April 24, 2018

April 24

April 24, 2018:  Tuesday, 4th week, Easter

See more than a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

"Good Shepherd" music
Pope Francis
Homily:  The close-minded observance of the doctors of the Law became rigidity.  They placed themselves at the center, untouched before the Spirit's work.  Their inability to discern the signs of the times was a type of prison:  they received a law that was life but “distilled” it, transforming it into an ideology they couldn't move beyond.  Anything new for them was a threat.
The opposite is true of the child of God for whom the Spirit is central.  The first disciples' docility before what was new to them led them to sow God's Word in new ways.  They remained docile to the Spirit and accomplished more than a revolution:  they put the Church in motion.  A Church, like a bicycle, can only achieve its balance when in motion.
A person can either be closed or open to the Holy Spirit.  The disciples and apostles were open, but there will always be resistance to the Spirit.  Lord, grant us the grace of knowing how to resist those we must resist, those who come from the evil one, those who deprive us of freedom.  May we open ourselves to the new things that come from you.  Give us the grace to discern the signs of the times in order to make the decisions we need to make.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  The summation of the Law:  A hierarchy of virtues bids us seek what's essential.  The primacy belongs to the theological virtues, which have God as their object and motive.  At the center is charity.  What counts is “faith working through love.”  “The one who loves another has fulfilled the law…”  “The whole law is summed up in, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Amid precepts and prescriptions, Jesus clears a way to seeing two faces, the Father's and our brother's, or better yet, one:  God's, reflected in others, especially the least, most vulnerable, defenseless and needy.  The Lord will shape his final work of art with the scraps of our frail humanity.  “What endures, what has value, what riches don't disappear?  The Lord and our neighbor” [11-13-16].

May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of gnosticism and pelagianism that block her path to holiness!  Reflect and discern whether they may be present in your life. [60-62]

  • Acts 11:19-26  The disciples scattered by the persecution were preaching only to Jews, some among them started proclaiming Jesus to Greeks too.  Many turned to the Lord.  When Barnabas arrived at Antioch, he rejoiced and encouraged them to remain faithful; then he brought Saul from Tarsus to Antioch, where they taught for a year.
  • Ps 87:1b-7  "All you nations, praise the Lord."  Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!
  • Jn 10:22-30  Jews gathered around Jesus and said, “If you're the Christ, tell us.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you and my works testify, but you don't believe because you're not my sheep.  They hear my voice and follow me; I give them life, and they'll never perish.  The Father and I are one.”
  • Fr. Jose Rueda homily video:  Jesus Christ: teacher, prophet, priest, mediator, healer, sanctifier, miracle worker, king, good shepherd
  • Creighton:  John's gospel focuses on Jewish feasts, especially Passover and Tabernacles (Booths).  Feasts are part of John’s symbolic world, helping illuminate the reality of Jesus as fulfillment of Jewish tradition.  The “feast of the Dedication [Renewal]” is Hanukkah, a commemoration of the Jews' successful rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who was trying to stamp out what was distinctive about his Jewish subjects.  The Maccabean revolt enabled the Jews to reclaim the temple and their autonomy (till the Romans' conquest).  The celebration encouraged speculation about whether Jesus was the Messiah.  John’s mention of the feast and the name Solomon (son of David who reigned over the largest expansion of Israel) evokes what people were thinking.  When Jesus’ adversaries challenged him to identify himself as Messiah, Jesus said he saw himself as a shepherd, whose flock is those who accept him.  The vision of Ez 34 pictures another “David” who will shepherd Israel, find, heal, and feed the lost, in contrast to self-serving, abusive false leaders.  Ezekiel says God will be the true shepherd; hence the power of Jesus’ “The Father and I are one.”
In a narrative where Jesus had referred to himself as God's temple, readers would note this happens in the temple, already destroyed by the Romans.  Knowing Jesus as Lord, they knew he embodied what the temple stood for:  the “place” of God's presence, the “tenting” of God's Word among us, as John proclaims.  We believe the risen Jesus really is our shepherd who fulfills the vision of Ez 34:  not just consoler and protector of the shepherd figure but healer and leader who continues to gather God's scattered children, the ultimate leader we trust through troubled times.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The 'look' of selfless love":  Disciples of Christ are tempted to do it all themselves, but Barnabas realized he needed help teaching Christians at Antioch.  Knowing that Saul had the needed gifts, he took the time to look for him.  Once he found him, "he brought him to Antioch.  For a year they instructed great numbers."  From there, the new church sent Barnabas and Saul on the first Christian missionary journey.  Barnabas did what was needed to bring full life to the Antioch Christians. If someone could help you in your ministry, would you ask them?  Would you seek them out at your expense?
    Christ, the Good Shepherd/ Murillo
  • Passionist:  Today's gospel enlightens us about prayer: “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.”  One of the first steps of communicating with God is to let him speak.  All good communication starts with listening.  Scripture contain “God's living and highly energetic Word.”  If we're serious about listening to God, we should have passionate interest in his Word!  Listening to it leads to intimacy with him, people asked Jesus, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense (Gk airo, air)?”  Without a strong prayer life, we're unlikely to know Jesus.  Most “grievously neglect the sacred and divine work of prayer.  We must listen attentively to God's Voice.  Prayer is intimacy with God” (Gregory of Nyssa).
The gospel says, “they follow me”; discipleship is often expressed as following Christ.  To follow someone, you need to be close.  Scripture also uses 'walk,' as in "Will you also walk away?"  Don't to walk away from Christ; “pray always so you're not left in bad way!”
  • DailyScripture.net:  "My sheep hear my voice":  Jesus speaks of his trust in his Father and the trust we should have because he's our Good Shepherd.  Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless and often get lost, so shepherds live with their sheep, guard them from danger, and lead them to food, drink, and rest.  The sheep recognize and heed their shepherd's voice.  We're like sheep who stray, becoming prey to forces that can destroy us.  Jesus came to free us from the grip of sin and to lead us to places where we can feed on his "word of life" and drink from the "living waters" of his Spirit.  Sheep who heed the Good Shepherd need not fear; he leads them to peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.  We can face our difficulties alone or can follow Jesus.  Today's gospel takes place during the Feast of the Dedication (Festival of Lights, Hanukkah), at which time Jesus also declared he is the Light of the World, in whom we can see God and find the path to heaven."
  • 'Dove' pin:  Disciples were docile to the Spirit; Barnabas was Spirit-filled. (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  A large number was 'added' to the Lord (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Barnabas encouraged them to remain firm of heart (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All you nations, praise the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Alps' tie pin:  The Lord loves his foundation on the holy mountains (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord's hand was with them (1st reading); no one can take my sheep out of my hand (gospel)
  • '?' tie pin:  "How long are you going to keep us in suspense?" (gospel)
  • 'Good Shepherd' tie, 'sheep' tie bar:  "My sheep hear my voice... and follow me" (gospel)
  • Green, blue, and white shirt; white socks:  Verdant pastures and restful waters (Ps 23:2, Good Shepherd gospel-inspired), Easter season

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