Finding Jesus: In our hearts and in others
One brisk fall day I had to return home to retrieve a forgotten book. As I opened the door, the spicy smell of sautéing onions and green peppers greeted me.
Standing at the kitchen sink, my husband said, "What are you doing here? Forget your book?"
I nodded. "I thought you said you weren't making soup today."
"I changed my mind," he said, with a rather quizzical smile.
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
(Sunday, April 22, 2007)
Psalm 30:2, 4-6
I entered the living room, which is shrouded in near darkness during the fall and winter. In the corner of my eye I saw a figure standing to my right, but recognition was slow in coming. Then he stepped closer. Finally, the smiling face of our dear friend Sal registered. An explosion of laughing, crying, hugging, and explaining ensued.
Sal, whom we had not seen in six years, had a layover at the airport. Sal and Winford had been planning to visit me at work, but my unexpected appearance set the stage for a double surprise on an ordinary day.
The element of surprise is at play again as John prepares us for the third post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. After all the events that have elapsed since the crucifixion, a small group of apostles and disciples return to the familiar seashore.
It seems the men haven't decided how to fill their time after the action-filled years of following Jesus. Although some have witnessed the resurrected Christ, they are men without a plan.
Finally, Peter decides to do something like we ourselves might do in this situation - something ordinary: "I am going fishing," he announces, which must have seemed a good idea because the others pile into the boat with him.
After a long night without catching a single fish, the men recognize a familiar figure on the shore. Soon nets bulge with fish. Hungry men fill themselves with breakfast.
In this almost surreal scene, Jesus probes the heart of Peter with the penetrating question: "Do you love me?"
As Jesus digs deeper with each question, Peter answers an emotional yes.
When have you been surprised by an opportunity to tend God's loved ones?
Jesus has no words of condemnation for the man who denied him. Jesus prefers love, grace, and commitment.
If we listen, Jesus continues to ask, "Do you love me?" If our answer is yes, we will discover "sheep" that need our care.
This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.
This week's readings
Week of April 22 - 28, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Third Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Reading II: Rev 5:11-14
Gospel: Jn 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
Monday, April 23, 2007
Reading I: Acts 6:8-15
Gospel: Jn 6:22-29
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Reading I: Acts 7:51--8:1a
Gospel: Jn 6:30-35
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist
Reading I: 1 Pt 5:5b-14
Gospel: Mk 16:15-20
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Reading I: Acts 8:26-40
Gospel: Jn 6:44-51
Friday, April 27, 2007
Reading I: Acts 9:1-20
Gospel: Jn 6:52-59
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Reading I: Acts 9:31-42
Gospel: Jn 6:60-69
Pope's Prayer Intentions
April General Intention
Call to Holiness. That guided by the Holy Spirit, each Christian may respond enthusiastically and faithfully to the universal call to holiness.
April Mission Intention
Vocations. That the number of priestly and religious vocations may grow to meet the needs in North America and countries of the Pacific Ocean.
Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral
Whose word is like fire,
who spoke to Your servant Moses in the burning bush;
who led Your people Israel out of bondage
with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:
hear Your people as we call upon You
in both need and gratitude.
May the Cathedral fire purify Your Church
in the Diocese of Madison
so that our hearts may burn with the knowledge
that Your Church is built upon the bedrock
of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the intercession of Saint Raphael,
Your messenger of healing,
in union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,
and with our Bishop, Robert C. Morlino,
may we find comfort in our affliction
and the courage to proclaim
the Good News of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
For more prayer resources visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
(Click on the link on the main page.)