There has always been a diverse group of personalities at table with the Lord. At this time in history, you and I now are present. We, like the apostles, are unreliable and weak and afraid. We are inconstant in our devotion to our Lord. We deny him, we betray him. But Jesus is I Am. He is constant.
–from Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life Afflictions of Humanity
✞ "If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor." — St. Charles Borromeo
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "My Jesus, it is truly easy to become holy; it just takes a little good will! And if He finds this minimum of good will in a soul, He quickly gives Himself to her. And nothing can stop Him, neither our faults nor our falls, absolutely nothing. Jesus hurries to help that soul; and if the soul is faithful to this grace from God, she can in a short time reach the highest levels of holiness that a created being can attain here below. God is very generous and does not refuse His grace to anyone. He gives even more than we ask for. The shortest road is faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit." — St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p.142 AN EXCERPT FROM Diary of St. Faustina
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b
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St. Florian (C. 250-304 A.D.) was a commander in the Roman army serving in modern-day Austria. He served during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, who violently persecuted Christians. Among Florian's military duties was the organization of firefighting brigades. St. Florian was secretly a Christian and was known for miraculously saving a town from being destroyed by fire; after praying to God for help, he threw a single bucket of water on the blaze and extinguished it. Word reached the Emperor that Florian was not enforcing the ban against Christianity in his territory. He was put under investigation and was discovered to be a Christian. In one account, it was for refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods; in another, for refusing to execute a group of Christians. He was then condemned to be tortured and executed for his Christian faith. Refusing to recant, St. Florian was then flayed alive, scourged, and martyred by being dumped in the river with a millstone attached to his body. His body was later recovered and today his relics rest at a church named for him in Kraków, Poland. St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters, chimney-sweeps, brewers, drowning victims, Austria, Poland, and against floods, fires, and battles. St. Florian's feast day is May 4th.
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 8:26-40
The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, "Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route." So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, "Go and join up with that chariot." Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" He replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. This was the Scripture passage he was reading:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth.
Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, "I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?" Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?" Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing. Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20 R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia. Bless our God, you peoples, loudly sound his praise; He has given life to our souls, and has not let our feet slip. R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia. Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me. When I appealed to him in words, praise was on the tip of my tongue. R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia. Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer or his kindness! R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 6:51 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
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."
You may be surprised to learn that you have a lot in common with the Ethiopian official in today's first reading. You're both in the midst of a faith journey. Since embarking on this journey, you have traveled many miles, and many miles still lie ahead. Maybe, like this fellow, you've been wrestling with a problem that you don't know how to solve. You have found yourself becoming confused, even frustrated. You, too, can lift up your eyes and discover that you're not alone!
Yes, someone has been sent to run alongside you. This person is ready to jump into your chariot to guide you. Just as Philip pointed the Ethiopian to Jesus, this person wants to open your eyes. He wants you to see Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away your sins. He wants to convince you that Jesus has prepared a place for you in heaven. He wants to show you that Jesus loves you unreservedly. And just as Philip baptized the Ethiopian, this person wants to wash you clean from the dust of anxiety and self-concern.
Have you guessed who this person is yet? It is the Holy Spirit! Every day, the Spirit invites you to slow down your chariot, even if it's only for a few minutes, and welcome his company. It's not as hard or mysterious as it may seem. Just back away from whatever you are doing, and close your eyes. Take a few long, deep breaths. Then, focus on a Scripture passage (like today's first reading, perhaps), and see what comes to your mind. If the thoughts are encouraging, comforting, or hope-filled, that's probably the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Write them down, and keep them with you to look at throughout the day.
If only discouraging, fretful, or resentful thoughts come up, don't despair. Just turn back to the Scripture passage, and try again. Over time, you'll be able to identify the Spirit's voice and his promptings—and you'll begin to sense God's presence in your life.
So instead of trying to power through your day on your own, take a cue from this Ethiopian official. Slow down your chariot! Invite the Holy Spirit in. Imagine him sitting beside you and speaking to you. Let him be the wise and trustworthy guide you need.
"Holy Spirit, thank you for coming to live in me."
Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20 John 6:44-51
my2cents: The one sent by the Holy Spirit in the first Holy Scripture was Philip, and the one being taught and receiving the Holy Spirit was the eunuch. The eunuch was diving into scripture, trying to figure it out on his own, and couldn't. Today, the Holy Spirit is the Holy Catholic Church. You can not understand the bible without the Holy Catholic Church, because the Holy Catholic Church wrote the bible. You want to understand? Don't just depend on scripture, depend on the Holy Spirit. Here, in the Holy Catholic Church, we have two liturgies in the Holy Mass, the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist, the bread turned into the Body of Christ since Jesus said "DO THIS" until I return.
We prayed today " Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. Bless our God, you peoples, loudly sound his praise; He has given life to our souls, and has not let our feet slip." And the life He has given is His precious body. Receiving Him causes joy, the kind of joy that makes you want to cry out, and loudly sound His praise, if we have life, we have a soul, and if we have a soul, it is to glorify God.
In comes the Lord of our lives: ""No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him". You have been drawn. The Lord draws. The eunuch was drawn. My prayer for the lost souls if for them to be drawn to the Lord. And then He feeds those drawn to Him "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." 3 times the Lord our God says if you eat of Him you will not die. I've lost several loved ones, family members, within this last year and tomorrow we have a funeral for an aunt. My last memory of her is seeing her in a wedding Mass for her son the weekend before last. She ate of this bread and will not die. All my relatives ate of this bread, at one point of their lives. Is one piece enough? God knows. I invite you then to eat this bread daily, not the bible alone, but the real actual BREAD OF LIFE. Yesterday as I took my boy to CCD, before dropping him off at church, I was telling him "after CCD meet me for Mass...because there is the most important part of our lives...Jesus...there is nothing more important, NOTHING!". But I don't know if it registered. During Mass he just fiddled all the time, seemingly not paying attention. I kept asking him to sit up and pray. When we got home, I asked him several times to do his homework, and he kept putting it off and I looked at him intently, "Do it!". One moment he asked for a pencil, and another moment he was playing again. "Boy! I'm about to punish you!". "But I already did my homework!" I said give it to me to check it. Sure enough, most answers were wrong. He had rushed through it so he could get back to playing.
What message is this for us? Don't be distracted. The boy is a reflection of me being distracted. I have to set the example. So often we look around to see if others are paying attention, but it is me not paying attention. But when I'm looking around, I'm looking for signs of hope. I'm looking to see how and if you are praying. I'm looking for someone to explain and lead. I am the eunuch. I need God to show the way. Because, like my boy, we are just so ready to get back to doing what we like to do. And my prayers for those in my world, "how I wish you would come and eat this Bread of Life". Stop fidgeting. Stop being anxious. Stop and reflect on His Word like the eunuch Stop and receive the Holy Spirit, ask Him to join Philip disappears, Jesus disappears, and who appears? You, now it's your turn to be the Holy Spirit. Welcome to Easter as we lead to Pentecost!