Today, in 1830, the Mormon Church was organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and others at Fayette, New York. Thirty years later, in 1860, Joseph Smith III created the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by reorganizing the previous church organized by his father, Joseph Smith, Jr. Finally, in 1930, Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt and declared, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.” This started Salt Satyagraha.
Today’s reflection is about repentance, baptism, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know it just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers. – Richard Bach
Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain 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 they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. (NAB Acts 2:36-41)
Peter wanted all of the people present to know that Jesus TRULY was the “Messiah,” the “Christ” promised to the Jews for millennia. Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection after three days, fulfilled the many prophesies from the Old Testament. Jesus did not fulfill some of these prophesies; He fulfilled them ALL.
Those who heard Peter was “cut to the heart,” meaning they were greatly upset. Upset about what? Were they upset that Jesus was treated in such a violent and humiliating way? Were they upset that they did not recognize the divinity of the man they crucified? Did they believe they were now doomed to the fires and agony in hell? Probably yes to all these questions.
But they also learned something else about Jesus, and His disciples: forgiveness. Peter called all present, Christian and non-Christian, “brothers.” They came to recognize that through the gifts of repentance and baptism, anyone could also receive graces from God; the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What are these gifts of the Holy Spirit? From the Catholic Catechism:
- Counsel/righteous judgment,
- Piety/reverence, and
- Fear of the Lord/wonder and awe
Repentance is a positive concept, a change of mind and heart toward God. It is reflected in the actual goodness of one’s life, not just in the confession booth. It is in accord with the apostolic teachings started with Jesus, and ultimately recorded in all four gospels. Baptism is the expected response to the apostolic preaching about Jesus, and it is associated with the conferring of the Spirit.
Peter not only promised salvation and redemption to those present; he also promised this gift to “their children, and those far off.” I relate to the term “far off” in two ways. First, to those not present due to geography. Jesus sent His disciples to teach and convert in all nations. This is still a primary role of the Catholic Church today.
Second, it is another clarification of an eternal Catholic Church. “Far off” meaning all time in the future. Jesus promised these gifts, and Peter reiterates that the Holy Spirit, “the Paraclete or Advocate” will be with us forever and ever.
Jesus testified and argued throughout His three year ministry on earth to save yourself, and others, from corruption. Any corruption (sin) separates one from the gifts God has bestowed on us here on earth, and eternal bliss in heaven. Peter continues in Jesus’ footsteps as the first Pope, and exhorts the teachings of Jesus. He must have been filled with the Holy Spirit on this day, and had a great sermon that filled all present with the same Holy Spirit, as he brought three thousand new souls to God in one day’s time. Can you just imagine individually baptizing just a little over two people a minute, for an entire 24 hours? That’s a miracle!
“Lord, I was a baby when baptized, but I still love you for the grace I received then, and every time I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Your magnificent mercy allows me, a sinner, to have hope in gaining eternal bliss with you in heaven. I love you. Amen ”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Crescentia Höss (1682-1744)
Maria Crescenzia Höss was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, in the Diocese of Augsburg on 20 October 1682, the seventh of the eight children of Matthias Höss and Lucia Hoermann. In 1703, in spite of family difficulties and the superior’s reluctance, she was admitted to the Franciscan Tertiaries of Mayerhoff where she was professed in 1704 and remained until her death.
From 1709 to 1741 with the election of superiors who were favourably disposed to her, she fulfilled the most important positions of the monastery: porter, novice mistress, and superior with the greatest dedication and generosity. She was novice mistress from 1726 to 1741. In 1741 sister Maria Crescenzia was elected superior of the community and, despite her attempts to refuse the post, was forced to accept the task. To her sisters she recommended observing silence, recollection, and spiritual reading, especially the Gospels. The teacher of their religious life had to be Jesus on the Cross.
Maria Höss was also a prudent and wise counsellor to all who turned to her for strength and comfort, as can be seen from her numerous letters.
In her three years as superior of the community of Mayerhoff she became its second foundress. She justified her selectivity regarding vocations saying, “God wants the convent rich in virtue, not in temporal goods”. The principal points of her program for the renewal of the house were: unlimited trust in divine providence, readiness in the acts of the common life, love of silence, devotion to Jesus crucified, and devotion to the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother.
She died on Easter in 1744 and her mortal remains are still very much venerated in the chapel of her monastery.
Source: Vatican website
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #6:
They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by profession. Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words.
Called like Saint Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his example, let them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion with the pope, bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialog of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.