Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption to Heaven

Revelation 11: 19a, 12: 1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 44; 1 Cor. 15: 20-26; Luke 1: 39-56

Read: Then Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour because he has looked upon the his servant in her lowliness. Yes, henceforth all generations will call me blessed, for the almighty has done great things for me. Holy is His name and His mercy is from age to age on those who fear Him. He puts forth His arm in strength and scatters the proud hearted. He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises high the lowly, He fills the starving with good things; sends the rich empty away. He has come to protect Israel His servant, mindful of His faithful love – according to the promise made to our ancestors – of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever”.

Reflect: Mindful of the reality of death and of the deterioration of the body in the grave, we need to have great courage to believe that the Lord is the God of the living and to have hope in another life away from the life that we are now living. In today’s feast, we have before us that person who always had faith in God……Mary. Her relation Elizabeth tells us: “Content is the one who believed in all that she was told by the Lord”. Mary responds with a canticle of praise to the Lord; the Magnificat.

Every evening during Vespers (the Evening Prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours), the Church sings this canticle. This is done so that those who believe, probably tried by all that they will have experienced during the day, will maintain their belief in the faith by which Mary was capable of understanding and discerning all that she was going through in her life, and the story of her people. Mary assures us that not only now, but always, for eternity, God will remain faithful to us. He is never going to go back on his promise of love for us, and, surely, He is not going to abandon us at the moment of our death.

Pray: O everlasting God who has infinite powers, You took up to the glory of heaven, with soul and body, Mary your Son’s Mother; render that our thoughts will always be on heavenly things, so that we will be worthy of a place with her in the glory You gave her.

Act: Like Mary, may we be guided by faith and not by our bodily sight (see 2 Corinthians 5:7).


19th Sunday of the Year - B

Kings 19: 4-8; Psalm 33; Eph. 4: 30, 5:2; John 6: 41-51

Read: Jesus said: “Stop complaining to each other. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person on the last day. It is written in the prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God’. Therefore, everyone who listens to the Father, and has learnt from Him, comes to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except who was begotten by God and has thus seen the Father. In all truth I tell you, everybody who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. Anyone who east this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world”.

Reflect: We all know how much insistence is made on the need to maintain social distancing because of the pandemic. And so should it be! But Jesus does not want us to keep away from him. There is no need for us to maintain any distance from him. He tells us: “Nobody can come to me unless the Father who sent me does not draw him towards me”.

God gives everybody the opportunity to get to know Him: “And everyone will be taught by God”. The teaching that will be given to everybody by God is his spirit, that divine push that works in every person, that leads everyone forward in the avenues of life. Unfortunately, not always and not everybody welcomes this Spirit; not everyone learns its teaching, nor does everyone obey its promptings. It is only “everyone who listens to my Father and has learnt from Him” who comes to Jesus.

The question that we need to ask ourselves is: Do I allow myself to learn from Christ’s Spirit, or am I, like what the Jews did in the time of Christ, refusing “the bread from heaven” and choosing the bread that leads to death? Jesus invites us to absorb his teaching as bread, so as to have a direction in life.

Pray: Lord, draw me anew towards that which you sent from heaven, the Bread that gives life. Lord I wish to obey you. I wish to wake up, to eat and thus to continue walking the road that leads me to You.

Act: “Taste and see how good is the Lord”. Thank God for the many times that he showed you the way and His goodness. Pray for your family and for your friends so that they too will discover His goodness.


18th Sunday of the Year - B

Exodus 16: 2-4, 12-15; Psalm 77; Ephes. 17, 20-24; John 6: 24-35

Read: Jesus answered them: “In all truth I tell you, you are looking for me not because you have seen the signs, but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that goes away, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.”

Reflect: That which in last Sunday’s Gospel – the sharing of bread amongst a great crowd of people – appeared to show Jesus’ popularity amongst the people, to the extent that they wished to make him their King, for Jesus was an episode of disappointment. This because, those people, appeared not to understand the sign that he wished to convey to them.

Jesus noticed that those people were not seeking him because they were hungry for his words, because they wished to better understand his message, or so that they would have a clearer understanding of the signs he had done. They were looking for him only in the hope that they would again have food in abundance without having to work to obtain this. Because of this attitude of these people of the Gospel, the evangelist invites every Christina to examine one’s motivation for seeking the Lord, to take refuge in Him, to pray and to practice one’s religion.

There is a need for us to admit that sometimes, like these people who witnessed the signs of the sharing of the bread, we approach Jesus only to ask for bread that is eaten and goes away: special graces; miracles; good health; success; material means; refuge from disasters. Jesus tells us: “Do not work for food that goes away, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you.”

Pray: “Master give us always from this bread”.

Act:  Bread that satisfies the need for one’s happiness is the Word of Jesus. Let us read and reflect on the Word of Jesus as the bread that gives life to those who eat it.


17th Sunday of the Year - B

Kings 4: 42-44; Psalm 144; Ephes. 4: 1-6; John 6: 1-15

Read: Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching him and said to Philip: “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?” He said this only to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered: “Two hundred denari would only be enough to give them a small piece each”. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said: ”There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two small fish; but what is that between so many?” Jesus said to them: “Make the people sit down”.

