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April 30, 2019

Acts 4: 32-37

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.

They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Living in a post-Resurrection world

This time of Mystagogy (the period of reflection following the reception of the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil) is one where we try and find our way through the mysteries that we have just witnessed during the Easter Triduum. Jesus was crucified and has risen from the dead… now what? The disciples in our first reading today offer a very concrete example of how to live in a post-Resurrection world. “There was not a needy person among them”. Christ’s sacrifice fills our every need, and we can now offer everything we have, even our possessions, to God.

There is a trap we must be careful to avoid. These readings can make it seem like we should promote one political structure over another. Our responsorial psalm for today can offer an alternative: “The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty.” The only reason for this radical way of living the Christian life is because the Lord is king. St Ignatius, in the Spiritual Exercises, speaks of our one true desire, that is, to praise, love, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save our souls.

May our Easter prayer help us to focus on our true desire and the Heavenly Kingdom rather than the Earthly one.

Jonathan Harmon, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He is currently in theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
Amen

—Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola


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April 29, 2019

St. Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church

Jn 3: 1-8

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What part of your heart is Jesus in?

I thought of this conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus the other day, while reading a picture book to my son about the circulatory system. As we read about the heart and blood vessels, he wanted to know, “Which part of my heart is Jesus in?” His question was so beautiful to me, in his recognition that Jesus is really present with us. We are flesh, and we are spirit. We discussed the spiritual truth about our hearts: that while they are made of chambers and valves, and they are also a home for our deepest desires, a place where we know Jesus, and where we find love and strength.

While it is important for my son to know that Jesus is not literally lodged in his right atrium, I also want him to know that asking what part of your heart Jesus is in is a very real and urgent question. When St. Ignatius of Loyola read about the saints, he noticed a desire in his heart to be like them, to serve God heroically. He took the desires of his heart seriously, and set about changing his life. Our hearts can help us discern how God is moving in our lives, and help us find the courage to take action. I pray for the freedom to do this as boldly as St. Ignatius! Where is God in your heart today?

Katie Broussard is the illustrator of the picture book Audacious Ignatius and is on the Advisory Board of Jesuit Connections in Chicago.

Prayer

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

—Pedro Arrupe, SJ


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April 28, 2019

Jn 20: 19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Peace to all people of good will

The Church of the Gesu in University Heights, Ohio, in which I serve, is located in a neighborhood with many Jewish families and several synagogues. In the opening words of today’s Gospel passage from John, we are told that the “disciples” are in a “locked” house “for fear of the Jews.” Our parishioners, and especially our school children, find this confusing, aware as they are that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, as well as just about all the disciples in the time before Pentecost were Jews from Galilee and Judea and that Christians and Jews have a common heritage of worship.

Writing decades after the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus for a community of Christians of both Gentile and Jewish backgrounds, John the Evangelist used the term “the Jews” to mean the established religious authorities of Jesus’ time – the elders and chief priests — who felt that the only way to preserve Temple worship for their people was to cultivate an uneasy and delicate alliance with the Roman occupiers, symbolized by Pontius Pilate in the Gospels.

In these circumstances, in the midst of doubt, fear, hesitation, and grief over the loss of their beloved leader, the disciples hear Jesus offer them “Peace”. Can we accept that gift of peace of mind and heart and relationships from the Lord? Can we make peace and be reconciled to all people of good will?

—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, SJ, serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, OH.

Prayer

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at your altars,
O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.

—From Psalm 84


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April 27, 2019

St. Peter Canisius, SJ, priest and doctor of the Church

Mk 16: 9-15

Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Go Into the Whole World

The hectic pace of our daily living pushes the calendar forward. How quickly we come to the end of Easter week. Perhaps the personal, family, and community celebrations of last weekend get lost in the blur of time. This Saturday of Easter week offers the chance to look back to our experiences of Holy Week and Easter and ask “what stands out for me? Which persons, which conversations, what events marked this Easter as key moments of grace for me?”

Today’s Gospel brings us to familiar words of Jesus: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” What part of the world are you called to go out into today? Perhaps it is to a neighbor, a relative, or a coworker. And how are we called to proclaim? It might be by mending a relationship, engaging a long-delayed conversation, offering Jesus’ Easter words of peacefulness and hope.

