Your Daily Tripod
"Your Daily Tripod" reflects the personal Fourth Day journeys of its authors and editors. We are happy to have companions like you share in this project. Our prayer is that these reflections will invite and inspire your Fourth Day journey of Piety, Study and Action as much as writing or editing them inspires our journey and brings us all close moments with Jesus and our neighbors.
“We are Forgiven – Decide to Repent” by Wayne Miller
Peter said to the people: The author of life you put to death, Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”(Acts 3:13-15, 17-19)
My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins. (1 John 2:1-5a)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
Make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
He stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified. “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:35-48)
Father God, thank you for your everlasting patience, forgiveness, and acceptance of my frequent, necessary repentance. Give me your eyes to see and heart to hear and voice to express Your Love to my brothers and sisters in their time of need. Help me to see and accept that Your Love not only extends to every one of them, but to me also, whom I have the greatest difficulty forgiving. I ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
In today’s Gospel, Luke describes Jesus’ appearance to the disciples, their shock and terror that He was a ghost, and how hard he had to work to make them believe He was truly alive in His resurrected human form. Once convinced, the disciples can finally truly listen to the same teaching that Jesus has been giving them all along. The horrendous events of His Passion fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. His Loving acceptance of the evil committed against Him was the only way to accomplish the results of the appalling events of His Passion.
The key that restored the possibility of Reconciliation with the Father is Jesus’ “YES” to the Passion. To receive that Reconciliation, each of us must say YES to the Passion that awaits us in the Surrender and Death to our sin. Reconciliation with the Father is everlasting certainty of the Pure Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness, and Joy of living as a perfect Child of the Father. Choosing Reconciliation instead of our Sin means we will never be alone or fearful, no matter the circumstances.
In our First Reading, in his typical gruff fisherman’s style, Peter started his statement to the people by proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that they bore personal responsibility for the murder of God’s Only Son. I’m sure he left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they had done a stupid, repulsive act worthy of eternal damnation.
Then Peter, contrary to his abrupt nature – and now fully aware of the utter, everlasting Love and Forgiveness that the Living Jesus gave Him – gave them the Hope they needed. He was following the Great Commission that Jesus gave the disciples to teach the whole world to REPENT and receive forgiveness. Repentance not only of the terrible act that they had perpetrated; but Repentance of the obsession with whatever in your life that does not lead to a more perfect relationship with the Father through His Son, Jesus. Repent – turn away – from the “gods” that you seek for pleasure, security, personal power, and control. Choose a relationship with the One and Only Source of Acceptance, Joy, and Peace. Conform your life to a complete connection with the Creator, Lover Father, by choosing His Son’s way of life and becoming a living conduit of His Love to your family and life circumstances.
In the Second Reading, John, the Beloved, in his typical, kinder approach, told his listeners how much he loved them in his desire that they might never sin. But if they did (as he knew we all do), he encouraged them that our Lord Jesus was alive and always at the Father’s side, interceding for all of us when we realize our failures and sins and turn to Him. He calls us every day in every aspect of our lives to surrender our choice of sin in favor of a choice of life in His Father’s Will. He calls us every day to Love ourselves and all of His Children with His Passionate Serving Love.
The way we know how to repent and be reconciled to the Father is to know Jesus, the human Son of God, who taught us in His every action, thought, and word how to live a relationship with the Father. How can I say that I “know” Jesus if I don’t spend time with Him?
I was recently encouraged in a beautiful way to get to know Jesus better. We can do it alone, with a prayer partner, or with your group as an ongoing formation.
Read one of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, or Luke). While reading each event of Jesus’ life, focus on the person of Jesus and answer these questions in your journal:
- With whom did Jesus spend his time?
- How did he relate with the apostles
- How did he relate with the Pharisees and Sadducees?
- How did he relate with the poor and suffering?
- How did he relate with his friends and family?
- What message did he give to each?
- How did these different groups of people respond to Him?
- What did Jesus talk about most?
- How did Jesus refer to God? How frequently?
- What were Jesus’ deepest desires? What made him angry?
- What is one thing that surprised you about Jesus?
- How can I relate as Jesus did with all the people that are in my life?
