Thursday, April 19, 2018

Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20, John 6:44-51


I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;

whoever eats this bread will live forever. Jn 6:51

Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20, John 6:44-51

Acts 8:26-40

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

The Apostles provide a model that we are called to imitate by our own call to discipleship and mission. First and foremost we must listen in order to hear You speak to us. Once we receive direction from the Holy Spirit our response must be one of prompt obedience. God had already planned that the eunuch who was truly seeking would find the answer by sending Philip to him.

The eunuch was an important official in the Ethiopian court and he was chosen to bear the Good News to a new country. He was reading the prophet Isaiah and the chapter on the Suffering Servant. He did not understand what he read as he did not know about whom the prophet was writing. When we are struggling to understand Scripture we have the deposit of Faith in the Catholic Church to help us understand. Philip opened his mind to understand Scripture in the way that You had taught Your disciples. He proclaimed You to him using this Scripture text that the eunuch was reading as his starting point. 

Here again is another insight into how we too can evangelize. We accompany the person beginning from where he or she is at and go on from there. We must trust the Holy Spirit to provide the direction. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead to conversion.

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.

Once the eunuch understood and believed the natural outcome was to desire baptism. Philip baptized him and the newly baptized Christian, strengthened in his new found faith, went back home rejoicing. He in turn evangelized and made You known and loved in Ethiopia.

Each of us has already been given a mission from the moment we were conceived. It is up to each one of us to cooperate with the graces given to us from Baptism and all through our lives and to preach the Good News by the way we live our lives.

Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

Praise must be the language of all God's people. We are an Easter people and our song is Alleluia as St. John Paul II has said. Our lips must constantly confess what You in Your goodness have done for us. How You have saved us from the jaws of death and crushed the devourer under Your heel.

You have given each of us an angel so we do not slip and if we do You have given us the means by which we can return to the fold through Confession. We have to be aware of the blessings that You pour upon us from the moment we were first conceived. When we praise You Beloved our own souls are lifted with joy and filled with gladness and gratitude. You become present in our lives as we count our blessings. Thank You for always being attuned to my prayers and for answering every one of them perhaps not always in the way I desired but in the way that was for my good.

Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!

John 6:44-51

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

From the beginning of Your mission, after You were baptized in the river Jordan, You preached the Good News of God's love. You revealed to all who came to You that God was our Father and that it was He who sent You into the world in order that we too may know Him, love Him, and believe that it was He who sent You to save us.

God our Father sent You into the world in order to fulfill what the prophets said, 

They shall all be taught by God.

We need grace in order to listen to the Father and be drawn to You. This is why You sent Your Holy Spirit as our Helper, Protector, Guide, and our Paraclete. He opens our minds to understand the Truth to believe and receive eternal life.

You reveal to the crowds who have come in search of You after You performed the miracle of the loaves and fish, that it is You Yourself who is the Bread of Life. Unlike the manna that their ancestors ate and were hungry again, those who eat Your Flesh will never know hunger again for Your Flesh gives life to the world. Demons tremble for they know they have lost and this is why we have such depravity in the world today where every divine principle is being scorned, mocked and trivialized.  But this is God's world - He, its Creator, You, its Redeemer and the Holy Spirit, its Sanctifier. We know the end of the story. You Beloved, are victorious. You have triumphed. We are saved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Acts 8:1B-8, Psalm 66:1-7, John 6:35-40


Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day, says the Lord. Jn 6:40

Acts 8:1B-8, Psalm 66:1-7, John 6:35-40

Acts 8:1B-8

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

You prophesied when the enemy struck the Shepherd the sheep would scatter. Yet even in persecution, God brought about good. This is the power of God and the will of God that the Gospel would be preached beyond Jerusalem and even to the ends of the earth.

Persecution will always be the lot of Christians for if You, our Lord, our Master, and our Teacher, had to suffer, then so must Your disciples. You have shown us that suffering is indeed the way that leads to heaven. No one, if they are truly committed to walking the Way of Truth and Life, can avoid it.

Through the history of the Church grief-stricken members of the faithful have buried saintly men and women who have been martyred because they believed in the Gospel and were prepared to lay down their lives for You.

There have been many enemies of the Church, who like Saul, were committed to destroying, murdering, and torturing those who believed in You and this continues to the present day. The Enemy is aware of the power of the Gospel that continues to draw all those who sincerely seek the Truth to the Light of Faith in You. 

We too Beloved, if we had courage, would like the early disciples, preach the Good News with such conviction that the same signs and wonders that occurred then would occur today for You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. That joy and fervor in the early Church would still be alive in our churches today. Sadly, Beloved, it is not so, not because You have not kept Your promises but because we are indifferent, lukewarm, and selfish. Renew the life of the Spirit in us Beloved, so we can have a new Pentecost and draw the world back to You, back to God.

Psalm 66:1-7

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

From the moment of creation, all that lives has given You joyful praise for it is fitting that we praise, worship, and adore the God of all creation.  Truly praise is the language of those who belong to You, we ought not to let the circumstances of our lives dictate whether or not we will open our hearts and our mouths to glorify You.

Beloved, I know that if I only look at my life and see how faithful and good You have been in caring for me I too will never cease to raise up to You a heart full of gratitude that expresses itself in joyful praise. 

Help me Lord to count my blessings and to see in all things that You are present and are working all things for good even if I am unable to recognize it.

John 6:35-40

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

How blessed the crowds were to hear You speak these wonderful words of love and promise, that eternity in the Kingdom was theirs if they were willing to make that final leap of faith and believed in You.

We believe Beloved because You said it and Your Word is Truth. 

"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."

I believe my Lord and my God, thank You for Your assurance of eternal life and the promise to give me a share in Your Resurrection on the last day.