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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Breath of Jesus. Second Sunday of Easter 2020

   The Breath of Jesus.
Second Sunday of Easter 2020
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April 19, 2020
Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

We can relate to the situation of the disciples in both the Gospel and the First Reading. In the Gospel, the friends of Jesus are locked indoors for fear of the religious authorities, and we are locked indoors, almost paralyzed, for fear of an invisible virus. The First Readings shows the Christian community gathered together, sharing bread, telling stories, and praying for the needs of everyone. It is much like those of us who cannot attend church, having found inventive ways to pray, and we spend more time cooking for others and breaking bread together once again, and as we do so, we find blessings hidden and revealed in previous unseen places.

When we have fear and when we are physically isolated from others and cannot stay connected, we can get agitated, feel a sense of dread, get angry and express it in the wrong ways, or feel a foreboding sense of gloom, especially when the future seems unknown. Jesus gives us a model of what to do when we are feeling this fear: We are to breathe. We breathe while knowing that it is not just our breathing in the air around us. We are breathing in the peace that Jesus gives us to take away any fear we have. He does this on the day of the Resurrection to help his friends collect themselves and to realize they are not alone. After they are calm, they can figure out how best to proceed in this new reality.

And like the disciples, there is always one among us who does not want to go along with the program. For the disciples, Thomas did not meet up with them the first night because he could not belief the news reports. It made no sense to him and he was trusting other sources of information. Likewise, we know people who are basing their decisions upon different sources. They are not in step with the community and they can be obstacles to wholeness because they trust in their own news sources and conclusions. We have no way of reaching them. Fortunately, Thomas came back to the community and once Jesus breathed upon him, he was able to be reconciled to Jesus and to the community.

Therefore, during this time of crisis, let us return to these breaths, to do deep breathing exercises four or five times throughout the day until it is a habit that is integrated into our regular day. We are able to breathe in the peace Jesus wants us to have so that we can make sound decisions, so we can speak and act well. We are able to breathe in the calmness that allows us to hear the stories of others so that we are filled with compassion and understanding. We are able to breathe in the wisdom that gives us patient endurance as we learn to trust more fully in God. We are able to breathe in the presence of Jesus in a time when we cannot receive him sacramentally but that we dig deep into our soul to come to greater belief. We are at peace when we receive Jesus. We believe.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading:
Monday: (Acts 4) Peter and John return to their people after being released from the religious authorities. They prayed about their ordeal and the whole house shook and all were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday: (Acts 4) The community of believers was of one heart and mind and together they bore witness to the Resurrection. Joseph, called Barnabas, sold a property and give money to the Apostles.

Wednesday: (Acts 5) The high priest with the Sadducees jailed the Apostles but during the night the Lord opened the prison doors and the Apostles returned to the Temple area to preach.

Thursday: (Acts 5) The Apostles were brought forth again during their arrest and they were reminded that they were forbidden to preach. Peter said on behalf of the Apostles that they are to obey God, and not men. 

Friday (Acts 5) Gamaliel, the Pharisee, urges wisdom for the Sanhedrin declaring that if this is of God, it cannot be stopped, but if it is of men, it will certainly die out.

Saturday (Acts 6) The number of disciples grew. The Hellenists complained to the Hebrews that their widows were being neglected. The Twelve decided it was right to select seven reputable men (deacons) to take care of the daily distribution while they continued with prayer and the ministry of the word. Meanwhile the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly. Even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Monday: (John 3) Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews comes to Jesus wondering about where he is able to do the great miracles and teachings. He tries to understand.

Tuesday: (John 3) Jesus answered Nicodemus saying, “you must be born from above” to accept this testimony.

Wednesday (John 3) God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him.

Thursday (John 3) Jesus explains that he was come from above and speaks of the things that are from above. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.

Friday (John 6) Near a Passover feast, Jesus miraculously feeds the hungry crowds as a good shepherd would. He reminds the people that the actions in his earthly life were precursors of the meal that they are to share. They are to eat his body and drink his blood. 

