Monday, May 16, 2011

I Am The Good Shepherd. I Know Mine, And Mine Know Me.

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading I
Acts 11:1-18
The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people
and ate with them.” 
Peter began and
explained it to them step by step, saying,
“I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners,
and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw
the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles,
and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me,
‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean
has ever entered my mouth.’
But a second time
a voice from heaven answered,
‘What God has made clean,
you are not to call profane.’
This happened three times,
and then everything
was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared
at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me
to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man’s house.
He related to us how he had seen
the angel standing in his house, saying,
‘Send someone to Joppa
and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.’
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord,
how he had said,
‘John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?”
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
“God has then granted life-giving repentance
to the Gentiles too.”
+++    +++    +++    +++   
Psalm 42
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
+++    +++    +++    +++
John 10:11-18
Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay
and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”
St. Peregrine Laziosi

Born in Forli, Italy, Peregrine is the patron saint of persons suffering from cancer, AIDS and other serious diseases.

As a young man he was a member of an anti-papal party until he encountered St. Philip Benizi, the head of the Servite order, who had been sent to try to reconcile the divided community. While trying to preach in Forli, Philip was heckled and even struck by Peregrine, who was overcome by momentary political fervor. But that moment also changed Peregrine. He began to channel his energies in new directions, engaged in good works and eventually joined the Servites in Siena and went on to be ordained a priest. Returning to his home town, he founded a new Servite house there and became well known for his preaching and holiness as well as his devotion to the sick and poor.

One of the special penances he imposed on himself was standing whenever it was not necessary to sit. Over time, Peregrine developed varicose veins and, in turn, cancer of the foot. The wound became painful and diseased and all medical treatment failed. The local surgeon determined amputation of the leg was called for.

Tradition has it that the night before surgery was scheduled Peregrine spent much time in prayer before the crucified Jesus, asking God to heal him if it was God’s will to do so. Falling asleep at one point, Peregrine had a vision of the crucified Jesus leaving the cross and touching his cancerous leg. When Peregrine awoke, the wound was healed and his foot and leg, seemingly miraculously cured, were saved. He lived another 20 years.

Peregrine was canonized in 1726.

Peregrine got his miracle: His cancer was cured even as the doctors prepared to amputate his foot. But Peregrine had already experienced a more important healing: A softening of his heart rechanneled all his energy into the service of the gospel. Most of us pray fervently if not for a miracle, at least for some need that lies close to our hearts. And so we should, for God cares about our concerns. But no prayer would please God more than to ask that we might experience an ongoing softening of our hearts.

Patron Saint of:
AIDS patients
Cancer patients

Saint of the Day

1 comment:

Sarah in the tent said...

‘What God has made clean,
you are not to call profane.’

When I started primary school, my classmates pointed out to me a girl who had 'fleas'. If any of us accidentally touched her, we had to blow off the 'fleas', otherwise we too ran the risk of being ostracized because her 'fleas' were so contagious. I'm still ashamed of this.

I thought all that cruel stupidity was strictly for infants school, until I read the story of Asia Bibi in Pakistan. Her colleagues did not want her, a non-Muslim, to bring their food, calling her unclean. She apparently retorted: "Jesus died to make me clean. What did Mohammed do for you?"

Rather than answer this valid theological question, her tormentors have had her convicted of blasphemy against Mohammed and she currently awaits her execution.

I expect that questions of uncleanness were taken just as seriously by the Jewish community at the time of Our Lord. Someone might even have accused St Peter of teaching disrespect for Moses, like Asia Bibi with regard to Mohammed.

It's thanks to Jesus that 'uncleanness' seems so ridiculous to people living in Christianized societies. He died to make us clean. 'The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.'