Ours is a missionary Church, sparked by these words of Jesus. Figuring out how we respond to this call is the joy, and the challenge, of the Gospel.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

It is not you who shapes God; it is God who shapes you. If then you are God’s handiwork, await the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer the pottery of your heart, soft and tractable, and keep well the form in which the Artist has fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter’s fingers.

—St. Irenaeus (2nd century bishop)


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April 26, 2019

Jn 21: 1-14

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Children of God

Enter John’s narrative with its explosive symbolism – the boat, water, fish in the boat, in the water, over a charcoal fire, served with bread. The boat is Church, the water a normally stormy world but calm today, its concession to Christ’s presence. The stony beach on a fresh, cool but warming, sun-filled morning – Christ’s kingdom. Jesus, alive, transfigured, not atop heavenly mountain but here, in the now. Peter, diving into the water, cleansing himself of denial and weakness. Fish, we are the fish (and the fishermen), in the Church, in the world, dying to the world, integral to his communion.

Christ risen, sharing bread and fish with those who left him to die alone. Abandoning not those who abandoned him but making them fishers of men, inviting them into his kingdom. On a perfect morning Christ joyfully, unconditionally loving, calling to his doubting, broken apostles (and us), “Children.”

Stephen Hutchison founded and leads Revitalization 2000, Inc., a nonprofit organization that emerged from St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church to assist its Ignatian-based mission to serve the poor in the surrounding neighborhood of north St. Louis.

Prayer

An Easter Prayer

Christ, as You did that perfect morning
call out to us amidst our daily toils
and invite us
Your children
into communion
forming us
in whatever we do
into fishers of men.

—Stephen Hutchison


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April 25, 2019

St. Mark

Lk 24: 35-48

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Seeking Refuge, Finding Peace

Hiding out from those who had crucified Jesus, the disciples had barely digested the news of Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus when suddenly he stands among them. Can you imagine the emotions they felt—that you would feel if a deceased loved one shows up in your living room? Joy, confusion, disbelief. Hesitation, shock, fear. Utter amazement!

Jesus understands his friends’ emotional roller coaster, so he calms their inner chaos: “Peace be with you.”

A few days before, the disciples had deserted Jesus. Were they afraid he would be angry and disappointed with them? Yet there is not a hint of reproach when Jesus reassures them, “It is I myself.” No blaming or shaming. Just peace. And Jesus is hungry—for something to eat and the companionship of his friends.

Are you hungry for the peace that Jesus offers? Today take refuge in quiet companionship with him breathing in his peace.

Diane Amento Owens is a spiritual director who encourages her directees to see the world through the lens of Ignatian spirituality.

Prayer

Risen Lord, you stand beside me
Offering your loving companionship, your peace
Your refuge and your reassurance.
Calm my fears and my insecurities
So that I may freely carry your peace to those
I encounter today. Amen.

—Diane Amento Owens


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April 24, 2019

Lk 24: 13-35

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?”

They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.

Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.

But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Resurrected Christ

A friend once told me that we are in the presence of God whenever we encounter truth, love, or justice. This seems to be what happened to the men traveling from Jerusalem. They found themselves in God’s presence by opening themselves to Scriptural truths provided by a stranger accompanying them. This is the way the resurrected Jesus interacts with all of us in our own journeys.  According to theologian Luke Timothy Johnson, the risen Christ engages us through “the guise of a stranger…in the midst of human dialogue.” God is made visible through the meaningful human connections we make through storytelling and through the experience of meal sharing.

As the two men reflect on their journey to Emmaus and discover God’s relational character, we are invited to do the same and identify all of God’s past interactions with us, so that we may better recognize God at present and in the future.

Mark Chang is a Theology Teacher and the Director of the New Teacher Induction Program at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Prayer

Draw us forth, God of all creation.
Draw us forward and away from limited certainty
into the immense world of your love.
Give us the capacity to even for a moment
taste the richness of the feast you give us.
Give us the peace to live with uncertainty,
with questions,
with doubts.
Help us to experience the resurrection anew
with open wonder and an increasing ability
to see you in the people of Easter.

