Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

14th Sunday of the Year - B

Ezekiel 2: 2-5; Psalm 122; 2 Cor. 2: 2-5; Mark. 6: 1-6

Read: Jesus told them: “A prophet is not without honour except in his own native place and amongst his own kinsmen in his own family”. And there he was unable to make any miracles except to place his hand on some sick people and to heal them; and he was amazed by their lack of faith.

Reflect: The attitude of the people of Nazareth towards Jesus is repeated nowadays. Jesus comes again to us, we think we know him, and he makes his propositions to us. He invites us to reconsider those convictions which we learnt in our younger days, to allow our faith grow. Our reaction, in many instances, is similar to that of the people of Nazareth.; initially we give the impression that we do not understand him, and then we even go as far as to deny him.

This lack of belief on our part has dramatic consequences. Jesus is unable to make miracles as was the case with his words and meetings with people everywhere. He offers his own salvation, but does not impose this, because he loves, and love respects the liberty of others.

If in today’s world miracles do not seem to happen, if the situation of our lives does not engender peace, justice, and reconciliation between mankind, the reason is the same one; mankind does not have the courage fully to place trust in Christ and in his word.

Pray: Help me Lord not to be proud of myself, with the strength of my arms, with my mental abilities. Give me the wish to bring myself to my senses; keep me in my place in your presence; that far can I go when I try on my own.

Act:  May I recognise the Lord’s teaching, not in a manner that I myself expect that he should teach me, but through each day’s happenings, through the ordinary circumstances of life, through the persons whom I meet.


13th Sunday of the Year - B

Wisdom 1: 13-15, 2: 23-24; Psalm 29; 2Cor. 8: 7-9, 13-15; Mark. 5: 21-43

Read: Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years ……..When she heard about Jesus, she mixed with the crowd, came up behind him and touched his clothes, because she said “If I can even touch his clothes, I shall be well again.” The source of the bleeding dried instantly and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out of him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said “Who touched my clothes?”…… Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, she came close to him, fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. He told her “My daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace, and be free from your complaint.”

Reflect: The woman who used to suffer from a haemorrhage believed that, if she just touched Jesus’ clothes, she would be healed. And so it happened. The power of life emanates from Jesus, but not everyone who touches him receives this. In today’s Gospel extract we read that there was a large crowd around him. These were not his enemies, but disciples, persons who were very close to him, who probably were pushing him around.

Nonetheless, Jesus says that one person ‘touched’ him. Only the sick woman touched him ‘with faith’. He told her “My daughter, your faith has restored you to health. Only you from all these people was capable of receiving God’s grace.” The crowd represents us, today’s Christians, who are close to the Master. We have the opportunity to listen to the word of God and to ‘touch’ Him through the Sacraments, especially through the Eucharist. If our life does not change, if our spiritual disease is not healed, and our vices and sins always remain the same, if our difficult character does not change, and words that cause offence do not start diminishing, that means that we remain in the ‘crowd’ that gathers around Christ without having ever ‘touched’ him. We will have only superficial contact with him; his words will simply be a noise that enters our ears, but does not reach the heart. It is faith that brings salvation.

Pray: Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me; help me, Lord. You changed my sorrows to happiness, Lord my God, I will praise you for ever!

Act:  Jesus is telling you: “Do not be afraid, just believe.”


12th Sunday of the Year - B

Job 38:1, 8-11; Salm 106; 2Cor. 5: 14-17; Mark. 4: 35-41

Read: “And a strong wind started blowing, and the waves started breaking into the boat, swamping it and it was getting full of water. He was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him ‘Master, do you not care that we are going down?’ and he woke up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them: ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” They were filled with fear and said to one another: ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’ “

Reflect: Sometimes so many disasters happen, and we see so much evil and troubles, that make us think that Jesus is asleep. The mystery of evil cannot be explained by reasoning, because had that been the case, Jesus would have explained that. When the world’s story reaches its end, we will be able to understand this mystery. Nonetheless, for the accusation made to him: “Master, do you not care that we are going down?”, the lord does not argue, but remains in the same boat of our life.

We can be thrown from one end to the other by a tempest, but he will be there in the ‘boat’ with us. With the poor, the Lord experiences poverty; with the emarginated he experiences denial and deprivation; he shares the experiences of disappointed persons who do not understand him and tears with those who suffer treachery; he experiences the sourness of those who find themselves alone and abandoned; with the oppressed who suffer injustices; and the feelings of fear with those condemned.

This notwithstanding, we continue to think that he is asleep. With our prayers we wish to wake him up and to force him to do something for us. However, he is still awake. He simply has a different view of the dangers we face and of how we should face up to these. He expects from us faith without any conditions. It is true that we find ourselves being thrown from one end to the other by the waves but, even without our realising this, he is there to accompany us.

Pray: Lord, you never promised us that life would be free of tempests. But you promised us that you would be in the same boat with us whenever tempests rage. Give us the strength and faith that, during such tempests of life, we keep our sights towards you with the utmost faith.

Act: “Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” Let us place our faith in the Lord and place our trust in him at all times in the future.


