Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Be One

May 27, 2009

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:34-35

And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. John 17:11,13


Holy Father, the name that you gave your Son was Emmanuel (“God is with us”) so that we may be one with you just as you are One with your Son and the Advocate. Help us to devote our lives to piety, study and action so that you will remain strong within us and keep us from all temptation. By striving to be One with you, we also will draw closer to our brothers and sisters as we live in service for them. Amen.


This Easter season we have been spending 50 days delving into – among other messages – the richness of Holy Thursday speech that Jesus presented to the disciples at the Last Supper. These important messages from Jesus set the stage for the early days of the church and for our time. Today and Thursday, Jesus wraps up his last lecture before his arrest and execution.

The themes of this conclusion are paralleled in today’s first reading from Acts. The notes from the New American Bible call this passage Paul’s “last will and testament” to the leaders of the church from Ephesus. Considering that Paul was not at the Last Supper to hear the “last lecture” of Christ, the parallels between both passages are uncanny.

First, we see a warning about the need for protection from the forces of the world. Jesus and Paul both acted as our protectors. Without them, we have to be vigilant not to be taken over by the Evil One (temptations of the world). Jesus and Paul want to protect us and keep us close to the Ideal.

Paul: I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.

Jesus: When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Second, we understand that the reason they have been protecting us to so that we may be strengthened by the Father in order to experience total communion. We can do our part by focusing on the first leg of the tripod – piety.

Paul: And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.

Jesus: I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.

Third, we hear once again about the dichotomy of trying to live in the world while following the truths of the Lord. So it is important to know the truth (the Word) and not be swayed by those who would distort the truth. We can do our part by focusing on the second leg of the tripod – study.

Paul: And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.

Jesus: I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.

Finally, we hear Jesus and Paul ask the Father in prayer to continue to protect us when they are gone by helping us to go out into the world in service to our sisters and brothers. We can do our part by focusing on the third leg of the tripod – action.

Paul: I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Jesus: Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth."


American Priest Killed in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY – An American Catholic priest was killed and another from Congo was seriously wounded in an attack in a rural community in northern Guatemala, a police spokesman said.

The incident occurred Monday night on a rural highway linking the towns of Chisec and Ixcan, some 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of the capital, National Civilian Police, or PNC, spokesman Donald Gonzalez told Efe.

“The report from the PNC substation in Cuban says that two men armed with rifles, who had their faces covered with ski masks stopped the vehicle in which five Catholic priests were riding,” Gonzalez said.

After robbing them of their belongings, the assailants fired at the priests, killing U.S. priest Lorenzo Rosebaugh, 74, the driver of the vehicle, on the spot and seriously wounding Jean Claude Nowama, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The other priests, identified as U.S. citizens Ruben Elizondo and Erado Capustra, and Canadian Rodrigo Macaous, were not injured.

All of the priests belonged to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which works in impoverished areas in Latin America.

The body of Rosebaugh, who had been a parish priest for more than a decade in the community of Ixcan, will be transported to the capital in the coming hours.

Nowama is being treated for his wounds at a hospital in Coban, a city some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the capital.

“An investigation has been started to find those responsible for this crime,” Gonzalez said.

The violence besetting Guatemala, according to official figures, takes the lives of about 17 people each day, on average. EFE

May our personal actions be inspired by the life of this American missionary, Fr. Larry Rosebaugh, 74, who was killed last week in Guatemala. Fr. Larry devoted his life to helping the poor and being a witness to Christ’s message of peace. He lived out Paul's words -- "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

According to Fr. John Dear, writing in the National Catholic Reporter, “His death shocks us into recognizing once again the world’s unacceptable, rampant violence and rank poverty. But his life instructs us on how to serve Christ embodied in the poor and persecuted. Larry lived a most Christ-like life, which calls for gratitude and honor, as well as emulation.”

In a message to friends, Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House, who knew Fr. Larry and served with him (on the streets and in jail) reminds us to not only pray for Fr. Larry, but also for those who killed him. Art wrote: “Like so many others who knew and loved Fr. Larry Rosebaugh, my heart is heavy with grief as I try to cope with the news of his sudden violent death. We live in a world where every person is a potential victim of violence. This time, a saintly brother who gave his life in service to the destitute poor and marginalized of Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, the streets of Chicago and New York City, and who was imprisoned for burning draft files in the Milwaukee 14 action as well as for other acts of peacemaking, has now been added to the litany of the murdered. While all of us who knew and loved Larry try to bear the pain of his shocking death, I know Larry, being such a Christ-like man of compassion and love, would want us to reach out and pray for the one who killed him. Hopefully, an investigation will be conducted to find out who was responsible for Larry's death.

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