6th Sunday of Easter- May 26, 2019

Gospel Acclamation: John 10:23

Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.

 

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“I AM” by Akiane

The Gospel this Sunday comes from John—more specifically it is from the Last Supper.  Even though we are nearing the end of the Easter season we are brought back to an event happening in Lent.  It is here that we hear words of wisdom from Jesus.  This is also a point of foreshadowing for what is to come in two short weeks—Pentecost—as Jesus tells the disciples that the Father will send the Holy Spirit as an advocate in the name of Jesus.  The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach the disciples and to remind them of Christs message; simply put, to become an advocate of Christ. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A GIFT FROM THE FATHER!  This gift was something meant for all Christians through all generations.

 

There are other gifts given to us—like that of Peace.  Though we are reminded that it is Christ that gives us Peace and not the world.  The Peace that Christ gives us is something that completes us wholly in our interior.  We should be at peace internally.  We should let go of anger, aggression, anxiety, the pursuit of ill-gotten gain.  By creating a sense of Peace, we are able to fully live in harmony with Christ.

KEY PHRASE: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.

Jesus knows that the disciples and all Christians are soon face turmoil.  Christ is able to offer them Peace as one final gift in His human form. When Christ rises, and sees the peace_1474.jpgdisciples huddled in the Upper Room, He again reminds them that Peace should be with them.  He reminds them: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  Christ NEVER tires of offering this offering of Peace.

Christ always wants Peace to be with us.  When we are faced with rules and decrees, or anything that places burdens upon others, we need to take a moment to reflect back to see if it is truly the will of Jesus that wishes to burden His people—or if he wishes for peace.  This can be found in the reading today from Acts of the Apostles.  The early church is struggling with the process of how to allow Gentiles to join the Church.  Paul and Barnabas head to Jerusalem to discuss with the Apostles to see if circumcision should be required for Gentile Christians.  It is through the prayer and discernment of Peter and James with the Holy Spirit that they rule in favor of not requiring circumcision for Gentile Christians and write a letter to the Gentile churches explaining that they do this to place the Gentiles with a Peace of Mind and clarify that they do not wish to place undue burden upon them.

PSALM: May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you!

We see this spread all throughout the messages today.  In the readings, today we see the 8408653.jpgGentiles receive the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and are brought into the early Church with their Jewish brothers and sisters. Then we are given a vision of the Holy City [Jerusalem], becoming a beacon for the world and all nations to “walk by its light”, and to be shared to all peoples.

Can we find how we experience the Peace of Christ in our daily lives?  How can we take God’s direction to Be Not Afraid, and not allow our hearts to become filled with fear and troubled?  And how can we bring the Lord’s light into our life and allow it to shine within us?

O Heavenly Prince of Peace, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!

†lvm†

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Good Shepherd Sunday

I am the Good Shepherd, say the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.  ALLELUIA!  This Gospel Acclamation sums up what we are all working towards in life.  To open our heart and accept Jesus as our shepherd. When He speaks, we should open our ears and listen.

I am the Good Shepherd, say the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.  ALLELUIA!  This Gospel Acclamation sums up what we are all working towards in life.  To open our heart and accept Jesus as our shepherd. When He speaks, we should open our ears and listen.

Drawing our attentions to the Gospel reading, though short in nature, it is simple and pure–one that we should take special attention to:

John 10: 27-30 L51C

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one can take them out of my hand.  the-good-shepherd-by-nathan-greene-5-options-available-15.jpgMy Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.  The Father and I are one.”

We should focus on the key phrase of:

No one can take them out of my hand.

From the readings, we are able to understand and form the image of Jesus—as the Good Shepherd.  One who calls out among His sheep; each by name, taking care to guide them to safety and to deliver them from all evils.  Though the message is short this week, we are able to gather that this relationship with Jesus is ESSENTIAL and of GREAT importance.  It is a message of an unbreakable bond between ourselves and that of our Shepherd.  We are told that we should listen to the call and message of Jesus, and that we should listen to the message with great care.  That this message will allow us to never have fear, and that we shall never experience a separation from God, as nothing can break the bond, nor remove us from the palm of His hand.lost-sheep

Our second reading: from Revelation.

We are given the image of a “great multitude.” Something that is beyond our comprehension [size wise].  It is full of a message that this “multitude” is the body of Christ.   That the group comes from all nations, race, tongues—composed of those that suffered and survived great distresses; those that washed themselves in the Blood of the Lamb.

Jesus-and-His-followersThose in the early Church were faced with great adversity.  Even our Apostles suffered greatly [John is the exception as he died from old age on the island of Patmos] –they were martyrs of the violence inflicted unto Christians by the Romans.  Because of this persecution, many people would have had reason to doubt Jesus, to doubt the word of God—to flee from His promise of Salvation.  Yet, He gives us the message that NO ONE can take them from the palm of His hand.  Even in death, we are not separated from our Heavenly Father.  Our Good Shepherd gives us Eternal Life, something that NEVER changes.

