"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. " (John 12)
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Friday, 15 October 2021

THE SACRIFICIAL SERVICE WE DO FOR OTHERS

Readings for Sunday, October 17, 2021 

 
 Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time    Lectionary: 146

Id-Disgħa u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena




Reading 1             ISAIAH 53:10-11

The LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity. If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.

QARI 1            mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Isaija 53, 10-11

Il-Mulej għoġbu jgħakksu bil-mard. Talli joffri ruħu b’sagrifiċċju ta’ riparazzjoni, huwa għad jara nisel u jtawwal jiemu; u r-rieda tal-Mulej isseħħ bih. Wara t-tbatija tiegħu għad jara d-dawl, jixba’ bit-tagħrif tiegħu. Il-ġust jiġġustifika lill-qaddej tiegħu quddiem il-kotra, u l-ħażen tagħhom jitgħabba bih hu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm             PSALM 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

Upright is the word of the LORD,
    and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
    of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
    upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
    and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


Our soul waits for the LORD,
    who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
    who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


SALM RESPONSORJALI            Salm 32 (33), 4-5.18-19.20.22
R/. (22): Ħa tkun, Mulej, it-tjieba tiegħek fuqna, kif fik hi t-tama tagħna


Sewwa hi l-kelma tal-Mulej,
kollox bil-fedeltà huwa għamel.
Hu jħobb id-dritt u s-sewwa;
bit-tjieba tal-Mulej mimlija l-art. R/.

Ara, għajnejn il-Mulej fuq dawk li jibżgħu minnu,
fuq dawk li jittamaw fit-tjieba tiegħu,
Biex jeħilsilhom mill-mewt ħajjithom,
u jaħjihom fi żmien il-ġuħ. R/.

Ruħna tixxennaq għall-Mulej,
hu l-għajnuna u t-tarka tagħna.
Ħa tkun, Mulej, it-tjieba tiegħek fuqna,
kif fik hi t-tama tagħna. R/.


Reading 2            HEBREWS 4:14-16

Brothers and sisters: Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

QARI 2             mill-Ittra lil-Lhud 4, 14-16

Ħuti, meta aħna għandna l-qassis il-kbir, li hu tassew kbir, qassis li daħal fis-smewwiet, Ġesù, Bin Alla, ħa nżommu sħiħa l-fidi tagħna u nistqarruha. Għax aħna ma għandniex qassis il-kbir li ma jistax jagħder id-dgħufija tagħna, imma għandna wieħed li kien imġarrab bħalna f’kollox, minbarra d-dnub. Ħa nersqu, mela, b’qalbna qawwija lejn it-tron tal-grazzja, biex naqilgħu ħniena u nsibu f’waqtha l-grazzja li neħtieġu.Il-Kelma tal-Mulej

Gospel             MARK 10:35-45 or 10:42-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."  When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.  Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

EVANĠELJU             Qari skond San Mark 10, 35-45

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġakbu u Ġwanni, ulied Żebedew, resqu lejh u qalulu: “Mgħallem, dak li se nitolbuk irriduk tagħtihulna”. “Xi triduni nagħmlilkom?” staqsiehom. U huma weġbuh: “Ħallina noqogħdu wieħed fuq il-lemin tiegħek u l-ieħor fuq ix-xellug fil-glorja tiegħek”. Imma Ġesù qalilhom: “Ma tafux x’intom titolbu. Għandkom ħila tixorbu l-kalċi li se nixrob jien, u titgħammdu bil-magħmudija li biha se nitgħammed jien?”. ”Għandna”, qalulu. Imbagħad qalilhom Ġesù: “Il-kalċi li se nixrob jien tixorbuh, iva, u titgħammdu wkoll bil-magħmudija li biha se nitgħammed jien; imma li wieħed joqgħod fuq il-lemin jew fuq ix-xellug tiegħi, din mhijiex ħaġa tiegħi li nagħtiha jien, imma hi għal dawk li għalihom kienet imħejjija”. L-għaxra l-oħra, meta semgħu dan, saħnu għal Ġakbu u għal Ġwanni. Imma Ġesù sejħilhom u qalilhom: “Tafu intom, dawk in-nies, li l-bnedmin jgħodduhom bħala kapijiet tal-pagani, jaħkmu fuqhom, u l-kbarat tagħhom iħaddmu s-setgħa tagħhom fuqhom. Fostkom ma għandux ikun hekk, imma min irid ikun kbir fostkom, għandu jkun qaddej tagħkom, u min irid ikun l-ewwel fostkom, għandu joqgħod ilsir ta’ kulħadd. Għax hekk ukoll Bin il-bniedem, hu ma ġiex biex ikun moqdi, imma biex jaqdi u biex jagħti ħajtu b’fidwa għall-kotra”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

WHAT IS TRUE LEADERSHIP?

