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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Never Walking Alone. Third Sunday of Easter 2020

   Never Walking Alone.

Third Sunday of Easter 2020

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April 26, 2020

Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35



Peter’s bold words in Jerusalem must have shocked the Jewish authorities and empowered the followers of Jesus. It is always a good idea to tell the truth, and it is best not to do it in a violent way. Peter masters this reality when he plainly states that the Jewish religious leaders put Jesus to death through lawless men, and yet his intent is not to shame, but to allow the Jews right away to listen and observe what God was doing right before them. The life of Jesus was according to God’s plan and Jesus was obedient to his mission. For this purpose, God vindicated Jesus, found him blameless, and raised him from the dead, releasing him from the throes of death. This is the statement I like: It was impossible for Jesus to be held by the power of death.


I can’t help but wonder what God was feeling when Jesus was condemned to death and was crucified. The power of God’s feelings and his love for Jesus was able to raise him from death. The world could not have the ultimate power over him as he proved himself to be faithful to God’s mission and as he allowed God’s power to be worked through him, but he raised him to life for our benefit so that we may see the strength of God’s love, a love that can penetrate beyond the walls of death. Death is no longer an obstacle. That means for us that we can know God’s love extends to us and to our loved ones, living or deceased, and that we, like Jesus, can live in right relations with God.


Truth-telling is an important part of Christian life, and it is also an art that we have to learn to master. Jesus shows us how to tell that truth as he meets up with the dejected disciples on their way to Emmaus. He joins them where they are. He does not walk faster or slower than they, and he paces himself with his words so that the disciples can grasp the truth he is revealing. Most of the time, Jesus is simply walking with them along the road, at their pace, as he listens, and then respectfully speaks. He does not force, argue, confront, but simply paces himself, and then he lets his actions speak more clearly than any words can do.


A lesson in this is that Jesus is going to walk with us at our own pace. He won’t lag behind; he won’t be remote or out of view. Our eyes may be clouded for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean he is not with us. We may not see him at all times and we may wonder about God’s presence during times like these with the COVID-19 crisis. Especially in our throes of suffering and the possibility of death, we wonder if God is there, and why God permits such senseless distress. God raised Jesus because of his magnanimous love for him, and for us, and Jesus wants to explain that to us, in ways and times that we can understand. We just have to know that we are not walking alone and that we will meet Jesus on the way. When that happens, our hearts will burn with desire because we will know for certain that God is by our side.


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 28: Peter Chanel, priest, missionary, martyr (1803-1841), is the first martyr of the Pacific South Seas. Originally a parish priest in rural eastern France, he joined the Society of Mary (Marists) to become a missionary in 1831 after a five-year stint teaching in the seminary. At first the missionaries were well-received in the New Hebrides and other Pacific island nations as they recently outlawed cannibalism. The growth of white influence placed Chanel under suspicion, which led to an attack on the missionaries. When the king’s son wanted to be baptized, his anger erupted and Peter was clubbed to death in protest. 


April 28: Louis of Montfort, priest (1673-1716), dedicated his life to the care of the poor and the sick as a hospital chaplain in Poitiers, France. He angered the public and the administration when he tried to organize the hospital women's workers into a religious organization. He was let go. He went to Rome where the pope gave him the title "missionary apostolic" so he could preach missions that promoted a Marian and Rosary-based spirituality. He formed the "Priests of the Company of Mary" and the "Daughters of Wisdom."


April 29: Catherine of Siena, mystic and doctor of the Church (1347-1380), was the 24th of 25th children. At an early age, she had visions of guardian angels and the saints. She became a Third-Order Dominican and persuaded the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon in 1377. She died at age 33 after receiving the stigmata.


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.


This Week in Jesuit History


·      Apr 26, 1935. Lumen Vitae, center for catechetics and religious formation was founded in Brussels.

·      Apr 27, 1880. On the occasion of the visit of Jules Ferry, French minister of education, to Amiens, France, shouts were raised under the Jesuit College windows: "Les Jesuites a la guillotine."

·      Apr 28, 1542. St Ignatius sent Pedro Ribadeneira, aged fifteen, from Rome to Paris for his studies. Pedro had been admitted into the Society in l539 or l540.

·      Apr 29, 1933. Thomas Ewing Sherman died in New Orleans. An orator on the mission band, he was the son of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. He suffered a breakdown, and wanted to leave the Society, but was refused because of his ill health. Before his death he renewed his vows in the Society.

·      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.

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