Saturday, April 23, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

First Reading: Acts 13:44-52
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 98:1-4
Gospel: John 14:7-14

Saint George, martyr - Optional Memorial

The Joyful Mysteries

First Reading:  Acts 13:44-52

44 But the next sabbath day, the whole city almost came together, to hear the word of God.

45 And the Jews seeing the multitudes, were filled with envy, and contradicted those things which were said by Paul, blaspheming.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas said boldly: To you it behoved us first to speak the word of God: but because you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we turn to the Gentiles.

47 For so the Lord hath commanded us: I have set thee to be the light of the Gentiles; that thou mayest be for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth.

48 And the Gentiles hearing it, were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to life everlasting, believed.

49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout the whole country.

50 But the Jews stirred up religious and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas: and cast them out of their coasts.

51 But they, shaking off the dust of their feet against them, came to Iconium.

52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 98:1-4

Praise the Judge of the World

A psalm for David himself. Sing ye to the Lord anew canticle: because he hath done wonderful things. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation, and his arm is holy.

2 The Lord hath made known his salvation: he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles.

3 He hath remembered his mercy his truth toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4 Sing joyfully to God, all the earth; make melody, rejoice and sing.

Gospel: John 14:7-14

7 If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also: and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him.

8 Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us.

9 Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, shew us the Father?

10 Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works.

11 Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?

12 Otherwise believe for the very works' sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.

13 Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If you shall ask me any thing in my name, that I will do.

"Lord, show us the Father"

What's the greatest thing we can aim for in this life? - To know God. What is the best thing we can possess in this life, bringing more joy, contentment, and happiness, than anything else? - Knowledge of God. Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me" (Jeremiah 9:23-24). One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal knowledge of God as our Father.

Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God - a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God - a God who loves us unconditionally - without reservation, unselfishly - for our sake and not his, and perfectly - without neglecting or forgetting us even for a brief moment. Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:9,11; Luke 11:2-3).  Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?

"Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with God our Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may know and glorify him always."

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

Our readings today bring us reminders of what a Christian life looks like in daily life.

Our first reading from Acts recounts the events of Paul and Barnabas’ efforts to share the “word of the Lord” with the Jews and Gentiles.  The two encountered setbacks and received resistance from the Jews and positive feedback from the Gentiles.  Even though the Jews essentially kick them out of the area, we are told, “the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” 

What?!  Did I read that right? They were joyful, despite these big setbacks, these failed attempts at evangelization?!  I admit I had to reread the passage a few times and reflect on this contradiction.  It is hard enough for us to accept suffering, let alone rejoice amidst rejection and persecution.  And yet, isn’t that the dynamic of being a Christian, of experiencing the joys, challenges and struggles of living the Paschal Mystery, of following the crucified and resurrected Christ?  God doesn’t promise us smooth, easy and comforting pathways, right?  I sure do find myself wishing and hoping for an easier or smoother pathway at times, I admit.  The lasting joy is really in that profound lesson that we often suffer for living a Christian life and proclaiming the message of life and love in our words and actions.  Paul and Barnabas remind us that suffering is not easy and that it’s not the end of the story, the final note.  Through suffering and death, we come to new life, abundant life in Christ.  And, Paul and Barnabas teach us that when our words and actions for Christ are met with resistance, heartache or violence, we are to respond with the Gospel message of peace, hope and joy.  These are all parts of the Christian life!

In our Gospel reading from John today, we are reminded that knowing God, through Jesus, is an invitation of ours.  God is not a distant being, but one who is accessible and invites us to an intimate relationship, through his son.  Isn’t it evident when a person knows God and knows Jesus intimately?  They exude a sort of depth, peace, and compassion that one who lacks that intimacy doesn’t demonstrate.  Knowing God, knowing Jesus, or knowing anyone, really, doesn’t mean there’s simply an intellectual understanding, but also a deep, personal experience of the presence of the person. 

I believe it’s a little bit like how I know my daughter, who is two and a half years old.  I can honestly say that I know her well from spending time with her, listening to her, interacting with her, learning how she operates, etc.  As her mother, I know when something’s not right; I know with pretty good accuracy her preferences, too.  And, that is not the same as knowing, on an intellectual level, the developmental milestones of a toddler from reading parenting books and articles. 

God and Jesus want that same intimacy for us – to know them well and deeply, such as through heartfelt conversation and prayer, receiving the sacraments, by listening.  Let us accept that invitation for intimacy, each day, with more depth and enthusiasm.  That will strengthen our resolve to be joyful and filled with the Spirit despite the persecution and hardships of daily life in our Christian faith.

by Colleen Chiacchere
Creighton University's Education 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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