Central theme:


Sunday’s Scripture readings describe leadership as the sacrificial service done for others and offer Jesus as the best example. They also explain the servant leadership of Jesus, pinpointing service and sacrifice as the criteria of greatness in Christ’s Kingdom.

Scripture lessons summarized:

The first reading is a Messianic prophecy taken from the Fourth Servant Song in the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It tells how the promised Messiah will save mankind by dying in atonement for our sins. Jesus has done this out of love for us, becoming  the Suffering Servant crucified as an offering for sin, interceding for us and taking our punishment on Himself.    

The second reading, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, tells us that, as God-man and Mediator-High Priest, Jesus has offered a fitting sacrifice to God to ransom us, liberating us from enslavement to sin. In the time of Jesus, ransom was the price paid to free someone from slavery.  Sometimes the “ransomer” offered himself as a substitute for the slave, as Jesus did. The reading also speaks of a High Priest who is able to sympathize with us in our weakness because Jesus has been tested in every way, though sinless, and so we can “confidently” hope for God’s mercy.

Today’s Gospel explains how Jesus has accomplished the Messianic mission of saving mankind from the slavery of sin by becoming the “Suffering Servant.” In the context of the selfish request made by James and John for key positions in the Messianic political kingdom Jesus would establish after overthrowing the Roman rule, Jesus challenged his followers to become great by serving others with sacrificial agape love: “Whoever wishes to be great must be a servant.”  Jesus commands us to give ourselves to others in loving and humble service, and so to liberate them, just  as we were  freed by Jesus’ death.

Life Messages:

1) We are challenged to give our lives in loving service to others. As Christians, we are all invited to serve others – and to serve with a smile!  We are challenged to drink the cup of Jesus by laying down our lives in humble, sacrificial service for others, just as Jesus did. The best place to begin the process of service by “self-giving” is in our own homes and workplaces.   When parents sacrifice their time, talents, health, and blessings for the welfare of others in the family, they are serving God. Service always involves suffering, because we can’t help another without some sacrifice on our part.  We are rendering great service to others also when we present them and their needs before God daily in our prayers.

2) We are invited to servant leadership: In order to become an effective Christian community, we need lay leaders with the courage of their Christian convictions to work for social justice.  We need spiritual leaders who can break open the Word for us, lead us in our prayer, offer us on the altar, and draw us together as sacrament.


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Friday, 8 October 2021

IS OUR WEALTH A POSSIBLE OBSTACLE TO OUR DISCIPLESHIP?

Readings for Sunday, October  10, 2021


Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 143

It-Tmienja u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena



Reading 1           WISDOM 7:7-11


I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.

QARI 1             mill-Ktieb tal-Għerf 7:7-11

Jien tlabt u qlajt l-għaqal; sejjaħt, u ġie fuqi l-ispirtu tal-għerf. Dan l-għerf qistu aqwa minn kull xettru u tron, u ntbaħt li l-għana mhu xejn ħdejh. Ma xebbahtx miegħu l-ħaġra l-aktar prezzjuża, għax id-deheb kollu ħdejh mhuwiex ħlief ftit ramel, u l-fidda quddiemu qisha ftit tajn. Aktar mis-saħħa u s-sbuħija ħabbejtu, u għoġobni aktar mid-dawl; għax id-dija tiegħu ma tgħib qatt. Mal-għerf ġieni l-ġid kollu, u miegħu ġiebli għana bla qies. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej..

Responsorial Psalm           PSALM 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

Teach us to number our days aright,
 that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
 prosper the work of our hands for us!
 Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

SALM RESPONSORJALI           Salm 89(90):12-13,14-15,16-17
R/. (14): Imliena bit-tjieba tiegħek, Mulej.


Għallimna ngħoddu jiem ħajjitna,
sabiex aħna nimxu bil-għaqal.
Dur lejna, Mulej! Kemm se ddum?
Ħenn għall-qaddejja tiegħek. R/.

Imliena kmieni bit-tjieba tiegħek,
biex nifirħu u nithennew ħajjitna kollha.
Ferraħna daqskemm għakkistna,
għas-snin li fihom rajna l-ħsara. R/.

Ħa jidher għemilek quddiem il-qaddejja tiegħek,
u l-kobor tiegħek quddiem uliedhom.
Ħa tkun fuqna l-grazzja ta’ Alla Sidna!
Wettqilna inti x-xogħol ta’ jdejna,
wettaq, iva, xogħol idejna. R/.


