Thought for the Week

May 16-22, 2021
Many people have experienced painful goodbyes – friends move away, a family member dies, a colleague retires, a transfer to a new job is confirmed, a preferred way of doing things changes or a favorite possession is lost or given away. Just imagine what it must have been like for the apostles and disciples in the early Church. They witnessed a painful loss in the death of Jesus and a supposed end to a dream of a new life. They were overjoyed, ecstatic, when Jesus rose from the dead. This was unheard of, but they knew something big was in the offing. What? They did not know, but were basking in Jesus’ presence with them. All their hope for the future was restored. They probably even thought that now Jesus would be acknowledged as a king and restore the house of Israel. They would rule by his side. Oh, Jesus was King alright, but not in any worldly sense of the word. Now, after all these days of joy, instruction and sharing, Jesus leaves them by ascending to his Father. Jesus even astounds them with the news that a Holy Spirit would descend upon them and give unimaginable power. Acts 1:1-11
Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us “all things have been put under Christ’s feet …thus made the exalted head of the church, which is his body: the fullness of him who fills the universe in all its parts.” Such a beautiful image of Jesus’ presence in the world – “he fills the universe in all its parts” – the cosmic Christ.
The commission of the apostles and, in fact, all Christians is given at the Ascension. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation.” Mark 16:15 As a Franciscan, I love this reference to “proclaim the good news to all creation.” St. Francis of Assisi had a special bond with all creation – people, birds, animals, flowers, the sun and moon and all manner of beings. He was even careful, when he walked upon rocks, because they reminded of Jesus, the Rock. Our prayer can be a praise of all things, even when we look around our homes – the wood of the desk, the fabric of the curtains, the granite of the counter tops, cardboard, the steel, metal and plastics used in electronics, all of creation. Even go out into your backyard and proclaim the good news; the birds certainly are doing it.
I recently read an interesting quote from Steve Givens, “We learn from experience that love is better caught than taught, as is God. We can’t teach God without living the love of God.” This a strong way to proclaim the “good news” that we are profoundly loved by God and manifest that love to others.
St. Felix of Cantalice is the patron saint of the Felician Sisters, from whom they derive their name. He
was a humble Capuchin Franciscan lay brother who feed the starving of Rome during the famine of 1540. His sack was never empty and his greeting was always, “Deo Gratias.” He was greatly loved by the people, but especially the children with whom he spent much time. He could neither read nor write, but was sought out by learned theologians for advise on the spiritual life and Scripture. He was the first Capuchin to be canonized.
St. Bernardine of Siena is honored on Thursday. He is a saint for today, because in the year 1400, as a young man, he took care of the plague victims in the hospital in Siena, Italy for months. Twenty or more a day were dying. It sounds like Covid-19. He was the son of a noble family, but was orphaned at seven and raised by an aunt, for whom he cared in her last days. He joined the Franciscans and was ordained a priest. He became a great missionary and preacher. Pope Pius II called him a second Paul. He had a great love for the mercy of Jesus and his Mother Mary. His special devotion was the Holy Name of Jesus. As vicar general of the order he helped renew the original spirit of the Franciscan Order.
“Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our King, sing praise,” Psalm 47: 7
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director