Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Reflections of the Divine

May 2, 2012
Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
By Colleen O'Sullivan

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.  So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus.  When they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.  (Acts 13:2-5a)

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
(Psalm 67:2-3)

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.”  (John 12:44-45)


O Lord, fill me with your Spirit, that my life may be a reflection of your love and mercy toward me.


The Scripture readings today are about reflections, what others see when they look at us.  The Gospel reading comes at the end of what’s called the Book of Signs (chapters 1-12) in John’s Gospel.  Jesus has, at this point, performed seven signs - the changing of water into wine at Cana, the healing of the royal official’s son, the healing of the paralyzed man at the public pool, the multiplication of the loaves and feeding of the crowd, walking on water, the healing of the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  In today’s reading, Jesus reveals himself as the ultimate sign, the Sign of the Father.  When we look at Jesus, we see the true, faithful reflection of the Father.  Jesus, the loving and obedient Son, is the mirror image of the God who sent him.

The psalm is also about reflections.  The people of Israel are praying for plentiful crops.  If the harvest is bountiful, they say, other nations will see reflected in that blessing the graciousness of their God.  The reflection of God’s love for Israel will draw other nations to worship God.

In the reading from the Book of Acts, as Barnabas and Saul hurry to Salamis on Cyprus and there proclaim God’s word, we see reflected in their actions the fire of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Risen Christ to draw men and women to the Truth.


In your quiet time with the Lord today, take a few minutes to consider this:  When others – strangers, our friends, our co-workers, our family members – look at us, what do they see reflected in us?  As St. Teresa of Avila reminds us, Christ has no body now on earth but ours.  Do others see reflected in our eyes the mercy and compassion of our Lord?  Do they see reflected in the movements of our feet the desire to do good?  Do they see reflected in our outstretched hands the forgiving and healing love of Christ?

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