April 28, 2012

4th Sunday of Easter - B (April 29, 2012)

John 10: 11 - 18

It's the Same Love 

The Good Shepherd knows his sheep the same way Father knows him and the same way he knows the Father.      "I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father."

That is how intimately the Good Shepherd loves us.  That is how intimately the Father loves us.

That is why the Good Shepherd can lay down his life for us.

And no one is excluded from this love.  "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.  These also I must lead, ... and there will be one flock, one shepherd."

4th Sunday of Easter - B (April 29, 2012)

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

 Image:  Daniel Bonnell, The Good Shepherd

April 21, 2012

3rd Sunday of Easter - B (April 22, 2012)

Luke 24: 35-48

You Are Witnesses

In the Gospel According to Luke, "You are witnesses of these things" form the second to last sentence of Jesus' spoken words to the disciples.

And who are these witnesses?

Just in this passage alone, they are portrayed as those who are "troubled," "startled and terrified." They fail to recognize Jesus, thinking that "they were seeing a ghost."

They have lived with Jesus. They have witnessed all the words and actions of Jesus. Moreover, they have witnessed how Jesus' words have been fulfilled in his death and resurrection. Still, Jesus once more needs to "open their minds to understand the Scriptures."

Yet, to these very disciples, who are weak, who have failed, and who are troubled and terrified, Jesus affirms them, "You are witnesses of these things."

The "things" that they are witnesses of are "repentance" and the "forgiveness of sins" that the Christ gave to them in his suffering, death and rising.

Who then would be better qualified to be witnesses of these things than these disciples?

They know first hand of God's forgiveness since they have failed over and over again, yet have been the first to receive and know of that forgiveness from God?

After this sentence "You are witnesses of these things," come the final spoken words from Jesus to these failed and forgiven witnesses in Luke (not included in today's Gospel reading, but significant): the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, "Behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you"

There, to the failed, then forgiven disciples, Jesus now empowers and commissions them, "You are witnesses of these things."

April 14, 2012

2nd Sunday of Easter

John 20: 19-31

Having Seen the Lord

The Trinity are all involved in the sending of the disciples.

The disciples are sent with the same authority with which Jesus was sent, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

The once afraid disciples are now sent because they have received the gift of peace from the Risen Christ.

And they are sent after they have received the Holy Spirit.

All of these they received when they see the Risen Lord.

Yet, ironically, they failed at their very first attempt of doing what they were sent to do. They could not convince Thomas, one of their own, to believe that they "have seen the Lord."

It is never sufficient for us, messengers of the Risen Christ, to share with words our experience of an encounter with the Lord.

We must lead people to their own encounter with the Risen Christ.

That was true in the case of Thomas.

We will not likely meet Jesus in the flesh as did Thomas and the disciples. Yet, the Risen Christ is with us in his words and in the Eucharist.

He is also present to us in the community of believers, which is his Body.

May we become the presence of the Risen Christ to one another and to those we are sent to proclaim God's love and forgiveness.

To us and to those who will meet the Risen Christ in us, the Lord says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

2nd Sunday of Easter (April 15, 2012)


Image: Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, 1502-4, "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas," National Gallery, London, UK

April 7, 2012

Easter Sunday (April 8, 2012)


The Sun has Risen! So has the Son!

By this time in the narrative of the Gospel According to Mark, all of the words that Jesus spoke about himself have been fulfilled. So have all the words the prophets and the Law of Moses spoke of him.

The leaders of the disciples, Peter, James and John, have witnessed Jesus' transfiguration. There, they even heard the voice from heaven telling them that Jesus is God's "Beloved Son" and they are to "listen to him" (9: 7)

Yet, the disciples still have not got it. Where they are in their faith is seen in the attitude and actions of the women in this passage.

The women expect to find the dead body of Jesus sealed in the tomb. Thus, their puzzle, "Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"

Their confusion is also symbolized in the lack of planning on their part. They have brought spices to anoint him without any idea of how they will get inside the tomb.

Over their confusion and loss, "the sun had risen."

So is the Son had been raised to scatter their inner darkness.

Till the end of Mark's narrative, the disciples are still struggling in their lack of faith.

Thankfully, God's action does not depend on how good any of us is.

The Son "has been raised." The verb is used here in the passive voice. So is the verb in the case of the stone. [1] It is the action of God that brings salvation to us all, regardless of where we are in our understanding of God's way and of our response to God's actions in our lives.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrikson Publishers, 2002; p. 344, 346.

Easter Sunday (April 8, 2012)

Image posted by Fr. Fabio Attard, SDB

When the sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
"Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?"
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, "Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter,
'He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him, as he told you.'"