April 26 - Fourth Sunday of Easter: To carry each other on our shoulders

April 22nd, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12
Peter announces an act of healing in the name of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28,29
A prayer of thanksgiving to God for his kindness

Second Reading  1 John 3:1-2
God revealed his love for us by calling us children of God.

Gospel Reading
John 10:11-18

Traditionally, this fourth Sunday of Easter is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” because each year the Church presents us with our Lord’s beautiful description of himself as a shepherd who has tender, merciful love for his sheep. For many years now, the Church has also designated this Sunday as World Day of Prayer for Vocations. So we pray today in a special way in this Holy Mass that God will call many more men to the great adventure of being shepherds for his flock. Jesus the Good Shepherd carrying us on his shoulders is symbolized in a beautiful way by the Pallium which archbishops wear over their shoulders while celebrating Mass. The Pallium is made from lamb’s wool. During the Mass for the inauguration of his Pontificate on Sunday April 24th 2005 Pope Benedict explained the significance of the Pallium when he said that the Pallium is an invitation to carry one another, we are all to be shepherds to each other, to carry each other on our shoulders.

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April 19 - Third Sunday of Easter: With God everything makes sense

April 15th, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 3:13-15,17-19
Peter preaches that Jesus has been raised from the dead and calls upon the people to repent.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 4:2,4,7-8,9
A prayer seeking God's favour

Second Reading  1 John 2:1-5a
Those who know God keep his commandments. 

Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48 

 In today’s Gospel we see how Jesus trys to help the disciples understand that all that had taken place—his suffering, death and resurrection—made sense. That was something that took the disciples a while to get their heads around, as suffering never makes sense to any of us.  So Jesus had to help them understand not only that he was alive, but that all that had taken place was meant to happen. They were meant to happen and they fitted into God’s plan for the world. All of us are continually faced with difficult situations of suffering. So often we cannot make sense of why we have to suffer and we may even see it as a punishment. Even though we don’t have a direct answer to this question, what Jesus says to his disciples in this Gospel is a help, because it reminds us that everything that happens fits into God’s bigger plan. The point is that God can bring good out of every situation, even turning the evil work of people into good.  But for the most part we cannot see that.  We are just faced with each individual situation of suffering and that is hard.  However, the Lord is telling us that there is a bigger picture which makes sense of everything that happens.  When we die we will then see that picture and it will all make sense to us. 

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April 12 - Second Sunday of Easter : Peace, Forgiveness and Faith

April 7th, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35
The first Christian community shared their possessions, and no one was needy.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24
The Lord's mercy endures forever.

Second Reading  1 John 5:1-6
Those who love God keep his commandments.

Gospel Reading
John 20:19-31

Thomas does not  refuse the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus but simply insists that the risen Jesus must fulfil all his expectations. The following Sunday Thomas is challenged by Jesus himself to come to the true peace which only authentic faith can produce. Like Thomas, are we sometimes 'not there' when Jesus comes, or, again like Thomas, do we want God to behave int he way that might suit us best? The story of Jesus was written for us, so that we might deepen our belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. such belief is life-giving. 

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April 5 - Easter Sunday : Experiencing Easter Everyday

March 26th, 2015

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First Reading  Genesis 1:1—2:2
God creates the heavens and the earth. (shorter form, Genesis 1:1,26-31a)

Second Reading Genesis 22:1-18 (shorter form, Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18)
God puts Abraham to the test.

Third Reading Exodus 14:15—15:1
The Israelites pass through the Red Sea.

Fourth Reading Isaiah 54:5-14
The Lord promises to redeem Israel.

Fifth Reading Isaiah 55:1-11
A call to return to the Lord who is merciful

Sixth Reading  Baruch 3:9-15,32—4:4
Israel is told to follow the way of God's commandments.

Seventh Reading  Ezekiel 36:16-17a,18-28
The Lord will cleanse Israel for the sake of his holy name.