- How can I make a friend, be a friend, and bring Jesus to my friend?
“Do Not Be Afraid” by Melanie Rigney
The word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
Lord, let your mercy be on us as we place our trust in you. (Psalm 33:22)
When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” (John 6:19-20)
Jesus, help me to trust in You.
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”
The disciples knew about strong winds and storms and how to navigate them. They knew well, full well, that people did not walk on water. And yet, there Jesus was.
Perhaps they should have been more concerned than they were about the brewing bad weather. Surely, they’d lost family members and friends to the forces of nature, those times that storms had come up without warning. But what frightened them? Jesus, their friend and protector, walking on water and coming close to the boat.
Strong winds and storms don’t have to be experienced on a boat. They can snatch away our health, our livelihood, those we hold dearer than life itself. Generally, we figure out how to navigate them, sometimes in less than physically, mentally, or spiritually healthy ways. We drink more. We eat more. We grow bitter and cynical. We close our eyes to the miracle that is right in front of us, walking on water and coming close to our leaking boat.
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”
But it’s scary to accept Jesus’s help, to relinquish that bit of control we delude ourselves that we have. We push aside that small still voice or the offers of assistance from those acting in His name.
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Believe it. Embrace it.
Cast overboard your fears and concerns about a situation. Invite Jesus into the boat.
Image credit: GDJ via Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/vectors/jesus-christ-miracle-5000359/
Worthy to suffer in His name By Beth DeCristofaro
(Gamaliel) said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel, be careful what you are about to do to these men. … 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.” (Acts 5:35, 38-39)
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.(John 6:10-13)
Generous and challenging Jesus, help me reach beyond my own wants to put those of others before me. May I rejoice that I have been found worthy to suffer in your name.
Gamaliel wisely realized and warned his fellows that they could find yourselves fighting against God if Jesus’ followers were acting by God's instruction. The leaders responded as humans fearful of losing their worldview and their place in it. They were not ready to accept the mystery of God become human nor that God could work in the world counter to their expectations. But that warning must have spoken to some deep awareness because it stalled them fighting against God. Instead they acted very much like threatened humans: they had (the Apostles) flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus (v40)
Jesus goes beyond words; he revealed God’s overflowing mercy and love when he fed the crowds. He is incarnation, and in him, God becomes present in nourishment. God was with them in the barley loaves, food of the poor, and in the fish, livelihood of his followers who evangelized the world. God becomes present in the commonplace and ordinary. How can we miss the Eucharistic overtones? In the hands of Jesus, this homely yet unearthly breaking of the bread was a sacred communal act.
But the crowds were still not ready for the mystery. John tells us that Jesus left after sharing the meal because he knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king (v. 15). They saw the sign but responded to it from their future want, empty stomachs and poverty. They missed the mystery of God's intimate presence over and above their physical needs. Jesus fed their bodies out of care. He wanted then and he wants now to feed our souls to be in a relationship with us.
In both stories we see the apostles’ reacting in a different way. They were touched with wonder without understanding but chose to follow Jesus on his terms after the feeding of the multitude. Then in Acts 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. (v. 41-42) They leapt beyond the needs of the body and what they had always known. They recognized that Christ, their friend who ate with them, who elected to follow his mission for them even through death, chose to give them new life with God.
Jesus knew the needs of bodies and responded to them, healing and sustaining, especially those most hungry, isolated, cast off. Do we find ourselves defining our walk with Jesus in terms of our own needs? Jesus models service determined by the needs of others. Ask for the grace to hear wisdom’s voice. God works through even our fragments of caring and our moments of suffering. God does not waste our undertakings or our hardships.
Illustration: Icons of the Christ and miracle of Christ multiplying bread to feed 5,000. St Chora Church (Church of the Holy Saviour in the Country), Istanbul, Turkey, https://krikor-tersakian.blogspot.com/2010/05/st-chora-amazing-high-definition-mosaics.html)
“God’s Transforming Power” by Colleen O’Sullivan
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. (Acts 4:32-35)
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7b-8)
Lord, may our hearts be open to your transforming grace.
