Monday, April 23, 2018

He calls His own

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Nature's Song

Now I am under the sky. The birds are silent now. But the frogs have begun singing their pleasure in all the waters and in the warm, green places where the sunshine is wonderful. Praise Christ, all you living creatures. For Him you and I were created. With every breath we love Him. My psalms fulfill your dim, unconscious song, O brothers in this wood...

—from The Art of Thomas Merton: A Divine Passion in Word and Vision
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"The limitless loving devotion to God, and the gift God makes of Himself to you, are the highest elevation of which the heart is capable; it is the highest degree of prayer."
— St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Meditation of the Day

"We are all sinners. We have all turned away from the Lord, but the Lord is always ready to take us back. When we sin we hurt ourselves, we break our own hearts. The Father sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts to bring us forgiveness and to heal whatever damage we have done to ourselves."

— Rev. Jude Winkler, p. 21

An Excerpt From Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit Recommended Reads

Verse of the Day

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being."

Job 12:7-10


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Saint George

(c. 280 – April 23, 303)

Saint George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life. That he was willing to pay the supreme price to follow Christ is what the Church believes. And it is enough.

The story of George's slaying the dragon, rescuing the king's daughter, and converting Libya is a 12th-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Catalonia, Genoa, and Venice.

Human nature seems to crave more than cold historical data. Americans have Washington and Lincoln, but we somehow need Paul Bunyan, too. The life of Saint Francis of Assisi is inspiring enough, but for centuries the Italians have found his spirit in the legends of the Fioretti, too. Santa Claus is the popular extension of the spirit of Saint Nicholas. The legends about Saint George are part of this yearning. Both fact and legend are human ways of illumining the mysterious truth about the One who alone is holy.

Saint George is the Patron Saint of:
Boy Scouts

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 279

Reading 1 ACTS 11:1-18

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
'You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them."
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
"I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.'
But I said, 'Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
'What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.'
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man's house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.'
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
'John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?"
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
"God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too."

Responsorial Psalm PS 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 10:1-10

Jesus said:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."


Meditation: Acts 11:1-18

Saint George, Martyr (Optional Memorial)

The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. (Acts 11:12)

It was the opportunity of a lifetime! By sending Peter to Cornelius—a Gentile from Caesarea—God invited Peter to play a key role in his plan to gather the Gentiles to himself. The centuries-long hatred between Gentile and Jew was about to be broken, and the witness of a united Church was about to shine in the world. And Peter was the one to break through the barrier.

Peter could have balked. He could have remained adamant in his Jewish upbringing and refused to go. But this once-stubborn fisherman had been changed. He was not sure exactly what would happen, but he decided to follow the Spirit's promptings and take a chance. And the result was amazing: Before Peter could even finish telling Cornelius and his family about Jesus, the Holy Spirit swept over them and filled their hearts (Acts 11:15). That's how eager God was to inaugurate a new era of unity in his Church!

What has happened to that unity? Today we see Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox divided from each other. Ancient feuds, age-old misunderstandings, and political considerations all conspire to keep us divided. Of course, there are doctrinal issues that need to be overcome. But as every pope from John XXIII to Francis reminds us, what unites us is so much greater than what divides us. If we could keep our eyes focused on our common heritage, if we could make it our aim to follow Jesus more closely, we would surely find a way to resolve the differences that remain.

What about a little closer to home? How about working for unity within your parish? Surely you can find ways to overcome divisions between progressives and traditionalists or between cradle Catholics and new converts. Surely you can affirm all that you have in common—the Eucharist, centuries of history, a common teaching, and a spiritual tradition that is as deep as it is wide. After all, you are all brothers and sisters in Christ! Yes, there are different opinions and approaches, but we are still one body joined by a common Baptism. Imagine the impact it would have on the world if each of us made love our common goal!

"Lord, make your people one!"

Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4
John 10:1-10



Amazing Words of Jesus.
He calls each of His own by name.
He knows your name!
Follow now.

From Bishop Barron today:

"Friends, today's Gospel builds on the enduring and endearing image of Jesus as the good shepherd. Jesus says: "The sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."

How wonderful and strange that Christianity is not a set of ideas. It's not a philosophy or an ideology. It's a relationship with someone who has a voice. The first disciples were privileged to hear the voice of the historical Jesus. They heard its very particular tone and texture.

But we hear his voice too, in our own way, especially when we hear the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass. Mind you, we don't just read the Bible; we hear the Bible. We also hear the voice of Jesus when the bishops and the popes speak; we hear it in our conscience, which Newman called "the aboriginal vicar of Christ in the soul"; and we hear it in good spiritual friends, those people who comfort us and challenge us and keep calling us to higher ideals and encourage us when we fall.

We listen to the voice of Jesus because he is leading us to a renewed and transformed life with God."


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