Today is Buddha’s Birthday in Japan. Buddha can refer to the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, or to anyone who has attained full enlightenment.
Today’s reflection is proving his living resurrection from the grave.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“Let the whole earth tremble before His face, tell among the nations that the Lord has ruled from a tree.” – St. Francis of Assisi
While they were still speaking about this, he [Jesus] stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. 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 and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. (NAB Lk 24:36-45)
How would you react if you saw someone you loved was killed in such a horrifying way that he literally looked like hamburger hanging on the cross? And then to see this same person appears before you, just a few days later, in a “glorified” body! “Startled and terrified” are probably the reactions I would have at seeing a “ghost” of the one I loved, that I knew was dead, yet saw in front of me.
This isn’t the only time fear has been the reaction to divinity. Other examples include the shepherd’s reaction to the angel declaring Jesus’ birth; the witnesses of the exorcism Jesus performed, that caused people to chase Him from their territory; and even the reaction of His own Apostles (Peter, James, and John) at Jesus’ transfiguration. These people were not disbelieving Jesus’ divinity. They were just plain scared!!
We are not much different today. God demonstrates his power, and our initial reaction is fear and denial. When confronted with a miracle, or an apparition of Mary, and our first reaction is “Prove it to me!” I am from Missouri: the show me state, but I think this trend is fairly universal.
Jesus is well aware of this human flaw. He appears to them, I’m sure with a wry smile on His face, and says,”Yo, have any questions for me?” After this, Jesus shows His crucifixion wounds, and encourages all present to touch His open wounds of redemption. For the “coup de grâce,” Jesus asks for, and eats food. Obviously no ghost, and no dream, can eat food.
While eating, Jesus reminds all present that what happened to Him had been prophesized and made into songs, thus fulfilling Mosaic laws and predictions. Did you notice, in this gospel reading, that Jesus said, “everything written about me,” and not “some or most?”
With His appearance, proof of bodily form, and His acclamation of Old Testament prophesies, the people present were made to understand the scriptures in a way they could not have possibly understood prior to this time. Jesus made the present for them, a true “present of faith!”
The apologetic purpose of this story is very evident for Christians. Jesus’ physical details, and the report that Jesus ate food are proof of Him not being a ghost or dream, but actually there in a functioning physical form.
“Lord, your resurrection shows the power of your might, majesty, and love for us. Help me to change in your presence, and make me a new creation in your image. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Julie Billiart
St. Julie (Julia) Billiart was born in 1751 and died in 1816. As a child, playing “school” was Julie’s favorite game. When she was sixteen, to help support her family, she began to teach “for real”. She sat on a haystack during the noon recess and told the biblical parables to the workers. Julie carried on this mission of teaching throughout her life, and the Congregation she founded continues her work.
Julie was the fifth of seven children. She attended a little one room school in Cuvilly. She enjoyed all of her studies, but she was particularly attracted to the religion lessons taught by the parish priest. Recognizing something “special” in Julie, the priest secretly allowed her to make her First Communion at the age of nine, when the normal age at that time, was thirteen. She learned to make short mental prayers and to develop a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist.
A murder attempt on her father shocked her nervous system badly. A period of extremely poor heath for Julie began, and was to last for thirty years. For twenty-two of these years she was completely paralyzed. All of her sufferings and pain she offered up to God.
When the French Revolution broke out, Julie offered her home as a hiding place for loyal priests. Because of this, Julie became a hunted prey. Five times in three years she was forced to flee in secret to avoid compromising her friends who were hiding her.
At this time she was privileged to receive a vision. She saw her crucified Lord surrounded by a large group of religious women dressed in a habit she had never seen before. An inner voice told her that these would be her daughters and that she would begin an institute for the Christian education of young girls. She and a rich young woman founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
At Amiens, the two women and a few companions began living a religious life in 1803. In 1804, Julie was miraculously cured of her illness and walked for the first time in twenty-two years. In 1805, Julie and three companions made their profession and took their final vows. She was elected as Mother General of the young Congregation.
In 1815, Mother taxed her ever poor health by nursing the wounded and feeding the starving left from the battle of Waterloo. For the last three months of her life, she again suffered much. She died peacefully on April 8, 1816 at 64 years of age. Julie was beatified on May 13, 1906, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Her feast day is April 8th.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #8:
As Jesus was the true worshipper of the Father, so let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do.
Let them participate in the sacramental life of the Church, above all the Eucharist. Let them join in liturgical prayer in one of the forms proposed by the Church, reliving the mysteries of the life of Christ.