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Posted by St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Defiance, Ohio on Thursday, April 30, 2020
Parish NewsApril 30, 2020
April 30, 2020 – Thursday, Third Week of Easter
St. James the Greater
James the Greater was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of John the Apostle. He was a fisherman in Galilee when he was called to be a disciple.
He was the first apostle to be martyred for his faith and his death is described in the Acts of the Apostles – the only apostle’s death to be detailed in the New Testament.
Legend says that after the resurrection of Jesus, James preached in Spain before returning to Jerusalem. After his death, his followers transported his body back to Spain, where it is said to be buried at the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela. It has also been a popular spiritual destination destination for pilgrims since medieval times.
St. James is the patron saint of Spain and of laborers.
The Catholic Church celebrates his feast on July 25, while the Eastern Byzantine Church celebrates the feast of St. James the Greater today.
And the risen Jesus said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of hearts to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses send all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. (Lk 24:25-27)
As near as scholars can tell, Luke wrote his Gospel 40 or 50 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, for people who had never met Jesus.
One reason why this story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus was specially cherished by the early Christian community and incorporated into the Gospels is because this story portrays what we do each Sunday at the Eucharist.
The passage begins with the gathering rite when the disciples come together with Jesus. Then there is the Liturgy of the Word where there is conversation about the great issues of life and the Scripture is used to help understand those issues.
The conversation is followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the breaking of bread. Finally, there is the dismissal rite when all this is done and we go out to tell the good news to other people by the way we live and by the things we say.
Just like the disciples who walked with Jesus on the way to Emmaus.
April 29, 2020 – Wednesday, Third Week of Easter
Bethsaida Five of the apostles – Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Philip – came from the ancient fishing village of Bethsaida. The village’s exact location is unknown today. Some scholars favor Et-Tel, a mound located along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Others suggest the Jewish village was along the eastern shore of the Jordan River. Bethsaida was founded about 10 centuries before Jesus was born. In its early years, the village was possibly the capital of the Kingdom of Geshur (located in what its today the Golan Heights. King David married the daughter of the king of Geshur.)
Besides calling several disciples from the village, Jesus also performed miracles there. At Bethsaida, Jesus restored the sight of a blind man, and performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
During the first century A. D., one of Herod the Great’s sons, Philip the Tetrarch (who ruled from 4 B.C. until his death in 34 A.D.), renamed Bethsaida “Julias,” in honor of Julia, the wife Roman Emperor Augustus and mother of the Emperor Tiberius. Philip is believed to have died in Bethsaida and was buried there.
The two disciples said: “And besides all this, it is now the third day since this place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early this morning and did not find his body: they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” (Lk 24:21-24)
As a disciple of the Lord, I experience the Lord in many ways in my life, sometimes unpredictable ways, like under the starry sky or before a beautiful sunset or sunrise. I experience the Lord sometimes when I think deep thoughts…sometimes powerfully in other people…sometimes in tragedy.
But the only place where I can count on experiencing the Lord is in the Eucharist. He comes in a hundred different way s and they are beautiful and they are real. But the one place that is predictable and the one place where my experience of the Lord should be more intense is in the Eucharist.
Someday, I may ask myself: if the Lord can be encountered in so many places, why go to Mass? This week’s story of Emmaus tells me why: to meet Jesus in this sacramental way and to have him speak his words, and to break bread with him, is to experience a special kind of regular, intense, predictable, recognizable presence that is different from another kind.
That’s why I go to Mass.
April 28, 2020 – Tuesday, Third Week of Easter Society of St. Peter the Apostle The Society of St. Peter the Apostle supports the education and formation of Priests and religious in developing countries. It was founded in 1889 in Caen, France, by Stephanie Bigard and her daughter Jeanne.
In 1878, Stephanie’s husband committed suicide, and later her son Rene was killed. After these tragedies, Stephanie and her daughter found comfort in their faith, and began to focus their energy on helping the missions.
In 1888, they received a letter from a French missionary soliciting money to build a church in Kyoto, Japan. Then Bishop Jules-Alphonse Cousin of Nagasake, Japan, contacted them for funds to educate seminarians. The situation was so dire, he wrote, that he was forced to turn away young men hoping to become priests.
The mother and daughter began raising money for bot appeals. They sold possessions, and Jeanne even sold her home and donated her dowry. The Bigard’s efforts became known as the Society of St. Peter the Apostle. Soon they were traveling throughout Europe to raise funds for other seminaries in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Korea, and China.
Stephanie Bigard died in 1903; two years later, ill health forced Jeanne Bigard to step down from leadership of the society. Fifteen years later, its central office was moved to Rome. In 1922, Pope Pius XI, proclaimed the society “pontifical,” with the task of supporting seminaries in mission dioceses. Today approximately 30,000 seminarians and 10,000 religious novices receive assistance from the society.
