Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

2nd Sunday of Easter – Year B

Acts 4: 32-35; Psalm 117;1 St. John 5: 1-6; John 20: 19-31

Read: Thomas responded: “My God and my Lord!” Jesus said to him: ”You believe because you can see me! Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe .”

Reflect: The Evangelist St. John presents to us St. Thomas as a symbol of every disciple who has difficulty in believing. St. John wants to teach the Christians of his time, and us, that the Resurrection means more than what we ourselves understand with our senses. The life of the Risen Christ is a life that we cannot touch with our own hands, nor can we see it with our own eyes. One can see it only with eyes of faith. A disciple cannot have faith in what he sees, because he sees this, but will need faith so as to believe what he cannot see. Otherwise, this will not be faith. Jesus told St. Thomas: “Blessed are those who do not see but believe”. “Blessed” because faith like this is the most genuine and pure. The words that St. Thomas says to the Resurrected Christ: “My God and my Lord” represent the point of at which the disciples reached their faith in him.

Pray: O Jesus most merciful, you are the Light of the entire world. Welcome in the refuge of Your Heart, full of mercy, the souls of those who so far do not believe in You. Make the rays of Your grace enlighten them, so that they too, along with us praise the wonders of Your mercy; and do not let them distance themselves from your Most Merciful Heart.

Act: Find a quiet place and close your eyes …. and now imagine yourself to be alone …… in a large field, full of green grass …… and big trees … imagine yourself walking with a stick in your hand …… you feel your mind at rest …. wishing to talk about many things …… but there is something which is annoying you a great deal: your relationship with God.

You wish that Jesus is near you, but …… and now you have a feeling all over your body ……. you are fearful but at the same time you hear someone saying: “peace be with you….!” Immediately you turn round and you see the Lord, with his hands wide open ready to embrace you …. Look into his eyes and let them talk to you …. they are eyes that are telling you that they love you, they are telling you that you are precious …. You feel you want to open your mouth to tell Him: ”My Lord and my God”…..

Continue talking to Him for a few moments …. tell him, don’t be afraid, what is troubling you …. because He will understand you…. He is able to help you in your lack of faith …


Palm Sunday

Isa. 50: 4-7; Psalm 21; Phil. 2: 6-11; Mark 14:1 -15:47

Read: And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. And they gave him to drink wine mixed with myrrh, but he refused it. Then they crucified him.

Reflect: During Holy Week, we are called to contemplate the figure of Jesus hung on the Cross. To contemplate the Cross does not mean that you are bowing your head to a material object. Nor does it mean that you should keep thinking of the sorrowful aspect of Christ’s passion.  The Cross indicates to us a choice of life: the giving of yourself to others. Contemplating the Cross means rendering this sign as a point of reference for every decision you take.

Pray: Lord teach us to see you crucified in all unwanted and hurt persons; bereft of all dignity, emarginated and broken.

Act: During Holy Week get yourself to seek how you can give yourself more to others through love. Gossip less and do much more: die for yourself, for your temptations, for your inclinations, for your wishes, so that others will live.


5th Sunday of Lent

Jer. 31: 31-34; Psalm 50; Heb. 5: 7-9; John 12:20-33

Read: “In those days, amongst those that went up to Jerusalem to worship God at the festival were some Greeks. They approached Philip …. and put this request to him ‘Sir, we would like to see Jesus.’” And Jesus replied to them: ”Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.”

Reflect: “We would like to see Jesus”. This was not simply a case of curiosity to see he who all were looking for because he had brought back Lazarus from the dead. In the Gospel according to John, the verb ‘to see’ means to get to know well a person. These Greeks were not interested in the Jesus’ features, how he was dressed nor how he presented himself. What they wished was to get to know his identity and whether he was able to give them a new meaning of their lives. By what he said, Jesus shows them who he really was. He makes a proposition which, for the Greek mentality, and probably for us also as today’s beings, appears to be an absurd proposition: life reaches its acme when it is enveloped in love. He is the first to offer himself, and this is his glory. Jesus explains to the Greeks and to us, what is the true glory: “if a wheat grain does not fall on the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest”.

Pray: Teach us Lord so that, like you, obedient to the will of the Father, we give ourselves to You and to our brethren.

Act: Let us be on our guard that we do not fall for the subtle temptation that we find ourselves carrying out religious practices without being truly close to Christ in our faith. That we do not content ourselves only with prayer, rituals and celebrations and even through these …….. we do the least possible and with doubts. The face that Jesus shows us of himself, demands from us a total commitment. His proposition “is a scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks”. (1 Corint. 1:22), but the fact remains that it is only that person who, like Jesus, dies for his brethren is, according to God, successful.