I’ve always wished I could have met Nicodemus. He felt drawn to Jesus. In today’s Gospel, we see this Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin taking his life in his hands, slipping away under cover of darkness to talk to this preacher/teacher/healer so revered by some and equally hated by others. In this same chapter, before the verses we read today, Nicodemus declares that God must have sent Jesus. There’s no other explanation for the things Jesus accomplished. Jesus tells him that if Nicodemus wants to see the Kingdom of God, he needs to be born again. On the surface, Jesus’ words don’t make much sense. Nicodemus was born years ago. He’s already here on earth. It’s impossible to redo that. But consider the process that takes place before birth: A man and a woman come together, and an embryo begins to grow. All sorts of growth and development take place over months. The parents have to make preparations for the impending birth. It’s only after all that that an infant comes into the world.
Maybe Jesus is telling Nicodemus that a spiritual process has to occur for the sort of rebirth he has in mind. Nicodemus’ heart opened his heart to allow Jesus to plant the seeds of the Spirit. The seeds germinated and grew in that fertile, loving heart. As Nicodemus remained open, the Spirit’s work transformed his heart, and Nicodemus became a new person. He will be a child of God, and he will relate to other people differently. Transformation comes as a gift from the Holy Spirit, a grace-filled gift. We can’t change ourselves in this radical manner. It’s God who works on our hearts and in our hearts. Scriptures never tell us whether Nicodemus becomes a Christian, but some transformation certainly seems to occur. He speaks openly for due process of law for Jesus before the Sanhedrin. And after the Crucifixion, he receives Jesus’ body, provides the spices for preparation of the Lord’s body for burial, and helps Joseph of Arimathea ready Jesus’ body to be laid in the tomb. All a far cry from someone who wanted to hide in the dark so others would not discover Nicodemus talking to Jesus.
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we again see what God can bring about in people whose hearts are open. Remember how terrified the Apostles were after the Crucifixion? Some of Jesus’ followers gave up and started out for home. Others of their group cowered behind locked doors. Yet they were of one heart and mind in this reading. That only came about through the grace and power of the Resurrection.
Who knows how many believers lived like this and for how long, and just a couple of chapters later (Acts 5:3), we see two Christians who rebel against this, holding everything in common? Just imagine, though, how wonderful it would be if everyone had everything they needed and no one lived in poverty! The trouble is that in our consumer-oriented society, we no longer know the difference between what we need and what we want.
Take some time today to think back over your life to a time when you felt God’s transforming power at work in you. Give thanks for whatever gift you received.
Heal my Doubt, Lord By Beth DeCristofaro
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. (Acts 4:32-33)
Beloved: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. (1 John 5:1-4)
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. … Jesus said to (Thomas), “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”(John 20:21-22, 29)
I doubt, Lord. Heal my doubt. Propel me to be of one heart and mind with you.
Doubt seems omnipresent in our culture. Certainly, when I sit comfortably in my chair, reading or praying, I rarely am aware of doubt. But let an unexpected heart palpitation or a disturbing newscast or divisive comments from family occur, doubt creeps in. Doubt is like those tiny, quicksilver beads of mercury which, when you hold them in your hand (yes! we used to do that!), slide haphazardly to and fro without control. Doubt flashes, hard to ignore in our thoughts.
Jesus’ words to Thomas seem less critical of his doubt and more a rebuke for acting out of his doubt. “I will not believe” unless I see for myself, Thomas declared. Jesus extends his mercy, quenching the doubt. Jesus blesses those who must act in faith without proof. As followers of Jesus, we don’t always see with our physical eyes or hear with our bodies’ ears but see and hear with the grace of faith. People who live with severe illness and disability or their caregivers live with a lot of doubt. Will this treatment be effective? Is the pain going to diminish? Will I see my children have children? In my illness, there are many uncertainties, but I know in the depths of my being that I have been blessed with many graces. I have met caring people, found unexpected openings, and been accompanied by God’s healing in the darkest moments. Like many people, I take each day at a time and move forward out of the locked room of doubt with Jesus at my side.
