Below are resources and suggested activities for this week - the 6th Sunday of Easter. Please come back frequently as this issue will be updated regularly during Lent.
#1 Conversation Starters
Pope Francis' New Exhortation | The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia)
The pope has given us a love letter to families—a love letter inviting all of us, and especially married couples and families, to never stop growing in love. It is also a love letter calling the Church, the family of God, to realize more and more her mission to live and love as a family.
Pope Francis is calling us to enter more deeply into the beauty of marriage and Christ's teaching. From the opening lines of Genesis to the closing chapter of Revelation, and throughout the Gospels, God speaks eloquently to us about the joys and challenges of marriage and family life.
Bishop Barron's Reflections
Here are Bishop Barron's initial reflections about the Pope's new exhortation on marriage and the family. Please read and share!
- First Thoughts
- Follow-up Questions
- More follow-up questions about themes in the document, including spiritual idealism, the internal forum, the law of gradualness, and more.
FEAST | Sts. Philip and James (May 3)
Apostles are examples of the most certain and direct path to heaven. They suffered and were persecuted, but they placed their confidence in God and now they rejoice in heaven. We too must have confidence in God and not be troubled in our adversities. In our Father's house there are many mansions, and if we follow the way indicated by Him, Christ will come at the end of our life and take us to Himself. Read more
BOOK | The Divine Comedy, by Dante
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Wester Church by the 14th century.
On the surface, the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven, but at a deeper level, it represents, allegorically, the soul's journey towards God. At this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Consequently, the Divine Comedy has been called "the Summa in verse".
MOVIE | Miracles from Heaven (with Jennifer Garner)
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter's healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.
HUMOR | Steve Martin - Atheist's Don't Have No Songs (live on David Letterman)
No harm in a little humor :-) What do atheist's sing about when they get together? When comedian Steve Martin thought about this he teamed up with his band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, to make a song. And the result is absolutely hilarious!
SONG | 'Multiplicity' by NEEDTOBREATHE
Multiplied is a song that displays how the band Needtobreathe was feeling at a rough time in their lives. Needtobreathe's lead singer, Bo, says that the first line from his favorite hymn sings these words: "The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell". Bo says that 'If we spent the rest of our life singing Hallelujahs, it still wouldn't amount to what God truly deserves'.
God of Mercy... Sweet love of mine... I have surrendered to your design... May this offering stretch across the sky... And these hallelujahs be multiplied.
#2 - COMMIT TO 2 MEALS
Ascension Day - Apple Fitters
See Recipe | In France it is tradition for children to go around begging for flour to make Beignets (Fritters).
"My mom made these for us after school in the fall with the apples we'd pick and buy from a fruit farm. They warm, crisp, and sweet, a perfect fall treat."
MAY is dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Early Christians believed that fragrant herbs and flowers reflected May's spiritual sweetness, soothing and healing herbs reflected her heavenly mercy, while bitter and sour herbs mirrored her bitter sorrows. Enjoy some recipes that use two of these herbs: Rosemary and Thyme.
Rosemary - Mary’s association with rosemary comes from stories of the Holy Family’s escape into Egypt. It is said Mary rested under a rosemary bush and spread her cloak on it to dry. The flowers miraculously changed from white to the blue of Mary’s cloak. The Spanish name for rosemary is romero, or pilgrims plant, and derives from this legend. Here are recipes with Rosemary. Some featured recipes below.
Rosemary Chicken with Orange-Maple Glaze
"Chicken breasts adorned with a fresh rosemary rub, then sauteed and braised in a sauce of orange juice, white wine and maple syrup. This wonderfully rich glaze makes an elegant, quick dinner to serve to guests. To serve, place chicken on top of hot cooked rice on each plate and spoon sauce over the top. Wonderful served with steamed asparagus."
Lemon Rosemary Salmon
"This is the perfect romantic dinner for two when served with an Oregon Pinot Noir, crusty bread, wild rice, and salad."
Bella's Rosemary Red Potatoes
In this video recipe, you’ll see how to make simple roasted red potatoes with fresh rosemary. It’s so easy. Just sprinkle chopped fresh rosemary over red potato wedges. Roast in the oven with a little butter and oil—and you’re ready to serve. This is a terrific side to serve wtih roast chicken, steaks, and other meats.