Saturday (John 6) Jesus then departs to the other side of the sea. When a storm picks up, he walks on the turbulent waves and instructs them not to be afraid. He is with them. He has power over the natural and supernatural world.

Saints of the Week

April 21: Anselm, bishop and doctor (1033-1109), was a monastic abbot in Normandy who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093 after the Norman conquest of England in 1066 when the English hierarchy was displaced. Church-state relations peppered his term, but he became known to the church because of his theological and philosophical treatises, mostly for his assertion about the existence of God – an idea greater than that which no other idea can be thought. His method of theology is summed up in “faith seeking understanding.”

April 22: Jesuits honor Mary as the Mother of the Society of Jesus. In the Gesu church in Rome, a painting of Our Lady of the Way (Maria della Strada) is portrayed to represent Jesuit spirituality. Mary had been a central figure to Ignatius’s spirituality. In 1541, seven months after papal approval of the Jesuit Order and two weeks after his election as the first general, Ignatius celebrated Mass at Our Lady’s altar in the basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome.

April 23: George, martyr (d. 303), was killed in Lydda, Palestine. He may have been a Roman soldier who organized a Christian community in what is now Iran (Urmiah). He became part of the Middle Ages imagination for his ideal of Christian chivalry and is thought to have slain a dragon. He was sent to Britain on an imperial expedition. He became the patron of England (and of Crusaders) and the nation adopted George’s Arms, a red cross on a white background, which is still part of the British flag.

April 23: Adalbert, bishop and martyr (956-997), was Bohemian-born who was consecrated bishop of Prague amidst fierce political opposition. He was exiled and became a Benedictine monk in Rome that he used as a base to preach missions in Poland, Prussia, Hungary, and Russia. He is named the "Apostle to the Slavs." He was killed in Gdansk, Poland.

          April 24: Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest and martyr (1578-1622), was a canon lawyer from Swabia, Germany who became a Capuchin Franciscan  in Switzerland in 1612. Prior to priesthood, he tutored nobles in France, Italy and Spain and helped interpret legislation that served the poor. He was known as the "lawyer for the poor." He was later appointed to the challenging task of preaching to the Protestants in Switzerland, where he was killed for being an agent for the king. He was the head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in anti-Catholic hostilities. He was accused of being the king's political agent and was assaulted and killed.

April 25: Mark, the Evangelist is the author of the earliest Gospel and is associated with Peter whom he heard preach. Mark was a member of the first Christian community in Jerusalem and his mother owned a house in the city that was used as a place of prayer during Peter's imprisonment under Herod Agrippa I. He was originally a companion of Paul and Barnabas having traveled with them back to Antioch in Syria. Later, they brought him along as their assistant on a missionary journey. He is associated with Peter’s ministry later in life. He was sent to Alexandria and formed a church that is now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Apr 19, 1602. At Tyburn, Ven. James Ducket, a layman, suffered death for publishing a work written by Robert Southwell.
·      Apr 20, 1864. Father Peter de Smet left St Louis to evangelize the Sioux Indians.
·      Apr 21, 1926. Fr. General Ledochowski sent out a letter De Usu Machinae Photographicae. It stated that cameras should belong to the house, not the individual. Further, they should not be used for recreation or time spent on trifles rather than for the greater glory of God.
·      Apr 22, 1541. Ignatius and his first companions made their solemn profession of vows in the basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls.
·      Apr 23, 1644. A General Chapter of the Benedictines condemned the calumny that St Ignatius was not the real author of the Spiritual Exercises. A monk had earlier claimed that the content was borrowed from a work by Garzia Cisneros.
·      Apr 24, 1589. At Bordeaux, the Society was ordered to leave the city. It had been falsely accused of favoring the faction that was opposed to King Henry III.
·      Apr 25, 1915. Pierre Rousselot, Professor at the Institute Catholique in Paris, is wounded and taken prisoner during World War I.

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