May 2, 2018


May 2, 2018:  St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor

See ten connections with today?
Legend below

For the gospel

    For Psalm 122
    Pope Francis
    General audience:  Water is the source of life and well-being; without it there's no fecundity.  It can cleanse and purify, or when it submerges things, kill.  Often in scripture God intervenes or makes promises through ‘signs’ of water, including Jesus’ own baptism and the water flowing from his side on the cross.  In blessing the water of the baptismal font, the Church prays it may bring new life and cleansing of sin.  The Church invokes the Holy Spirit so the baptized may enter into Christ death, and with him rise to immortal life.
    Once sanctified by the baptismal font, we must open our heart and renounce Satan.  The devil divides while God unites.  You can't be with both God and the devil.  You can't adhere to Christ by laying down conditions; you need to detach yourself from certain ties so you can embrace others.
    When we undertake the path of life and salvation, we must reject the devil and his works and go forth, together, in faith.  As a sign of our decision to live this mystery of new life, we're called to proclaim our faith.  When you bless yourself with holy water, gratefully recall the gift you received at your Baptism.
    Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Blessed the pure in heart; they will see God.”  A loving heart admits nothing that might harm, weaken, or endanger that love.  The Bible uses the heart for our intentions, what we truly seek, apart from appearances.  God wants to speak to our hearts, write his law, give us a new heart.

    Guard your heart.”  The Lord “flees from deceit... and foolish thoughts.”  The Father, “who sees in secret,” and Son, recognize what's insincere, mere appearance.

    There's no love without works of love.  The Lord expects a heartfelt commitment to others.  “If I give away all I have and deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing.”  Evil deeds proceeding from the heart defile a person.  From the heart come the desires and decisions that shape our actions.

    A heart that loves God and neighbor is pure; it can see God.  “Now we see dimly, as in a mirror,” but to the extent that truth and love prevail, we'll be able to see “face to face.”  The pure in heart will see God.  Be holy; keep your heart free of all that tarnishes love. [83-86]

    • Acts 15:1-6  Because much dissension followed the instruction of some that you needed to be circumcised to be saved, they decided to go to the Apostles and presbyters about the matter.  When they arrived, they were welcomed, they reported what God had done, and the Apostles and presbyters met to see about the matter.
    • Ps 122:1-5  "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord."  We've set foot within Jerusalem.
    • Jn 15:1-8  "I am the vine; my Father the vine grower who prunes branches so they bear more fruit; you, the branches.  Remain in me, as I in you, and bear fruit."

    • One Bread, One Body:  "Jesus or nothing":  Business leaders cut unprofitable activities.  Coaches and trainers cut unproductive drills and plays.  Farmers don't waste time on activities that don't increase the yield of crops, flock, or herd.  So, many understand Jesus' teaching on pruning branches that don't bear fruit.  What's not as well understood today is the weakness of the human will without the Lord's strength.  The spirit is willing but the flesh weak. Our endurance fades, but if we remain in Jesus, we'll bear fruit. Society teaches the human spirit will triumph, "just do it," but apart from Jesus we can do nothing; if I don't remain in Jesus, I wither.
    • Passionist:  Belief in the Resurrection brought early Christians to baptism and fueled missionary outreach.  They worked healings in Jesus' name, and early martyrs gained resolve to lay down their lives to share his resurrection.  I began to experience John differently when I began to see the Eucharist's central role in it.  His wrote the gospel after Jerusalem's fall, when Christians had withdrawn from Synagogue life in favor of the Eucharist.  John may not include other gospels' "bread and cup" narrative because it was already the basis of worship; he presents Eucharist not as a Passover meal but the living bread from heaven....  With this perspective, we see how “signs” he references are about life, and so about Eucharist. The 1st, changing of water into wine at the Cana wedding feast, is a symbol of baptism (water) and sharing the Blood of Christ.  In the 2nd, the cure of the official’s son, also at Cana, Jesus restores life by the power of his word.  The 4th, the Bread of Life discourse, stresses a condition for eternal life:  eating the Son of Man's flesh and drinking his blood.  The 7th is the raising of Lazarus.  What could be more Eucharistic than knowing that the one I've surrendered my life to can take me beyond death?  But John goes beyond our sharing Christ's life through the Eucharist to calling us to love one another,  share Jesus' risen life, and follow Jesus’ example.  We're nourished by Christ to build up his Body through loving, being one with, and serving each other.
    •  "Abide in me...":  The house of Israel is "the Lord's vineyard."  God planted Israel "as his choice vine."  But the vine was also a sign of degeneration:  Israel "yielded wild grapes"; it became a "degenerate and wild vine."  When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can claim their spiritual inheritance through association with a particular people; only through him can we be grafted onto the Vine.  The vine becomes fruitful through careful pruning so non-fruit-bearing branches don't sap strength from the fruit-bearing ones.  There can be no fruit in our lives apart from Jesus.  May we abide in him and let him purify us....
    Dress legend
      St. Athanasius
    • 'Musical notes with "joy"' tie pin:  Paul, Barnabas, and others told of the Gentiles' conversion and brought joy... (1st reading)
    • Tie with grapes, other fruit:  "I am the true vine"; bear fruit (gospel)
    • 'Castle' button:  "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord" (psalm)
    • 'Feet' pin:  "We've set foot within your gates" (psalm)
    • '1' button (thanks to OneLife LA):  Jerusalem, built with compact unity (psalm)
    • '?' tie pin:  The Apostles and the presbyters met to resolve the circumcision question (1st reading)
    • 'Fire' pin:  One who doesn't remain in me will be burned as in a fire (gospel)
    • 'WWJD' pin:  My Father is glorified when you become my disciples (gospel)
    • Red and white shirt, white socks:  Red for fire (gospel), white for St. Athanasius and Easter season

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