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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Third Sunday of Easter

The Third Sunday of Easter
April 30, 2017
Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35

            We remember the part of the Emmaus story when the disciples remark, “were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way?” We like the idea that Jesus walks among us and enlightens our minds and hearts with such a passion that we remember so many details of the experience. We even remark afterwards that the person speaking with us was actually Jesus because the experience is so divine and memorable and was not an ordinary experience. We recognize his familiar gestures and we believe more deeply because our experiences are to be honored.

            Jesus takes on the role of the educator and enlightener on that first Easter day. He appears to the women at the tomb and then to others, and later on to Peter. He can tell that he is busy comforting his friends, forgiving them, and instructing them. He begins to reveal himself to his disciples to help them understand the experience of his Passion and suffering. He teaches them the fuller meaning of scripture, and he addresses the question everyone wants to know: If God is all good and all powerful, why does God allow the suffering of the innocent and just? We will always have questions about our suffering.

            Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles, speaks about God’s actions with regard to the suffering of Jesus. Peter describes the actions of the Jews forthrightly, but without condemnation, when they handed over Jesus for crucifixion. The Jews used lawless men to kill Jesus, but God raised him up because he could not be held by the throes of death.  After all, Jesus was a man commended by the Jews to God for his mighty deeds, signs, and wonders.

            Here is where we learn something tremendous about God as Peter quotes King David. “You will not abandon my soul to the netherworld; nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You had made known to me that paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” In other words, God had to redeem Jesus because he was just and innocent and it would have been a mockery of him to let him reside in the Netherworld. Through the promises of scripture, God could not show Jesus the path of life and then leave him to be conquered by death. That would have been incompatible with God’s logic and heart. Jesus pleased God so much that God’s love was sufficient to penetrate the walls of death.

            We have to see God’s love in the face of suffering. God is trying to pull us closer to God’s very self, but we cannot see it because we are mired in our own pity, which is understandable, but we miss the collateral beauty of God’s love if we do not recognize all the parts of life that are at work among us. This is Christ’s role that he carried out with the Emmaus disciples. As Jesus enlightens us and widens our perspectives, we are able to see all the people who are at work in making things right and giving us love.

            Let’s look for the collateral beauty if life this week. Let us look for the great system of support we actually have surrounding us. If we cannot directly experience the risen Jesus, Let us honor that vast network of people who are on our side. When we realize what they are doing on our behalf, we can only say, “were not our hearts burning with desire?” See all the goodness that is there. Your suffering will weigh less; your spirit will soar and your heart will burn in joy.     

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Acts 6) Stephen worked great signs and wonders in the name of Jesus.
Tuesday: (Acts 7) False testimony is lodged against him but he stands angelic before them. Angry opponents stone him, including Saul, who consents to execute him. 
Wednesday: (Acts 8) A severe persecution breaks out in Jerusalem and the believers are displaced to Judea and Samaria. Saul, trying to destroy the Church, enters house after house to arrest them.
Thursday: (Acts 8) Philip’s testimony and miracles in Samaria emboldens the believers. Philip heads out to Gaza and meets an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading Isaiah’s texts. Philip interprets the scripture and the eunuch begs to be baptized.  
Friday (Acts 9) Meanwhile, Saul is carrying out hateful acts against the believers and is struck blind as he beholds a manifestation of Jesus. The beginning of his call and conversion takes place. 
Saturday (1 Peter 6 – Mark the Evangelist) Clothe yourself in humility; be sober and vigilant and resist the devil. The God of grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. 

Monday: (John 6) Jesus feeds the 5000 as a flashback to the Eucharistic memory of the believers with the Bread of Life discourse.
Tuesday: (John 6) Jesus instructs them, “It was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven; my heavenly father gives the true bread.” Jesus proclaims, “I am the bread of life.”
Wednesday (John 6) God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him.
Thursday (John 6) Jesus states that all that is required is belief in him. Belief is not given to all. The way to the way is through the Son.
Friday (John 6) The Jews quarreled and opposition to the cannibalistic references of Jesus rises because his sayings are hard to accept. He tells the people, “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” If you eat of Jesus, you will live forever.  
Saturday (Mark 16) Jesus appeared to the Eleven giving them instructions to proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

Saints of the Week

April 30: Pope Pius V, Pope (1504-1572), is noted for his work in the Counter-Reformation, the Council of Trent, and the standardization of the Roman Rite for mass. He was a fierce conservative who prosecuted eight French bishops for heterodoxy and Elizabeth I for schism. The Holy League he founded defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto whose success was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May 1: Joseph the Worker was honored by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in an effort to counteract May Day, a union, worker, and socialist holiday. Many Catholics believe him to be the patron of workers because he is known for his patience, persistence, and hard work as admirable qualities that believers should adopt.

May 2: Athanasius, bishop and doctor (295-373), was an Egyptian who attended the Nicene Council in 325. He wrote about Christ's divinity but this caused his exile by non-Christian emperors. He wrote a treatise on the Incarnation and brought monasticism to the West.

May 3: Philip and James, Apostles (first century), were present to Jesus throughout his entire ministry. Philip was named as being explicitly called. James is called the Lesser to distinguish him from James of Zebedee. Little is known of these founders of our faith.

May 4: Joseph Mary Rubio, S.J., priest (1864-1929), is a Jesuit known as the Apostle of Madrid. He worked with the poor bringing them the Spiritual Exercises and spiritual direction and he established local trade schools. 

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Apr 30, 1585. The landing at Osaka of Fr. Gaspar Coelho. At first the Emperor was favorably disposed towards Christianity. This changed later because of Christianity's attitude toward polygamy.
·      May 1, 1572. At Rome, Pope St. Pius V dies. His decree imposing Choir on the Society was cancelled by his successor, Gregory XIII.
·      May 2, 1706. The death of Jesuit brother G J Kamel. The camellia flower is named after him.
·      May 3, 1945. American troops take over Innsbruck, Austria. Theology studies at the Canisianum resume a few months later.
·      May 4, 1902. The death of Charles Sommervogel, historian of the Society and editor of the bibliography of all publications of the Jesuits from the beginnings of the Society onward.
·      May 5, 1782. At Coimbra, Sebastian Carvahlo, Marquis de Pombal, a cruel persecutor of the Society in Portugal, died in disgrace and exile. His body remained unburied fifty years, till Father Philip Delvaux performed the last rites in 1832.

·      May 6, 1816. Letter of John Adams to Thomas Jefferson mentioning the Jesuits. "If any congregation of men could merit eternal perdition on earth and in hell, it is the company of Loyola."

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