Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

5th Sunday of the year – Year B

Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 146; 1 Cor. 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39

Read: “Praise the Lord who heals broken hearts”. “Jesus healed many sick from all sorts of ailments, and drew out a large number of devils whom he did not allow to talk, because they knew who he was”.

Reflect: In Christ it is possible for us to contemplate God’s answer to the problem of suffering. God is not indifferent to mankind’s cries when suffering. Our God asks us “Do not stay away from those with a broken heart, but cry with whoever is heart-broken” (Sirach 7:34), because he too suffers, cries, and is emotional. He hears our pleas, and comes to share with us our situation caused by pain and suffering. He takes sides with us in our battle against evil, and teaches us how to change these situations into an opportunity to build love.

Pray: “The following morning, early before daybreak, Jesus woke up and went out to a distant location and stayed there praying”. It is during this dialogue with his Father that Jesus was enlightened so as to be able to tackle the sufferings of mankind. Let us pray that we are enlightened to handle our own suffering, and that of others, with faith, hope and love.

 Act: Let us confront suffering not by bemoaning our ill luck, blaming ourselves, or others or other reasons, or by trying to find an explanation, but by seeking God’s help that we may undergo suffering with faith, hope and love. Every time we dry a tear, we will be participating in the salvation brought to us by Jesus. 


4th Sunday of the year – Year B

Deut. 18:15-20; Psalm 94; 1 Cor. 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

Read: “And the Lord said to me: ‘……I will raise up for you a prophet like yourself, from among yourselves; I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall tell you all I command him’”. “On the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and began to teach. His teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority”.

Reflect: The Acts of the Apostles show us that, with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, all the disciples became ‘prophets’ (Acts 2:17-18). Every Christian, enlightened by the Gospels, is able to discern God’s will and to pass this on to others. At times we hear priests, parents and Christian teachers say that they are disappointed because, according to them, when they urge their children to embrace Christian values, it appears that all falls on deaf ears.  Perhaps they question if the Word of God has lost its force? If the word does not change hearts and minds, then it is not the Word of God, but that of human beings. At times we preach to ourselves, and our own convictions, and we think that we are proclaiming the Gospel. The good exhortations and warnings that emanate from common sense and from the world’s wisdom, appear to be useful, but these never make wonders. Miracles happen only if the proclaimed word is that of the Master.

Pray: Pray that the Lord will fill us with His Holy Spirit so that we will not preach to ourselves, but hear His word.

 Act: If on problems concerning health; the economy, politics and other matters that all have an ending, we pay so much attention to what is said by experts, then how much more should we take cognizance of what is said by the expert above all experts concerning matters that are everlasting. Let us from this day forward take more seriously all that is said to us by the Master Jesus.

 

 


3rd Sunday of the year – Year B

Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 24; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

Read: “The time has been consummated, and God’s Kingdom has arrived; repent and believe in the Gospel”.

Reflect: In the beginning of his book, St. Mark presents Jesus as the messenger whose mission is to announce the Gospel, the good News, to the people. News which is so wonderful, that it awakens much joy in those who hear it.  There are two conditions necessary for those who hear the news to feel this joy; one needs to repent and believe. To repent does not mean having the determination to avoid sin but is, above everything else, a decision radically to change the way one looks at God, at our brethren, at the world and history. The news “God’s Kingdom has arrived”, is not a message that the time for expiation has arrived, but is good news of hope for everybody, even for the worst sinner, who God continues to consider as being like a son. To believe means that one starts seeing everything through the eyes of a God who loves, is patient, takes time to be angry, full of compassion and wishes well to all his creations. To believe means having trust in God; to have faith in His words and in His promises. God’s Kingdom has arrived; therefore, there is no time to waste: let us repent and believe in the Gospel!

Pray: Let us pray with the Psalmist: Lord, make me know your ways, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth, and teach me, for you are God, my Saviour.

 Act: “Time is short”. Let us use the time lent to us by God by looking for occasions when we can grow in love and our union with God and with our neighbour, whoever that may be.

 


2nd Sunday of the year – Year B

Sam. 3:3b-10, 19; Psalm 39; 1 Cor. 6:13c-15a, 17-20; Jn. 1:35-42

Read: The Lord came, stopped near him and, like other times, called: “Samuel! Samuel!”. And Samuel answered: “Speak, because your servant is listening”. One of the two who had heard what John had said and had followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. The first thing he did was to seek his brother Simon and told him: “We found the Messiah” – which means Christ. And he took him to Christ. Christ looked towards him and told him: “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” – or Peter.

Reflect: Nothing and nobody is anonymous before God who “counts the number of stars; he calls them all by name”. (Psalm 147:4) The name that God gives to every person indicates an identity, vocation, and mission. A vocation is no more than discerning that which we have been created to be, discerning our place on this earth and in God’s plan. This is not shown to us in dreams or visions. We discover this by recognising our inner feelings, where we hear the Lord’s word that is heard and is shown to us in our daily experiences, and through the “angels” who are close to us; those brethren who interpret for us His thoughts and what He wills for us. Saying “Here I am, I am coming to do Your will” means that you are being faithful to your identity, thus obtaining internal balance and joy. 

Pray: Lord tell me the name by which you called me before I was conceived in my mother’s womb. Here I am, I am coming to do Your will.

 Act: If you have found Christ in your life in such a way that you are ready to fall on his bosom like Andrew, take somebody else with you.


The Baptism of the Lord

Is. 55: 1-11; Psalm 12: 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6; 1 Jn. 5: 1-9; Mk. 1: 7-11

Read: John the Baptist is a prophet who reveals the presence of God amongst us, and what God expects from us human beings. John preached repentance. He recognises what is divine in Jesus, and on Jesus’ insistence, baptises him.

Reflect: Baptism makes us children of God. It confirms that we are loved by God. Those baptised should frequently reflect on whether they are living in accordance with Jesus’ teachings. Baptism confirms God’s love towards us and trusts us with the mission of loving others as we are loved by His son, Jesus.

Pray: Let us pray that we will have God’s love in Christ. Pray that we will have the courage to show our love towards others, especially to those who are most in need.

 Act: Think of somebody who wishes to share with others God’s love, but does not have the courage to do this. See what you can do to encourage that person.


Epiphany of the Lord

Is. 60: 1-6; Psalm 71; Eph. 3: 2-3a, 5-6; Mt. 2: 1-12

Read: “Wake up! So that the light will shine on your face! Your light has arrived! The Lord’s light will shine on you!” “The star that they had seen rising started moving until it stopped on the place where the child was. As soon as they saw the star they were filled with great joy. Then when they entered the inn and saw the child with his mother Mary they fell down on the ground adoring him.; they opened their treasures and offered him gold, incense and myrrh”.

Pray: “All those who seek you will be happy and joyous; those who love Your salvation will always say ‘Great is the Lord’ “(Psalm 40,17).

Reflect: At Christmas the Son of God came to meet us. At the Epiphany it is us that should take action to seek him. The Magi sought and found him. Jesus changed them ….. they went to him as pagans and left as Christians. The same He will do to us.  He does not expect from us gifts of gold, incense and myrrh, but to give Him our mind so as to start thinking as He does by, when making decisions, we act as if He is the one taking these. And when we give Him our mind, He gives us His heart …. to love, to sympathize, to serve, to forgive with His heart. If we make just one pace forward towards Him, He will start changing us. That day will be the Lord’s Epiphany for us.

 Act: At the beginning of a new year let us commit ourselves that, with God’s help, everything that we do is done according to the Gospels. Like the Magi let us realise that the person with real wisdom does not remain closed within himself, but is open to God.


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