It was once said to me that life is a series of beginnings and endings. We start something, but invariably it comes to an end. We finish something and can find ourselves sad until we begin something new.
I played a dangerous game in high school. I compared my individual talents to others, and I found myself lacking. That is because for each individual talent I had, there was always another person who was better. Rather than being able to see the many blessings God gave me, I focused on what I did not have. In today’s first reading, the apostle Paul shows how being baptized helps each of us to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
When I was in college, there was a program, popular in parishes and other settings, called “Life in the Spirit Seminars.” It was largely a program that encouraged people to participate in the charismatic renewal by highlighting the importance of a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament by Saint Paul. The culmination of the program was to be “baptized in the spirit.”
One of the great images of the Second Vatican Council was viewing a family as a domestic Church. This is a natural outcome when the Church is seen as the Bride of Christ, for it is this relationship that marriage is called to emulate.
Jealousy and envy can be difficult things for us to admit to in our lives. We do not usually tell others we are jealous of them, or that we envy this or that thing. Someone else gets recognition for something, when I think it should be me, and I feel jealous. Someone has something I want, and I can envy them.
Just think of it. From all eternity, Jesus has a place in heaven prepared for us. He has shown us the way to this place, because he himself is the way. He has given us a preview of his relationship with him here on earth, as a foretaste of the eternal relationship he calls us to share with him in heaven for ever.
Often we fail to see the Lord working in our lives. We can believe that all our gifts, all our blessings and talents are of our own making. But the truth is, it is always God working in and through us. Fr. Simon-Felix Michalski, O.P., reminds us to look for the Lord working in our lives and to try and see everything in a new and different way. We have to recognize like Stephen did, that God is at work and our ministry only bears fruit when rooted in Christ.
In the readings today Christ begins the Bread of Life discourse and we see the great gift that Jesus has given us both in his Body and in His Word. We too are like the crowds and are grateful for the gift. But do we understand what the gifts really mean? Do we understand what they tell us about the giver of those gifts?
Msgr. Richard Lavalley offers reflections for the readings of the Third Sunday of Easter. He describes the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus becomes present in the breaking of the bread and they understand their role to share the gospel. And just as Peter changes to a courageous and powerful man, so too when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we change too.
We are confronted with two different portrayals of lions today. On one hand, St. Mark, whose Feast is today, is portrayed as a lion. This symbolizes courage and bravery in the face of persecutions and anxieties. We’re all meant to be brave as we proclaim the Gospel. But we also see the Devil portrayed as a lion and the Devil is certainly not noble or brave. In fact, he is weak and he preys on the weak. Listen to Deacon Chris Johnson, O.P., break down what these opposing images mean for us and our faith life.