April 18, 2018

April 18

April 18, 2018:  Wednesday, 3rd week, Easter

  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Saul, trying to destroy the Church, 'handed' believers over (1st reading)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' tie pin:  There was great joy in Samaria (1st reading); shout joyfully to God (psalm)
  • 'International flags' tie:  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy." (psalm)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "They passed through the river on foot" (psalm)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Bread of Life discourse (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Come see God's works (psalm); God wills that everyone who sees and believes in the Son may have eternal life (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season
Listen

For the psalm
Pope Francis
General audience:  At baptism the priest and parents trace the sign of the cross on the child to express Christ's imprint on the one who's going to belong to him.  It signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.  The words and gestures in the Baptism liturgy unfold the Sacrament’s meaning as the beginning of our new life in Christ.  The celebration of Baptism begins a process that allows one to live united to Christ in the Church.  We become God’s children and begin a journey of faith.
The name the parents give their child represents their identity and is a constant reminder of the person's uniqueness.  God calls every person by name, loving us uniquely in the concreteness of our lives.  This requires a personal response, not a simple copy/paste.
The cross is the Christian’s distinctive sign, the badge showing who we are:  our speaking, thinking, looking, and working are all under the sign of the cross, the sign of Jesus' love.  We become Christians in the measure in which the cross is imprinted in our lives.  Making the sign of the cross–when we wake, before meals, in the face of danger, to defend against evil, and before bed–reminds us whom we belong to and who we want to be.
Appeal for Alfie Evans and Vincent Lambert:  The only author of life, from beginning to end, is God.  It's our duty to do all we can to safeguard life.  Let us pray that the lives of all persons, especially these two brothers of ours, be respected.  Let us pray that all the sick be respected in their dignity and cared for appropriately, with the help of family members, doctors, other healthcare workers, and great respect for life.
Post-audience:  May the upcoming World Bank Meeting yield positive results favoring authentic integral development respectful of human dignity, policies favoring economic inclusion, and promotion of the lives of the poor.
To Caritas:  Become apostles of charity to those on society's margins.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  A doctrine without mystery:  Gnosticism exalts knowledge or a specific experience and considers its vision perfect; feeding on itself, it becomes even more myopic.  A disembodied spirituality, it seeks to domesticate the mystery of God, grace, and others’ lives.
Somebody with an answer for every question is on the wrong road.  God transcends us; we can't determine when and how we'll encounter him.  Someone who wants everything clear presumes to control God.

God is present in every person, even if apparently wrecked or full of vice.  When we let the Spirit guide us, we find the Lord in every human life.  Gnostics can't accept this because it's beyond their control. [40-42]
Read

  • Acts 8:1b-8  A severe persecution of the Church broke out, and all were scattered, except the Apostles.  Saul tried to destroy the Church, imprisoning believers.  The scattered preached the word and worked wonders, crowds paid attention, and there was great joy.
  • Ps 66:1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Say to God, “How tremendous your deeds!”  Come see God's works.  He rules by his might forever.
  • Jn 6:35-40  Jesus:  “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me won't hunger, and whoever believes in me won't thirst.  I won't reject anyone who comes to me, because I came to do the Father's will, and the Father wants everyone who sees and believes in the Son to have eternal life and be raised up.”

Reflect
  • Creighton:  When Deacon Stephen was martyred, the seeds of faith were scattered, even though Saul tried to contain them.  While the Christians were in Jerusalem, he could contain their influence, but once they scattered, the word was preached all over, people heard, saw Jesus' victory over evil and illness, and responded with joy; then the persecutors had a bigger problem.  Tyrants believe killing their opponents will stamp out opposition. On occasion, this tactic may even appear to work, but the doctrine of the resurrection is revolutionary:  "Tyrants may believe this life is all there is, but if [you] believe in the resurrection of the body, [you] needn't fear" (Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God); what tyrants do isn't the last word.  As a mother and seven sons were executed for their faithfulness to God's law, one brother about to lose his tongue and hands said, "I received these from heaven; for the sake of his laws I disregard them; from him I hope to receive them again."
Jesus says that his Father's will is that those who believe in him will have eternal life and be raised up.  Persecutors can't win; Jesus will raise them up those they kill.  Jesus is Lord; tyrants may win battles, but they'll lose the war.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "His body":  Creation, the human body, and the Church are composed of many interrelated parts.  "If one member suffers, all do; if one member is honored, all share its joy."  The Lord constantly graces the Church so it may be whole, its harmony complete, but the devil tempts us to drop out or cut off parts of the Church's life.  If we exclude the apostles, house-churches, preaching, miracles, deliverances, healings, and joy of the 1st reading, the Church is warped.  The Lord wants a Church united, healthy, and strong to use to transform the world.
  • Passionist:  Jesus, Bread of Life, doesn’t come just to satisfy physical hunger but to fulfill our yearnings when we come to him.  Nouwen talks of our yearning as the force field of desire that draws us to God.  We're called to shed our old ways and trust our yearnings and our responses to God's presence.  Do we trust that God listens to us, accepts and loves us, and wants to fulfill our desires, and that we can always go to Jesus who can transform our fear, doubt, and pain into hope, peace and new life?
  • DailyScripture.net:  "I'll raise you up at the last day":  Bread sustains us. The life Jesus refers to is connected with God, author of life.  Jesus makes real life possible, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy with God.  Jesus claims to be spiritual food producing divine life in us, he promises friendship and freedom from fear of being cut off from God, and he offers the hope of sharing in his resurrection.
    • Bl. ("Mother") Marie-Anne Blondin, religious, Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne foundress, victim of injustices, example of self-denial and forgiveness.  “The deeper a tree sinks its roots into the soil, the greater are its chances of growing and producing fruit.”  “May the Holy Eucharist and perfect abandonment to God’s Will be your heaven on earth.”  “God will know well how to discern the false from the true and to reward each one according to his deeds.”  “There is more happiness in forgiving than in revenge.”