Friday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (see 4abc) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Mt 4:4b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Trusting in God’s Direction / Confiando en la Orientación de Dios

When the disciples are tasked with feeding five thousand men across from the Sea of Galilee, they are understandably dumbfounded: How can they feed so large a crowd with no food of their own, not much money, and five barley loaves and two fish? Yet, they do not bat an eye when Jesus tells them to prepare the crowd for a meal. Instead of relying on their own intuition and arguing with Jesus about the absurdity of feeding over five thousand people with such a small amount of food, they simply do what He says, knowing that He will provide for His people.

The disciples understand our Gospel acclamation, that “one does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). They have no idea how to approach the situation, but they have learned to trust in Jesus’ direction, even for matters of physical survival. His direction is better than anything they could come up with, even if it seems absurd at the time.

This outlook complements that of the psalmist, whose sole aim is to dwell in the house of the Lord rather than in other, more familiar places. And in our First Reading, we see Gamaliel saying something similar: “If [the gospel message] comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:39). He does not want to resist something that might come from God, even if he does not understand it.

Gamaliel, the psalmist, and the disciples see the point of remaining fixed on God, trusting in His direction even when it is difficult. They know that if God ordains something, guiding it with His hand, it cannot fail. If He gives direction, it will not be followed in vain. To dwell in His house is better than all else.

This is a profound trust that we need to adopt in our own lives. There is a subtle self-reliance that creeps in when we spend too much time seeking security by our own efforts alone. We plan far ahead, without consulting God concerning what He wants for our lives and for our loved ones. Inevitably, our best laid plans fail, and we make new ones, which fare no better. If we are not used to consulting God and trusting that He truly has things under control, we rely on worldly methods to maintain security, prestige, and wealth, so that we can have everything necessary for a good and peaceful life. Seeking easy steps to success, we look to social media and popular wisdom to solve our problems. If these solutions are divorced from spirituality, they never bring us the peace and security we seek.

Ultimately, we need to trust in what God has already told us through readings such as these. Even and especially when things look confusing and hopeless, God is in control. We must listen to Him and seek His will in these moments through prayer, Scripture, the sacraments, and spiritual direction, trusting in what He tells us, even if we cannot understand the reasons for it. We cannot expect to fully understand the ways of God, but that does not mean that they are inferior to the ways we can come up with on our own. Dwelling in His house is the goal, and His direction and protection are best for us in all situations.

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Cuando los discípulos tienen la tarea de alimentar a cinco mil hombres al otro lado del Mar de Galilea, se quedan estupefactos: ¿Cómo pueden alimentar a una multitud tan grande sin comida propia, sin mucho dinero, cinco panes de cebada y dos peces? Sin embargo, no se inmutan cuando Jesús les dice que preparen a la multitud para una comida. En lugar de confiar en su propia intuición y discutir con Jesús acerca de lo absurdo de alimentar a más de cinco mil personas con una cantidad tan pequeña de comida, simplemente hacen lo que les manda, sabiendo que proveerá para Su pueblo.

Los discípulos entienden nuestra aclamación evangélica, que “No sólo de pan vive el hombre, sino también de toda palabra que sale de la boca de Dios.” (Mt 4,4). No tienen idea de cómo abordar la situación, pero han aprendido a confiar en la dirección de Jesús, incluso en cuestiones de supervivencia física. Su orientación es mejor que cualquier cosa que se les haya ocurrido, incluso si parece absurdo en ese momento.

Esta perspectiva complementa la del salmista, cuyo único objetivo es morar en la casa del Señor y no en otros lugares más familiares. Y en nuestra Primera Lectura, vemos a Gamaliel diciendo algo similar: “si lo que se proponen y están haciendo es de origen humano, se acabará por sí mismo. Pero si es cosa de Dios, no podrán ustedes deshacerlo. No se expongan a luchar contra Dios” (Hechos 5:39). No quiere resistirse a algo que podría venir de Dios, aunque no lo entienda.

Gamaliel, el salmista y los discípulos ven el punto de mantenerse fijos en Dios, confiando en Su orientación incluso cuando sea difícil. Saben que si Dios ordena algo, guiándolo con Su mano, no puede fallar. Si orienta a alguien, sus indicaciones no serán seguidas en vano. Morar en Su casa es mejor que cualquier otra cosa.

Esta es una confianza profunda que necesitamos adoptar en nuestras propias vidas. Hay una autosuficiencia sutil que se cuela cuando pasamos demasiado tiempo buscando seguridad solo con nuestros propios esfuerzos. Planeamos con mucha anticipación, sin consultar a Dios sobre lo que quiere para nuestra vida y la de nuestros seres queridos. Inevitablemente, nuestros planes fallan y creamos otros nuevos, y no nos va mejor. Si no estamos acostumbrados a consultar a Dios y confiar en que realmente tiene las cosas bajo su control, nos apoyamos en métodos mundanos para mantener la seguridad, el prestigio y la riqueza, para que podamos tener todo lo necesario para una vida buena y pacífica. Buscando pasos fáciles hacia el éxito, recurrimos a las redes sociales y la sabiduría popular para resolver nuestros problemas. Si estas soluciones están separadas de la espiritualidad, nunca nos traerán la paz y la seguridad que buscamos.

