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"FIRST IMPRESSIONS"

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER May 5, 2019

Acts 5: 27-32, 40-41; Psalm 30; Revelation 5: 11-14 ; John 21: 1-19

by Jude Siciliano, OP

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Dear Preachers:

WELCOME to the latest email recipients of "First Impressions," the retreatants at Santa Sabina’s day of prayer and the Holy Week retreat for the "Friends of the Dominican Sisters," both in San Rafael, Ca.


Dear Preacher Exchange Readers:

Greetings!  I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary with Preacher Exchange! I am amazed and honored to be able to share with you each week the guidance of the Spirit through Come and See and “Provisions for the Journey” during Advent and Lent. It has been wonderful to hear from some of you; I am humbled that you choose to incorporate my reflections in your ministries, and I am grateful to Father Jude and Brother Chuck for supporting me in my ministry.

If this website is of value to you, would you consider making a small donation to support Preacher Exchange so that Father Jude can continue this outreach? 

It would mean a lot to me as a way to celebrate this special anniversary. Just click on the “Donations” tab on the bottom of the link bar to the left.

Thank you and blessings on you as you spread the Good News!

With love from,

Elaine Ireland

 


Dear Preachers:

My comments will focus on today’s Gospel. Since the events take place at a meal that has Eucharistic overtones, there is a preaching possibility for developing the implications of the Eucharist in our daily lives. Here are some possible inroads for the preacher and those preparing for this liturgy.

Peter's going fishing suggests the disciples were unable to sustain their Easter faith beyond the connection with the actual appearances. So, their belief in the resurrection hasn't translated into life and mission. After all they have experienced in their time with Jesus, and having encountered the resurrected Christ, they seem to have forgotten his charge to them. They are not going "fishing" – going out to catch others for Christ. They are just returning to their old business, as if nothing has changed in their lives! Even Peter's tone suggests a kind of resignation, "I'm going fishing," as if to say, "What else is there to do?" Things are falling apart and the call they received seems to have dissolved. While the disciples may have abandoned their call, it is encouraging to note that Jesus has not abandoned them. As in the beginning of the Gospel, when he first called them, and after his resurrection, when he goes to them in the locked room, once again Jesus finds them and calls them to their mission. And note where he finds them (and us) – in the midst of their everyday working lives. They are at their old work and he goes there to meet them.

Once again, the disciples are eating with Jesus and one another. Something happens at meals – not the rushed meals we often experience, but meals we spend time preparing. The preacher might develop this meal-dynamic some more, for it will lead to the Gospel meal Jesus has with his disciples in the story and to the Eucharist we are celebrating. For example, when meals are planned and have special guests: bonds are deepened among the participants; stories are told that link common identity and friendship. And more: old tensions might dissolve, or get put aside. After such a meal, we linger and then can leave refreshed to go about the tasks and struggles of our lives. What a shame that shared meals are less frequent in our rushed society and families!

So, the meal with Jesus has these just mentioned elements about it. The disciples had gone back to old patterns and need renewal in their identity as witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Like them we need to be strengthened in our resolve to love and to bear up under the persecution that comes because we follow Jesus' call to love and service. The Eucharistic table is the place we get help and a renewal of our resolve to carry the cross, and follow Christ.

This meal with Christ is another reminder that the Eucharist is not just a harkening back to some past event. Each time we gather for Eucharist, Jesus is inviting us, as he did his disciples, "Come and eat." We who return to old patterns, need the constant invitation and renewal the Eucharist offers. At the eucharistic meal we are also confronted with the question Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" To the table we bring our failures of the love and service Jesus asks of us. Notice how Peter replays his threefold denial by a threefold profession of love for Christ. A forgiveness is happening here for Peter and for us, our denials are put aside and a chance is given again to respond to Christ's invitation to follow him.

For John, faith is a personal relationship with Christ. This faith is expressed not only in words, but in obedience. So, if Peter is to be obedient to Christ he must care for others. The care Peter gives to Jesus' "sheep" will result in his martyrdom, for he and we, will run counter to ways of our world. Who are those that Jesus is inviting us to care for now? How have we failed to do that? This meal will help us hear again our call to be disciples of Christ and will empower us to respond to what we are hearing.

Remember in John 10 how Jesus contrasted the true shepherd from the "hired hand"? Well, Peter has been "the hired hand," who fled the scene when danger approached. He abandoned Jesus. Now in his threefold affirmation of love for Christ, Jesus announces that Peter is to be a true shepherd who will feed Jesus’ flock. It is clear that love for Christ is reflected in how much we care and are willing to sacrifice for others. Sacrifice for others will be the cross we take up each day to follow Christ, the one true shepherd.

The cross awaits Peter, for that has been the traditional way the community has interpreted what Jesus says to Peter:

"I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."

Suffering comes as we respond to Jesus' commandment, "Feed my sheep." This cross is not the cross of involuntary suffering that we have when we get sick, or lose a job; but the suffering we take on because we choose Christ's way. "Love others as I have loved you" (John 13:34).

We have 50 days during this Easter season, 10 more than Lent’s 40. We need the extra time to try to grasp the grace of these days in which the Risen One among us is revealing himself. Here at our tables, in church and also at home, we need to take the time to pause, look around and really "see’ who feeds us and how many ways we are being fed. "Come and eat," is his constant, daily invitation. Even when we go back to our work-a-day worlds, Christ is there offering us nourishment and then inviting us to feed his sheep. This is both strength and challenge. It is at this "daybreak" meal that we receive from the Lord the food that satisfies our hungers and, at the same time, urges us, with Peter, "Feed my sheep."

Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050519.cfm

ONE GOOD BOOK FOR THE PREACHER

"The Cloister Walk," by Kathleen Norris. This Protestant poet has spent time with a Benedictine community in Minnesota and this part memoir, part religious meditation, is the result of the meeting of these different religious traditions. Of particular current interest to us preachers is her chapter, "The Book of Revelations," our second readings for these Sundays of Easter.

QUOTABLE

"As I listened to the Book of Revelation over several weeks I found in it a healing vision, a journey through the heart of pain and despair, and into hope. And I was consistently reminded of how subtly this vision works on us. It asserts that the evils of this world are not incurable, that injustice does not have the last word. And that can be terrifying or consoling, depending on your point of view, your place within the world."

----Kathleen Norris in, "The Cloister Walk"

JUSTICE BULLETIN BOARD

"O Lord, be my helper"

Psalm 30:11

The care we give to those entrusted to us flows from the Lord’s love and care for us and our caring, in turn, is an expression of our love for the Lord. Not only should we care for fellow human beings but we must also care for all of creation, as God gave us stewardship over the earth not to dominate it, but to care for it. Quite simply, Earth is the only home we have, the only home that we will pass on to the next generations, the only home in our care.

We are not doing a very good job of caring for creation--we are raping the land, we are clear-cutting the forests, the coral reefs are dying, we are losing many species of life. . .we must stop and listen to the "cry of the earth" (Pope Francis).

In the teaching document, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis states: "Man cannot be separated from the rest; there is a relationship which is reciprocally influential, both the environment on the person, and the person in a way which affects the environment; and the effect bounces back to man when the environment is mistreated." Laudato Si’ is Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, or more formally – "On Care for Our Common Home."

Pope Francis makes it clear in Laudato Si’ that the well-being of the Earth is not separate from the well-being of our souls. He states: "The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion’,whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience" (#217).

From the outset, Pope Francis states the goal of the document: "I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home" (#3). In order to do this at HNOJ, Msgr. Michael Shugrue will be leading an introductory seminar on Laudato Si’ on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 PM. Seating is limited to 30. RSVP to socialconcern@hnojnc.org

O Lord, let me be of help.

---Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS

Director of Social Justice Ministries

Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, NC

FAITH BOOK

Mini-reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for persons on the run. "Faith Book" is also brief enough to be posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.

From today’s Gospel reading:

Jesus said to [Peter],

"Simon, son of John, do you love me!"

Simon Peter answered him, "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep."

Reflection:

The sheep Jesus is sending us to feed and care for might not be very far away: in the next room, at school, work, across the street, or the other side of town. Our prayer response at this Eucharist could be, "Here I am the Lord, ready to do your will." Then, we listen to his response and go where he is sending us to feed his sheep.

So we ask ourselves:

  • Who are the sheep Jesus is sending me to feed and care for?
  • Where do I find nourishment to help me fulfill his mandate?

POSTCARDS TO DEATH ROW INMATES

"One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is carried out."

---Pope Francis

Inmates on death row are the most forgotten people in the prison system. Each week I post in this space several inmates’ names and addresses. I invite you to write a postcard to one or more of them to let them know we have not forgotten them. If you like, tell them you heard about them through North Carolina’s, "People of Faith Against the Death Penalty." If the inmate responds you might consider becoming pen pals.

Please write to:

  • Leslie Warren #0487189 (On death row since 10/6/95)
  • Darrell Stricklan #0393145 (10/27/95)
  • Jerry D. Hill #0511057 (10/31/95)

----Central Prison, 4285 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4285

For more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty go to the Catholic Mobilizing Network: http://catholicsmobilizing.org/resources/cacp/

Also, check the interfaith page for People of Faith Against the Death Penalty: http://www.pfadp.org/

DONATIONS

"First Impressions" is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like "First Impressions" sent weekly to a friend, send a note to fr. John Boll, OP at jboll@opsouth.org.

If you would like to support this ministry, please send tax deductible contributions to fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P., St. Albert Priory, 3150 Vince Hagan Drive, Irving, Texas 75062-4736

Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars. Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation: https://www.PreacherExchange.com/donations.htm

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. We have compiled Four CDS for sale:

  • Individual CDs for each Liturgical Year, A, B or C
  • One combined CD for "Liturgical Years A, B and C."

If you are a preacher, lead a Lectionary-based scripture group, or are a member of a liturgical team, these CDs will be helpful in your preparation process. Individual worshipers report they also use these reflections as they prepare for Sunday liturgy.

You can order the CDs by going to our webpage: www.PreacherExchange.com and clicking on the "First Impressions" CD link on the left.

2. "Homilías Dominicales" —These Spanish reflections on the Sunday and daily scriptures are written by Dominican sisters and friars. If you or a friend would like to receive these reflections drop a note to fr. John Boll, O.P. at Jboll@opsouth.org.

3. Our webpage: http://www.PreacherExchange.com - Where you will find "Preachers’ Exchange," which includes "First Impressions" and "Homilías Dominicales," as well as articles, book reviews, daily homilies and other material pertinent to preaching.

4. "First Impressions" is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like "First Impressions" sent weekly to a friend, send a note to fr. John Boll, OP at the above email address.
 


Thank you and blessings on your preaching,

fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.

Jude Siciliano, OP - Click to send email.

 

St. Albert the Great Priory of Texas

3150 Vince Hagan Drive

Irving, Texas 75062-4736

frjude@judeop.org

972-438-1626


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