Franco Grech osa

 

Reflections and Articles written by Fr Franco Grech osa

 


 

2nd Sunday of Easter

Acts 5: 12-16; Psalm 117; Apoc. 1:9-11a; 12-13; 17-19; John 20: 19-31

Read: In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to then: “Peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filed with joy when they saw the Lord and he said to them again: “Peace be with you. As the father sent me, so am I sending you.” After saying this he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

Thomas, called the twin, who was one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said: “We have seen the Lord,” he answered: “Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and unless I can put my finger into his side, I refuse to believe.” Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed but Jesus came in and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he spoke to Thomas: “Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.” Thomas replied: “My Lord and my God!” Jesu said to him: “You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Reflect: Peace is a treasure for which we always crave within ourselves, in our family, in our society. Because what sense does life have if we do not live in peace. All that litigation and wars bring with them is a lot of suffering to many people. Presently we are witnessing daily the consequences of war in Ukraine ….. tremendous suffering, innocent persons dying; we have a great desire that peace will reign in the world. However, peace seems to be remote. And sometimes a plea emerges from our heart: Lord, where are you in all this? But it is necessary that we continue to believe: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Many times we fail to see the Lord in the difficult circumstances of life. Today we are seeing Jesus who, despite his victory over sin and death, in his glorious body he still bears the marks of his suffering and passion that were caused by the evil of mankind …. as a result of envy, greed, arrogance, a craving for power, treachery. The Risen Lord knows full well the consequences of evil of a person on other persons. We need to continue to believe that the Lord is present with those who are suffering. We are unable to understand, to see, this clearly but we need to persist in believing. Happy are those who do not see and yet believe. Let us continue to pray for peace and to do all we can to continue to help those persons who are suffering.

Pray: O most merciful Jesus, you are the Light of the entire world. Receive, in the shelter of Your - all merciful – Heart, the souls of those who, until now, do not believe in You or do not know You. Make the rays of Your graciousness enlighten them, so that they too, together with us, praise the wonders of Your mercy, and do not let them distance themselves from Your most merciful Heart.

Act: If all of us do trust one another a bit more, if we do not base the future on the past, if we do believe that a new beginning is possible for everyone …. peace will not be seen as the luxury we have rendered it to be.


Easter Sunday - The Lord’s Resurrection from the Dead

Acts 10:3, 37-43; Psalm 117; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1 -9

Read: Peter started speaking and said: “You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judea and in Jerusalem itself; also, to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree.

Yet, three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness; that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name”.

Reflect: St. Peter’s and the other apostles who had the grace to “eat and drink” with Jesus was a unique experience which is repeatable. Nonetheless, to be a witness to Christ, it is not necessary to have physically walked with Jesus of Nazareth in the streets of Palestine. St. Paul, who himself had not even known Jesus personally, was called to be a witness of what he had seen (Acts 26:16) and to receive his mission from God “As you bore witness for me in Jerusalem, it is also necessary that you give witness for me in Rome”. (Acts 23:11).

To be a witness does not imply giving a good example. This is definitely necessary, but being a witness is something different. This can be done only by someone who has passed from death to life; somebody who can confirm that his life has changed and made sense when it became enlightened by the light of Easter; someone who has experienced that faith in Christ gives a meaning to moments of happiness and to moments of unhappiness, and who is enlightened by whatever is experienced in such moments. If our heart is open to understand the Scriptures, we will be able to see the Lord.

Pray: Praise the Lord, because He is good, because His goodness is for ever! Let the children of Israel say: “His goodness is for ever”.

Act: Let us ask ourselves: Is Jesus’ death and resurrection a point of reference in all the projects we undertake, when we go shopping, when we sell something, when we dialogue, when the time comes to share out an inheritance, when we chose to have another child …… or do we believe that the realities of this world have nothing to do with Easter? Anyone who has “seen” the Lord will be incapable to do anything without Him.


Palm Sunday

Isa. 50: 4-7; Psalm 21; Phil. 2: 6-11; Mark 14:1 -15:47

Read: When they reached the place called Golgotha, they crucified him there along with the two criminals, one on his right, the other on the left side……. Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” With these words he breathed his last.

Reflect: Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday. Why did Jesus have to die? What does it mean that he sacrificed his life for us?  From what bondage did he free us when he placed himself in the hands of those who crucified him on the cross? The reason for the hatred against him held by those who crucified him was because he revealed himself as the Light of the World. The rays of this, his light, that overcame the darkness of the world were strong. These are rays that penetrated the hearts of simple people, and filled them with happiness and hope, but annoyed others.

Jesus proposed a new face of God. No longer a God who judges, but a God who saves every person. He proposed a new face for mankind, by changing the values of this world; for him those who are great are not those who win and dominate, but those who serve their brethren. He proposed a new religion. No longer a religion of rites, but a religion “of the spirit of the truth”.  He proposed a new society where first come the poor, weak and emarginated.

Jesus did not seek to die on the cross, but to try to avoid such a harsh death he would have had to renounce to all these proposals; he would have had to keep his mouth shut, to adapt himself to the mentality of his times, to succumb to the victory of evil, and to abandon mankind for ever into the hands of “the prince of this world”. Had he done so, he would have failed his mission. During this Holy Week we are not invited to feel sorrowful for Jesus’ death, but to celebrate the deliverance brought us by his giving his life for us.

