Reflection for Monday May 13, 2019: 4th Week of Easter.
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Today we celebrate the Monday of the Fourth week of Easter. All the commercial aspects of Easter are long past no more bunnies and colored eggs, the candies are gone or drastically reduced in price, for all outward appearances we have finished celebrating Easter. Yet, the real reason there is Easter lives on! We are saved – redeemed from our sins and offered live everlasting.|Our first reading shows us the confusion and self-centeredness that existed even at the beginning regarding who has the right to be saved. We remember the indignation of the Pharisees when Jesus told of parables about inclusiveness or when He actually mingled with those unworthy (tax collectors and such). We know how He supported the woman about to be stoned or had a deep conversation with the woman at the well; He even dared to say that Samarians could do good things. But now the original believers have to face that Jesus came to save all who would open their hearts to Him. It was difficult at first for them to believe that the uncircumcised (non-Jewish) could/would be saved alongside the circumcised.|In some ways it reminded me of how my world opened to understand the various belief systems that exist. I'm of the age when we still prayed in public school. Every morning we stood and pledged allegiance to the flag and said the Our Father. I am a cradle Catholic so I only knew of the Catholic Church – I knew we drove by some other churches but didn't really comprehend. There was a vague notion that some people (those who were not Catholic) said some additional words at the end of the Our Father. Certainly we were not supposed to say those extra words – we were to say Amen after we asked to be delivered from evil. So imagine my surprise as we stood in class reciting the Our Father and some of my classmates continued praying when I was done. They appeared to be good, loving kids and fun to play with, so I began to understand that people could be different than me and still be okay. They could still love God and follow the Commandments; it was okay to be Protestant. I don't remember then talking as much about all being Christians – just that there were Protestants and Catholics. Oh yeah, and the other big difference from my five-old perspective was that they could eat meat on Friday (I did kinda envy that). Then came junior high; in 7th grade I met Betsy. She was in my home room and was very smart, I liked how she knew so many things. Yet, she was different still from my Protestant friends, Betsy spoke of holidays like Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah and could skip school without getting in trouble for those days. I envied that part but felt sorry for her that she didn't get a Christmas tree even though she spoke about 12 gifts during Hanukkah. Clearly, the world was greater than my myopic view.|My world was breaking open even more, now I was in school and even friends with many people who were not Catholic yet they were good people. While I could not then, or even now, imagine my life without Jesus in it, there were people who did and they were not bad people. It was ironic that the first people who knew of Jesus, changed their faith to follow Him and in the beginning could not believe that others would be saved as well.|I could not let this day, that is also the Memorial to Our Lady of Fatima, go by without a mention. Being of Portuguese heritage, the story of Fatima is one that has had my heart for a long time. The miracles there entice me and encourage me to recognize the power of the rosary. We certainly have been given direction once again. Perhaps as Peter listened so long ago, we too, can open our hearts and listen. |The song that came to mind for me to express my heart for this reading was How Great is Our God – World Edition. I love the blend of all the languages singing praise and sharing our love of God. I listened to a number of versions (my blessings with "goosebumps" through them all). The inclusiveness of this song reflects where these readings brought me. I still couldn't find the exact version I was looking for, but this one is beautiful . Enjoy!!
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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