—Author unknown, published on jesuitresource.org


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April 23, 2019

St. George

Acts 2: 36-41

Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Jesus continues to be there for us

“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah.”

We have just celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter, and in today’s readings Peter is urging us to be certain of what we have experienced. This might seem like something that is easier said than done. It is true that Peter’s experience of Jesus was different than ours, he experienced the Resurrection first hand after all. He physically saw Jesus arrested and witnessed his Resurrection. So how can we be as certain as Peter?

“… this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter, in his exhortation, doesn’t want us to forget what caused this wonderful act of redemption. We are still broken and in need of God’s love and mercy, but, just as he was for the Apostle Thomas who needed a sign even after the resurrection, Jesus will be there, especially when we doubt, offering himself for us on a daily basis in the Eucharist. That is our certainty and our faith.

Jonathan Harmon, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He is currently in theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.

Prayer

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

—Response during the Eucharistic Prayer


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April 22, 2019

Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Society of Jesus

Mt 28: 8-15

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”

So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Fear and joy

As Mary Magdalene and the other Mary leave the empty tomb to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen, they leave “with fear and great joy”. Fear and joy? This is an odd combination. But when God calls me to something new in my life, I have often responded this way. Moving to a new city? Fear and joy. Starting a new job? Fear and joy. Becoming a parent? Fear and joy.

St. Ignatius teaches us that the deep desires of our heart are God’s desires for us. For me, the experience of fear and great joy is often a sign that I am moving towards my heart’s desire. Margaret Silf writes that these desires “express the movements of my deepest underground streams and currents that spring from God and are known and understood fully only by him.” Sometimes we are called to leave behind something familiar to move towards the joy and fear of a new beginning.

On this Easter Monday, I take some time to consider Mary and Mary’s response to to the realization that their friend is risen from the dead, and that the path God is calling them to will be difficult, transformative, and beautiful. To what is God inviting me during this season of Easter that brings forth in me fear and great joy?

Katie Broussard is the illustrator of the picture book Audacious Ignatius and is on the Advisory Board of Jesuit Connections in Chicago.

Prayer

Imagine our deepest desire as a powerful underground stream, a promise of living water. This stream is so deep in our hearts that for the most part we are not even aware of it. When I let my prayer become this deep flow that I can’t even name or ever fully know, God is continuously responding to it. My prayer is not really mine at all but rather expresses the movements of my deepest underground streams that spring from God and are known and understood fully only by him. God’s answers are not brought about by my prayer any more than the sun’s movements are determined by the earth’s. Rather, my prayer is the response to God’s action in my life and his presence in my heart, just as the earth’s existence is a response to the sun’s.

Margaret Silf, Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality


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April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday

Jn 20: 1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

See and Believe

“Seeing,” “hearing,” “knowing,” and “believing” are all key concepts in John’s Gospel. Near the end of his Gospel, John the Evangelist tells us, “Jesus did many other signs that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”

In John’s Easter Sunday Gospel, Mary of Magdala comes to Simon Peter and to “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” (very often identified as John himself), and tells them that the body of Jesus has been taken away from the tomb, and that she has no idea where it is. Peter and John then run to the tomb. John, yielding to Peter’s authority as the leader of the disciples in the Lord’s absence, bends down to look into the tomb, seeing only the burial cloths there, but doesn’t go in. When Peter arrives, he goes in, and finds the tomb empty, except for the burial shroud; but what seems most to impress Peter is that the cloth that had covered the head of Jesus was not on the ground, scattered or torn, but “rolled up in a separate place.”

Where that cloth was placed and how it was neatly rolled up seems to convince Peter that the body of Jesus was not stolen or moved, but that something else happened. And then, we are told, when the other disciple finally followed Peter into the tomb, he “saw and believed.” What will it take for us to believe? What will remove our every doubt? What experience of the power of the Risen Lord does God want us to have this Easter? May our prayer today be that we, too, will come to “see and believe.”

—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, SJ, serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, OH.

Prayer

Without seeing you, we love you;
without touching you, we embrace;
without knowing you, we follow;
without seeing you, we believe.

Without Seeing You by David Haas, © 1993 by GIA Publications, Inc


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Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.

