Friday, May 20, 2011

You Are My Son; This Day I Have Begotten You.

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading I
Acts 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia,
he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders
failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled
the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds f
or a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished
all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree
and placed him in a tomb.

But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him
from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses
before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming
this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us,
their children,
by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”
+++    +++    +++   +++
Psalm 2
“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me,
“You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
“Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
+++    +++    +++    +++   
John 14:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you
that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again
and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him,
“I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
St. Bernardine of Siena

Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.

He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.”

Compared with St. Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown, Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt (her parents had died when he was a child) and at her death began to fast and pray to know God’s will for him.

At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.

Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation. Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him, but Bernardine’s holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.

General of a branch of the Franciscan Order, the Friars of the Strict Observance, he strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling.

Another dynamic saint once said, “...I will not be a burden, for I want not what is yours, but you.... I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes” (2 Corinthians 12:14). There is danger that we see only the whirlwind of activity in the Bernardines of faith—taking care of the sick, preaching, studying, administering, always driving—and forget the source of their energy. We should not say that Bernardine could have been a great contemplative if he had had the chance. He had the chance, every day, and he took it.

Patron Saint of:
Gambling, compulsive
Public relations

Saint of the Day

1 comment:

Sarah in the tent said...

'You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.'

These words evoke an implacable, even vengeful Messiah, very unlike Our Lord! But the idea of ruling with an iron rod can't mean beating the poor nations with an iron bar! Perhaps the iron rod represents the measure of truth. A metal ruler is better than a wooden one, if you want to measure accurately and draw a really straight line. Iron does not bend or warp, and neither does truth, if it is truly true! Jesus says 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' Surely, this is an iron rule.

Why would anyone want to shatter an earthen dish? It can't just be wanton destruction. Many items are cast in earthenware moulds. Great care goes into the mould, but once the item has been cast, the mould is broken to release it. Sometimes, to describe someone really special, we say that the mould was broken after they were made.

Perhaps these lines indicate that the truth of Christ shatters the mould. Things will never be the same again. History moves from BC to AD and individuals are freed from their own moulds of clay.