Pray: O everlasting and all-powerful God, who gave us mankind an example of humility when you wanted our Saviour to become man like ourselves and to accept death on the cross; in your mercy, give us the grace that his endurance will be a lesson to us and that we become worthy to accompany him in his resurrection to life.

Act: During this Holy Week let us reflect and to ask ourselves: “Am I opposing your Kingdom, my God? It is I who is not accepting the new face of God, the new religion, the new face of mankind, and the new society that You proposed?

 


5th Sunday of Lent – Year C

Is. 43:16-21; Psalm 125; Ph. 3:8-14; Jn. 8:1-11

Read: Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the presence of everybody, they said to Jesus: “Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses had ordered us in the law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?”

They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said: “If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then he bent down again and wrote on the ground again. When they heard what Jesus had said they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir,” she replied. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus, “go away, and do not sin anymore.”

Reflect: Today’s Gospel reading is opening our eyes to be careful that, in trying to hide our own shortcomings and sins, we pay attention instead to the sins of others. That is what the group of Pharisees and scribes did by bringing the woman before Jesus and the crowd, declaring that she had been caught committing adultery and saying that she deserved to be stoned to death as had been ordered by Moses according to law. We too sometimes are inclined to be watchful of others … being critical and accusing them.

Maybe we do not throw stones at those who, in our own eyes, are sinful, but we defame, isolate, utter harsh words, we speak against those others concerned.  Indeed, we even try to give false witness to God in making our condemnation of those, who in our own eyes, have sinned. “Now what have you to say?” The Lord reminds us that we all live in glass houses, we are all touched by sin, we are all inclined to make mistakes.

None of us is entitled to throw neither stones nor accusations towards anybody else. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is a saint. Nobody is without sin. During these two pandemic years we got used to wearing a face mask. God willing, we do not wear a mask that hides what we really are when we try to give the impression that we are saints. There is somebody who is able to see our face when even behind a mask. In His presence we are unable to hide: “If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Pray: Let us pray that we recognize that the greatest sin is when we pretend that we are better than others.

Act: “Let us seriously live up to the fact that we are Christians, and that we strain to live faithfully, because only then can the Gospel touch one’s heart and open this to receive the grace of love, so as to accept this great love of God that reaches everybody”. (Pope Francis, 30 January 2026)


4th Sunday of Lent – Year C

Josh. 5:9a, 10-12; Psalm 33; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Lk. 15:1-3, 11-32

Read: “Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. ‘Your brother has come’, replied the servant, ‘and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound’. Then he was angry and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father: ‘Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his adulteress women – you killed the calf we have been fattening’.

The father said: ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found!”

Reflect: One who thinks he is more “good” than others binds God’s hands. The proud ties God’s hands, thus not letting Him to have pity on him. But today, even if you think you are more “good” than others, you are receiving the Good News. Even if you have the mentality that if you do good you will be rewarded and if you do evil you will be punished, you are receiving the Good News.

The elder brother in the parable reasoned out like you. But this is not the way that God reasons. But today you are seeing how the Father God is merciful towards you also, and He is coming out to meet you. And although you are going to tell Him that He is unjust, when he treats the “bad” one as he treats you, he is going to say to you these words that are so beautiful: “My son, you are always with me and what I have is yours. But it was necessary for us to make a feast and to celebrate, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”

We do not know what the elder brother did … whether or not he entered the house to join the feast. But you who considers himself to be more “good” than others, what are you going to do? You are going to continue to be envious, angry, be pretentious or are you going to be happy that one of your brothers has returned to the Father?

Pray: Look towards Him and be radiant; let your faces not be abashed. This poor man called, the Lord heard him, and rescued him from all his distress. (Psalm 33)

Act: What ever your situation, if you are far away from God or you think that your are more “good” than others ….. take courage, stand up and return to God the Father whose name if Mercy, so that you will taste and see how good is the Lord!


3rd Sunday of Lent

Ex. 3:1-8a, 13-15; Psalm 102; 1 Cor. 10:1-6, 10-12; Lq. 13:1-9

Read: Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them: “Do you suppose that these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.”

He told them this parable: ”A man had a fig tree planted in the vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard: “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down, why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir”, the man replied, “Leave it one more year and give me time to dig around it and manure it; it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”

Reflect: In today’s Gospel Jesus uses two events that happened in his time so that, with these, he would make a call for conversion. The message of the parable of the fig tree is clear; from those who heard the message of the Gospel, God awaits good fruit. He does not want external religious practices, but looks to actions of love. St. Luke, the evangelist of love, includes in this parable another year of expectation, before definitive action is taken. He presents God as patient, tolerating our weakness as human beings, including out hardness of our mind and heart.

Nonetheless, this attitude should not be interpreted that one should be indifferent to evil. This does not mean that we should accept being careless, indifferent, and superficial. Our lifetime is too precious for us to lose one moment. As soon as we see Jesus’ light, we should accept him and immediately walk behind him. The parable is an invitation for us to consider Lent as a time of grace, as a precious new time given to the fig tree (to every person) so as to produce fruit.

Pray: Lord do not uproot me. Continue to open my eyes. Be hard on me as much as is necessary, but keep me within your fold.

Act: Make a serious and urgent decision: convert! Sift your life, redeem yourself and turn towards God.


© 2022 agostinjani.org. All Rights Reserved.