11th Sunday of the Year - B

Ezek. 17: 22-24; Salm 91; 2 Cor. 5: 6-10; Mark 4: 26-34

Read: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time; he starts to reap because the harvest has come”………“It is like a mustard seed, which at the time of its sowing in the soil, is the smallest of all seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade” ……..”He explained everything to his disciples when they were alone”.

Reflect: God’s word, “the seed”, is waiting to be sown in abundance in all the world. Thereby faith grows again in mankind on sound foundations. The first parable shows that acceptance of the message of the Gospels is not immediate. The change in one’s interior takes time, sometimes even years, to take root. Nonetheless, when the word of God penetrates one’s heart, it starts working slowly so as to bring about change in that heart.

This parable challenges all of us …. parents, educators, Christian community leaders who, despite having the best of intentions, start losing patience, are in a hurry, resulting in our becoming unhappy, seemingly intolerant and one starts imposing. There are times when one needs to “sleep”, that is, to know when one needs to wait, when one needs to remain calm and to contemplate the “seed that is sprouting and growing without one’s knowledge”.

The second parable shows us that the seed of the Kingdom of God is always small and lacking the glory of this world which is reckoned by how much money one has; how much power, honours, prestige and fame. Jesus upturned this scale of values: “The greatest one in the Kingdom of Heaven is that who makes himself as little as this little child” (Mt. 18:4).

Pray: My soul praises the greatness of God …. because He looks on the meekness of his followers ……. and great things He made with me!”

Act: From all the messages contained in the Gospels, the above-mentioned are the most difficult for one to accept. When today we are living in a society that expects immediate results, how are we to accept that it takes time for God’s word to bear fruit? In a society that promotes power, fame, popularity, money …… how are we going to accept that it is the one who littles himself like a little child who is great in the Kingdom of Heaven?

This extract from the Gospel closes with this sentence: “He explained everything to his disciples when they were alone”. We need to reflect and to pray in silence. Create a spiritual space so as to receive from the Spirit the light that you need so as to accept and to adopt the message contained in these parables so that this influences your choices in life.


The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Ex. 24:3-8; Psalm 115; Heb. 9:11-15; Mk. 14:12-16, 22-26

Read: Then he sent two of his disciples and told then: “Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, ‘The Master says: Where is my dining room in which I can eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.”

As they were eating, he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing, he broke it and gave it to them saying: “Take it, this is my body. Then he took a cup, gave thanks and said: “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many”.

Reflect: The Eucharist is a community meal, it is bread that is distributed to brethren, because, the community is a sign of a new humanity, that was born with Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. The door of the “large upper room, all prepared” that is mentioned by Christ, which is wide open for everybody to enter. The meal of God’s kingdom, proclaimed by the prophets, is prepared “for all people” (Is. 25:6).

Everybody is welcomed therein; nobody is denied entry. For God, nobody is limpid or profane, those who are deserving and those who are not; in the presence of the Eucharist everybody is at the same level; everybody is a sinner, we are all undeserving, but we are all invited to enter in communion with Christ.

The bread is Christ and the chalice containing His blood creates a community of brethren with Christ and with one another, so that thus they form a new people whose only law is to serve brethren up to the point that, like Christ, they render their lives as “food” that satisfies every form of mankind’s hunger.

Pray: You are the good shepherd, the true bread, our Jesus, have mercy on us, feed us and take care of us. You show us bounty in the blessed land of the living.

 Act: “Everyone who believes that we are fed by the Body given him and the Blood that was bled for him, will acquire the strength with which, on his part, transforms himself into a gift, as is said by St. Augustine: “Be that who receives, and receive what you are”. (Discourse 272,1) (St. Pope John Paul II)


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Deut. 4: 32-34, 39-40; Psalm 32; Rom. 8:14-17; Mat. 28: 16-20

Read: Jesus approached them to speak to them and said to them: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time”.

Reflect: We Christians have no exclusive right to having faith in Christ. Nonetheless, belief that in God there is the Father, the Son and the gift of the love of the Spirit, is something that we find only in the Christian faith. In abstract terms, which is neither biblical and certainly not sufficiently shown to us, we take this to be a mystery, the Trinity. We say “mystery” not in the sense that this is something that cannot be understood, but in a sense of the great richness of the infinite life of one God.

He goes beyond all that mankind can ever understand. Little by little, He reveals Himself to mankind so as to introduce us all to Himself. So as to understand the mystery of God, the Muslims have the Koran, that gives Allah ninety-nine names; the hundredth name is not given because of the inability of mankind fully to comprehend God. The Jews find the Lord in the texts narrating their salvation, on which they meditate, which they wrote and interpreted many times, until eventually, these were passed on to the people, and later, through holy scripture. For Christians, the ‘book’ that introduces God to mankind is Jesus Christ. He is the Son, who from the Cross, showed that God is the Father and a gift of love, Life, Spirit.

St. Matthew’s Gospel ends in the same way that it starts, with a call to Emmanuel, God be with us, the name with which the Messiah was announced by the prophets (Mt. 1:22-23). That God in whom Christians believe is not far from mankind, as though our problems, happiness and worries do not interest Him. He is “God with us”, God who is besides us daily, until He greets us in his home for ever.

Pray: Show me Lord by mind and heart your holy life which is love.

Act: “Teach them to observe all the commands I gave you”. What are we doing to proclaim God’s love to the people of our time?


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