Jeanne Bigard died on this day in 1934.
Jesus asked the two, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet might in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” (Lk 24:17-21)
The disciples didn’t recognize Jesus in some dramatic meeting, as when Peter spotted him on the shore. The recognized him “in the breading of bread.”
That is the kind of presence I can experience in expected and unexpected ways, and know that the risen Lord is here with me today.
Jesus has gone through death to the other side so that he can be even closer to his disciples that he was before his death.
And Jesus is with me as well. He is there all the time. He never abandons me. He is there to help me, to give me courage, to show me the way, the help me deal with problems.
We’ve all got problems in our lives and to know that the Lord is with me through these kinds of things can make a huge difference.
I know I’m not alone.
April 27, 2020 – Monday, Third Week of Easter
Andrew the Apostle
St. Andrew worked as a fisherman in the town of Bethsaida in Galilee. At first, he was a disciple of St. John the Baptist, but later he followed Jesus and encouraged his brother, Simon Peter, to also become a disciple of Jesus.
After the death of Jesus, Andrew is though to have served as a missionary in Greece and Russia. However, it is unknown exactly where he preached or where he died. Legend suggests he died in Patras, which today is Greece’s third largest city. His feast day is November 30.
Legend says that Andrew was tied to an X-shaped cross (also called a saltire cross) to prolong his suffering. It is said that he died after two days.
Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland (which includes his X-shaped cross on its national flag), Greece, and Russia. His cross also adorns the state flag of Alabama. He is also the patron saint of fishermen.
Now that very day two of them were gong to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. (Lk 24:13-16)
When Jesus died on Friday, the disciples thought he had left them. He was gone. This was shattering to them. They had depended so much upon him. He taught them, led them, gave them courage. And now he had left them.
What they didn’t know was that Jesus had gone through death to the other side, and now was free of all the restrictions on this side of death. Now the risen Lord could be with them even more closely.
From Easter Sunday onward, they gradually discovered this. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus discovered that Jesus was with them when they read the Scriptures together and when they broke bread.
It’s what Simon Peter discovered when the risen lord appeared to him, and the disciples also began to catch on that the Lord was with them in a new way.
Have I discovered that the risen Christ is here with me today?
April 26, 2020 – Third Sunday of Easter Oura Cathedral in Nagasaki
On this day in 2016, the Holy See granted basilica status to the co-Cathedral of Oura in Nagasaki, Japan. It is the oldest wooden Christian Church in Japan.
St. Francis Xaviar had brought the faith to Japan in 1549, and within 30 years, there were more than 200,000 converts. But by the late 16th century, Japanese authorities began to expel the missionaries and to persecute Christians. In 1597, 26 Christians were crucified on the city’s Nishizaka Hill. But even without churches and priests, Catholic laity covertly passed their faith on to future generations.
In 1865, Japan was reopened for Westerners. A French missionary named Fr. Bernard Petitjean soon arrive to dedicate prayers to the 26 Christians martyred on Nishzaka Hill. He also established a Catholic church, which became the Oura Cathedral. In 1895, the people decided to build a larger cathedral, which took 30 years to complete. Often called the Urakami Cathedral, it is officially known as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. On August 9, 1945, the faithful had gathered to prepare for the upcoming feast of the Assumption. When the nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the cathedral was flattened, killing everyone inside. Reconstruction of the cathedral began in 1959. In 1980, it was remodeled to match the original Urakami Cathedral. Inside is the Madonna of Nagaski, a blackened and damaged statue of the Blessed Mother which survived the bombing.
When the Summer Olympics are held in Tokyo, Japan, this year, they will conclude on August 9, the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.
Travel light like the apostles
In the Gospels, Jesus tells his apostles to travel light. That’s a good idea. Life is too short to be weighed down with excess baggage.
The reason for traveling light isn’t because material things are evil. It’d be wrong to think that I’m supposed to tiptoe through the world and avoid the “contamination” of material things. A religion that believes in a God who became flesh and blood cannot have a negative attitude toward material things. A religion that believes in the Resurrection cannot have a negative attitude toward material things I am not called to have a pious discomfort with material goods. I am called upon to use and enjoy the things of the earth.
Then why travel light? Because accumulating things can get in the way of my relationship with people. Things can be important, but people are always more important. Things can also bog me down. I was created by God to grow, to move, to journey, to experience the great adventure of life. The more things I pile up, the less I am able to move in this or that direction. I become less an adventurer and more a watchman.
Life is too short to invest too much time and too much talent and too much love in things. The advice Jesus gives says it all: go forth to the great adventure of life, and as you go, travel light.
Then Jesus called together his twelve apostles and sent them out two by two…He told them, “You may take along a walking stick. But don’t carry food or a traveling bag or any money. It’s all right to wear sandals, but don’t take along a change of clothes.” (Mark 6:7-13)