Thyme - There are many plants and herbs associated with the nativity. One legend has it that thyme was included among the hay used to make a bed for the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, so it is often considered one of “Mary’s bedstraws” of which there are several. Here are some recipes with Thyme. Below are a couple featured recipes.
Thyme-rubbed Steaks with Sautéed Mushrooms
"This is an easy recipe. My family just loves the mushroom topping. Add some boiled carrots and mashed potatoes to make a wonderful meal."
Sliced Tomatoes with Fresh Herb Dressing
"Enjoy this easy and delicious summer garden treat with no cooking involved! I serve this at church dinners and never have enough. If you can make this a few hours in advance, the flavors become even better."
3 - PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
LISTEN NOW> | There is no better time than Lent to reclaim Sundays. If you have lost your vigor for Sunday Mass or if you are trying to inspire your family or friend to go to Mass, this talk on Ave Maria Radio is a must listen.
Early Christians used to define Sunday as “the day we can not not live without”. Because it orientates everything we do. It defines everything we do. This talk is an honest reflection on how one may view Sunday and how we would like to view Sunday. And then it defines a healthy approach to Sunday.
Father Riccardo's pod cast poses several questions:
- What is my approach to Sunday?
- Is Sunday the last day of my weekend, or the first day of my week?
- Is there any difference between my Saturday and my Sunday?
- Could I live without the Eucharist?
- Is there any real rest in my life? LISTEN NOW>
LIVING THE GOSPEL (May 1st)
Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29
The early Church community determines, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not to impose the requirement of circumcision on Gentile Christians.
A prayer that all the nations sing praise to God.
The vision of the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem is described.
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
Background on the Gospel Reading
This portion of John's Gospel comes near the end of the first of four chapters that make up Jesus' long farewell discourse at the Last Supper. This section of chapter 14 actually sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse: the Christian's life is not shaped by Jesus' absence but by God's abiding presence; God's presence overcomes anxiety about God's absence; and the present holds in it the seeds of a fresh future shaped by love, not fear.
These verses also contain a glimpse of some of the other themes of the farewell discourse: Jesus' relationship with the Father and the disciples' relationship to Jesus connect the disciples to the Father as well. Jesus promises to send an Advocate or intercessor who will remind the disciples of everything that Jesus taught them and bring them peace.
Jesus is preparing his disciples in advance for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father. After the initial excitement of his Easter appearances, Jesus will remain with his followers in a very different way throughout the centuries.
As our celebration of the Easter season is coming to an end, the liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.
PAINTING - Jesus said: The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, … will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you (GOSPEL). Joseph Ignaz Mildorfer, Pentecost, detail, 1750s
SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION (Celebrated Sunday May 8th)
Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
Jesus is taken up to heaven in the presence of the Apostles.
Sing praise to God as he mounts his throne.
Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand.
Jesus is taken to heaven and the disciples remain in Jerusalem awaiting his sending of the Spirit.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today is our liturgical celebration of the Ascension of the Lord, when Jesus was taken to heaven on the 40th day after Easter. In Cycle C, our Gospel is taken from the conclusion of the Gospel of Luke.
There are similarities in the reports of Jesus' Ascension found in the Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke. In each account, Jesus assigns his disciples the task of proclaiming the Gospel to the entire world. There are also notable distinctions. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, the disciples are sent by Jesus to baptize as well as to preach. In Luke's Gospel, however, this commission to baptize is absent. Instead, Jesus directs the disciples to return to Jerusalem to await the fulfillment of his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. Curiously, only Mark and Luke actually report Jesus' Ascension into heaven. Matthew's Gospel concludes with Jesus' promise to remain with his disciples forever. Only the Gospel of Mark notes that Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of God. In noting this, Mark teaches that Jesus' Ascension affirms the glory Jesus received from God after his death and Resurrection.
Those who believe in Jesus will be empowered to do what Jesus himself has done. Already in Mark's Gospel, during his ministry, Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, to heal, and to drive out unclean spirits. Now, they are sent again to do these things and more. From his place with God in heaven, Jesus helped his disciples, and he continues to help us as we try to live as his followers.
PAINTING - … as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, … The Ascension of Christ, panel from the Vyšši Brod Altarpiece, ca. 1350. Convent of St. Agnes, Prague
*** END OF THIS WEEK'S TABLE TALK ***