Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

4th Sunday of Advent Year (C)

Mikea 5: 1-4a; Psalm 79; Heb. 10: 5-10; Lk. 1: 39-45

Read: Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah. She went into Zakariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greetings, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; she gave a loud cry and said: “of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  Why should I be honoured by a visit from the mother of my Lord? Look, the moment that your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Reflect: Wherever Mary is involved – the new Covenant of the Ark – there is an explosion of joy: the Baptist jumps for joy, Elizabeth gave out a loud cry when the Lord visited her in Mary, the poor are happy because the time of their freedom was at hand. To welcome the Lord at His coming does not imply stopping to be joyful, but that one opens the doors to real joy. Mary is said to be blessed because she believed all that she was told that had been said by the Lord. True faith – as Mary had – does not need one to see and verify. It is based on listening to the Word.

Faith shows itself when the one who believes does what this Word tells him to do without any conditions. One needs to have a lot of courage to believe in God’s promises to builders of peace, to those who do not repay evil with evil, to those who offer their lives for the love of others, and that these will indeed take place. Mary shows us that, although we do not understand how the Lord is working within us and with us, it still makes sense that we continue always to have faith in the words of the Lord: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” (Luke 11:28) Mary believed that the Lord did not come to those who are perfect but to those who are convinced that they need Him.

Pray: My soul praises the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour. Because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me.  

Act: Let us recognise what God wants of us when determining the choices that we make daily.


3rd Sunday of Advent Year (C)

Sophonias 3: 14-18a; Is. 12: 2-6; Ph. 4: 4-7; Lk. 3: 10-18

Read: In those days, when the people asked John telling him: “So what should we do?”, he responded saying: “Whoever has two garments, should share with those who have none, and whoever has food to eat, should do likewise”.  Some publicans also drew near so as to be baptised and told him: “Lord, what should we do?” And he answered: “Do not press anybody to pay you taxes in excess of what you are due to demand”. Some soldiers also asked him saying: “And what should we do?” He answered: “Do not rob anyone using threats or through your deceit, and content yourselves with the pay you receive”.

Reflect: Last Sunday John the Baptist invited us to check how is our relationship with God if we wish to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah. He encouraged us to change our thoughts and actions so as to obtain forgiveness of our sins (Lk. 1:3). Today he focuses on the relationship that we should have with our neighbour. Love, solidarity, sharing our wealth with others, removal of all injustices and abuses of power were the principal points of what he said.

One cannot say the Baptist was not clear in what he said. Prayer and other devotions are good, so long as these are not used for us to escape from our duty to share our wealth with needy persons. We get together to pray, sing, but when we are asked to share our wealth with others ……… our religious enthusiasm often quickly wanes. There is a lot of happiness that is not Christian. John the Baptist shows the way that truly fills the heart; let us prepare the way for the coming of Christ by sharing with the poor and by denying all forms of abuse of power and all lack of sincerity with our brethren. Christian happiness that is thoughtful of others.

Pray: Sing to the Lord because he had done great things; let this be known throughout the earth. Jump with happiness, sing, you who live in Sion, because great is amongst you the God of Israel!

Act: Let us strive to have the happiness that is brought by the Spirit of Christ. Let us seek what we can do to obtain and to enhance a Christian happiness wherever we may be.


2nd Sunday of Advent Year (C)

Baruch 5: 1-9; Psalm 125; Phil. 1: 4-6, 8-11; Lk. 3: 1-6

Read: In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Ceasar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, son of Zachariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isiah:

“A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill will be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God!”

Reflect: We are in Advent time. The Gospel is inviting us to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord into our lives. He wants us to repent, to convert, or to agree to be changed. What are we doing in preparation for eternal life? Is honesty our way? Sweetness? Diligence? Are we doing our best to rid ourselves of our sins? Are we recovering from everything that is an obstacle to our meeting with Jesus?

The Gospel ends thus: “All mankind shall see the salvation of God!” This is the greatest offer that was made to us humans. The Church today, as messenger of this offer made to us more than two thousand years ago, is also making us the same offer. What am I and you doing to  prepare our life for the living Jesus, who was born for us, by repenting?

Pray: Great is the Lord in all he has done for you! Great is the Lord is all he had done for us! And we were filled with happiness.

Act: Pray to God so that he will fashion your life in such a way that will glorify Him: “And this is what I pray: that your love increases and multiplies always more by wisdom and with all discernment so that you will be able to choose the best, and then you will be clean and faultless in Christ’s day, full of the fruits of the justice coming through Jesus Christ, for the glory and the glorification of God”. (Philippians)


1st Sunday of Advent Year (C)

Jr. 33: 14-16; Psalm 24; 1 Th. 3: 12, 4: 2; Lk. 21: 25-28, 34-36

Read: Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. On earth, nations in agony bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and its waves; people fainting with terror at what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect and hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand”.