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April 30, 2019

Acts 4: 32-37

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.

They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Living in a post-Resurrection world

This time of Mystagogy (the period of reflection following the reception of the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil) is one where we try and find our way through the mysteries that we have just witnessed during the Easter Triduum. Jesus was crucified and has risen from the dead… now what? The disciples in our first reading today offer a very concrete example of how to live in a post-Resurrection world. “There was not a needy person among them”. Christ’s sacrifice fills our every need, and we can now offer everything we have, even our possessions, to God.

There is a trap we must be careful to avoid. These readings can make it seem like we should promote one political structure over another. Our responsorial psalm for today can offer an alternative: “The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty.” The only reason for this radical way of living the Christian life is because the Lord is king. St Ignatius, in the Spiritual Exercises, speaks of our one true desire, that is, to praise, love, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save our souls.

May our Easter prayer help us to focus on our true desire and the Heavenly Kingdom rather than the Earthly one.

Jonathan Harmon, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He is currently in theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
Amen

—Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola


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April 29, 2019

St. Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church

Jn 3: 1-8

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What part of your heart is Jesus in?

I thought of this conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus the other day, while reading a picture book to my son about the circulatory system. As we read about the heart and blood vessels, he wanted to know, “Which part of my heart is Jesus in?” His question was so beautiful to me, in his recognition that Jesus is really present with us. We are flesh, and we are spirit. We discussed the spiritual truth about our hearts: that while they are made of chambers and valves, and they are also a home for our deepest desires, a place where we know Jesus, and where we find love and strength.

While it is important for my son to know that Jesus is not literally lodged in his right atrium, I also want him to know that asking what part of your heart Jesus is in is a very real and urgent question. When St. Ignatius of Loyola read about the saints, he noticed a desire in his heart to be like them, to serve God heroically. He took the desires of his heart seriously, and set about changing his life. Our hearts can help us discern how God is moving in our lives, and help us find the courage to take action. I pray for the freedom to do this as boldly as St. Ignatius! Where is God in your heart today?

Katie Broussard is the illustrator of the picture book Audacious Ignatius and is on the Advisory Board of Jesuit Connections in Chicago.

Prayer

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

—Pedro Arrupe, SJ


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April 28, 2019

Jn 20: 19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Peace to all people of good will

The Church of the Gesu in University Heights, Ohio, in which I serve, is located in a neighborhood with many Jewish families and several synagogues. In the opening words of today’s Gospel passage from John, we are told that the “disciples” are in a “locked” house “for fear of the Jews.” Our parishioners, and especially our school children, find this confusing, aware as they are that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, as well as just about all the disciples in the time before Pentecost were Jews from Galilee and Judea and that Christians and Jews have a common heritage of worship.

Writing decades after the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus for a community of Christians of both Gentile and Jewish backgrounds, John the Evangelist used the term “the Jews” to mean the established religious authorities of Jesus’ time – the elders and chief priests — who felt that the only way to preserve Temple worship for their people was to cultivate an uneasy and delicate alliance with the Roman occupiers, symbolized by Pontius Pilate in the Gospels.

In these circumstances, in the midst of doubt, fear, hesitation, and grief over the loss of their beloved leader, the disciples hear Jesus offer them “Peace”. Can we accept that gift of peace of mind and heart and relationships from the Lord? Can we make peace and be reconciled to all people of good will?

—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, SJ, serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, OH.

Prayer

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at your altars,
O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.

—From Psalm 84


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April 27, 2019

St. Peter Canisius, SJ, priest and doctor of the Church

Mk 16: 9-15

Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Go Into the Whole World

The hectic pace of our daily living pushes the calendar forward. How quickly we come to the end of Easter week. Perhaps the personal, family, and community celebrations of last weekend get lost in the blur of time. This Saturday of Easter week offers the chance to look back to our experiences of Holy Week and Easter and ask “what stands out for me? Which persons, which conversations, what events marked this Easter as key moments of grace for me?”

Today’s Gospel brings us to familiar words of Jesus: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” What part of the world are you called to go out into today? Perhaps it is to a neighbor, a relative, or a coworker. And how are we called to proclaim? It might be by mending a relationship, engaging a long-delayed conversation, offering Jesus’ Easter words of peacefulness and hope.

