April 8, 2016 – Friday in the 2nd Week of Easter

April 8, 2016 – Friday in the 2nd Week of Easter

Saint for the day: Julie Billart (1751-1816)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 5:34-42   –   Psalm 27    –    John 6:1-15

“One thing I ask, and this I seek: to dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.” Ps. 27:4

beodoin tent

The rest of that verse goes on, “to enjoy the sweetness of the Lord and to consult Him in His temple.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm is special to me because that first part of the verse captioned above was printed on my Vow Card when I made my First Profession of Vows as a Dominican Brother in May of 1961! But this isn’t all there is to think about in today’s liturgy. We have the story of the multiplication of the loves from John’s Gospel up against our on-going reading from Acts: today, the disciples rejoiced that they were able to suffer punishment “for the name” of Jesus. Now, sitting here in the quiet of our house chapel, in the early hours of the morning there are many images that are swirling around in my mind. All of a sudden I’m flashed back to 1983 when I was privileged to spend a semester in the Holy Land.

I remember seeing the tents of the Bedouins when our group camped in the Sinai Wilderness for three days. I finally asked our guide if he could arrange for me to look inside one of these sprawling, mysterious abodes. His answer still stays vivid in my mind: “Oh, no! That wouldn’t be possible. Only the closest and most intimate   of the family are ever allowed ‘deep inside,” the tent. Yet, this is what God promises us: to get deep into His presence where we are seated high upon a rock! As to our first reading: I have to say that I have not suffered much in my life – and certainly not religious persecution as we see happening all around our world in these days. But, then, my life’s not over yet!

Skip, now to the Gospel: read through it again and see that it is more than just an account of how Jesus fed the people who were following Him. There are lots of images to dwell on. In the first place He asks them to sit down on the ground which clearly shows that they were poor people; He takes the five barley loaves which further indicates the food of the poor since barley was the crudest of the grains and usually just fed to animals. Then, to further show how much the Lord takes care of His poor, not only are the people fed, but there’s enough left over to fill 12 baskets – another clear sign that God intends to take care of all His people all the time. As always, with John’s Gospel, there are many levels of understanding and I have alluded to just a few. The last, though, is one that you’ve probably not heard of before: the Greek word used for “gathering the fragments” – “synaxis” (I might have misspelled it) came to be used as another word for the Eucharist in the early Church: the gathering of the broken, fragmented people who yearned to be fed the “bread of Heaven.” Today, we are still those broken, fragmented people yearning to be drawn deep into the Lord’s tent and set high on the rock of His presence all the days of our lives. Amen!

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