Reflect: We are greatly tempted to give in when faced by sin which appears to conquer the world. “There is nothing that can be done”, some say, “the evil that surrounds us is too formidable: hunger, conflicts, injustices, hatred …… seem destined to remain with us for ever”. Not only that, but even in our personal lives we pass through periods of failure, misery, shortcomings and vices. Our passions overwhelm us and many times we find ourselves making compromises that make us unhappy. Fear, delusions, remorse, experiences that are not beautiful make it difficult for us to smile. Is it possible for us to regain faith in ourselves? Can anybody else bring us serenity, faith and peace?

There is no type of bondage from which the Lord is unable to relieve us. There is no depth of faultiness from which He is unable to pull us out. He waits for us to recognise our condition, and to turn to Him with the words of the Psalmist: “From the depts of the earth I call you Lord.” The moment that we allow God to enter our life, we will allow Advent to take place in our life, a new world will be born for us.

Pray: Your roads, Lord, show me, your ways teach me. Lead me to your goodness and teach me, because you are the God of my salvation.

Act: “Take care, that too much food and drink will not deaden your heart, and do not allow too much concern about the needs of life to occupy your minds too much; that you do not find that Day confronting you suddenly. Because this is the Day that comes like a trap for whoever is living on this earth. Be prepared, therefore, and pray all the time that you will be able to pass through all that is bound to happen and to stand before the Son of man”.


The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - Year (B)

Daniel 7: 13-14; Psalm 92; Apocalypse 1: 5-8; John 18: 33b-37

Read: Pilate called Jesus to him and asked him: “Are you the king of the Jews?”. Jesus answered: “Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said this to you about me?” Pilate answered: “Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus replied: “Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews because, alas, my kingdom does not belong here.” Pilate told him: “So then you are a king?” Jesus answered: “It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this; I came into this world for this to bear witness for the truth; and all who are on the side of truth, listen to my voice.”

Reflect: “Mine is not a kingdom of this world.” This is what Pilate said to Jesus. All the kingdoms of this world are inspired by competition between themselves. Jesus turned over these principles that lead the kingdoms of this world, when he placed as a priority not power, but service. He introduced a new principle, that of the human heart that concerns itself with others, contrary to the oppression that is found in this world. Christ’s Kingdom does not reign over a geographical area. It is not based on a show of force and does not involve one being a ruler. The members of this kingdom are neither soldiers, nor slaves, nor subjects, but it is a kingdom of all those who, through their baptism, have been given the common priesthood.

These are called to offer, through their lives, sacrifices that are accepted by God, that is acts of love. This is the only command that they receive from their King. His victory is something that is assured and everybody will be seeing it, even if this is not the type of victory that is expected by the people. He does not humble his enemies, does not condemn “those who had pierced him” (Apocalypse 1:7), but he overcomes them by changing their hearts. They will all eventually recognise their sins and turn to his love. This is then only type of victory that the Christian community should await.

Pray: He is Lord, He is Lord. Every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall claim that He, He is Lord.

Act: Although his kingdom is not of this world, Christ’s kingdom is also of this world. It is made by man, and it needs to grow and to bear fruit amongst the people living in these times and in different countries. One enters the eternal kingdom according to what work he will have done to build God’s kingdom on this earth. Let us work hard to make known this truth; work against violence and to spread peace, to abolish hatred and egoism, and to foster goodness and love.


33rd Sunday of the Year - B

Daniel 12: 1-3; Psalm 15; Heb. 10: 11-14; Mark 13: 24-32

Read: In those days Jesus said to his disciples: “After the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling down from heaven, and the powers in the heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. Then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven. Take the fig tree as a parable; as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Thus, when you see these things happening, you know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But as for that day and the hour nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.”

Reflect: The injustices that happen in this world, wars, economic and social problems, climate changes ….  create concern and unhappiness. Nothing is certain in this world nowadays. In the face of this uncertainty, some fare very well, others lose heart and think that the end of everything is near, even faith. How are we going to involve ourselves in the world’s history, with unhappiness and fear, or with commitment and hope? Jesus taught us how we should look at these realities: “When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is at hand.” (Luke 21:28) In all that happens around him, when “the whole creation has been groaning in labour” (Romans 8:22), the Christian should prepare himself for a happening of joy: the birth of a new humanity. The world’s destiny is in God’s hands, therefore let us look upwards.

Pray: You of Lord do not leave me amongst the dead, you do not abandon me to the grave. (Psalm 15) Come, Jesus Lord.

Act: “Come Jesus Lord” is a powerful prayer. Try to pray this regularly and you can expect to have it heard with many opportunities to serve Jesus through many persons and in many places. In this manner you will be playing your part in preparing for Jesus’ second coming and to broaden his Kingdom on this earth.

 

 

 


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