Reading 2           HEBREWS 4:12-13

Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

QARI 2            mill-Ittra lil-Lhud 4:12-13

Ħuti, il-kelma ta’ Alla hi ħajja u qawwija, taqta’ aktar minn xabla b’żewġt ixfar; hija tinfed sa tifred minn xulxin ir-ruħ u l-ispirtu u l-ġogi u l-mudullun; u tgħarbel il-ħsibijiet u l-fehmiet tal-qalb. Xejn ma hemm fil-ħolqien li hu moħbi għalih, imma kollox hu miftuħ għal għajnejn Alla, li lilu rridu nagħtu kont. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel           MARK 10:17-30 or 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."  He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"  The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."  Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."

EVANĠELJU           Qari skond San Mark 10:17-30

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù kien se jaqbad it-triq lejn Ġerusalemm, meta mar fuqu wieħed jgħaġġel, niżel għarkupptejh quddiemu u qallu: “Mgħallem tajjeb, x’għandi nagħmel biex nikseb il-ħajja ta’ dejjem?”. Qallu Ġesù: “Għaliex qiegħed issejjaħli tajjeb? Ħadd mhu tajjeb ħlief Alla biss. Inti l-kmandamenti tafhom: la toqtolx, la tiżnix, la tisraqx, la tixhidx fil-falz, la tiħux bil-qerq dak li hu ta’ ħaddieħor; weġġaħ lil missierek u ’l ommok”. U dak wieġbu u qallu: “Mgħallem, jiena dan kollu ili nħarsu minn żgħożiti”. Imbagħad Ġesù xeħet fuqu ħarsa ta’ mħabba u qallu: “Ħaġa waħda tonqsok: mur bigħ li għandek, agħtih lill-fqar, u jkollok teżor fis-sema; imbagħad ejja u imxi warajja”. Imma għal dan il-kliem ir-raġel qarras wiċċu u telaq b’qalbu sewda, għaliex kellu bosta ġid. Ġesù mbagħad ħares ħarsa madwaru u qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu: “Kemm hi iebsa għall-għonja li jidħlu fis-Saltna ta’ Alla!”. Id-dixxipli stagħġbu għal din il-kelma, imma Ġesù raġa’ qalilhom: “Kemm hi iebsa, uliedi, li wieħed jidħol fis-Saltna ta’ Alla! Eħfef li ġemel jgħaddi minn għajn ta’ labra milli wieħed għani jidħol fis-Saltna ta’ Alla”. Huma stagħġbu wisq aktar, u bdew jgħidu wieħed lill-ieħor: “Mela min jista’ jsalva?”. Ġesù ħares lejhom u qalilhom: “Għall-bnedmin dan ma jistax ikun, imma għal Alla iva; għax għal Alla kollox jista’ jkun”. Qabeż Pietru u qallu: “Tajjeb! Aħna ħallejna kollox u ġejna warajk”. Qallu Ġesù: “Tassew ngħidilkom, li fost dawk kollha li minħabba fija u l-Evanġelju jħallu lil darhom jew lil ħuthom jew lil ommhom jew lil missierhom jew lil uliedhom jew l-għelieqi tagħhom, ma hemm ħadd fosthom li minn issa, f’din id-dinja stess, ma jirċevix, għal mitt darba iktar, djar, aħwa, subien u bniet, ommijiet, ulied u għelieqi flimkien ma’ persekuzzjonijiet, u l-ħajja ta’ dejjem fiż-żmien li ġej”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   




 

 

IS IT GOD  OR OUR POSSESSIONS?

Central theme:

We must give priority to God in our lives, not to our possessions. Sunday’s readings remind us thatwe do not possess anything in our life that we refuse to surrender to the Lord.These things often possess us, and we become the prisoners of our possessions when we give our “things” top priority in our lives. Thus, we violate the First Great Commandment, “You shall not have other gods beside me” which demands that we give absolute and unconditional priority to God.

Scripture lessons summarized:


The first reading advises us to use the God-given virtue of prudence and to seek true wisdom in preference to vanishing realities like riches or political and social influence. Solomon chose Wisdom before everything else. But when he accepted Wisdom, he received everything else along with it. Since Jesus is Wisdom Incarnate, when we put following Jesus ahead of everything else, we receive everything else along with Jesus. 

In the Responsorial Psalm(Ps 90), we beg God to teach us how to make proper judgments and choices in our lives that we may live with Him forever.

The second reading warns us that we are accountable before God as to how we use our blessings, and that the “living and effective word of God” must be our guide in evaluating the use of our blessings.

