4/23/20 2nd week of Easter
Daily Readings Acts 5:27-33 Psalms 34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20 John 20:29 John 3:31-36 Acts 5:27-33 When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders did we not, to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death. Psalms 34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20 R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor. or: R. Alleluia. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. or: R. Alleluia. The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. or: R. Alleluia. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. or: R. Alleluia. John 20:29 R. Alleluia, alleluia. You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe! R. Alleluia, alleluia. John 3:31-36 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
I was the only teenager at the table full of well-dressed adults, the youth representative on an important committee to hire a new church music minister. The elegant lady across the table, a regular at the country club where we were dining, leaned conspiratorially toward me and urged me to order the peppermint ice cream for dessert. “You’ll never look back,” she said. I took her word for it, and she was right. It was the creamiest, most delicious ice cream I’d ever had. Since then, I order it every time it is available. Since it’s often a seasonal thing, when the holidays approach, I stalk the grocery store aisle, longing for it to appear in the freezer section. Tasting that ice cream was life-changing.
When Saints Peter and the Apostles appear before the Sanhedrin in today’s reading from Acts 5, the high priest confronts them for teaching in Jesus’ name against his prior, strict instructions. Yet Peter and the other Apostles can’t help themselves—they’ve experienced Jesus. They’ve walked with Him, eaten with Him, and seen His miracles. Being with Him has totally transformed their lives. They have to talk about Him. They have to share Him with the world. They are His witnesses, and their mission is to spread the news about Him everywhere they can.
Our experience of Christ can be like that, too.
What if we take the Psalmist’s invitation to “taste and see how good the Lord is” (Psalm 34:9) and find ourselves in the middle of a life-changing encounter, the most tantalizing experience imaginable?
Jesus seeks out each one of us, invites us to come to Him, longs for each one of us to be in relationship with Him. We can talk to Him any time we want. He wants to be with us. The more closely we follow Him, the more we will long for His presence, and the more He will change our hearts to be like His.
(Credit: Blessed Is She Devotionals)
Saint of the Day |
ST. GEORGE, MARTYR
Few saints can boast a cult as widespread and popular as that of St George, knight, and martyr of Christ, who lived between the third and fourth centuries. He is patron of many churches, as well as many countries and regions of the world. Both East and West keep his feast on April 23.
Catholicism Around the World |
Vatican City, Apr 22, 2020 / 06:30 am MT (CNA).- Commenting on the celebration of Earth Day during his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis urged people to show solidarity with the weak and vulnerable and to protect humanity’s common home.
According to Pope Francis, Earth Day “is an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family.”
“As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst,” the pope said April 22.
He called for a renewed sense “of sacred respect for the earth, for it is not just our home but also God’s home,” adding that “this should make us all the more aware that we stand on holy ground.”
“In this Easter season of renewal, let us pledge to love and esteem the beautiful gift of the earth, our common home, and to care for all members of our human family,” Francis urged.
Educational Fact |
Most Protestants claim that Mary bore children other than Jesus. To support their claim, these Protestants refer to the biblical passages which mention the “brethren of the Lord.” As explained in the Catholic Answers tract Brethren of the Lord, neither the Gospel accounts nor the early Christians attest to the notion that Mary bore other children besides Jesus. The faithful knew, through the witness of Scripture and Tradition, that Jesus was Mary’s only child and that she remained a lifelong virgin.
An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.
According to the world-renowned patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten: “The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).
To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.
However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).
According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.
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Fun Fact |
The Catholic Church spends more money than Apple brings in. Expenditures by the Catholic Church, largely on charity, exceeded $170 billion in 2012, according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in revenue.
Prayer for Healing – O God who are the only source of health and healing, the spirit of calm and the central peace of this universe, grant to me such a consciousness of your indwelling and surrounding presence that I may permit you to give me health and strength and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Have a blessed day!