Doubt can paralyze, but it can also be an inner alert. Where does this doubt originate? Will I act from fear, disappointment, betrayal? John’s epistle tells us that God’s commandments are not burdensome. Letting doubt shape what we do leads us to justify hurtful actions as we act on our own behalf, claiming it is motivated by God’s words. The passage in Acts characterizes the community as of one heart and mind. What do I value? I can choose to be demanding and self-centered. Sometimes this is confusing because legitimate self-care for myself or for our community is also valued! But choosing to claim that actions are in God’s name, but are based in doubt sprung of fear or feeling disregarded, in reality, divide the community and are against God’s directives. Do I choose to be of one heart and mind with the community of believers? It is in opening to the Holy Spirit that his disciples and I place trust in Jesus, walking forward despite doubt.
The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on the theme of how God’s mercy can overcome sin and, as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states, “a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind [sic] will experience in the years to come.”
This article appeared in the May 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No. 5, page 46).[i]
Do doubts hold me back from flinging open the doors of my locked room and receiving the fire, the peace, the passionate desire to be one with Jesus and the community of believers? Ask for the certainty of Thomas, Mary of Magdala and the Apostle John. Be grateful for that fire.
“Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature” By Melanie Rigney
So (the Sanhedrin) called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me. (Psalm 118:21a)
But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:14-15)
Jesus, strengthen my faith that I may fearlessly proclaim the Good News.
They didn’t believe Jesus had risen when Mary Magdalene shared the news with them.
They didn’t believe the two disciples who encountered the Lord on the road to Emmaus.
Finally, when they were at table, and they saw him with their own eyes, they believed. And after chastising them, Jesus charged them anew to go out into the world and share what had happened.
Then, they were unstoppable. When the Sanhedrin told Peter and John to stop teaching in Jesus’s name, the men said that would be impossible. Nearly all the apostles and many of the other early followers died martyrs’ death rather than be quiet.
Proclaiming the Gospel is simple within the relative comfort of a faith community. It becomes more challenging when we’re among people—relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers—who aren’t sure Jesus ever existed. They see His words as nice ideas and good concepts but don’t understand or have rejected the hope His death and resurrection offer. And yet, those are the very people who need the message proclaimed to them through our words and actions.
Think about it: What would Peter and John say today’s Sanhedrin? What would Jesus say to today’s doubters? Somehow, I doubt any of them would choose to keep quiet to preserve peace. That sort of peace isn’t peace at all. It’s spiritual cowardice.
Pray for the words to preach the Gospel today to someone who doesn’t want to hear it.
Image credit: Schaferle via Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/christ-statue-flash-impact-figure-2625729/
Today is a Day made by the Lord By Beth DeCristofaro
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is
the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone. (Acts 4:6-11)
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the
dead. (John 21:12-14)
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it. (Psalm 118:24)
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” This was a day in which the disciples are weighed down with grief. This was a day in which a return to fishing, a consistent schedule that they knew well, was an escape from misery. It was an unfulfilling day as they caught no fish. And yet it was a day the Lord made much like the days in which we struggle with life difficulties. Later in this day, the Lord made Jesus “rehabilitates”[i]Peter by asking him to recommit his love for Jesus three times, offsetting his three denials of Jesus on the day of Crucifixion. (verses 15-23) And on this day the Lord made, Jesus sat and served his friends a breakfast cooked on a homey fire. This was an ordinary day made by the Lord, who is present on all days.
In the passages from Acts, on another day the Lord made, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and answered the leaders’ accusations with deep, resonant faith. Rather than “what a difference a day makes,” it is what a difference a Resurrection makes! God’s creative nourishing cannot be thwarted by death. Jesus’ willingness to extend mercy and love into death and beyond makes each day a day to experience it and live it.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. (John 21:7)
In this joyful Octave of Easter, in what way am I experiencing Jesus’ presence anew? I can give thanks and jump out of my boat to spend more time in his with him in the everyday moments the Lord has made. What prevents me from “seeing” the Lord on the beach of my life? In my prayer, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and open my eyes and ears. I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me so I can share Jesus’ hospitality with those who need it most.
[i] “This section (of John’s Gospel) constitutes Peter’s rehabilitation and emphasizes his role in the church.” https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/21?23=#51021023