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Sunday, April 21, 2013

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 13:14, 43-52
Revelation 7:9, 14-17
Psalm 100:1-3, 5
John 10:27-30

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"The two shook the dust from their feet in protest and went on to Iconium. The disciples could not but be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit." —Acts 13:51-52

After Jesus originally spoke the words of today's Gospel reading, the hearers' reaction was violent hostility. They "again reached for rocks to stone Him" (Jn 10:31). We don't react in this same way because we're not Jews and so Jesus' claims don't seem to oppose our religious beliefs. Yet does this fully explain our different reaction? Do we understand the radical implications of Christ's words?

In today's first reading, we read that Paul's preaching was countered "with violent abuse" (Acts 13:45). There may have been some homilies we haven't cared for, but we probably haven't gone so far as to run the priest out of town. Does this show that we're more gentle and understanding than Paul's listeners or that maybe we "couldn't care less"?

In our secularized brand of Christianity, many people are lukewarm. We don't believe vigorously or strongly contend for the faith (Jude 3) if we believe it is threatened. We try to appear tolerant of others' beliefs, but maybe we're just apathetic. In the early Church, riots broke out over the resurrection (see Acts 23:6ff). Would that we believed in Jesus' resurrection with such zeal!

Prayer:  Father, may my faith not be so bland and mushy.

Promise:  "He will lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." —Rv 7:17

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, risen from the dead! Alleluia!

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 2, 2012

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