“DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY”
‘A Day of Clearing Doubts’
First Reading: Acts 4: 32-35,
Second Reading: 1 John 5: 1-6,
Gospel Reading: John 20: 19-31 ,
* First reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. This passage gives us a vivid account of the life of the early Christian community. The Risen Lord had a decisive influence on the lives of His followers. Their unity of heart and mind was indeed praiseworthy. It was a community ideally faithful to the Gospel message where believers shared their faith and shared their possessions. * Second reading is from the first letter of St. John. In this passage, John exhorts the Christian community to live a life of love. He reminds us that a Christian is a child of God. Hence, he/she should show his/her love for God by keeping God’s commandments. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet Believe” Today’s Gospel reading is from St. John. The disciple at the center of today’s narrative was Thomas. Thomas was a deeply wounded man. When Jesus his Master and friend was put to death on that terrible Friday, he was in deep pain and left the company of other disciples. Thus he was unable to meet the Risen Lord when He appeared to other disciples. He came to know about it and he was deeply hurt. When the Lord appeared again, He showed Thomas His wounds. They were the proof of His love for the disciples. Then the Lord invited Thomas to touch those precious wounds. Thus it was by touching and being touched that he was healed of his unbelief and grief and pain. What Jesus told Thomas that day is relevant to every one of us, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”. The world today is full of doubting Thomas(es). Many do not believe that Christ is risen and that we can have the experience of the Risen Lord in our lives. They will not be convinced unless they can touch His wounds and see the radiance of His face. But this can happen only if the Risen Lord is seen in His followers. For that we ourselves need to experience the presence of the Lord in our lives. “The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning, we arrive at the truth” – Peter Abelard“Jesus’ willingness to accomodate Thomas’ unbelief is a reminder that God can handle our doubts” – David D Flowers“Doubting Thomas uttered the greatest confession of faith recorded anywhere in the Bible” – Dr. R.F.Wilson.
“HOSANA TO THE SON OF DAVID”Triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem Processional Gospel : Mark 11:1-10 First Reading :Isaiah 50:4-7 Second Reading :Philippians 2:6-11 Gospel Reading:Mark 14:1-15:41 *With Palm Sunday, we begin the Holy week celebrations.Today we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem city to accomplish Pascal Mystery. The memorial of the event is celebrated during Holy Mass with blessings of palms and procession. Gospel from St. Mark gives us a glimpse of the events of that day when Jesus entered Jerusalem before the Pascal Feast. Thousands of people were in the city. Jesus started His journey from the village of Bethsaida. He sat on a colt and entered the city with people shouting “Hosana to the Son of David”. Jesus thus openly acknowledged that he is indeed a humble King and the long awaited Messiah (the anointed one). By His triumphal entry, Jesus invites us to acknowledge Him as our Messiah and King. *First reading is from the book of Isaiah. In this passage, Prophet Isaiah speaks of the suffering servant of Yahweh, one who in spite of sufferings and rejection, carries out his mission and totally trusts in the providence and guidance of the Lord God. * Second reading is from St. Paul’s letter to Philippians. In this passage Paul reminds us that Jesus was indeed in the form of God. But He became human and He has humbled Himself and has been obedient unto death so that we all might be saved. He accepted death on a cross but the Father has made Him Lord of heaven and earth. He reminds us that humiliation, sufferings and death are necessary to enter into glory. “The Passion Narrative” Today’s Gospel reading is from St. Mark’s narration of the passion of Jesus. In the first part of the Gospel, we have the scene of Last Supper where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and gave Himself to His beloved disciples in the form of bread and wine. In the second part, Jesus prays at the garden of Gathsemene, where he was deeply disturbed. There he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and later was denied by Peter. In the third part, Jesus is condemned to die on the cross by Roman Governor Pilate because of the immense pressure of the Jewish authorities. When he was hanging on the cross, he was derided and ridiculed. At the point of death of Jesus, a Roman soldier made a profession of faith in the crucified son of God. This Holy week gives us an opportunity to look at our own lives. We must accept our sins. Let us stop blaming circumstances and other people. What shines out from this dark week is the bright light of Christ’s love for us. LET THE PASSION STORY INSPIRE US TO TRY IN OUR OWN WAY TO IMITATE CHRIST CRUCIFIED. “Palm Sunday tells us that … it is the cross, that is the true tree of life.” – Pope Benedict XVI “Ride on, ride on in majesty. In lowly pomp ride on to die. O Christ thy triumph now begin O’er captive death and conquered sin” – Henry H Millman.
