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Alleluia See Rv 1:5ab

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
    the firstborn of the dead,
    you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 13:16-20

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Gospel Jn 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

**

“It is amazing how religion has turned this biblical idea of faith around to mean the exact opposite: into a need and even a right to certain knowing, complete predictability, and perfect assurance about whom God likes and whom God does not like. It seems we think we can have the Infinite Mystery of God in our quite finite pocket. We know what God is going to say or do next, because we think our particular denomination has it all figured out. In this schema, God is no longer free but must follow our rules and our theology. If God is not infinitely free, we are in trouble, because every time God forgives or shows mercy, God is breaking God’s own rules and showing shocking (but merciful) freedom and inconsistency!” Richard Rohr

St. Peter Chanel

Lived: (1803-1841) | Feast Day: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Anyone who has worked in loneliness, with great adaptation required and with little apparent success, will find a kindred spirit in Peter Chanel.As a young priest he revived a parish in a “bad” district by the simple method of showing great devotion to the sick. Wanting to be a missionary, he joined the Society of Mary (Marists) at 28. Obediently, he taught in the seminary for five years. Then, as superior of seven Marists, he traveled to Western Oceania where he was entrusted with an apostolic vicariate (term for a region that may later become a diocese). The bishop accompanying the missionaries left Peter and a brother on Futuna Island in the New Hebrides, promising to return in six months. He was gone five years.

Meanwhile, Pedro struggled with this new language and mastered it, making the difficult adjustment to life with whalers, traders and warring natives. Despite little apparent success and severe want, he maintained a serene and gentle spirit and endless patience and courage. A few natives had been baptized, a few more were being instructed. When the chieftain’s son asked to be baptized, persecution by the chieftain reached a climax. Father Chanel was clubbed to death, his body cut to pieces.

Within two years after his death, the whole island became Catholic and has remained so. Peter Chanel is the first martyr of Oceania and its patron.

Comment:
Suffering for Christ means suffering because we are like Christ. Very often the opposition we meet is the result of our own selfishness or imprudence. We are not martyrs when we are “persecuted” by those who merely treat us as we treat them. A Christian martyr is one who, like Christ, is simply a witness to God’s love, and brings out of human hearts the good or evil that is already there.
Quote:
“No one is a martyr for a conclusion, no one is a martyr for an opinion; it is faith that makes martyrs” (Cardinal Newman, Discourses to Mixed Congregations).

**

Writing, Opening a Deep Well – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Writing is not just jotting down ideas.  Often we say:  “I don’t know what to write.  I have no thoughts worth writing down.”  But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself.  As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.

One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.

For further reflection …

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you were taught.” – Luke 1: 1-4 (NIV)

Writing to Save the Day – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be “redeemed” by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.

For further reflection …

“This is the one who testifies to these things and who wrote them down.  We know that his testimony is true.  Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21: 24-25 (NIV)

Reading 1 Acts 4:8-12

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29

  1. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
    It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
    It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.
    R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
    The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
    By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
    R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
    we bless you from the house of the LORD.
    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his kindness endures forever.
    R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Jn 3:1-2

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

Alleluia Jn 10:14

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
    I know my sheep, and mine know me.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 10:11-18

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”

Alleluia Jn 6:56

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
    remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast. —St. Philip Neri

-from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics

**

Being Sent Into the World – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Each of us has a mission in life.  Jesus prays to his Father for his followers, saying:  “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).

We seldom realise fully that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks.  We act as if we have to choose how, where, and with whom to live.  We act as if we were simply plopped down in creation and have to decide how to entertain ourselves until we die.   But we were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was.  Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do.

For further reflection …

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.  They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.  It shall not fear when heat comes; and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17: 7,8 (NRSV)

**

St. George

Lived: d. c. 303 | Feast Day: Thursday, April 23, 2015

If Mary Magdalene was the victim of misunderstanding, George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life.That he was willing to pay the supreme price to follow Christ is what the Church believes. And it is enough.

The story of George’s slaying the dragon, rescuing the king’s daughter and converting Libya is a 12th-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Catalonia, Genoa and Venice.

Comment:
Human nature seems to crave more than cold historical data. Americans have Washington and Lincoln, but we somehow need Paul Bunyan, too. The life of St. Francis of Assisi is inspiring enough, but for centuries the Italians have found his spirit in the legends of the Fioretti, too. Santa Claus is the popular extension of the spirit of St. Nicholas. The legends about St. George are part of this yearning. Both fact and legend are human ways of illumining the mysterious truth about the One who alone is holy.
Quote:
“When we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for seeking the city which is to come” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 50).**

Gospel Jn 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

**

St. Adalbert of Prague

Lived: (956-997) | Feast Day: Thursday, April 23, 2015

Opposition to the Good News of Jesus did not discourage Adalbert, who is now remembered with great honor in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Germany.Born to a noble family in Bohemia, he received part of his education from St. Adalbert of Magdeburg. At the age of 27 he was chosen as bishop of Prague. Those who resisted his program of clerical reform forced him into exile eight years later.

In time, the people of Prague requested his return as their bishop. Within a short time, however, he was exiled again after excommunicating those who violated the right of sanctuary by dragging a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her.

After a short ministry in Hungary, he went to preach the Good News to people living near the Baltic Sea. He and two companions were martyred by pagan priests in that region. Adalbert’s body was immediately ransomed and buried in Gniezno cathedral (Poland). In the mid-11th century his relics were moved to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

Comment:
Preaching the Good News can be dangerous work whether the audience is already baptized or not. Adalbert fearlessly preached Jesus’ gospel and received a martyr’s crown for his efforts. Similar zeal has created modern martyrs in many places, especially in Central and South America. Some of those martyrs grew up in areas once evangelized by Adalbert.

 

Quote:
“O God, [you] bestowed the crown of martyrdom on the Bishop St. Adalbert, as he burned with zeal for for souls, grant, we pray, by his prayers, that the obedience of his flock may never fail the shephered, nor the care of the shepherd be ever lacking to the flock.” (Roman Missal, Common of a Martyr in the Easter season).

Ordering Our Desires – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Desire is often talked about as something we ought to overcome.  Still, being is desiring:  our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of desires.  Some are unruly, turbulent, and very distracting; some make us think deep thoughts and see great visions; some teach us how to love; and some keep us searching for God.   Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires.  Otherwise our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls become one another’s enemies and our inner lives become chaotic, leading us to despair and self-destruction.

Spiritual disciplines are not ways to eradicate all our desires but ways to order them so that they can serve one another and together serve God.

For further reflection …

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.” – Psalm 37: 4-5 (NIV)

**

Healing Contradictions by Henri Nouwen

The many contradictions in our lives – such as being home while feeling homeless, being busy while feeling bored, being popular while feeling lonely, being believers while feeling many doubts –  can frustrate, irritate, and even discourage us.  They make us feel that we are never fully present.  Every door that opens for us makes us see how many more doors are closed.

But there is another response.  These same contradictions can bring us into touch with a deeper longing, for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy.  Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.
**

Gospel Jn 6:22-29

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

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