May 2, 2019


May 2, 2019:  St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

  • 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:  We're an Easter people; we believe in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.  We have the gift of the Spirit, so we can testify to the truth of Christ, undeterred at the prospect of persecution.  Athanasius was exiled five times for his teachings in defense of the faith and against heresies that diminished the Trinity's significance, but he didn’t give up.  He and others built our strong faith through teaching and witness to the truth.  But we don’t worship our traditions or the saints; we praise a living Lord who takes an active interest in all who call on him.  The saints remind us we must stand firm in faith, identifying with the poor and brokenhearted.  Whatever our troubles and others', we can take them on, trusting that the Lord hears and delivers us.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "There's something about that Name":  After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and sent the Spirit, people began to realize his name was above every other.  The Spirit inspired the apostles to teach about his name and fill Jerusalem with it; the authorities gave orders not to teach about it, but the apostles defied the order and baptized, healed, and delivered in his name. They considered suffering a privilege "for the sake of the Name."  "There's no salvation in anyone else, for there's no other name by which we are to be saved."
  • Passionist:  We can let today's gospel lead us to reflection by reading and re-reading it slowly and prayerfully and repeating the phrases or words that resonate. Or we can focus on one or two points of reflection:  Jesus speaks of his mission:  to come to us and to proclaim the truth on behalf of God, a truth that invites us to accept it.  Jesus' earthly life fulfills his mission; he's God’s witness who speaks God's truth. We respond in faith and seek to make Jesus the center of our lives and his message our compass to guide our actions in reaching out to others.  We can be confident that our faithful God will reward our faith. The apostles' faith strengthened them and opened them to the Spirit's promptings so much so that their preaching filled Jerusalem.  May our lives become a beacon to others and help show them the way to Jesus and eternal life.

    •  "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?
    St. Athanasius
    Dress legend
    • '?' tie pin:  High priest questioned the Apostles (1st reading)

    • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  "You've filled Jerusalem with your teaching..."

    • 'Blood drop' pin:  "...and want to bring that man's blood upon us" (1st reading)
    • '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)
    • '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)
    • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The Lord's praise shall be ever in my mouth (psalm)
    • NEW 'grapes, wheat, and chalice' tie pin, 'eyeball' pin:  "Taste and see the Lord's goodness" (psalm)
    • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" (psalm)
    • Red and white shirt, white socks:  Red for Holy Spirit, white for St. Athanasius and Easter season

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