Epistle  Romans 6:3-11
Those who have been baptized have died with Christ.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23
God's mercy endures forever.

Gospel Reading
Mark 16:1-7

The significance of Jesus' resurrection is that it offers for all believers the hope pf a new life here and now. Yes, we will all rise from the dead one day and share in eternal glory but even today, here and now we experience the power of Easter glory, the effects of Jesus' rising from the dead. we all testify to the power of the Resurrection among us when we don't let evil and death get the better of us but let the way of Jesus triumph in our lives through our faith, hope and love. 

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April 3 - Good Friday : By His Wounds We Have Healed.

March 26th, 2015

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First Reading  Is 52:13—53:12
Responsorial Psalm Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Second Reading  Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel Reading   Jn 18:1—19:42

Today we venerate the wood of the Cross because it was by His Cross that Jesus redeemed the world. No one can separate Jesus from His Cross: Where Christ is there is the Cross and where there is the Cross there is Jesus. The world may look at the Cross as a threat or as a curse or as a headache. But for a Christian the Cross is the road to salvation and holiness. Pope St. John Paul II said on the canonization of Bl. Padre Pio “difficulties and pain, is accepted with love become a privileged path to sanctity”. Each one of us has been given some type of a Cross. The presence of the Cross in our lives tells us that we are in the surest road to sanctity. Therefore let us ask the grace to embrace our little crosses with love. Because it is in the Cross that we find forgiveness, healing and salvation

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April 2 - Holy Thursday : The Day of Love

March 26th, 2015

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First Reading  Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18
Second Reading  1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel Reading  Jn 13:1-15

 

The Mass of the Lord's Supper is characterized by the announcement of the commandment of love and the gesture of washing the feet.What Jesus did at the last supper when he washed the feet of his disciples, was not just an act of humility. It was an act of love revealing our God who is ‘passionately loving in his self-giving service’. In Johns Gospel, the Eucharistic meal is a celebration of the whole life of Jesus Christ. The last supper is not separated from his other meals which he took with the publicans and sinners and with Pharisees and with well to do people and above all with his own disciples. Foot washing expresses what living a life of self-emptying love looks like in imitation of the Lord who emptied Himself for us and who still does in the Most Holy Eucharist. It has been traditionally referred to as the Mandatum, the Command. It is an invitation to become a man or woman poured out for others. A Christian who lives the love of Charity (Caritas), the Love of Jesus Christ, makes Jesus Christ real. In so doing, the Incarnation continues.

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March 29 - Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday : Human abandonment of Jesus

March 25th, 2015

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Gospel at the Procession with Palms   Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
Jesus enters Jerusalem as the crowds shout, “Hosanna!”

First Reading  Isaiah 50:4-7
The Lord's servant will stand firm, even when persecuted.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 22:8-9,17-18,19-20,23-24
A cry for help to the Lord in the face of evildoers

Second Reading  Philippians 2:6-11
Christ was obedient even to death, but God has exalted him.

Gospel Reading
Mark 14:1—15:47 (shorter form: Mark 15:1-39)

Palm Sunday is the great doorway into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way towards the culmination of his earthly existence. Today’s liturgy calls us to keep in mind two points. 1) The early Church Fathers saw a symbol in the gesture of the people who followed Jesus, the gesture of spreading out their clothes/coats before the Lord. Before Christ –the Fathers said- we must spread out our lives in an attitude of gratitude and adoration.   2) The totality of the human abandonment of Jesus which is portrayed by Mark. All flee, with the last one leaving even his clothes behind in order to get away from Jesus – the opposite of leaving all things to follow him. Have you abandoned Jesus like that young man reported in the Gospel of Mark?