Ours is a missionary Church, sparked by these words of Jesus. Figuring out how we respond to this call is the joy, and the challenge, of the Gospel.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

It is not you who shapes God; it is God who shapes you. If then you are God’s handiwork, await the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer the pottery of your heart, soft and tractable, and keep well the form in which the Artist has fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter’s fingers.

—St. Irenaeus (2nd century bishop)


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April 26, 2019

Jn 21: 1-14

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Children of God

Enter John’s narrative with its explosive symbolism – the boat, water, fish in the boat, in the water, over a charcoal fire, served with bread. The boat is Church, the water a normally stormy world but calm today, its concession to Christ’s presence. The stony beach on a fresh, cool but warming, sun-filled morning – Christ’s kingdom. Jesus, alive, transfigured, not atop heavenly mountain but here, in the now. Peter, diving into the water, cleansing himself of denial and weakness. Fish, we are the fish (and the fishermen), in the Church, in the world, dying to the world, integral to his communion.

Christ risen, sharing bread and fish with those who left him to die alone. Abandoning not those who abandoned him but making them fishers of men, inviting them into his kingdom. On a perfect morning Christ joyfully, unconditionally loving, calling to his doubting, broken apostles (and us), “Children.”

Stephen Hutchison founded and leads Revitalization 2000, Inc., a nonprofit organization that emerged from St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church to assist its Ignatian-based mission to serve the poor in the surrounding neighborhood of north St. Louis.

Prayer

An Easter Prayer

Christ, as You did that perfect morning
call out to us amidst our daily toils
and invite us
Your children
into communion
forming us
in whatever we do
into fishers of men.

—Stephen Hutchison


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April 25, 2019

St. Mark

Lk 24: 35-48

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Seeking Refuge, Finding Peace

Hiding out from those who had crucified Jesus, the disciples had barely digested the news of Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus when suddenly he stands among them. Can you imagine the emotions they felt—that you would feel if a deceased loved one shows up in your living room? Joy, confusion, disbelief. Hesitation, shock, fear. Utter amazement!

Jesus understands his friends’ emotional roller coaster, so he calms their inner chaos: “Peace be with you.”

A few days before, the disciples had deserted Jesus. Were they afraid he would be angry and disappointed with them? Yet there is not a hint of reproach when Jesus reassures them, “It is I myself.” No blaming or shaming. Just peace. And Jesus is hungry—for something to eat and the companionship of his friends.

Are you hungry for the peace that Jesus offers? Today take refuge in quiet companionship with him breathing in his peace.

Diane Amento Owens is a spiritual director who encourages her directees to see the world through the lens of Ignatian spirituality.

Prayer

Risen Lord, you stand beside me
Offering your loving companionship, your peace
Your refuge and your reassurance.
Calm my fears and my insecurities
So that I may freely carry your peace to those
I encounter today. Amen.

—Diane Amento Owens


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April 24, 2019

Lk 24: 13-35

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?”

They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.

Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.

But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Resurrected Christ

A friend once told me that we are in the presence of God whenever we encounter truth, love, or justice. This seems to be what happened to the men traveling from Jerusalem. They found themselves in God’s presence by opening themselves to Scriptural truths provided by a stranger accompanying them. This is the way the resurrected Jesus interacts with all of us in our own journeys.  According to theologian Luke Timothy Johnson, the risen Christ engages us through “the guise of a stranger…in the midst of human dialogue.” God is made visible through the meaningful human connections we make through storytelling and through the experience of meal sharing.

As the two men reflect on their journey to Emmaus and discover God’s relational character, we are invited to do the same and identify all of God’s past interactions with us, so that we may better recognize God at present and in the future.

Mark Chang is a Theology Teacher and the Director of the New Teacher Induction Program at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Prayer

Draw us forth, God of all creation.
Draw us forward and away from limited certainty
into the immense world of your love.
Give us the capacity to even for a moment
taste the richness of the feast you give us.
Give us the peace to live with uncertainty,
with questions,
with doubts.
Help us to experience the resurrection anew
with open wonder and an increasing ability
to see you in the people of Easter.

