May 2 is the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Liturgical Year C, Cycle II).
Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in Turin, Italy, where he has come to see the Shroud of Turin, which is considered by many to be the burial shroud of Christ. Pope John Paul II called the cloth with the image of a crucified man on it “a witness to the Resurrection.”
To learn more about the Shroud of Turin, visit Colorado’s Shroud Center online at ShroudofTurin.com. Physicist John Jackson, who is based there, was featured in the recent History Channel documentary “The Real Face of Jesus?”
St. Joseph the Worker
“Today, we are beginning the month of May with a liturgical memorial very dear to the Christian people: that of St. Joseph the Worker,” said Pope Benedict XVI in his first Regina Coeli address on May 1, 2005, adding, “and you know that my name is Joseph.”
Continued the Pope: “Exactly 50 years ago it was established by Pope Pius XII of venerable memory to highlight the importance of work and of the presence of Christ and the Church in the working world. It is also necessary to witness in contemporary society to the ‘Gospel of work,’ of which John Paul II spoke in his encyclical Laborem Exercens. I hope that work will be available, especially for young people, and that working conditions may be ever more respectful of the dignity of the human person.”
Pray for Pope Benedict XVI with your family this Sunday. Remember that in his first address as Pope he called himself a “humble worker in the vineyard.” On his name day, ask that other humble worker — the protector of the Church — to watch over him.
Acts 14:21-27; Psalm 145:8-13; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-35
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives his apostles — and us — a new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” But how?
He’s God; we’re not. He loved us by creating us, giving us the sacraments, dying in our place, rising and founding a Church for us. We can’t do any of that.
So, what does he mean? Jesus could be referring to how he served: He washed the apostles’ feet, and he gave himself to them in the Eucharist. That’s a good start. It means:
1. Love others by serving their real needs. Don’t be the kind of “helper” who does what you want for others, not taking the time to figure out what kind of help the person needs the most. One small example: People are eager to bring meals to families with a new baby, and that’s a real help for most. But some new mothers have leftovers piling up in their refrigerators. What they might really love is for you to run an errand for them or help with their other children.
2. Love others wholeheartedly. Christ, in the Eucharist, puts his whole self at the service of others. We should be fully present to the people we’re helping. Don’t do the minimum for someone: Do the maximum in the time you have. We were impressed in Connecticut and Kansas with people who were willing not just to help us move, but to figure out the most efficient ways to organize the move.
Another lesson we can draw from the reading is based on the depth of Christ’s service. He suffered and died for us. To imitate that love, we should:
1. Love others without expecting thanks. So often we love with repayment in mind: probably not in a crass quid pro quo way, but we at least expect to be appreciated for it. We should look for opportunities to serve in a quiet, humble way that gets nothing in return.
2. Love others at a personal cost. So often the service of love is not just a gift, but is something we also enjoy. It’s much harder to break out of our routine in order to love, or to set aside what we want in order to love.
That’s the love we find in the first reading. The good news is what people really need: Christians putting their whole selves into their service, to the point of embarking on long\ journeys; Christians praying and fasting in response to success, keeping the sacrificial quality to their love. “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God,” says the reading.
That is as true today as it was then.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.