [32-34]
Read
  • Acts 6:8-15  Stephen was working wonders and signs.  People debated with him but couldn't withstand the wisdom and Spirit with which he spoke.  They falsely accused him, stirred up the people, elders, and scribes, brought him before the Sanhedrin, and false witnesses testified.  All saw his face was like an angel's.
  • Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30  "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"  Your decrees are my delight, my counselors.  You answered me; teach me your statutes.  I've chosen the way of truth.
  • Jn 6:22-29  After Jesus had fed the 5,000, the crowd found him and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”  Jesus:  “You look for me because you ate the loaves and were filled.  Work for the food that endures for eternal life, that the Son will give you.” / “How can we do God's works?” / “Believe in the one he sent.”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  In today's gospel, Jesus says, “Don't work for food that perishes but for food that endures."  How do I ensure my work/life balance incorporates caring for my spirit and working for the everlasting food?  Healthy eating, exercise, spending time with friends, family, and community.  Gallup’s well-being model includes career, social, financial, physical and community.  But I must be as intentional with my spirit as I am with nutrition, exercise, and social practices, not creating silos but blending them. Every day God offers me the opportunity to find him in the day's events and give thanks. If I'm intentional about my prayer. my choices are in harmony with Jesus.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Peace on a roller coaster":  As the early Church received grace, it also received suffering.  The first people to receive the Spirit were accused of being drunk, but that day 3,000 were baptized.  After Peter and John healed the cripple, they led thousands more to Christ but then were arrested.  Once they were released, many wonders occurred through the apostles' hands.  Then the apostles were arrested, threatened, and beaten, there was a serious disagreement between Jewish and Gentile Christians that the first deacons dealt with, and the disciples' number "enormously increased."  The Church's next suffering was Stephen's martyrdom.  Luke commented, "Stephen's face seemed like an angel's"; "the Church was at peace." The first word the risen Christ says is "Peace."
    Christ feeding the multitude (Coptic icon)
  • Passionist:  When the crowd asks Jesus what they can do to accomplish God's works, he replies, “Believe in the one he sent.”  To believe in Jesus leads to belief in God's saving plan, God's love, Jesus' self-sacrifice and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and for everlasting life.  If we accept that love, we're compelled to respond with love for God, others, and the world.  We're called to go out, filled with God's love and the Spirit's power, and proclaim the Good News in all we say and do.  May we believe in the One God sent, and love....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Labor for the food which endures":  After Jesus multiplied the loaves, what were the people seeking him hungry for?  Things that satisfy heart and soul? Jesus echoes Isaiah: "Why spend your money for what isn't bread, your labor for what doesn't satisfy?"  Only God can satisfy our hunger for truth, life, and love.  Jesus offers a new relationship with God and a life of love, service, forgiveness, holiness, and trust; this is the work Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Spirit.
    St. Bernadette
  • Universalis:  St. Bernadette Soubirous, religious, patroness of the sick, didn't let her serious illness get in the way, showed great humility, inspired great love of prayer and good works, especially service of the poor and the sick.  Mary appeared to her near Lourdes to call sinners to change.  See also Wikipedia.
Dress legend
  • 'Boundless mercy sign' pin:  Stephen worked great wonders and signs among the people (1st reading); "You're looking for me not because you saw signs..." (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "...but because you ate the loaves and were filled"; Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
  • 'Owl' pin:  Stephen spoke with wisdom... (1st reading)
  • 'Dove' pin:  ...and the Spirit; (1st reading)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Stephen's face was like an angel's (1st reading)
  • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus hadn't gone along in the boat; other boats came.... (gospel)
  • 'Food' tie:  You ate and were filled; work for food that endures for eternal life (gospel)
  • Red stripe in suspenders:  St. Stephen's martyrdom (today's 1st reading, leading to tomorrow's)
  • White shirt, cuff links, socks:  Easter season