—Author unknown, published on jesuitresource.org


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April 23, 2019

St. George

Acts 2: 36-41

Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Jesus continues to be there for us

“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah.”

We have just celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter, and in today’s readings Peter is urging us to be certain of what we have experienced. This might seem like something that is easier said than done. It is true that Peter’s experience of Jesus was different than ours, he experienced the Resurrection first hand after all. He physically saw Jesus arrested and witnessed his Resurrection. So how can we be as certain as Peter?

“… this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter, in his exhortation, doesn’t want us to forget what caused this wonderful act of redemption. We are still broken and in need of God’s love and mercy, but, just as he was for the Apostle Thomas who needed a sign even after the resurrection, Jesus will be there, especially when we doubt, offering himself for us on a daily basis in the Eucharist. That is our certainty and our faith.

Jonathan Harmon, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He is currently in theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.

Prayer

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

—Response during the Eucharistic Prayer


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April 22, 2019

Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Society of Jesus

Mt 28: 8-15

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”

So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Fear and joy

As Mary Magdalene and the other Mary leave the empty tomb to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen, they leave “with fear and great joy”. Fear and joy? This is an odd combination. But when God calls me to something new in my life, I have often responded this way. Moving to a new city? Fear and joy. Starting a new job? Fear and joy. Becoming a parent? Fear and joy.

St. Ignatius teaches us that the deep desires of our heart are God’s desires for us. For me, the experience of fear and great joy is often a sign that I am moving towards my heart’s desire. Margaret Silf writes that these desires “express the movements of my deepest underground streams and currents that spring from God and are known and understood fully only by him.” Sometimes we are called to leave behind something familiar to move towards the joy and fear of a new beginning.

On this Easter Monday, I take some time to consider Mary and Mary’s response to to the realization that their friend is risen from the dead, and that the path God is calling them to will be difficult, transformative, and beautiful. To what is God inviting me during this season of Easter that brings forth in me fear and great joy?

Katie Broussard is the illustrator of the picture book Audacious Ignatius and is on the Advisory Board of Jesuit Connections in Chicago.

Prayer

Imagine our deepest desire as a powerful underground stream, a promise of living water. This stream is so deep in our hearts that for the most part we are not even aware of it. When I let my prayer become this deep flow that I can’t even name or ever fully know, God is continuously responding to it. My prayer is not really mine at all but rather expresses the movements of my deepest underground streams that spring from God and are known and understood fully only by him. God’s answers are not brought about by my prayer any more than the sun’s movements are determined by the earth’s. Rather, my prayer is the response to God’s action in my life and his presence in my heart, just as the earth’s existence is a response to the sun’s.

Margaret Silf, Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality


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April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday

Jn 20: 1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

See and Believe

“Seeing,” “hearing,” “knowing,” and “believing” are all key concepts in John’s Gospel. Near the end of his Gospel, John the Evangelist tells us, “Jesus did many other signs that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”

In John’s Easter Sunday Gospel, Mary of Magdala comes to Simon Peter and to “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” (very often identified as John himself), and tells them that the body of Jesus has been taken away from the tomb, and that she has no idea where it is. Peter and John then run to the tomb. John, yielding to Peter’s authority as the leader of the disciples in the Lord’s absence, bends down to look into the tomb, seeing only the burial cloths there, but doesn’t go in. When Peter arrives, he goes in, and finds the tomb empty, except for the burial shroud; but what seems most to impress Peter is that the cloth that had covered the head of Jesus was not on the ground, scattered or torn, but “rolled up in a separate place.”

Where that cloth was placed and how it was neatly rolled up seems to convince Peter that the body of Jesus was not stolen or moved, but that something else happened. And then, we are told, when the other disciple finally followed Peter into the tomb, he “saw and believed.” What will it take for us to believe? What will remove our every doubt? What experience of the power of the Risen Lord does God want us to have this Easter? May our prayer today be that we, too, will come to “see and believe.”

—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, SJ, serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, OH.

Prayer

Without seeing you, we love you;
without touching you, we embrace;
without knowing you, we follow;
without seeing you, we believe.

Without Seeing You by David Haas, © 1993 by GIA Publications, Inc


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