Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2: 1-11; Psalm 103; Gal. 5:16-25; John 15: 26-27; 16: 12-15

Read: Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness. And you too will be my witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset”.

Reflect: Jesus imparted in us the Spirit of power, strength and courage. If our life is a life of “what do I care”, then we are egoists.  And the Spirit cannot live in an egoistic heart and mind. To evangelise does not mean not looking where to place your feet before walking. It does not mean a lack of prudence due to being enthusiastic. Nor does it mean moaning in the presence of evil by merely saying “poor fellow” or “what a shame” and then not doing anything, or throwing the responsibility on somebody else’s shoulder.

If that is the sort of life we live, this is a sign that we have killed the Spirit in us a long time ago. Replete with the Spirit, the Apostles went out full of fortitude evangelizing everywhere that “Jesus is the Saviour!” And this is the same Spirit that we ourselves received. Therefore, we cannot live our Christianity indifferently, still as though nothing is happening around us.

Pray: O blessed light of sanctity …… soften in me my hardness, give diligence to those who are indifferent, help those who are afraid to move on.

Act: Full of the Spirit, we cannot remain indifferent in the presence our brethren who are suffering injustices; before youths with their stomach ruined by drugs and alcohol; before Christians who have become indifferent to their faith; before theft, corruption, waste of time at work, vandalism; before persons who ask for our help. All this we are bound to do with the fire of love of God in our life which the Spirit has enkindled in us.


7th Sunday of Easter

Acts 1: 1-11; Psalm 46; Eph. 4:1-13; Mark 16: 15-20

Read: Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said: “Go throughout the world proclaiming the Gospels to all mankind”.

Reflect: What did Jesus infer when he said that the Gospels should be proclaimed to “all mankind”? Surely, he meant “to all people”, but not just that. He wished to widen the horizon and to contemplate salvation being extended throughout the whole universe. Every creature is the fruit of God’s love (Prov. 8:22-31). Because of sin, many times, man acted badly with other creatures. Lead by greed, man did not understand, or went against, God’s plan. Instead, man took hold of the world, ending up by being a despot and predator.  Many times, man does not use science and technology in accordance with God’s plan, but uses these in a manner that manipulates nature according to man’s egoistic interests. And when he did so, man created chaos.

For this reason, as St. Paul said: “All creation is eagerly waiting for the revelation of God’s children …. All creation will eventually be released from the slavery of wrong doing, and will obtain delivery as God’s children (Rom. 8: 19-21). The spreading of the Gospels releases man from his conviction that he is the absolute owner of creation. Thus, he is made to realise that he has no right to intervene as he likes on nature. He is made to start a new relationship, respect, and love, not only with fellow men, but also with the environment, plants, and animals.

Pray: “God, be praised by our sister and mother the Earth, because this is our lifeline and she guides us, and renders fruit of every kind, roses with fragrance, and vegetables” (St. Francis).

Act: “All of us are able to collaborate as tools in God’s hands in caring for creation, each and every one of us through one’s culture and experience, initiative and abilities”. (Pope Francis, Laudate Si 14)


6th Sunday of Easter

Acts 10: 25-26; 34-35; 44-48; Psalm 97; 1 St. John 4: 7-10; John 15: 9-17

Read: Beloved, let us love one another because love is coming from God and everyone who loves is born from God and recognises God. Anyone who does not love does not recognise God, because God is love.

Reflect: Unlike other people who tied the names of their gods to the places where these were honoured, the Jewish people had deemed God as the one that binds his name not with a place but with then people themselves. God tells Moses: “I am the God of your forefathers; the God of Abraham; God of Isaac; God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). Many times God told the people of Israel: ”Do not be afraid, because I am with you! Do not be concerned because I am your God!” (Isaiah 41:10) Israel understood that God had bound his heart with mankind, and took care of all His people. Nonetheless, Israel perceived God as being ready to “punish their children for the evil of their ancestors up to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7).  They used to contemplate God’s work, but they had not yet seen God’s face as Emmanuel – God be with us – and, moreover, they had not yet discovered His heart.

The beloved disciple, John, who at the last supper laid his head on Christ’s chest, showed us that God is love, only love, and that whoever loves, is begotten from God.

Pray: Make me resemble you, Lord. You are God who loves everybody, without looking at anybody’s face. You God that send the rain and raises the sun on everyone.