In today’s Gospel selection (Mk 10:17-30), we find three sections: a narrative about Jesus’ encounter with a rich man, Jesus’ sayings about wealth as a possible obstacle to discipleship and Jesus’ promise of reward for those who share their material possessions with the needy. Reminding the rich man of the commandments that deal with relationships with other people, Jesus challenged him to sell what he had, and to give the money to the poor. The disciples were shocked by this challenge. But Jesus declared that true religion consisted in one’s sharing one’s blessings with others rather than hoarding and/or getting inordinately attached to them.

Life messages:


1) We need to accept the invitation to generous sharing. Initially, Jesus, in generous, sacrificial love, gave us His very self; in response, we find rising in our hearts the desire to give Jesus our own total selves, and so to enter the Faith relationship Jesus offers. God does not ask us to give up our riches, but He does ask us to use them wisely in His service not allowing them to gain control over our hearts. God gives us time, talents, health and wealth and riches that we may use them as good stewards in the service of others.

2) Let us make a check list of our prioritized attachments, and give God priority: Are anger, lust, gluttony, evil habits and addictions, jealousy, holding grudges, infidelity, cheating our priorities? Let us invite God into our lives daily by praying for the strengthening grace and anointing of His Holy Spirit so that we may give God priority, keeping Bible as our guide.

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Friday, 24 September 2021

LOVE ONE ANOTHER SINCE WHOEVER IS NOT AGAINST US IS FOR US


Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 137

Is-Sitta u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena




Reading 1            B0OK OF NUMBERS 11:25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied. Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp.So, when a young man quickly told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, " Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said, "Moses, my lord, stop them." But Moses answered him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!"

QARI 1             mill-Ktieb tan-Numri 11:25-29

F’dak iż-żmien, il-Mulej niżel fi sħaba jkellem lil Mosè, u ħa mill-ispirtu li kellu fih, u tah lis-sebgħin xiħ; u ġara li, hekk kif l-ispirtu qagħad fuqhom, bdew jipprofetizzaw, imma ma ssuktawx. Issa fil-kamp kien baqa’ żewġt irġiel, wieħed jismu Eldad u l-ieħor Medad, u fuqhom ukoll niżel l-ispirtu. Hekk dawn ġew magħduda mal-magħżulin għax, għalkemm ma marrux fit-tinda, bdew jipprofetizzaw fil-kamp. Dlonk mar wieħed żagħżugħ jgħarraf b’dan lil Mosè, u qallu: “Eldad u Medad qegħdin jipprofetizzaw fil-kamp”. U Ġożwè bin Nun, li minn ċkunitu kien qaddej ta’ Mosè, qabad u qal: “Sidi Mosè, tħallihomx aktar”. Iżda Mosè wieġbu: “Jaqaw qiegħed tgħir minħabba fija? Jalla l-poplu tal-Mulej ikun kollu profeti, u jalla l-Mulej iqiegħed fuqhom l-ispirtu tiegħu!”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm            Ps 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14

The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Though your servant is careful of them,
    very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
    Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
    let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
    of serious sin.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

SALM RESPONSORJALI              Salm 18(19):8,10,12-13,14
R/.(9a): Il-preċetti tal-Mulej dritti, u jferrħu l-qalb.

Il-liġi tal-Mulej perfetta,
u tagħti l-ħajja;
ix-xhieda tal-Mulej hi sewwa,
u tgħallem lil min ma jafx. R/.

Il-biża’ tal-Mulej sinċier,
u jibqa’ għal dejjem;
il-ġudizzji tal-Mulej sewwa,
u mseddqa għalkollox. R/.

Fehemhom sewwa l-qaddej tiegħek;
ħlas tajjeb għandu min iħarishom.
In-nuqqas min jista’ jagħrfu?
Minn dak li ma nafx bih saffini. R/.

Mill-kburija wkoll ħares il-qaddej tiegħek,
tħalliha qatt taħkimni.
Imbagħad inkun bla ħtija
u ħieles minn dnub kbir. R/.


Reading 2           JAMES 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.

QARI 2            mill-Ittra ta’ San Ġakbu Appostlu  5:1-6

Ejjew issa, intom il-għonja, ibku u ixhru fuq l-għawġ li ġej fuqkom! Ġidkom tħassar, ħwejjiġkom kilithomlkom il-kamla. Id-deheb u l-fidda tagħkom rabbew is-sadid, u s-sadid tagħkom għad jixhed kontra tagħkom u jiklilkom ġisimkom bħan-nar. Ħżintu l-ġid fl-aħħar jiem! Ara, il-ħlas tal-ħaddiema li ħasdu l-għelieqi tagħkom – ħlas li intom żammejtuhulhom bil-qerq – qiegħed jgħajjat kontra tagħkom, u l-biki ta’ dawk li ħasdu wasal f’widnejn il-Mulej tal-eżerċti. Fuq l-art għextu fix-xalar u l-lussu; qgħadtu tissemmnu għall-jum tal-qatla. Intom ikkundannajtu l-ġust, qtiltuh għax ma jistax jiqfilkom! Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel           MARK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"

