Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday word, 24 Apr 2007

3Easter Tuesday (24 Apr 2007) Ac 7. 51-8.1a; Ps 31; Jn 6. 30-35
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Yet Another Connotation

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit...for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me. Lead Me, Guide Me is a title of a Catholic, contemporary, African-American hymnal. Ever since I discovered it, I began to become more aware how crucial that phrase from Psalm 31 is for living our individual vocations. While each of makes our way, we are always in need of the leading, guiding help of our risen Messiah Jesus.

The portrait painted by the Acts of the Apostles of the earliest community of the crucified and risen Messiah can accurately be called a lead me, guide me account or our beginnings.

The parallels between Stephen and Jesus in the stoning of Stephen are difficult to miss, no? Both of them confronted opposition to the Holy Spirit, God’s energythroughout history. Both of them sided with the Holy Spirit, indeed Luke describes them both--Jesus in his gospel, Stephen in his Acts of the Apostles--as filled with the Holy Spirit.

As both died, they prayed that God would not hold their murders against their killers.

A quick response of most of us is: “I could never do that!” On our own we could not. Jesus and Stephen were able to that because God’s Holy Spirit led and guided them. They were by no means puppets, jumping to the string-pulls of a divine puppeteer.

On the contrary, they were autonomous agents who gave themselves into God’s leading, guiding Spirit. This reading and its psalm paired with today’s gospel offers a new connotation for believing. To believe, is joined with eating and drinking the body and blood of the Lord. To believe is to allow oneself to be led and guided by the Spirit of our risen Messiah.

That may rankle us or even frighten us. The more we give ourselves to that the freer we become. Freer disciples more readily offer their entire selves to the Lord in life not just at death.
Wiki image is in the public domain.

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