O God, who gives your missionaries the zeal to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations, give us the desire to advance your kingdom wherever we may be. May we share a deep desire to show you more clearly to others, to love you more dearly in others, and to follow you more closely in all that we do each day of our lives. Amen.
–from the book Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions
✞ What great faith our Lord Jesus Christ asks of us—and how just that is. Do we not owe him such faith? It looks impossible to us, but Jesus is Master of the impossible." — Blessed Charles de Foucauld
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Beloved brothers and sisters, we must strive with all our strength to repel the enemy of our soul, with full attention and vigilence, as he rages and aims his darts against every part of us that can be assaulted and wounded. This is what the Apostle Peter, in his epistle, warns and teaches us about, saying: 'Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour' (1 Pt. 5:8)." — Paul Thigpen, p.150 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Spiritual Warfare
✞ "This Jesus is 'the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.' There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved." Acts 4:11-12
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ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA
St. Judith of Prussia (13th c.), also known as St. Jutta, was born to a wealthy family in Thuringia in what is now Germany. She desired to model her life after another noble saint from her country, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who lived in the previous century. Judith was married at age fifteen to a man of equal rank, and together they raised a family. Despite their great wealth, Judith desired that they should live in a simple way and share their fortune generously with the poor. Her husband was at first displeased with her because he desired a lifestyle according to their means and rank. However, Judith persevered and eventually won him over to join her in a life of greater humility and piety. Her husband later died while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, leaving Judith to raise her children alone. Once her children were grown, she rid herself of her costly clothes, jewelry, and other possessions and joined the Third Order of St. Francis. She committed herself to serving the poor and the sick, for which she incurred mockery due to her noble rank in society. In the final years of her life she relocated to Prussia to live as a hermitess with a simple hut as her home. There she spent her days in prayer and penance for the conversion of the pagan Prussians. After she died many miracles occurred at her grave, and she became the patron saint of Prussia. Her feast day is May 5th.
Friday of the Third Week of Easter Lectionary: 277
Reading 1 Acts 9:1-20
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" He said, "Who are you, sir?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight." But Ananias replied, "Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name." So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, "Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 117:1bc, 2 R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia. Praise the LORD, all you nations; glorify him, all you peoples! R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia. For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever. R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 6:56 R. 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.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Mass Reading & Meditation for May 5, 2017
But Ananias replied . . . (Acts 9:13)
First off, let's reflect on what Ananias didn't do. Consider these two imaginary scenarios:
"But Ananias replied." Imagine that he didn't say anything to God. Instead, he told himself, I must be imagining things! God would never send me on such an impossible mission. Maybe I need a vacation—relax, lighten up, have some fun. Or . . .
"But Ananias replied," No way, Lord! Saul has blood on his hands. I have a family to think about. It wouldn't be responsible to put myself in harm's way. I'm no evangelist, either. Maybe you should find another messenger.
We would understand if Ananias had responded in either of these ways. Even prophets like Jonah and Jeremiah tried to get out of their missions. But fortunately for us, Ananias took a more constructive and creative approach that we can apply to our own challenging calls from God. It boils down to three elements:
Talk to God. Instead of running away or tuning out, Ananias presented his objections honestly and straightforwardly (Acts 9:13-14). The all-knowing God didn't really need to be informed about Saul's ruthless ways, but Ananias needed to express what he felt. So do we.
Hear God out. Once we've told God about our fears, reservations, and questions, it's time to listen. Jesus answered Ananias by telling him about Saul's conversion from persecutor to "chosen instrument" (Acts 9:15). Even though this seemed like a highly unlikely scenario, Ananias believed God and let his mind be changed. That's our challenge, too.
Embrace God's plan. Ananias could have gone to Saul grudgingly, the way we do when our hearts aren't in it. He could have gone resentfully (Lord, I deserve this more than Saul. Why not raise me up to be your apostle?). But Ananias caught the vision and gave himself to it completely. We sense his zeal and generous spirit in the first words he speaks. He doesn't say, "Saul, you sinner" or even just "Saul," but "Saul, my brother" (Acts 9:17). What an encouragement to us all!
"Lord Jesus, there's something you're asking me to do, and I'm struggling with it. Can we talk about it?"
Psalm 117:1-2 John 6:52-59
my2cents: Saul was chasing Jesus. Not seeking. And our Lord turns to him and asks "why are you persecuting me?" We are the body of Christ.
We pray today "Go out to all the world and tell the Good news"
From Bishop Barren: " Friends, today's Gospel declares that the Word really became flesh. Why has the incarnation been resisted from the very beginning? Why is the extension of the incarnation, which is the Eucharist, still such a source of division?
I think it has to do with flesh. God became one of us, as close to us as blood and muscle and bone. It is no longer correct to say simply that God is in his heaven and we are on the earth. It is not correct to say simply that God is spirit and we are matter. Matter has been invaded by spirit. But in Jesus, God became flesh, and more to the point, he invites us to eat his body and drink his blood. But that means that he wants us to take him into ourselves.
"Now, wait a minute!" many people think. That's a little too close for comfort, for it means that he wants to be Lord of my flesh and my bones, that he wants to move into every nook and cranny of my life. My work, my recreation, my sexual life, my life of play—all those fleshy things that I do—he wants to be Lord of all of that! And that's precisely right."
Jesus is clear. He wants to be one with us. So much so that His flesh unites to ours in the Eucharist.
That speaks eternal ramifications.
Eons of mercy mixing with atoms of Mercy and Grace