EVANĠELJU           Qari skond San Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48


F’dak iż-żmien, Ġwanni qal lil Ġesù: “Mgħallem, wieħed raġel, li s-soltu ma jkunx magħna, rajnieh ikeċċi x-xjaten f’ismek u ridna nżommuh, għax hu mhuwiex wieħed minn tagħna”. Imma Ġesù qal: “La żżommuhx, le, għax ma hemm ħadd li se jagħmel miraklu f’ismi u mbagħad malajr se jkollu ħila jgħid kontra tiegħi. Għax min mhuwiex kontra tagħna, huwa magħna. Min jagħtikom tazza ilma x’tixorbu għax intom tal-Messija, ngħidilkom is-sewwa li ma jibqax mingħajr il-ħlas tiegħu. Imma min jagħti skandlu lil wieħed minn dawn iċ-ċkejknin li jemmnu fija, ikun jaqbillu jekk jorbtulu ma’ għonqu ġebla tat-tħin minn dawk li jdawru l-ħmir u jixħtuh fil-baħar. U jekk idek hija għalik okkażjoni ta’ dnub, aqtagħha barra; jaħbatlek aħjar li tidħol b’id waħda fil-ħajja, milli tmur b’idejk it-tnejn fl-infern, fin-nar li ma jintefiex. U jekk riġlek hu għalik okkażjoni ta’ dnub, aqtgħu barra; jaħbatlek aħjar li tidħol b’riġel wieħed fil-ħajja, milli tinxteħet b’riġlejk it-tnejn fl-infern. U jekk għajnek hi għalik okkażjoni ta’ dnub, aqlagħha barra; jaħbatlek aħjar li tidħol b’għajn waħda fis-Saltna ta’ Alla milli tinxteħet b’għajnejk it-tnejn fl-infern, fejn id-dud tagħhom ma jmutx u fejn in-nar ma jintefiex”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil  

STRONG WORDS FROM JESUS FOR US

 

Introduction:

Sunday’s Scripture readings give us a strong warning against jealousy, intolerance and giving scandal.

Scripture lessons summarized:  

In the first reading, we find jealousy, in its destructive form of envy, raising its ugly head in Moses’ assistant and successor, Joshua.  Moses and seventy future helpers were called by the Lord God to the Tent of Meeting for the Spirit-giving Ordination ceremony. But two of the invitees were absent, and Joshua could not tolerate these absent men prophesying in the camp without receiving God’s Spirit in the Tent of Meeting. 

Moses had to instruct Joshua to be tolerant. This selection is intended to provide a Biblical background for Jesus’ response to the same kind of jealousy apparent in the apostles. The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 19), “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart,” reminds us that obedience to the spirit of the Law will draw us closer to God and so give us lasting joy. In the second reading, James warns the rich against giving scandal by their denial of social justice to their workers in refusing to give them a living wage, by ignoring the needs of others, and by condemning and murdering the innocent and the righteous. Withholding a day-laborer’s wage was a terrible act of injustice, tantamount to murder in the agricultural economy of the ancient Middle East.  Baptism commits every Christian to work for social justice through peaceable, rather than violent, means. 

In the Gospel, we find intolerance among the apostles of Christ. John complains to Jesus that a man outside their group of selected disciples has been exorcising demons in Jesus’ Name, despite their attempt to prevent him from doing so.  Jesus responds by giving the Apostles lessons in Jesus’ own kind of tolerance and in the reward to be given to outsiders for good deeds they have done for the apostles because they are the disciples of Jesus. We also hear the strong warning of Jesus against giving scandal, especially to innocent children, to vulnerable members of the community, and to beginners in the Faith. Jesus instructs the Apostles, and us, that, just as a doctor might remove by surgery a limb or some part of the body to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us or others to sin and which leads to spiritual death.

Life messages:

1)
Let us avoid conduct that can lead to giving scandal.  We give scandal and become stumbling blocks to others: 

    a) when we are unkind or unjust in our treatment of them,  

    b) when we humiliate them by hurting their pride and damaging their self-image, 

    c) when we discourage, ignore, or refuse to accept them, and 

    d) when we become judgmental of those who are still struggling to reach a level of commitment that we feel is too low to be useful.