En última instancia, debemos confiar en lo que Dios ya nos ha dicho a través de las escrituras, como las lecturas de hoy. Incluso y especialmente cuando las cosas parecen confusas y sin esperanza, Dios tiene todo bajo control. Debemos escucharlo y buscar su voluntad en estos momentos a través de la oración, la Escritura, los sacramentos y la dirección espiritual, confiando en lo que nos dice, aunque no podamos entender las razones. No podemos esperar comprender completamente los caminos de Dios, pero eso no significa que sean inferiores a los caminos que podemos encontrar por nuestra cuenta. Morar en Su casa es la meta, y Su orientación y su protección son lo mejor para nosotros en todas las situaciones.

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David Dashiell is a freelance author and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. He has a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University, and is the editor of the anthology Ever Ancient, Ever New: Why Younger Generations Are Embracing Traditional Catholicism.

Feature Image Credit: Alessandro Vicentin,

Tell the Story / Contar la Historia

“When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.”

The Apostles were so convicted by their experience of Jesus Christ, that they continued to tell his story even when those in power wanted to put them to death. Let that sink in for a moment. They wanted them put to death. And the Apostles did not stop. 

We live in a time when we are taught not to discuss religion and politics. We have witnessed people shamed and brought down for standing up for their convictions. It is a time of “political correctness” and “cancel culture”. 

This hits home hard for me. It is hard for me to even write these words. I am ashamed to admit that there have been times in my life when I have not brought up my faith because I was afraid it would make for an uncomfortable dinner conversation. I have neglected to share the grace I have received, because I wasn’t sure how the person would react, they might think I was weird or worse. I had a job once where I was cautioned to tuck in my crucifix because I was around people who didn’t like Catholics and I complied. No one has threatened my life, but there have definitely been times when I didn’t tell the story of Jesus Christ and the wonders he has worked. For that I am ashamed. 

A personal encounter with Jesus Christ has the ability to transform us. A personal encounter with Jesus Christ is able to take us outside of ourselves and move us into meaningful encounters with others. It is our mission to go out into the world and tell the story of Jesus Christ and his mercy. We are not to tell it once and then go back home, we are to tell the story over and over. More than that, we are to live the story. We are to live in such a way that mercy is our hallmark; where telling others how much they are loved is part of just who we are and how we operate. 

So I will take comfort from John’s words in the Gospel. “He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.” As I bend my will to conform more and more to God’s will, I can trust that God will not ration his gift of the Spirit so that each day I can start anew and along with the Psalmist “bless the Lord at all times.” Even when it feels uncomfortable. 

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“Esta respuesta los exasperó y decidieron matarlos.”

Los Apóstoles estaban tan convencidos por su experiencia de Jesucristo, que continuaron contando su historia incluso cuando aquellos en poder querían matarlos. Profundicen un momento en eso. Querían que los mataran. Y los Apóstoles no pararon.

Vivimos en una época en la que se nos enseña a no hablar de la religión y la política. Hemos sido testigos de personas avergonzadas y humilladas por defender sus convicciones. Es una época de “no ofender políticamente” y “una cultura de la cancelación”.

Esto es muy duro para mí. Es difícil para mí incluso escribir estas palabras. Me avergüenza admitir que ha habido momentos en mi vida en los que no mencioné mi fe porque tenía miedo de que se convirtiera en una conversación incómoda durante la cena. Me he negado a compartir la gracia que he recibido, porque no estaba seguro de cómo reaccionaría la persona, de que podrían pensar que era rara o algo peor. Una vez tuve un trabajo donde me advirtieron que me metiera el crucifijo dentro de la blusa porque estaba rodeado de personas que no les gustaban a los católicos, y lo hice. Nadie ha amenazado mi vida, pero definitivamente ha habido momentos en los que no conté la historia de Jesucristo y las maravillas que ha obrado. Por eso estoy avergonzada.

Un encuentro personal con Jesucristo tiene la capacidad de transformarnos. Un encuentro personal con Jesucristo es capaz de sacarnos de nosotros mismos y llevarnos a encuentros significativos con los demás. Es nuestra misión salir al mundo y contar la historia de Jesucristo y su misericordia. No debemos contarlo una vez y luego volver a casa, debemos contar la historia una y otra vez. Más que eso, debemos vivir la historia. Debemos vivir de tal manera que la misericordia sea nuestro sello distintivo; donde decirles a los demás cuánto los amamos es parte de quiénes somos y cómo operamos.

Así que me consolaré con las palabras de Juan en el Evangelio. “Dios le ha concedido sin medida su Espíritu.”. Mientras dejo que mi voluntad se conforme cada vez más a la voluntad de Dios, puedo confiar en que Dios no racionará su don del Espíritu para que cada día pueda comenzar de nuevo y junto con el salmista “Bendeciré al Señor a todas horas”. Incluso cuando se siente incómodo.

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Sheryl is happy to be the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever and Lucy, our not-so-little rescue puppy. 

Feature Image Credit: Justice Amoh,