Psalm 100: 1,2,3,5

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.

Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.

The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.

This Psalm is an invitation for all to come to the Lord and to do so with a great sense of Joy and Thanksgiving.  We are joyful and thankful because we come knowing that we are jesus-and-the-lost-sheepGod’s people, that we are a community with Him.  That we cannot be taken from Him.  Even though we receive the call individually, we come to our Lord as a community.  As a GROUP of disciples that are there to listen to the Lord and to go forth and bring others to Him.  In this multitude we experience diversity, knowing that ALL are welcome.

Holy Family, PRAY FOR US!

 

Deus lo Vult

 

©2019 Lawrence V. McCrobie  |   http://www.LawrenceMcCrobie.com   |   http://www.OneStepCloserCatholic.org

 

Terror in the Modern World: The Church in the Target Zone

There is terror everywhere we turn.  It is almost as if we are not able to make a move without hearing of tragedies that ultimately could have been avoided.  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly full of resentment, hate, and consumed with acts of violence.  This is NOT the message that Christ wanted for us.  But make no mistake this is the work of Satan and we must find strength to resist it.  Now we hear of terror all year long, and most of the time the Catholic Church is swift to come to the aid of those affected, as this is what our faith is founded upon—CHARITY!  But when the terror and act of violence comes around the Holiest of Days to the Christian faithful, we must see it for what it is.  It is nothing more than the Satan’s attack on the Christian Faithful.

Creating fear and destruction is Satan’s way at getting to us.  It is a way to distract us from the message of God, brought to us through Christ our Lord.  We must find ways to center ourselves towards the message of the Gospel.  We can do this through unity.  The Unity with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  The best way to find this unity is to share in the celebration of the Eucharist.  By attending the celebration, and through participation in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist, we develop a strong sense of faith.  Through this growth in faith we are able to build up defenses that enable us to guard off and conquer the attacks that Satan sends forth.  It is through this personal development that our witness to Christ becomes seen in the community around us.  It is from that that we evangelize and bring others to the moving and powerful message of God.

Terror will always exist.  It existed in the days of the Early Christians, ending with extreme violence—something that we see echoed even today.  However, we cannot let the terror win.  We must build our defenses through prayer, meditation, and spiritual growth/development.  Only then can we begin to walk the path of defeating the evil and wicked attacks of Satan upon the world.

Please join with me in prayer for those affected by terror and attacks on the Catholic Christian faithful, and Christians all around the world:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Amen.

Make no Mistake EPIPHANY is the same thing as IMMIGRATION

So, what is Epiphany (also called Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Night)? In its simplistic form, Epiphany is the immigration of individuals to see a native place. Around about the 4th century, the celebration of Epiphany  was the association of three visiting Magi (what we call the Three Kings) traveling to visit the newborn Jesus in the manger nestled in Bethlehem. With them, as we all know, they bring gifts;  gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  [The gifts have meanings Gold=Royal Standing; Frankincense=Divine Birth; Myrrh=Mortality.] But even better is the fact that the word EPIPHANY itself is Greek [not Hebrew] meaning “manifestation’.  Already full of irony– the word is not native, but rather a term that was in a sense “immigrated in.”

So where does this lead us to? Well the fact that as the region of Bethlehem was becoming a “sanctuary” for the Magi and even Jesus, the nation itself was in the middle of welcoming refugee and others into their lands. United by their belief that the King of Kings had been born; we see in Christianity’s first moments, the beginnings of what has become Human Days of Dignity–where one group (or one nation) was called upon to welcome others from the outside who bear gifts and have a great gift to bring to this new “nation” united by Christ.

It is fitting that today in the Archdiocese of Louisville we celebrated a Migration Day of Prayer—presided over by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; and the fact that we also begin to usher in the celebration of Epiphany. As part of those 5 days of Human Dignity (which are scattered thorough this liturgical season) we are called to become more inclusive, to welcome those who come seeking a place of sanctuary as an opportunity to potentially have an encounter with Christ; for it is known through Catholic teaching that we should meet everyone as if they were Christ himself, for we never know if it might be him coming to visit us.

So what should we do? We should welcome all of those into our “nation” that wish to enter. We should find ourselves full of love and embrace for those seeking nothing more than what you or I have. We should realize that it was Mary and Joseph (along with Jesus) that opened up and accepted visitors from all over to live united under the Messiah. We should not be greedy, but instead should offer to share what has been so generously given to us by God, through his one and only Son-born of the Virgin Mary. It is through the acceptance of those who wish to come into the house of the Lord (into our communities) that we may find ourselves close to walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.

So in the end, Epiphany is nothing more than (not minimizing the significance of the event) a remembrance of our call to accept all those that have been called to the feast table by God; and to treat others as we would want to be treated!

So not only Happy Epiphany but HAPPY IMMIGRATION DAY!

Lawrence V. McCrobie

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