“GOD’S UNENDING LOVE FOR HUMANKIND” First Reading : 2 Chronicles 36: 14-16,19-23 Second Reading: Ephesians 2: 4-10 Gospel Reading: John 3: 14-21 * First reading is from the second book of Chronicles. This passage describes how Israelites were conquered by the King of Babylon. They were taken to Babylon as exiles and suffered much. The Lord God showed mercy on them and kindled their hope of liberation when Cyrus became King of Babylon. Through an edict Cyrus freed them from their slavery. * Second reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Ephesians. In this passage, Paul explains to the Ephesian Christians and all of us the great mercy and love of God. He emphasis the gratuitousness of the gift of faith we have received. He cautions us not to take our salvation as the fruit of our good works but as a result of God’s grace working in us. “God Sent His Son” Today’s Gospel reading is from St. John. This passage speaks of the wonderful love of God for the humankind. The primary meaning of this passage is about our life after death. It gives us an assurance of a continuation of our life after death, that is eternal life. Secondary meaning of the passage is that it speaks of an eternal life even now with the coming of Jesus the Son of God. God sent His Son to be with us every moment of our lives. If we believe in Jesus, we will live with Him. Through our life in Jesus, we get the assurance and the strength to overcome every one of our crises and problems. Lent is the time to experience this love of God through His Son Jesus. “When one loves, one does not calculate” – St. Theresa of Lisieux” Love begins at home and it is not how much we do but how much love we put in that action” – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. “No reason needed for loving” – Paulo Coelho.
“TRANSFIGURATION: MY BELOVED SON”
First Reading: Genesis 22: 1-2,9,10-13,15-18
Second Reading: Romans 8: 31-34
Gospel Reading: Mark 9: 2-10
* First reading is from the book of Genesis. This passage describes the story of Abraham the father of faith. In spite of his faithfulness to the Lord God, he was severely tested by the Lord God. Sara and he were advanced in age when they were blessed with a son as promised by the Lord God. But unexpectedly, the Lord God asked Abraham to offer Issac as a sacrificial offering. Although he was broken and upset by this, he did not falter but decided to sacrifice Issac as asked by the Lord God. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Issac, the Lord God spared his son and instead Abraham was told to sacrifice a ram. Seeing his trust and total obedience, Abraham was greatly blessed by the Lord God and he was promised that his descendants will be as many as the stars in heaven.
* Second reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Romans. In this passage Paul instructs the Christians in Rome and us that in Jesus we have an intermediary who will never fail us. He says, indeed with Him on our side, who can ever be against us? This passage gives us the depth of God’s love for us. God did not spare even His own son but gave Him up for us.
“Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor”
Today’s Gospel reading is from St. Mark. In this passage we have the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. Jesus with three of His beloved disciples climbed the Mount Tabor and on the mountain top, He was transfigured in front of His disciples. He was covered with heavenly glory. Disciples were overwhelmed and happy at his heavenly experience. The presence of Moses and Elijah, two towering figures of Old Testament is a sign that Jesus is the fulfillment of all that has been foretold in the Old Testament. Jesus’ momentary change of bodily appearance and the voice of the Father confirms that Jesus is truly the Son of God.
The transfiguration event is both comforting and challenging for us. It is comforting because we know that our Lord and Saviour Jesus is truly Son of God and beloved of the Father. It is challenging because the Father invites us to listen to His Son and follow His teachings and be witnesses in our lives. If we are faithful to the Lord, we too will one day experience this heavenly experience.
“At His transfiguration Christ showed His disciples the splendor of His beauty, to which He will shape and colour those who are His” – St Thomas Aquinas.
First Sunday of Lent B: February 18, 2018
“THE TIME IS FULFILLED, REPENT AND BELIEVE” First Reading: Genesis 9: 8-25 Second Reading: 1 Peter 3: 18-22 Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 12-15 * First reading is from the book of Genesis. This passage describes the floods that took place at the time of Noah. After the floods, Lord God made a covenant with Noah that there will never again be such a universal catastrophe. The Lord God’s pact with Noah and his sons tells us about God’s unfailing fidelity and benevolence towards the humankind. The rainbow was a sign of the covenant between God and man. * Second reading is from the first letter of St. Peter. In this passage, the flood waters at the time of Noah and the waters of baptism are compared. Peter tells the Christian community that the waters of flood during the time of Noah symbolizes the waters of our baptism by which we are saved. Like Noah and family were saved, it is through our baptism that we are saved and we enter into the new covenant and a new relationship with God. Peter exhorts all of us to live according to the Christian faith, no matter what trials we have to endure because of it. “Temptations of Jesus” Today’s Gospel reading is from St. Peter. This passage gives a brief narrative of the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus went through a time of serious reflection and challenges during those days in the desert. As we know from experience, athletes prepare diligently for long duration. Similarly professional artists rehearse painstakingly for long hours and good teachers do their preparations meticulously. Before starting His public ministry, Jesus went into the desert to prepare Himself for the divine task entrusted to Him by the heavenly Father and to purify His mind and cleanse His heart. Mark narrates Jesus’ going into the desert to combat the devil and concludes with His victorious emergence. Jesus emerged from His forty days of fasting and prayer and prepared for the ultimate test of strength and skill against the powers of evil. Lent is a time when all followers of the Lord try to renew their lives. In a sense, we go into the desert with Jesus. We are urged to keep the last verse of today’s Gospel throughout Lent,”Repent, and believe in the Gospel”. “Lent comes providentially to reawaken us to shake us from our lethargy” – Pope Francis “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst …Repent and believe – Jesus tells us” – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.“Lent is a time to renew wherever we are in that process, that I call divine therapy” – Thomas Keating.