“Get Out There, and Get to Work Before I Kick Your Butts!” – Mk 16:9-15†


Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country’s highest military and civilian leaders died when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia on Saturday.  96 people died.  Let’s keep them in our prayers.    
 

Today’s reflection is about Jesus’ third apparition.

Quote or Joke of the Day:
  

One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. ~ Jack Penn
  

Today’s Meditation:
   

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.  She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.  When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.  After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country.  They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.  (But) later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.  He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  (NAB Mk 16:9-15)
      

Mary Magdalene witnessed the risen Lord and reported the incident to the Apostles.  Then, two travelers on the road to Emmaus who also saw and talked to Jesus, in His glorified state, reported to the Apostles.  Regardless, the eleven apostles could not comprehend Jesus returning from a horrendous death.  They had lost their belief!  Their faith failed them; and now these eleven men were afraid of a similar fate being in store for them.

These eleven men were huddled together, hiding in a familiar place of comfort.  With the doors locked, they had barricaded themselves into a room, without access or escape.  These men, who usually had strength of body and conviction, were mourning and weeping over their futures, along with the death of Jesus.

All of a sudden Jesus appears and yells at them in a relatively harsh way.  He tells them they lost their faith and heart, and that He was not happy.  Jesus reminded them of their role in the new covenant: the new Church.  Jesus ordered them to get their butts in gear, and to get out in public and evangelize about what was needed to gain entry into heaven.  The Apostles needed a big-time “come to Jesus” talk in order to get them to leave and proclaim the “good news” (gospel) to all creation (the world).

Several thoughts came to me while reading this particular gospel reading.  First, the apostles were in fear of their lives, yet eventually all of them freely allowed the grace of their deaths to be as horrible as Jesus’ crucifixion.  Matter of fact, several apostles was crucified on the cross in a very similar way, while others died in other horrible ways.  John (the one whom He loved) apparently was the only apostle to survive into old age, and the one responsible for Mary after Jesus’ death.

Secondly, as a parent of four boys, I can relate to Jesus “losing his cool” and chastising His “children” for not doing what they had been told to do.  I comically pictured Jesus putting the lot of them in the corner for a brief “time-out.”  I hope this is not sacrilege to have this thought and express it, but the way I look at it, Jesus has a definite sense of humor, and the [hands caught in the cookie jar] looks on their faces had to be hysterical for Jesus to see. 

Lastly, my thought in reference to the last sentence, and especially the last word, brings me back to my Franciscan roots.  St. Francis definitely had a special relationship with animals and flowers.  There are many stories about St. Francis dealings with animals such as birds, a wolf, and many other critters of the forest.  I also remember stories about rose bushes blooming during a mid-winter snow storm, in the presence of St. Francis and St. Clare; and St. Francis throwing himself into a thorn bush, naked, to rid himself of impure thoughts.

“Jesus, please kick me in the butt when I need it, as a reminder of my role in our Church.  I only want to do as you wish.  Please allow me to work through you.  Amen.”
    

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

*****

Catholic Saint of the Day:  St. Michael de Sanctis
   

Michael de Sanctis was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591.  At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great extent that he had to be restrained.  After the death of his parents, Michael served as an apprentice to a merchant.  However, he continued to lead a life of exemplary fervor and devotion, and in 1603, he joined the Trinitarian Friars at Barcelona, taking his vows at St. Lambert’s monastery in Saragosa in 1607.  Shortly thereafter, Michael expressed a desire to join the reformed group of Trinitarians and was given permission to do so.  He went to the Novitiate at Madrid and, after studies at Seville and Salamanca, he was ordained a priest and twice served as Superior of the house in Valladolid.  His confreres considered him to be a saint, especially because of his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and his ecstacies during Mass.  After his death at the age of thirty-five on April 10, 1625 many miracles were attributed to him.  He was canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.  St. Michael de Sanctis is noted in the Roman Martyrology as being “remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God.”  He seemed from his earliest years to have been selected for a life of great holiness, and he never wavered in his great love of God or his vocation.  As our young people look for direction in a world that seems not to care, St. Michael stands out as worthy of imitation as well as of the prayers of both young and old alike.  His feast day is April 10.

 (From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
  

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #10:
   

United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed His will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions.

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