Posted by: frburke23 | April 22, 2016

Thought for Saturday, 4th Week of Easter

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 13:44-52
On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
 
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
=====================
Imagine being present as the disciples have gathered “almost the whole city…to hear the word of the Lord.” The Jews who were not open to the Good News of Jesus were filled with jealousy because the crowds wanted to hear the disciples speak. The Gentiles were “delighted” to hear that eternal life was open to them and many of them “came to believe.”
 
Instead of placing their faith in Jesus, the Jews “incited the women of prominence…and the leading men of the city” to lead “a persecution against Paul and Barnabas.” Their hearts were hardened and now they were willing to go to any extreme to silence the disciples of Jesus. So they threw them out of the city.
 
“The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit” to be persecuted for the name of Jesus. They did not let this stop them from sharing the Good News. In fact, they went to the next town to do the same.
 
I was at a Legatus meeting last night and we were discussing how difficult it is to see the Church losing members or at least people who are willing to worship on Sundays. As I read the Acts of the Apostles, a fire lights in my heart to go out and evangelize like these early disciples. We can no longer wait for people to come to us. We have to go out and be “fishers of men”.
 
“The disciples were full of joy and the Holy Spirit.” They were not afraid of persecution or obstacles. In fact, they rejoiced in being persecuted for Jesus’ sake and were willing to give their very lives for Him.
 
What do we need in order to wake from our spiritual slumber?
1) We need priests and religious who are on fire for the Gospel to inspire other lay leaders in the Church.
2) We need all men and women to encounter the person of Jesus Christ. This is not just a one-time encounter, but a daily investment into this relationship with Christ.
3) When we are convinced that Jesus is the Lord, that He died and rose from the dead to save us from our sins, we are willing to surrender our lives to and for Him. St. Paul felt impelled to share the love of Christ with the world and he tirelessly did so at the risk of his very life.
4) As Pope Francis calls us to do, we need to go out into the streets and share the Good News. The disciples first spoke about Jesus to the Jews. Then they went to the Gentiles. In others words, no one was beyond their reach.
 
Have I encountered the living Christ in my life?
Have I invested in my relationship with Jesus?
What keeps me from sharing my faith with others?
Am I willing to risk my life for Jesus and the Gospel?
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
 
Spanish translation:
 
 
HECHOS DE LOS APOSTOLES 13:44-52
El sábado siguiente casi toda la ciudad de Antioquía acudió a oír la palabra de Dios. Cuando los judíos vieron una concurrencia tan grande, se llenaron de envidia y comenzaron a contradecir a Pablo con palabras injuriosas. Entonces Pablo y Bernabé dijeron con valentía: “La palabra de Dios debía ser predicada primero a ustedes; pero como la rechazan y no se juzgan dignos de la vida eterna, nos dirigiremos a los paganos. Así nos lo ha ordenado el Señor, cuando dijo: Yo te he puesto como luz de los paganos, para que lleves la salvación hasta los últimos rincones de la tierra”.
 
Al enterarse de esto, los paganos se regocijaban y glorificaban la palabra de Dios, y abrazaron la fe todos aquellos que estaban destinados a la vida eterna.
 
La palabra de Dios se iba propagando por toda la región. Pero los judíos azuzaron a las mujeres devotas de la alta sociedad y a los ciudadanos principales, y provocaron una persecución contra Pablo y Bernabé, hasta expulsarlos de su territorio.
 
Pablo y Bernabé se sacudieron el polvo de los pies, como señal de protesta, y se marcharon a Iconio, mientras los discípulos se quedaron llenos de alegría y del Espíritu Santo.
=====================
Imagina estar presente como los discípulos se han reunido “casi toda la ciudad … para oír la palabra de Dios.” Los Judios que no estaban abiertos a la Buena Nueva de Jesús se llenaron de celos porque las multitudes querían oír a los discípulos hablar. Los paganos se “regocijaron” al saber que la vida eterna estaba abierta para ellos y muchos de ellos”abrazaron la fe.”
 
En lugar de poner su fe en Jesús, los Judios “azuzaron a las mujeres de la alta sociedad… y a los ciudadanos principales” para dirigir “una persecución contra Pablo y Bernabé.” Sus corazones se endurecieron y ahora estaban dispuestos a ir a cualquier extremo para silenciar a los discípulos de Jesús. Así que los echaron fuera de la ciudad.
 
“Los discípulos se quedaron llenos de alegría y del Espíritu Santo” para ser perseguidos por el nombre de Jesús. No dejaron que esto les impidiera compartir la Buena Nueva. De hecho, se fueron a la próxima ciudad para hacer lo mismo.
 
Anoche estuve en una reunión Legatus y estábamos discutiendo sobre lo difícil que es ver a la iglesia perder miembros o al menos gente que está dispuesta a adorar los domingos. Mientras leía los Hechos de los Apóstoles, un fuego se enciende en mi corazón para ir a evangelizar como estos primeros discípulos. Ya no podemos esperar a que la gente venga a nosotros. Tenemos que salir y ser “pescadores de hombres”.
 
“Los discípulos se quedaron llenos de alegría y del Espíritu Santo.” No tenían miedo a la persecución o los obstáculos. De hecho, se regocijaron en ser perseguidos por causa de Jesús y estaban dispuestos a dar sus propias vidas por Él.
 
¿Qué necesitamos con el fin de despertar de nuestro sueño espiritual?
 
1) Necesitamos sacerdotes y religiosos que están en fuego por el Evangelio para inspirar a otros líderes laicos en la Iglesia.
 
2) Necesitamos que todos los hombres y mujeres se encuentren con la persona de Jesucristo. Esto no es sólo un encuentro de una sola vez, sino una inversión diaria en esta relación con Cristo.
 
3) Cuando estamos convencidos de que Jesús es el Señor, que murió y resucitó de entre los muertos para salvarnos de nuestros pecados, estamos dispuestos a entregar nuestras vidas por y para Él. San Pablo se sintió obligado a compartir el amor de Cristo con el mundo y lo hizo sin descanso a riesgo de su propia vida.
 
4) Como el Papa Francisco nos llama a hacer, tenemos que salir a las calles y compartir la Buena Nueva. Los discípulos primero le hablaron de Jesús a los Judios. Luego fueron a los paganos. En otras palabras, nadie estaba fuera de su alcance.
¿Me he encontrado con el Cristo vivo en mi vida?
¿He invertido en mi relación con Jesús?
¿Qué me impide compartir mi fe con los demás?
¿Estoy dispuesto a arriesgar mi vida por Jesús y el Evangelio?
 
¡Que tengas un día bendecido!
Padre Burke

Responses

  1. Dear Father Burke,

    Sometimes I think that some people do not go to Mass regularly is that they do not think regularly that the Host is the Body and Blood of Christ. The eldest of our eleven children started grammar school in 1964 and the youngest in 1981. Especially , just after the Vatican COuncil, catechisms were a thing of the past and kids were busy making collages and other art projects during religion classes. Perhaps, sometimes the homily might be about the true nature of the Eucharist instead of the Readings of the day, It might be a good day to do that on Christmas or Easter when our pews are a lot more full.

    I teach a 5th grade Religious Ed class at our parish and when were talking about the THird Commandment , some of the unsolicited remarks were::

    My sister has a lot of athletic events on Sunday, so we have to get her there

    My mother is a nurse who works nights and sleeps during the day and we do not to leave her alone

    I only go to Mass when I am an altar girl. ( She just started serving Mass a few weeks ago)

    May God continue to bless you in all the wonderful work that you do

    Maureen Toner


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