Thought for the Week

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

Laredo, Texas May 15-21, 2022

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter. Acts of the Apostles 14:21-27; Psalm 145; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:34.

 

You will probably have noticed in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles the word, “church,” is used to refer to the people, not a building. The people in the early church met in their homes to break bread and share the Eucharist. It was a very intimate gathering of families and neighbors who walked the Way.

We know how hard it is to have intimate relationships in large crowds; it takes a great deal of effort to get the crowd to act as one. We see it in concerts, where people are totally focused and enamored by the performers. When at church we give it our all but sometimes fall short of that intimate relationship with Jesus and the community. We may know a few people, but the vast majority are strangers. That is why the early Church’s Eucharistic celebrations were so alive and joyous – the attendees knew and loved each other. They even shared many things in common. No one went hungry or was neglected. What an example for us today.

 

Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that “we should love one another as he has loved us.” This is so different from “love others as you love yourself.” Sometimes we love ourselves too much and forget the needs of others. To love as Jesus loves we need to draw intimately to him and open our hearts to that humble and all-giving love. Daily scripture reading helps to develop a deeper understanding of who this Jesus was and still is today. Each parable gives us an example of Christ-like behavior. Take the story of the Good Samaritan. Sometimes the “foreigner,” for example, a Moslem or atheist or homosexual person may show more compassion than we so called Christians. We need to be careful in categorizing people. Jesus healed and preached to all. He was open to all – tax collectors, prostitutes, Gentiles, delinquents, Roman officials, etc. Is there a group that we perhaps ostracize from our lives, because they do not live up to our moral standards? Our love, listening ear and care can often give them a new lease on life and love. we can only change ourselves; we cannot change others. They have to choose to do that. We may, to our surprise, find out that our self-righteousness is the stumbling block to loving as Jesus did.

 

The Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of heaven – “no more death or mourning, wailing or pain.”

During this Easter season we are reminded that our physical bodies will be rewarded, too, in eternity.

We will be raised from the dead, like Jesus, in God’s good time. Wow! Can you imagine the light, joy and celebration? I think I’ll run around and look for all my friends and relatives. I want to meet my Guardian Angel, too, whom I have given so much trouble. It’s going to take an eternity just to meet everybody and praise God on top of it.

 

Born in Madrid, Spain St. Isidore was a farm laborer. He was of great piety and loved and served the poor and the animals. He is the patron saint of farmers. We observe his feast on May 15th.

 

In the 15th century an Italian, Bernardine of Siena made his appearance as a dynamite speaker and protector against the heresies of his day. He calmed strife-torn cities and attracted crowds of 30,000 or more. Compared with Saint Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown of Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach.

Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek—in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day. General of the Friars of the Strict Observance, a branch of the Franciscan Order, Bernardine strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling. Franciscan Media

“I will praise your name forever, my King and my God.” Psalm 145

Sister Rosemarie Goins, a Felician Franciscan Sister