Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reflection for the 5th Week of Easter, Part 1

Monday – Cast All Your Worries

In today's first reading, St. Peter invites us to “Cast all your worries upon Him because He cares for you.”

This is probably one of the most important things we can ever do, but do we actually accept God's invitation? Do we place our worries in His hands and leave them there?

Let's look more closely at what this means. The Greek verb for “cast” is epiriptō. It literally means to throw something upon someone, to get rid of something, to give it up totally. We are to give up our worries to God, to throw them off and let Him handle them.

And what are these worries? Again the Greek word gives us a clue to the depths of meaning here. The word is merimna, and it is derived from a verb that means “to divide.” Worries (cares, anxieties), then, are things that divide us, things that break us into pieces and draw us in different directions, things that keep us from being whole and at peace.

God doesn't want us to live divided but rather to be complete and completely focused on Him. Therefore, we need to get rid of anything that divides our minds and disrupts our peace. We can't do this on our own, so we turn to God and pass off our worries to Him.

Why? Because He cares for us. The Greek verb here is melō, and it indicates a special concern and attention. God cares about us in every aspect of our lives from the greatest problem to the smallest detail. We matter to Him. He loves us.

Let us, then, cast our worries upon the God Who longs to make us whole and tranquil, safe in His arms.

(Information about Greek vocabulary comes from HELPS Word Studies on

Tuesday – Speaking of God

How often do you speak about God? Does He enter into your daily conversations? Do you tell others of the wonderful things He has done for you? Do you proclaim His mighty works? Do you talk about the splendor of His law? Do you declare His truth, goodness, and beauty?

Many of us find it difficult to do this. Our culture discourages such talk. We are told not to “impose” our beliefs upon others but rather to keep them quietly to ourselves in the privacy of our homes.

God, however, tells us to do the opposite. In today's psalm, for instance, the psalmist prays that all of God's creatures (including and especially those created in His image and likeness) talk about the glory of His kingdom and speak of His power. Jesus, too, once said that we must proclaim His words from the housetops.

This task takes courage. Speaking about God will often decrease our popularity. We may even angrily be told to shut up. But those who truly love God cannot be quiet. We must declare His Gospel to the ends of the earth. It's part of our mission, and we can be well assured that He will give us all the strength, wisdom, and fortitude we need fulfill it. All we need to do is ask and then open our mouths and allow His words to flow through us to everyone we meet.

Wednesday – Remain in Me

Jesus is the vine; we are the branches. A branch that breaks off from the vine dies, for it is cut off from its source of nourishment and life.

This is why Jesus so strongly stresses that we must remain in Him. He is our only source of true life, of eternal life. Through Him, grace flows into our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our bodies. From Him we receive the nourishment we need to survive. He gives us what we need to know Him intimately and to do His work in the world. “Remain in Me,” He insists, “because without Me you can do nothing.”

This sounds wonderful, but we might wonder how we are to remain in Jesus. What exactly must we do to stay connected with Him?

1. Pray. Prayer is the key to intimacy with God. In prayer, we both speak and listen to Him, trusting that He always hears and always answers.

2. Repent of sin. Sin is what cuts us off from God because when we sin, we deliberately choose to do what He has told us not to do. We say no to Him. Repentance, along with confession and satisfaction, turns that no back into a yes and reestablishes our intimacy with God.

3. Receive the Eucharist frequently and devoutly. Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist, and He gives Himself to us in a most profound and personal way.

4. Read and reflect on Sacred Scripture. The Bible is God's own Word and His love letter to us. Through it, He speaks lovingly to our hearts.

5. Be mindful of God's presence at all times. The saints call this recollection. God thinks about us at every moment, holding us in His hands and holding us in existence. Simply remember Him even and especially in the midst of the chaos and busyness of life.

“Remain in Me,” Jesus pleads, “as I remain in you.”

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