This week's readings
Week of April 21-27
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Reading I: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Reading II: 1 Pt 2:20b-25
Gospel: Jn 10:1-10
Monday, April 22, 2002
Reading I: Acts 11:1-18
Gospel: Jn 10:11-18
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Reading I: Acts 11:19-26
Gospel: Jn 10:22-30
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Reading I: Acts 12:24-13:5a
Gospel: Jn 12:44-50
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Reading I: 1 Pt 5:5b-14
Gospel: Mk 16:15-20
Friday, April 26, 2002
Reading I: Acts 13:26-33
Gospel: Jn 14:1-6
Saturday, April 27, 2002
Reading I: Acts 13:44-52
Gospel: Jn 14:7-14
Pope's Prayer Intentions
April General Intention
That family life may be central to world society: That even amidst the world's unsettled ways, the family may be seen as crucial in its vocation as a cradle of life and school of faith and right values.
April Mission Intention
Finding courage and strength from the martyrs of our time to proclaim the Gospel: That the heroic martyrs of our time may hearten our ecclesial communities to courageously announce Jesus Christ the Redeemer of humankind.
Words of encouragement:
Words of faith and life
Repentance. Baptism. Forgiveness. Holy Spirit. Promise. Salvation. Shepherd. Patience. Suffering. Righteousness. Healing. Life. These words from the Scriptures for this Sunday give important themes for the Christian life we are called to live.
Repentance: Both John the Baptist and Jesus called people to repent. "Repent, make a straight path for the Lord, turn away from sin, believe in the Gospel, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The Christian life requires that we forsake our old sinful ways and take up a new way of living, for Christ.
Baptism: John baptized with water, and Jesus with the Holy Spirit and fire. Before he returned to his Father, Jesus commanded the Church to baptize all the nations "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," and to teach people all that he taught. While we become Christians at our baptism, discipleship is a lifelong project.
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
for Fourth Sunday
Psalm 123: 13a, 3b4, 5,6
Forgiveness: Even from the Cross, Jesus called upon his Father to grant us forgiveness. When we make a return to the Lord and offer our sorrow and repentance for our sins, he readily forgives. His mercy and kindness know no bounds, and as we forgive others so does God forgive us.
Holy Spirit: After the Ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from the Father. The Spirit guides the Church, reminds us of all that Jesus taught us, and empowers us to grow as disciples of the Risen Lord. The Holy Spirit brings that fire of God's love into our hearts, so that followers of Jesus may bring the Gospel to all the world.
Promise: The Scriptures are, in a way, the story of the promise of God to his chosen people. A promise to be our God, and to have us as his people. A promise never to forsake us, no matter what. A promise to forgive, to send the gift of the Spirit. A promise to save us from our sins, and to give us the hope of everlasting life.
Salvation: This is what we all hope for, what we all need. Salvation is the promise of forgiveness of sins, the pathway to life forever with God in his kingdom. It is a free gift, bought for us with the price of Christ's blood. For those who believe in Christ and become his followers, salvation is the promise of the kingdom fulfilled.
Shepherd: Jesus, our good shepherd, our sheepgate, is the one who cares for us, guards us, watches over us, calls us. If we listen to him, we will recognize his voice, and reject other voices which call us away from the life he has promised. "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil, for you are at my side . . ."
Patience: Peter teaches us to be patient when we suffer for doing what is good. When we do so we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. He suffered death on the Cross patiently, lovingly. He did what is good for us and pleasing to his Father, and was obedient even to death. He teaches us how to do good and to accept humbly whatever will come.
Suffering: On the Cross our salvation was won. It was the real suffering of Christ, who offered himself as a sacrificial victim to the Father in our place. Our sins are the nails which fastened him to that chunk of tree. Our blasphemies are the spittle on his face, the mocking laughter he endured. He suffered for us, to show us how to suffer, too.
Righteousness: The Lord calls all his people to righteousness, to justice. He washes away our sins in baptism, gives us his own body and blood for our food, listens with great love when we repent of our sins. His death on the Cross will set to rights all the injustice of the world - when we accept and enact that gift of his death.
Healing: Throughout his life Jesus healed people in body, mind, and soul. In the Church we celebrate the healing power of his love every time we celebrate the Eucharist, every time we reach out to touch others who are hurting, who are in need. "By his wounds we are healed," we pray. By the gift of his love we can become those who heal.
Life: It all boils down to this - God's gift of life for his people. Our life on earth is good and beautiful. The creation of which we are a part gives glory to God through our lives, our prayer, our worship, our care. But we are made for more. We are made for eternal life. As we live here with one another on earth, so will God call us to life forever with him.
By our repentance and through baptism we receive forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God's promise of salvation is ours! Our Shepherd teaches us patience in suffering by his own example, so that righteousness may mark us as his followers. He gives us the healing and strength we need, and he offers those who love him life forever in the kingdom of his Father.
Fr. John G. Stillmank is Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Madison and pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Verona, and St. William Parish, Paoli.
Third Millennium Prayer
1. Loving and gracious God,
in your providence
you have brought us to a new beginning,
a new millennium ripe for new evangelization.
2. We praise and bless you, Father.
In renewed faith, hope, and love
we give ourselves to you
that you form us in the image of Jesus,
your Son and our savior.
3. As followers of Jesus
help us to have the courage
to push out into the deep water
and lower our nets for a catch.
Teach us to listen to your voice,
to trust in your word,
to leave everything and follow
in the footsteps of Jesus.
4. By the power of your Holy Spirit
help us to work for greater solidarity
with all people throughout the world.
Enrich your Church with lasting measures
of justice, leading us to true peace.
5. May Mary, Mother of the Church,
intercede for us in our desire to say
yes to all that you, Father, ask of us.
This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
William H. Bullock, Bishop of Madison