René Butler MS - 7th Sunday of Easter - Ready,...
Ready, Willing, Able (7th Sunday of Easter: Acts 7:55-60; Revelation 22:12-20; John 17:20-26) The death of Steven is recorded in the first reading. The account includes this sentence: “The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named... Czytaj więcej
René Butler MS - 6th Sunday of Easter - The Holy...
The Holy Spirit and Us (6th Sunday of Easter: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev. 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29) The letter sent to the Gentile Christians, in today’s first reading, is essential to our understanding of the Church. The resolution of the crisis is... Czytaj więcej
René Butler MS - 5th Sunday of Easter - All...
All Things New (5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 14:21-27; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-35) The closing words of today’s reading from the Apocalypse, “Behold, I make all things new,” seem to radiate through all of today’s liturgy. The word... Czytaj więcej
René Butler MS - 4th Sunday of Easter - The New...
The New Evangelization (4th Sunday of Easter: Acts 13:14, 43-52; Revelation 7: 9, 14-17; John 10:27-30) In our second reading, from Revelation, John describes “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue... who have... Czytaj więcej
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Ready, Willing, Able

(7th Sunday of Easter: Acts 7:55-60; Revelation 22:12-20; John 17:20-26)

The death of Steven is recorded in the first reading. The account includes this sentence: “The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.” This is the same Saul who would be later known as Paul.

Steven is venerated as the first Christian martyr. So, it might surprise you to learn that the original Greek word for the witnesses in this passage is martyres. How can this be?

During the Easter season, we have often encountered the same word. The Apostles present themselves as witnesses of the Risen Christ, always martyres in the Greek. That’s what the word means. A martyr, in our modern sense, is first a witness to Jesus, but one who shed his blood for the sake of the Gospel.

Stephen witnessed by word and by imitation. His dying prayer was, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Jesus crucified prayed, “Father, forgive them” and, later, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:34, 46).

During his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus said, “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mt 26:64). That is exactly the vision described by Stephen, which so enraged his audience.

Saul, too, would become a faithful and persecuted witness. Over the centuries, how many? How many more to come?

The La Salette Missionaries chose to remain in their mission, witnessing Christ to their people, during Angola’s civil war. Three of them died in the crossfire. Another accompanied the refugees to a camp in Zambia, where he nearly died of starvation. As we write, our Missionaries from Poland are continuing their mission in Ukraine in spite of the war with Russia.

Most of us, “ordinary” witnesses, have not had to make such sacrifices. But it is not enough just to admire their courage as we bring the Beautiful Lady’s great news to the world, by word and example.

Like them, we have to be ready, willing and able to accomplish the mission entrusted to us. If we have the necessary preparation and desire, we can count on Our Lord and Our Lady to give us the courage.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

The Holy Spirit and Us

(6th Sunday of Easter: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev. 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29)

The letter sent to the Gentile Christians, in today’s first reading, is essential to our understanding of the Church. The resolution of the crisis is prefaced with the phrase, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”

It is not conceivable that the Apostles and elders might disagree with the Holy Spirit. Why then do they add their decision to that of the Holy Spirit? We will get back to this.

The other readings express similar ideas. Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” In the Apocalypse we read, “I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.”

All of these texts reflect the intimate union of the human and the divine in the Church. We have rightly become accustomed to thinking of ourselves as the Church. Without Jesus and the Father and the Spirit, however, we are no different from any other organization. Without us, on the other hand, God lives in trinitarian glory, but there is no Church.

The Beautiful Lady of La Salette spoke to Christians who were Church in name only. Many, by cutting themselves off from the sources of faith provided by the Holy Spirit in the sacraments, were no longer God’s dwelling place or temple.

Two expressions in today’s readings are heard at every celebration of the Eucharist, close together in the Communion rite. They are, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” and “the Lamb.” Mary came to restore us to a state of peace with the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Now we return to the question raised above. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus calls “the Advocate,” is the teacher sent by the Father. We the Church cannot go astray when we teach what the Spirit teaches, through our institutions and structures, and in our individual lives. Thus the decision of the Holy Spirit is ours as well.

The very existence of La Salette Laity is a fairly recent manifestation of this reality. Let the new holy temple be within each of us as we allow the Advocate to work within us to the glory of God and the Lamb.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
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