Act: God does not look at faces. Do you look at faces? On what occasions do you do so mostly? Commit yourself to overcome this shortcoming.


5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 9: 26-31; Psalm 21 (22); 1 St. John 3: 18-24; John 15: 4-5b

Read: I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit He cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more…….If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.

Reflect: Whoever “remains in the Lord”, who believes, is not the one who limits himself to practising his religion; attends Mass; receives the sacraments; prays; participates in devotions; but is the one who also seeks to imitate Christ by being just; promotes fraternity; shares what he has with others; welcomes everybody; is loyal; sincere; abhors all violence; forgives his enemies and engenders peace. Where there is love; happiness; peace and forgiveness, there will be the living Lord.

The vine does not produce grapes for itself but for others. The Christian who remains in Jesus, does not make acts of love so as to have the satisfaction of reaching moral perfection or so that he will be rewarded by God. He is like our Father in Heaven; who loves without expecting anything in return. His reward is the happiness arising from seeing somebody else content, because it is there that he recognises that God’s love is reflected through him. Nothing more, nothing less, because: “it is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples”.

Pray: Help me, Lord, to be a living branch in the vine that you yourself are so that I myself will bear much fruit. Purify me, Lord, cleanse me, so that I will produce more fruit.

Act: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you”. Spend some time thinking on what it means to remain in Christ. Think also how his words can remain in you. How do you feel when God corrects you or ‘prunes’ you? Remember how much God loves you. Does the thought that pruning produces more fruit help you?


4th Sunday of Easter

Acts 4: 8-12; Psalm 117; 1 St. John 3: 1-2; John 10: 11-18

Read: I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep, and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know Him, and I give my life for my sheep.

Reflect: What the good shepherd is for his sheep, Jesus is the same for us. When he said that he is the good shepherd – the one who is really good – he implied that he was unlike the bad shepherds, hired and who, because they do not own the sheep, run away when they see a wolf coming leaving the sheep on their own. Jesus, because he is the good shepherd, indeed gave his life for our sake, the sheep of his flock; he died, so that we would live. As our good shepherd, Jesus loves us and takes care of us, leads us until he brings us to the grazing grounds of an eternal life of happiness with him.

Pray: Lord, we are your sheep and you are our Shepherd. You call us by our name, and you invite us to walk behind you by being of service to one another, we pray that you help us to continue responding to your call. Continue to bless your Church with generous shepherds from our families so that they will serve your People.

Act: As disciples of Jesus our Good Shepherd, and following his example, let us seek to get to know better our families, our work colleagues, or our neighbours; that we are there where there is need for a wounded heart to be healed or to dry the tears of those who are crying, that we give hope to those who have lost hope in their life and that we reflect happiness with God’s love.


3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 3: 13-15,17-19; Psalm 4; 1 St. John 2: 1-5a; Luke 24: 35-48

Read: As they were still talking, Jesus himself stood in their midst and told them: “Peace be with you!”. They were terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost. However, he said: “Why are you so confused? Why do you have such thoughts in your hearts? See my hands and feet. I am he! Touch me, and you will understand that spirits have no flesh and bones as you are seeing that I have.” As he was saying this, he showed them his hands and feet.

Reflect: In today’s Gospel reading, the Risen Christ wanted the apostles, who were fearful and worried, to recognise him from his hands and feet. Strange! Normally one recognises another person from the face and not from the hands and feet. But Jesus so wanted. Even today He wishes to be recognised from his hands and feet. Reference is made to his wounds which he suffered with the nails when he was crucified, when his life full of acts of love reached it pinnacle.

God does not have hands other than those of Christ nailed to the cross because of love. God does not have feet other than those of Christ nailed to the cross. He shows them to us so as to tell us that he is not, and will not be, far away from us. It is when one contemplates these Christ’s hands and feet that mankind discovers who is the true God, one who is indeed love.

A Christian also needs to be identified by his hands and feet. Blessed are those who are able to show God their hands and feet marked by acts of love. Together with St. Paul they can say: “I carry on my body Christ’s marks” (Gal. 6:17).

Pray: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…….. Divine Master, do not let me: seek to be consoled, more than I console; to be understood by others more than I understand them; to be loved more than I myself love.  

Act: Let us announce Christ’s Resurrection from the dead by, like our Master, showing our hands and feet marked by acts of love towards other persons.


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