MILE-A-DAY COMMUNITY CHALLENGE STARTING MAY 1, 2021

Using My Voice

April 29, 2021   Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Lectionary: 282)

Reading I   Acts 13:13-25
From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’“

Responsorial Psalm   89:2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia   See Rv 1:5ab
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Jn 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

By Sadie Curtin 

In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostle, we hear an invitation from the synagogue officials – “My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.” Unsurprisingly, Paul embraces the invitation and begins to speak of God, the descendants of Israel, and ultimately Jesus.  St. Paul is arguably one of the most influential followers of Christ and I likely would not be writing this reflection as a Catholic in 2021 if it weren’t for St. Paul.  

As I soak this reality in, I am left with a profound gratitude for the earliest Christian communities and the use of their voices. 

They spread the stories of Jesus to people who never physically met Jesus, and they evidently did so in a way that captured minds and hearts; and ultimately changed the world.  

On the Easter Vigil a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of serving as a sponsor for a beautiful, smart woman choosing to be confirmed Catholic as an adult.  The experience as a sponsor in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) was just wonderful and life giving. 

It encouraged my own growth in faith, sparked several meaningful conversations, and offered intimate exposure to the graces of the Sacraments. 

Since most of the sessions took place via Zoom – as most things have these days – the in person moments at the Easter Vigil caused my heart to burst.  There were flowers, candles, music, a community gathered, the RCIA group and most importantly the palpable presence of God.  In the walls of my church that night, Jesus was present. 

Present in countless ways, filling every ounce of the church, and nourishing my soul through the abundance of graces.    

As I think about that night, I cannot help but think that I owe St. Paul a shoutout. For it is the confident voice of St. Paul heard in the Acts of the Apostles, among so many other voices throughout the years who have inspired people to meet, to know, to believe in, and ultimately fall in love with Jesus Christ. 

The Easter Vigil, year after year, is a profound witness of the strong desire within so many hearts to grow in intimate relationship with Jesus, to follow and live in imitation of His ways, and the profound graces that pour out during Sacramental moments.  

I pray that the voices of saints, both living among us today and those who walked before us, will continue to tell the beautiful Christian story that has the power to change lives. 

I pray I can add my voice to that as well.  

Today is the memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, a trailblazer and incredible voice; I pray that she intercede. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sadie Curtin is a high school theology teacher who finds herself most invigorated by LGBTQIA+ equity, racism, and the profound beauty of world religions. She finds joy in taking long walks with friends, reading a thought-provoking memoir, and trying to find the best pizza in Cleveland. She loves to dive deep into issues of social justice and would love to engage in conversation with you! Find more about her here

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