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March 22 - Fifth Sunday in Lent: Dying to oneself

March 18th, 2015

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First Reading  Jeremiah 31:31-34
Jeremiah tells the people that the Lord will make a new covenant with them, planting the law within their hearts.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,14-15
A prayer for God's mercy and forgiveness

Second Reading  Hebrews 5:7-9
Through his sufferings, Jesus gained salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel Reading
John 12:20-33

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat dies, it cannot bear fruit. Or to put it another way, unless we die to our own will, we cannot bear fruit for God. It is a paradox and a bitter one. The paradox of life through death would not puzzle us so much if we were to look at the nature and human growth. Our highest life dos not consist in self-expression but in self-sacrifice. It is not we take up but what we give up that makes us and others rich. Dying to self would often mean, sacrificing one’s self-will,  for the sake of God’s will, which is his law, “placed within us and written upon our hearts” (Jer 31:33). Dying to self often means sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others. Only by dying to our self-seeking and vain ambitions, can we bring life to others, spreading joy and inspiring hope. If one has found nothing worth dying for, then probably found nothing worth living for. Let us pray: “Lord Jesus help us imitate the wheat and the grapes and offer our lives to you for whatever use you wish to make of them”. 

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March15 - Fourth Sunday in Lent : The measure of God’s love

March 11th, 2015

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First Reading  2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23
The causes for the Israelites' captivity in Babylon are described.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 137:1-2,3,4-5,6
A lament from exile for the loss of Jerusalem

Second Reading  Ephesians 2:4-10
In grace we have been saved, so that we may do the work of the Lord.

Gospel Reading
John 3:14-21
 

Nicodemus is a leading Jew who comes to Jesus from the darkness of the night but he finds difficult to understand beyond his Jewish upbringing and training. So Jesus trys to show him how the history of salvation, from the fall of Adam until the final judgment revolves around the coming of Jesus Christ, the savior, the Son of God. Why did the Father send him? Because he “loved the world so much”. God simply couldn't bear to see us perish in our sins: he longed to share with us his everlasting lifer. God cares. St. Augustine used to say that “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love”. Hence the verses 16 and 17 of the Chapter 3 of Johns Gospel is known as “the summery of the Bible” and “essence of the Gospel”. This is a cause for great JOY and so his 4th Sunday of Lent is also known as the “Laetare Sunday” which is the ‘Sunday of rejoicing’. The rose colour vestments used today are a symbol of that joy, like the pink horizon that comes before a beautiful sunrise. But in the life of Jesus, it is the “lifting up’. In the Cross that God’s love is made known to us in a powerful way. The Cross shows us how much God loves us. “To love is to give” and this is the message of the Cross. It is ‘sacrificial love’.  Can we love as Jesus loves? That means we should love without counting the cost and without expecting anything in return. Love through pain and suffering. 

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March 8 - Third Sunday in Lent : Reverence vs Religion

March 5th, 2015

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First Reading  Exodus 20:1-17 (or shorter form, Exodus 20:1-3,7-8,12-17)
Moses is given the Ten Commandments.
 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 19:8,9,10,11
A prayer of praise to God who gives us his commandments

Second Reading  1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Paul preaches Christ crucified to the Corinthians.

Gospel Reading
John 2:13-25

The Gospel for the third Sunday of Lent interrupts the Mark’s Gospel we have been reading to give us a little of John’s. It is here to show us the prophecy of Jesus Resurrection – the event that we are preparing for in Lent, but I would like you to also note that the one time that Jesus gets angry that we are told about happens here as well. It happens because Jesus sees the commandments of our relationship to God being damaged. The house of God, the temple where God dwelt was considered sacred. It was where worship was held, it was where God’s name was never taken in vain, but glorified. Yet the porticos of the Temple were surrounded by trade and finance, and indeed, more emphasis was being put on the buying and selling than the worship and sacrifice itself. Jesus’ anger caused the event that did more than any other to upset the priests and Pharisees and directly led to the death he was about to suffer. So it is an important event. In some sense it was foolish of Jesus and because he gave into his human violence, it may have led to his own violent death. But Paul tells us God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” God had a plan, and that plan brought about nothing less than the salvation of all people.

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