Thursday, April 21, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

First Reading: Acts 13:13-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27
Gospel: John 13:16-20

Saint Anselm, bishop and doctor - Optional Memorial

The Luminous Mystery

First Reading:  Acts 13:13-25

Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia

13 Now when Paul and they that were with him had sailed from Paphos, they came to Perge in Pamphylia. And John departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.

14 But they passing through Perge, came to Antioch in Pisidia: and entering into the synagogue on the sabbath day, they sat down.

15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying: Ye men, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to make to the people, speak.

16 Then Paul rising up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Ye men of Israel, and you that fear God, give ear.

17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they were sojourners in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought them out from thence,

18 And for the space of forty years endured their manners in the desert.

19 And destroying seven nations in the land of Chanaan, divided their land among them, by lot,

20 As it were, after four hundred and fifty years: and after these things, he gave unto them judges, until Samuel the prophet.

21 And after that they desired a king: and God gave them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years.

22 And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king: to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills.

23 Of this man's seed God according to his promise, hath raised up to Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

24 John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel.

25 And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: I am not he, whom you think me to be: but behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27

God’s Covenant with David

2 The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever. I will shew forth thy truth with my mouth to generation and generation.

3 For thou hast said: Mercy shall be built up for ever in the heavens: thy truth shall be prepared in them.

21 I have found David my servant: with my holy oil I have anointed him.

22 For my hand shall help him: and my arm shall strengthen him.

25 And my truth and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

27 He shall cry out to me: Thou art my father: my God, and the support of my salvation.

Gospel: John 13:16-20

16 Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him.

17 If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them.

18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen. But that the scripture may be fulfilled: He that eateth bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me.

19 At present I tell you, before it come to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe that I am he.

20 Amen, amen I say to you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.

"The one who receives me"

How do you treat those who cause you grief or harm, especially those who are close to you in some way? In his last supper discourse, Jesus addressed the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships. Jesus knew beforehand that one of his own disciples would betray him. Such knowledge could have easily led Jesus to distance himself from such a person and to protect himself from harm's way. Instead, Jesus expresses his love, affection, and loyalty to those who were his own, even to the one he knew would "stab him in the back" when he got the opportunity. Jesus used a quotation from Psalm 4:9 which describes an act of treachery by one's closest friend. In the culture of Jesus' day, to eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust. Jesus extends such friendship to Judas right at the moment when Judas is conspiring to betray his master. The expression lift his heel against me reinforces the brute nature of this act of violent rejection.

Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness to them even to death on the cross. Through his death and resurrection Jesus opened a new way of relationship and friendship with God. Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father who sent him. This principle extends to all who belong to Christ and who speak in his name. To accept the Lord's messenger is to accept Jesus himself. The great honor and the great responsibility a Christian has is to stand in the world for Jesus Christ. As his disciples and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we are called to speak for him and to act on his behalf.  Are you ready to stand for Jesus at the cross of humiliation, rejection, opposition, and suffering?

"Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus our Lord." (Prayer of Saint Augustine)

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

I have often felt blessed to come from a family of storytellers. Family history was strongly emphasized during my formative years, especially by my mother. I am a member of a “tribe” of Carneys and Barretts; I was born into a story whose history long predates me. Even today I can recite some of the classic “stories” of my family’s history – my father’s Irish and Hungarian ancestors settling in Idaho; my grandfathers’ premature deaths; my mother’s memories of Civil Rights-era New Orleans and her Coke with Elvis Presley. Given the historical memories that shaped my youth, it is perhaps not surprising that I ended up pursuing a Ph.D. on the history of the church!

Today’s first reading reminds us that the narrative arc of our own Christian story goes way back. Our first reading gives us Paul’s opening speech in Acts. It is revealing that Paul’s first words do not concern Jesus himself, but rather the classic story of Israel’s salvation history – God’s liberation of Israel from Egyptian slavery; God’s gifts of the Promised Land, Judges, Samuel, Saul and David; and the final preparatory ministry of John the Baptist. Even Jesus the Savior enters the world as a part of a much larger story; Jesus’s story only makes sense in light of the larger narrative arc of God’s saving work with Israel. John’s gospel today echoes this theme of fulfillment. Jesus’s betrayal is foretold in the Psalms, and his exalted identity as I AM unmistakably echoes YHWH’s famous revelation to Moses in Exodus 3:14.

In the modern world it is easy to see ourselves as “inventors” of our identities. The future is ours for the making; the past and tradition are dispensable. But as Christians we are “not our own creators.” As Paul himself famously said to a small group of Jews and Gentiles in Rome, we are “grafted” onto the story of Israel and God’s saving work in Jesus (Romans 11). This Easter season, let us recall with gratitude our insertion into the rich family history of this ancient Judeo-Christian tribe.

by Jay Carney
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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