20 May – Memorial for St Bernadine of Siena, Priest
Bernadine (1381-1444) was a Friar Minor, a priest, an itinerant preacher, and a theological writer. His preaching skills were so great, and the conversions so numerous, that he has become associated with all areas of speaking, advertising, public relations, etc.
Bernadine’s charismatic preaching filled the piazze of Italian cities. Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to participate in dramatic rituals, which included collective weeping, bonfires of vanities, and exorcisms. He was a renowned peacemaker, in the Franciscan tradition, who tried to calm feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world of the Renaissance. His preaching visits would often culminate in mass reconciliations, as listeners were persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of peace.
Bernadine was sensitive to the demands of secular life, and tried to negotiate between Christian ethics and a conflicting code of honour that stressed retaining face in a public world. He argued that the catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious gossip, which led to insults, and, too often, vendetta by aggressive males. His surprising allies in his peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the majority of his audience.
– Patron Saint Index
Acts of the Apostles 13:26-33
Paul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.
‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.’
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
if there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
and after I have gone and prepared you a place,
I shall return to take you with me;
so that where I am
you may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:
‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’
This message of salvation is meant for you
My mother once commented that I had become a nag since starting to teach. She asked if other teachers were so. When I said that, yes, many were, she could not believe it. A couple of weeks later, during a meeting, one of my colleagues was commenting how students would be more inclined to listen to Physical Education teachers because they do not nag as much. That vindicated my answer to my mom. The thing is, if teachers repeat themselves it is out of necessity, so that our students will know what is important to take note of and to do. It does not win us any favours but it does not short-change them.
In today’s first reading, Paul addresses the Jewish people while in a synagogue. Paul is known best as an evangelist to the pagans. For him to speak to the Jewish people shows how God never gives up reaching out to His chosen people. It would not win him any favours but it was necessary that Paul repeat the message that Christ was the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one could reach God except through Christ and what a pity it would be for the Jewish people to be short-changed.
We have all been nagged at. While we would feel very annoyed during the moment, I think most of us would be able to say in retrospect the person who nagged us had good intentions. We ourselves nag when there it comes to someone and something important. My sisters and brothers, let us constantly tell our family and friends the joy of life as a Christian, not because we want to annoy them but because it is something they need to know.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Aloysius Ting)
Prayer: We pray for patience in our relationships.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for those who care enough to nag at us.
Sat, 21 May – Acts of the Apostles 13:44-52; John 14:7-14; Memorial for Ss Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs
Sun, 22 May – Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12; Fifth Sunday of Easter