2: Let us learn the Christian virtue of tolerance: Christian tolerance asks that we bear with the weaknesses of others (without condoning the evil they do), by: 

    a) remaining true to our conscience and beliefs, 

    b) respecting the differences we encounter, 

    c) working together on projects of common interest, 

    d) affirming what is good in the other person’s position, even when we disagree on certain things, and 

    e) allowing the light of Christ to shine through our loving words and deeds.We need to practice humility in thoughts, words, and actions. “Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” 

“What is the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ?” asks St. Augustine, and then responds, “I shall reply: first humility, second humility, and third humility.” We should not seek recognition and recompense for the service we do for Christ and the Church as parents, teachers, pastors, etc. 

Trusting Faith resulting from true humility is essential for all corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Since children reflect the innocence, purity, simplicity, and tenderness of our Lord, and since they are given the protection of a guardian angel, we are to love them, train them, and take care not to give scandal to them. 

We need to try to treat everyone with love and respect because, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (St. Basil), CCC # 336.

//////////////////////////////////////     http://frtonyshomilies.com

Thursday, 16 September 2021

TO BE FIRST YOU MUST SERVE

Readings for Sunday, September 19th, 2021 - Year/Sena B

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 134

Il-Ħamsa u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena



Reading 1          WISDOM 2:12, 17-20


The wicked say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true;  let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

QARI 1            mill-Ktieb tal-Għerf 2:12,17-20

In-nies il-ħżiena qalu: “Nonsbulu lill-ġustgħaliex hu ta’ xkiel għalina fi triqitna, hu kontra l-għemejjel tagħna, iċanfarna għax niksru l-Liġi, jixlina għax immorru kontra t-tagħlim li ħadna. Ħa naraw hux veru kliemu, naraw fl-aħħar x’se jsir minnu. Jekk il-ġust hu iben Alla, jaqbeż għalih Alla, u jeħilsu minn id l-għedewwa tiegħu. Inġarrbuh bit-tagħjir u l-moħqrija, biex naraw xi tjubija għandu u nkejlu sa fejn jasal sabru. Naqtgħuhielu għall-mewt b’mistħija, għax, kif jgħid hu, għandu min iħarsu”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

          
Responsorial Psalm           PSALM 54:3-4, 5, 6 and 8

O God, by your name save me,
    and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
    hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

For the haughty have risen up against me,
    the ruthless  seek my life;
    they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
    I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

SALM RESPONSORJALI           Salm 53(54):3-4,5,6,8

R/.(6b): Il-Mulej hu dak li jżommni.


B’ismek, o Alla, salvani;
agħmilli ħaqq bil-qawwa tiegħek.
Isma’, o Alla, it-talba tiegħi;
agħti widen għal kliem fommi. R/.

Għax nies kburin qamu kontrija,
nies kefrin jonsbuli ħajti;
ma jżommux ’l Alla quddiem għajnejhom. R/.

Ara, Alla l-għajnuna tiegħi;
il-Mulej hu dak li jżommni.
Minn qalbi noffrilek is-sagrifiċċju;
irrodd ħajr lil ismek, għax hu tajjeb. R/.


Reading 2          JAMES 3:16—4:3

Beloved:  Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

QARI 2            mill-Ittra ta’ San Ġakbu Appostlu 3:16–4:3

Għeżież, fejn hemm l-għira u l-ġlied, hemm issib it-taqlib u kull xorta ta’ ħażen. L-għerf li ġej mis-sema, qabel kollox hu għerf safi, imbagħad hu għerf li jfittex is-sliem, it-tjubija u l-ħlewwa; huwa kollu ħniena u frott tajjeb, bla ma jħares lejn l-uċuħ u bla qerq. Dawk li jfittxu s-sliem jiżirgħu fis-sliem u jkollhom il-frott tal-ġustizzja. Mnejn hu ġej il-ġlied u t-tilwim bejnietkom? Jaqaw mhux minn dan, mill-passjonijiet li hemm jitqabdu f’ġisimkom? Tixtiequ, u ma ssibu xejn; imbagħad toqtlu, u tgħiru, bla ma tistgħu tieħdu xejn; imbagħad tiġġieldu u titqabdu. Ma għandkom xejn għax ma titolbux. Titolbu, u ma tiksbux, għax titolbu ħażin: titolbu ħa jkollkom xi tberbqu fix-xalar. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel            MARK 9:30-37


Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

EVANĠELJU           Qari skont San Mark 9:30-37

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù u d-dixxipli tiegħu għaddew minn nofs il-Galilija, u ma ried li ħadd ikun jaf, għax beda jgħallem lid-dixxipli tiegħu u jgħidilhom: “Bin il-bniedem se jingħata f’idejn il-bnedmin u joqtluh; u meta jkun maqtul, wara tlitt ijiem iqum mill-mewt”. Iżda huma ma fehmuhx dan il-kliem, u beżgħu jistaqsuh. Waslu Kafarnahum; u meta kienu d-dar staqsiehom: “X’kontu qegħdin titħaddtu bejnietkom fit-triq?”. Iżda huma baqgħu siekta, għax fit-triq kienu qagħdu jitħaddtu bejniethom fuq min kien l-akbar. Imbagħad qagħad bilqiegħda, sejjaħ it-Tnax, u qalilhom: “Jekk xi ħadd irid ikun l-ewwel wieħed, għandu joqgħod wara kulħadd u jkun qaddej ta’ kulħadd”. U ressaq lejh tfajjel ċkejken, qiegħdu f’nofshom, ħaddnu bejn dirgħajh u qalilhom: “Kull min jilqa’ wieħed minn dawn iċ-ċkejknin minħabba f’ismi, ikun jilqa’ lili; u min jilqa’ lili, ikun jilqa’ mhux lili, imma lil dak li bagħatni”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   


SURRENDER TO JESUS TO SERVE OTHERS

Introduction:


Sunday’s scripture readings invite us to become great in the sight of God by doing God’s will as Jesus did, surrendering our lives to Him in the service of others.

Scripture lessons summarized:

The passage from the Book of Wisdom sounds like a messianic prophecy like the “Suffering Servant” prophecy in Isaiah referring to Christ’s passion. It urges us to choose the path of righteousness despite painful consequences. In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 54), the psalmist prays for help against the insolent people who rise against the upright.

The second reading is in tune with the dispute among the apostles about who is the greatest. In it, James warns us that selfish ambitions destroy peace and cause conflicts and war. So, James advises us to choose the path of righteousness and humble service which leads to lasting peace.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a glimpse of what walking that path of righteousness mentioned in the first and second readings is, namely, welcoming and serving the vulnerable in our midst: the defenseless children, the despairing poor, the mentally ill and the marginalized. Jesus also teaches his apostles that child-like humility and selfless service make one great in the eyes of God.

Life messages:

# 1:  We must become great through humble, self-giving service.    Greatness, in Jesus’ view, is found in our willingness to accept, welcome, and serve those who are considered unacceptable by reason of class, color, religion, wealth or culture.   We must welcome people the way a child welcomes them before he is taught discrimination.   If we are to be truly great, we must be ready to accept four challenges: (1) to put ourselves last, (2) to be the servant of all, (3) to receive the most insignificant human beings with love, and (4) to expect nothing in return.  During the holy Mass let us pray for the true spirit of service and for an attitude of love for those around us. May the Holy Spirit help us to become truly great through humble, selfless service.

2) We need to practice humility in thoughts, words, and actions. “Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” “What is the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ?” St. Augustine asks, and then responds, “I shall reply: first humility, second humility, and third humility.” We should not seek recognition and recompense for the service we do for Christ and the Church as parents, teachers, pastors, etc. Trusting Faith resulting from true humility is essential for all corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Since children reflect the innocence, purity, simplicity, and tenderness of our Lord, and since they are given the protection of a guardian angel, we are to love them, train them, and take care not to give scandal to them.

We need to try to treat everyone with love and respect because, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (St. Basil), CCC # 336.

//////////////////////////////////////     http://frtonyshomilies.com


Friday, 10 September 2021

PRACTICE TRUE RELIGION

 Readings for Sunday, September 12th, 2021 -Year/Sena       


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                    
                                                                                                                                                  Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time  /  Lectionary: 131

L-Erbgħa u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena

 

Reading 1           ISAIAH 50:5-9a


The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help,therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let that man confront me. See the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?

QARI 1           mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Iżaija 50:5-9a

Sidi l-Mulej fetaħli widinti, u jiena ma webbistx rasi, ma rġajtx lura. Tajt dahri lil dawk li kienu jsawtuni, ħaddejja lil dawk li kienu jnittfuli lħiti; ma ħbejtx wiċċi mit-tagħjir u l-bżieq. Sidi l-Mulej jgħinni, għalhekk ma nitħawwadx; għalhekk għamilt wiċċi bħaż-żnied: jien naf li ma jkollix mniex nistħi. Dak li jagħmel ġustizzja miegħi jinsab fil-qrib. Min se jeħodha miegħi? Ħa noqogħdu għall-ħaqq flimkien! Min hu kontrija? Ħa jersaq lejja! Ara, Sidi l-Mulej jgħinni: min se jagħtini t-tort? Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm          PSALM 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
“O LORD, save my life!”
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
.
For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

SALM RESPONSORJALI           Salm 1 4(116):1-2,3-4,5-6,8-9

R/.(9): Jien nimxi quddiem il-Mulej f’art il-ħajjin.