4th Sunday of Lent

2 Chron. 36: 14-16, 19-23; Psalm 136; Eph. 2: 4-10; John 3:14-21

Read: God did not send His Son in this world to judge the world, but so that the world would be saved by Him.

Reflect: “From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead”. That is what we acknowledge when we say the Apostles’ Creed. However, did we ever ask ourselves what is meant by “from there He shall come”?  When we say “From there, from where?” Probably we did not ask this question, because the answer seems obvious to us. He is to come back from the heavens. The Risen Christ promised to be with His disciples “always till the end of time” Mat. 28:20). This means that we need not wait until He returns, and the throne on which He sits to make judgment, should not be in heaven but on this earth. Where? And here lies the surprise; it is from the cross that He will judge the world.  It is Jesus Crucified that went against the expectations and values of this world. He judges these losses as winners, service as power, poverty as wealth, losses as gains, humility as a victory, and death as a birth. Let us look towards Christ Crucified because only He says the truth regarding that should be made by mankind. We should accept and follow only His truth. The truth of the Cross should not create fear in us. This indeed is the greatest condemnation of evil. However, this the reason why the sinner should be happy and hopeful. From the Cross also we hear Jesus telling us” “I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it” (John 12:47).

Pray: O Crucified Jesus, give us the grace not to fear the judgment of mankind, but to go along with your judgment!

Act: Let us move near the light so that we will show that God is in all we do, by doing what is good.


3rd Sunday of Lent

Ex. 20: 1-17; Psalm 18; 1Cor. 1: 22-25; John 2:13-25

Read: The Jews then told Jesus: “What sign can you show us to justify that you are able to do that?” Jesus replied: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it”. The Jews replied: “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body.

Reflect: What Jesus did in the temple in today’s Gospel reading is not only a correction of the abuses that were taking place in the temple of Jerusalem, but is an announcement that the temple’s time had passed, meaning the assured presence of God and salvation. Our meeting with God will no longer be in one particular place, but in a new temple: the body of the resurrected Jesus.

When He raised His Son from the dead, the Father placed the cornerstone of this new sanctuary. St. Peter exhorted the new baptised that they would be baptised in Christ: “Draw near to him, who is a living stone that was discarded by the builders, but chosen by God as the beloved stone. And all of you likewise, like a living stone, build in a spiritual house, a sacred priesthood, so that you will offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God through Jesus Christ”. (1 Peter 2:4-5).

The only sacrifices acceptable to God are acts of love; generous service to others, especially to the poor, sick, alienated persons; those that are hungry and those that have nothing with which to clothe themselves. The one who stands by his brother so as to serve him, will be making a priestly gesture: together with Christ, God’s temple, that leads to heaven that sweet fragrance of an offering which is pure and sacred.

Pray: In celebrating the Eucharist, Lord, you give us an assurance of heavenly things that are still hidden from our eyes, and even on this earth You fill us with spiritual food; we humbly ask You that what takes place within us under the veil of mystery, we carry out through our good deeds.

Act: “Do not forget to do good to others, and to share between yourselves what you have, because God will be delighted with such sacrifices”. (Jews 13:16)


2nd Sunday of Lent – Year B

Gen. 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Psalm 115; Rom. 3: 31b-34; Mark 9: 2-10

Read: Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves, and he was transfigured. His clothes became dazzling white ……. then a cloud came covering them and covered them, and there came a voice from the cloud saying: ”This is my Beloved Son, listen to him”.

Reflect: In this extract from today’s Gospel relating the Transfiguration, Jesus shows his beauty and glory so that whoever is following him, every disciple, is attracted to him, and does not remain suffering. Because the reality is that, to live as a true Christian, many times you need to suffer.  And because Jesus knows that we easily lose heart, when we are persecuted because we do good, today he shines before us with a dazzling light, so that we continue following him, notwithstanding that we need to carry our cross. When the Lord becomes a living person in our life, notwithstanding our suffering, our heart continues to be drawn towards him with the power of the Holy Spirit because, as St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, “If God is on our side, who can be against us?” When we feel that we are losing heart, let us look towards the dazzling face of Jesus.

Pray: Lord you created us so as to enjoy, be joyful, to take pleasure with your marvellous presence. However, until we reach our own Tabor, we need to go up to Calvary with your son; but we need your help and to see to what extent we need your support when we get tired.

Act: Let us do our utmost that, during this Lent, we familiarise ourselves more with the Word of God, by reading and reflecting on extracts from the Bible; participating more in the Mass; attending Spiritual Exercises; following even more God’s Word through social media. It is in this manner that we will be listening to Jesus, so that he will continue to encourage us to be truly his disciples.


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