The gods are here

May 15, 2017 – Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Saint Isadore

The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you.  Alleluia!

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (14:5-18)

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked.
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.”
He jumped up and began to walk about.

When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
“The gods have come down to us in human form.”
They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,”

because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
“Men, why are you doing this?
We are of the same nature as you, human beings.
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.

In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.”
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.
 

Reflect: The gods have come down to us in human form. The words and actions of Paul and Barnabas were pretty impressive to draw a response like this. They moved from one territory where they were about to be stoned to death, to another where the crowds are heaping upon them praise and calling them “Zeus” and “Hermes”. What a contrast!  What a temptation to revel in the adulation, linger with the honor, and make it all about themselves. Fortunately, they did everything in their power to direct the people to the true purpose behind their actions in that place: “We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God.”  This scripture gives us an opportunity to put life in perspective: all that we are, all that we have, all that we accomplish is pure gift from the God who loves us and lavishes blessings upon us beyond measure. Ultimately, the praise, honor and glory goes back to him. It is a strong reminder that all that we do, with or without words, preaches a powerful message about what we believe and who it is that we believe in. May all the glory be directed to the one, true and everlasting God, our Savior Jesus Christ!

Questions: How do I respond to people in the midst of praise and recognition for my words, works or accomplishments? Where would I be without the generous gift of God’s grace, mercy and love in my life? How can I use what I have to direct others to recognize the awesome and incomparable love and power of God?

Pray: Loving God, you are generous in blessing me despite my weaknesses and sinfulness. Help me to always cooperate with your grace, and give you honor and glory through all of my words and actions today.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you, says the Lord.  Alleluia!

Saint Isidore served as a day laborer on the farm of Juan de Vargas outside of Madrid, Spain. His day began with Mass. Isidore’s fellow workers complained that Isidore spent too much time with his devotions and neglected his work. Vargas, determined to discover the truth, watched Isidore in secret. He saw Isidore rapt in prayer while, in the field, an angel guided the plow. After a life of humble service, Isidore died in 1130. He was formally canonized on March 12, 1622 alongside Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis Xavier, and Philip Neri.

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ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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