There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were already sitting; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as each wanted. When they had eaten enough, he said to his disciples: “Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted”. So, they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves.

Reflect: From all the signs made by Jesus, none was related as often as that of the miracle of the bread. All the Evangelists recounted this happening. But it is only the Evangelist St. John who mentions the young boy who had “five barley loaves and two small fish”. This young boy was prepared to share the little food he had, including “the barley loaves” which typically was the type of bread eaten by the poor. The young boy is the model of how a disciple of Jesus should be, a Christian: “In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15).

The poor youth is an example of the disciple who is called to share all that he has with his brethren, even if this is not much. The generosity of this youth was the key that made possible the miracle of the sharing of bread. The disciple discards his egoism, by overcoming his strong desire for money and other good things that “is the root of all evil” (1Timothy 6:10). He welcomes the logic of the Kingdom of God and shares with his brethren all that he has, and that is where a miracle takes place; everybody ate sufficiently and even more was left. That is how the disciple, you and I, participate in the plan of God who wants to execute his providence through us.

Pray: Open your hands, Lord; make us happy with all that You give us.

Act:  Let us play our small part for the good of others as regards our presence; contributions; participation in organisations. The rest we should leave for God to provide


16th Sunday of the Year - B

Jer.23: 1-6; Psalm 22; Ephes. 2: 13-18; Mark. 6: 30-34

Read: In those days, the apostles re-joined Jesus and they related to him all that they had done and taught. And he told them: “You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while”. Because, truly, there were so many coming and going, that the apostles had no time even to eat. So, they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going and many recognized them, and they walked hurried to the place on foot, people from many towns and they arrived before them. As he stepped ashore from the boat, he saw a large crowd, and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them many things.

Reflect: St. Augustine once said: “Take care of your body as though you are to live for ever; and take care of your soul as though you are going to die tomorrow”. We always need to take good care of ourselves as much as possible, even by seeking time for rest. Holidays and rest are not a waste of time, but a necessity. Our body needs rest, our mind requires to rest, our spirit also needs time to rest. I tell you that free time is beautiful, indeed precious. When resting, you can get to know better yourself, those around you and also God. Restful time should never be a time of laziness. As a man, Jesus used to get tired, and thus in need of rest, but Jesus was never lazy. He spent his restful periods communicating with God the Father and also in contact with others.

Think a bit on these examples from the Gospels: “Come away with me to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while” (Mark 6:31). “And at once he made his disciples get into the boat and to go on ahead to the other side near Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to them, he went off into the hills to pray” (Mark 6:45-46). “It was about the sixth hour, and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat down by the well” (John 4:6). Continue then with the long dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (see John 4:7-30).

Pray: During your time of rest, you can communicate more with others and with God: “The apostles re-joined Jesus and they related to him all that they had done and taught”.

Act:  Three suggestions so as to profit more from your free time; listen to three voices:-

  1. Try to listen to the call of nature, this is all that is beautiful around you.
  2. Try to listen to your conscience ….. the voice of God within you.
  3. Try to listen to the voices of others especially the poor and those less fortunate than yourself.

15th Sunday of the Year - B

Amos 7: 12-15; Psalm 84; Ephes. 1: 3-14; Mark. 6: 7-13

Read: At that time, Jesus called the Twelve, and he started sending them out two by two, at the same time giving them the power over evil spirits. He warned them not to take anything with them for their journey except a staff; no bread, no haversack, no money in their purses. They were to wear sandals but not to take a spare tunic. He told them: ”When you enter a home remain there until you leave the district. But if you are not welcomed anywhere and people refuse to listen to you, leave that place and, as you walk away, shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them”. Thus, they went forward evangelising so that the people could be redeemed; and they expelled many devils, and anointed many sick who were healed.

Reflect: He became poor so that they would become free could be the motto that brings together the conditions that Jesus laid down in today’s Gospel to those who are called upon to spread his word. The Lord ordered the Church to preach his Good News. Every baptised is obliged to evangelise. We cannot love Jesus and at the same time do not give importance to the need to ascertain whether or not others love him. This does not mean that we should impose our beliefs on others. However, one should explain one’s beliefs in a civil way and with respect. In that way we offer our beliefs. The best way of evangelising is our way of life: “In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they make give praise to your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5: 16).

How we pass this on this knowledge is important. But quite apart from anything else, the most important thing remains the power of God. That is why Jesus told them not to take anything with them except a staff. The most important thing was, and remains, that we rely on God. If we do not have faith in God, we will have second thoughts and we will not be able to proclaim the Good News.

Pray: Lord, we are so reluctant to place our faith in You, but You trust us with closed eyes. Not because you are unaware of our nothingness because you do know that hand-in-hand with You we will get there.

Act:  Let us not be closed within ourselves. Let us not seek our own comfort zone, but welcome God’s call to go out to evangelise, firstly and above everything else, by our way of living.


© 2022 agostinjani.org. All Rights Reserved.