Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prayers for today: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy; praise the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise, alleluia. (Psalm 65: 1-2)

God our Father, may we look forward with hope to our resurrection, for you have made us your sons and daughters, and restored the joy of our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. Alleluia.



Blessed James Oldo (1364-1404)



James of Oldo was born in 1364, into a well-to-do family near Milan. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague, James determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in heaven and to build God’s realm on earth. He and his wife became Secular Franciscans. James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of his wife, James himself became a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisoners of war. He died in 1404 after contracting a disease from one of his patients. James Oldo was beatified in 1933.


The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John (21.1~19)
Afterwards Jesus appeared again to His disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. Then they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time He said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, "Follow me!"


The Resurrection
(Homily by Fr. E.J. Tyler)

The Oxford Movement in the third decade of nineteenth century England was, among other things, an attempt to restore the authority and spiritual life of the Anglican Church. This was understood by its leaders as requiring a recovery of the Catholic ethos of the early Church, as interpreted theologically by the Caroline divines of the seventeenth century. All acknowledge that John Henry Newman was its driving intellectual leader, and the elements of his thought continue to be the object of widespread research. Now, Newman saw clearly that the foe of Christian faith in his time was Rationalism. The rationalism that Newman opposed insisted that the validity of Faith and its tenets must be judged by the requirements of so-called “Reason.” In effect, “Reason” meant the formal requirements of logic and demonstration, such that if the believer could not demonstrate his case according to the canons of scientific proof, his case could not stand. Newman opposed this notion of the reasonable as being unreal. It was not how human beings arrived at valid convictions. The human being becomes convinced of something not just because it can be “demonstrated,” but because of a host of factors that are usually impossible to put into syllogistic form. Perhaps the most important factor (among others) leading a person to be convinced of the truth of something is antecedent probability. A formal “demonstration” of the existence of God, which might satisfy the demands of formal logic, of itself and alone will not usually lead to personal conviction of its truth. Rather, what will be decisive will be the convergence of factors which, while in logic might be probabilities, amount in his judgment (i.e., according to his “reason”) to a certainty. Newman also said that in matters moral and religious, what a person perceives to be true will depend in large measure on his own moral state — the state of his heart, of his will. This in turn depends on his fidelity to duty. What I am highlighting in this reference to Newman here is the importance of antecedent probability in arriving at religious truth, and of the state of a person’s heart in what he expects to be the truth.

We have a beautiful Gospel scene before us today John 21:1-19, the scene of the risen Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There he is as dawn is breaking, a lone figure whom the disciples see from their boat. He is soon recognized by the beloved disciple, but this recognition followed on their encounter with the risen Jesus back in Jerusalem on the day of his resurrection. Our scene today invites us to recall the frame of mind of our Lord’s closest disciples, his Apostles no less, following his terrible death and hasty burial on the Friday afternoon. A great gloom enveloped them and during the entire Sabbath day that followed, a great darkness covered their souls. It was well represented by the two forlorn disciples leaving Jerusalem for Emmaus on the Sunday morning. They were joined by the risen Jesus, but failed to recognize him. The striking thing about the entire group of disciples — with the exception, we may be sure, of Christ’s own mother — was their conviction that his death was the end. They did not have the slightest sense of the probability of his rising from the dead. He had spoken of this explicitly. He had foretold his rejection, his condemnation, his passion, his death — and had even foretold how he would die. It would be by crucifixion. But he had repeatedly said he would also rise — and had specified that it would be on the third day. Nevertheless, they had no sense even of its probability, let alone of its certainty. They utterly lacked what Newman says is the principal factor leading to conviction in matters of real life; a sense of its antecedent probability. Not only did they not expect it, but they expected the opposite. Because of this they did not accept the various reports coming from reliable witnesses on the day of his resurrection. They regarded it as overwhelmingly improbable, despite all they had seen and known of Jesus Christ and of what he had predicted. Thomas even refused to accept the joint witness of the other Apostles. Why did they regard it as so improbable? Our Lord made it clear to them that it was due to the hardness of their hearts.

As I mentioned earlier, Newman also taught that in matters moral and religious, what a person accepts as likely will depend on his moral state. Religious conviction — or faith — does not just depend on so-called “Reason.” It depends on the state of our hearts, for this will shape what we consider to be probable. In turn, our sense of what is probable will shape our response to those many things that point to the truth of something. It was because of the state of their hearts that the Apostles did not accept the news of the resurrection — in other words, the good news of the Gospel. They regarded it as totally improbable. It was only when the Fact of it was presented before their eyes that they became convinced. Let us ask our Lord to pour his grace into our hearts and make of them good soil for the great truth of the resurrection.


Character

Maturity. Stop making faces and acting like a child! Your bearing ought to reflect the peace and order in your soul.

(The Way, no. 3)

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