“The whole assembly fell silent and listened.”
Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Councils, conclaves, conferences, conventions, and committees! Then there are summits, assemblies, reunions, and all kinds of ways we gather together for learning, gathering information, and to make communal, congregational, ecclesial, organizational and even family decisions. Sometime, too, we meet to resolve differences, and to understand more deeply the movement of the Spirit in times of important matters to be addressed. So we can hope! Do we experience silence and truly listen?
In the real spiritual life of an ongoing faith/relationship with the living “de vine” God, we will experience trimming. The blossoms and fruit that this Vinegrower knows are hidden only in potential (even and especially when we do not) are gifts of this greening Spirit. What is coming into being is our, shall we say, “divinization”—our sharing in the very life and “who-ness” of Christ that produces holiness and compassion. These fruits that God sees in us (even when we do not) include virtues our world very much needs in these days: charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, awe in God’s presence…..especially peace….
Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a
In today’s gospel reading the risen Jesus tells his disciples: Peace I leave with you; my peace is my gift to you. Is this the same Jesus, who had earlier said: Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace, but the sword [Mt. 10: 34]? A superficial reader might have the impression that Jesus is talking “out of both sides of his mouth,” but we are not called to be superficial readers. I personally think that the apparent conflict has its roots in our uncritical understanding of what that peace is, an understanding (misunderstanding) that is quite common in our “world”. Yet Jesus clarifies the above promise of peace with the words: Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
A lot of us talk about “getting it:” Some people “get it.” Other people are fools and don’t “get it.”
Today we celebrate these two saints who didn’t “get it.” Well, at least it appears that Philip had difficulties “getting it” when Jesus seem to chide him for his statement, “Master, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
It’s the Fruit that Count but the Roots that Matter (John 15.1-8)
The parable of the vine invites us to think of the dryness of the branch that is me, its liveliness or its death, its fruitfulness or its desiccation.
However there is trap in this form of thinking. While it matters that we are fruitful we don’t become fruitful simply by worrying about our lack of fruitfulness. Christian fruitfulness is not produced by nervous effort or frantic activity. Rather the cause of fruitfulness if found in that slightly antique word which we heard repeatedly in our reading –the word ‘abide’. ‘Abide in me’, said Jesus, ‘and you will be fruitful’.
Prayer to St. Joseph
Patron Saint of Workers,
We ask for your blessing upon all of our efforts.
May our work each day be a blessing
Which allows us to recognize the dignity of human labor.
May we see our work as an opportunity
To build up the Kingdom of God.
With you as our model and example,
May we be instruments of the love and peace
Which the gospel calls us to share
In every aspect of our lives.
Help us in our daily labor and encourage all those
Who seek meaningful work. Amen
Acts 13:26-33; John 14:1-6
It must have been tough to be one of the 12 apostles. This gospel brings home to me both the leap of faith these men made over and over again and how Jesus is nearly always patient with them. (I say nearly always because at times I read a little exasperation, like the exasperation of a father when his son or daughter doesn’t heed a warning. Be careful walking backward, the dad might say. And then, when backwards walking doesn’t work out so well, a shake of the head as the dad picks up the child, brushes him off and gives him a hug before the next adventure.)
Mt 11, 25-30
Today is the feast day of Catherine of Siena, a remarkable woman of character and courage. Born in Siena, Italy in 1347, she lived in a time of great tumult, when the Church was involved in state politics and war, and the Pope fled from Rome to Avignon, France.
As the writer Mary Ann Sullivan describes Catherine, she “deliberately told popes, queens and kings how to behave. She was spontaneous, unafraid of authority and fearless in the face of death. She was a Dominican religious who corresponded with Popes and peasants alike.” Catherine had a powerful influence on the Church and two Popes relied on her counsel, which was honest and straightforward. After her death, she was named a saint and later one of the first women Doctors of the Church.
Acts 12:24-13:5a; John 12:44-50
Jesus was sent here to be our light and to light our way out of darkness. Before Jesus it was all darkness, but Jesus is the manifestation of God’s word to save us. He is a beacon, illuminating the path, lighting the right way. He is our guide, our leader. Here to save us from the darkness, not to condemn us. Before we were trapped in the darkness, but now there is light, a way out. Believing in Jesus is believing in God who sent Jesus. And not believing keeps us trapped in the darkness of ignorance and despair.
The Good Shepherd by Michael Dudash
Acts 11:19-26; John 10:22-30
Our readings today focus our attention on being open to the word of God, being confident in our faith, and then rejoicing in the comfort of God’s message. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Luke tells of the disbursement of the disciples following the death of Stephen through martyrdom. I cannot imagine the fear that the disciples felt as they scattered throughout the lands of Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch to proclaim Jesus as Lord. Would others listen?
Acts 11:1-18; John 10:1-10
We are all impacted by the giving or receiving of a Gift. A gift is defined as something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present. It brings a good feeling to know that someone is thinking of your well-being. No matter how big or small, expensive or inexpensive the gift may be, none compares to the greatest gift given by God, and that is Salvation.
The Voice of the Shepherd
On this Good Shepherd Sunday, the Lord Jesus says, "My sheep will hear My voice" (Jn 10:16). For the sheep of His flock, the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd has a uniquely penetrating quality, an unmistakable accent of tenderness, a note of divine authority that goes straight to the heart. The believing heart leaps with recognition at the sound of Jesus' voice. "The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out" (Jn 10:3).