Inħobb il-Mulej,
għax sama’ leħen it-tħannin tiegħi;
għaliex hu tani widen
fil-jum li fih sejjaħtlu. R/.

Il-ħbula tal-mewt dawruni,
l-irbit tal-imwiet ħakimni;
fin-niket u l-hemm sibt ruħi.
Imma isem il-Mulej sejjaħt:
“Mulej, nitolbok, salvani!”. R/.

Ħanin il-Mulej, u ġust;
twajjeb hu Alla tagħna.
Iħares id-dgħajfa l-Mulej;
jien kont magħkus, u hu ħelisni. R/.

Għax mill-mewt ħelisli ’l ħajti,
lil għajnejja mid-dmugħ
u ’l riġlejja mit-tfixkil.
Jien nimxi quddiem il-Mulej
f’art il-ħajjin.
R/.

Reading 2           JAMES 2:14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

QARI 2             mill-Ittra ta’ San Ġakbu Appostlu  2:14-18
X’jiswa, ħuti, li wieħed jgħid li għandu l-fidi jekk ma jurihiex fl-għemil tiegħu? Jaqaw tista’ ssalvah din il-fidi? Jekk ħuk jew oħtok ma jkollhomx x’jilbsu u jonqoshom l-ikel ta’ kuljum, u wieħed minnkom jgħidilhom: “Morru bis-sliem, isħnu u kulu sa tixbgħu”, bla ma jagħtihom dak li hu meħtieġ għall-ġisem, dan x’jiswa? Hekk ukoll il-fidi: jekk tkun weħidha u ma jkollhiex l-għemil, tkun mejta fiha nfisha. Imma xi ħadd jista’ jgħid: “Int għandek il-fidi, u jiena l-għemil”. Urini l-fidi tiegħek mingħajr l-għemil, u jien nurik il-fidi tiegħi mill-għemil tiegħi. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel           MARK 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply,“John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

EVANĠELJU           Qari skont San Mark :27-35

F’dak iż-żmien, telaq Ġesù flimkien mad-dixxipli tiegħu lejn l-irħula ta’ Ċesarija ta’ Filippu. Huma u mexjin, lid-dixxipli tiegħu għamlilhom din il-mistoqsija: “Min jgħidu n-nies li jien?”. Weġbuh u qalulu: “Ġwanni l-Battista; oħrajn, Elija; u oħrajn, wieħed mill-profeti”. Staqsiehom: “Imma intom, min tgħidu li jien?”.Qabeż Pietru u qallu: “Inti l-Messija”. Imbagħad ordnalhom ħafna biex ma jitkellmu ma’ ħadd fuqu. U beda jgħallimhom fuq li kien meħtieġ li Bin il-bniedem ibati ħafna, ikun miċħud mill-anzjani u mill-qassisin il-kbar u l-kittieba, joqtluh, u wara tlitt ijiem jerġa’ jqum. Fuq dan kellimhom ċar. Pietru ġibdu lejh u beda jlumu. Iżda hu dar iħares lejn id-dixxipli tiegħu, u ċanfar lil Pietru u qallu: “Itlaq minn quddiemi, ja xitan, għax m’intix taħseb fil-ħwejjeġ ta’ Alla, imma f’dawk tal-bnedmin!”. Sejjaħ lejh in-nies flimkien mad-dixxipli tiegħu u qalilhom: “Jekk xi ħadd irid jiġi warajja, għandu jiċħad lilu nnifsu, jerfa’ salibu, u jimxi warajja. Għax min irid isalva ħajtu, jitlifha; imma min jitlef ħajtu għall-imħabba tiegħi u tal-Evanġelju, isalvaha. Għax x’jiswielu l-bniedem jekk jikseb id-dinja kollha u mbagħad jitlef ħajtu?”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

THE BASIS OF OUR FAITH

Introduction:

Sunday’s Gospel explains the basis of our Faith as our acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God and our Lord and Saviour. It also tells us that Christ Jesus suffered, died and rose again to become our Savior. Finally, it outlines the three conditions of Christian discipleship, namely, denying oneself, taking up one’s cross, and following Jesus.

Scripture lessons:

Jesus saw aspects of His own life and mission foreshadowed in Isaiah’s Servant Songs. Hence, a large portion of the Third Song of the Suffering Servant is presented as the first reading today, while in the Gospel, Jesus foretells the passion, death and Resurrection for the first time, in response to Peter’s profession of Faith in him as God’s Messiah and Saviour. 

Like the servant described in today’s first reading, Jesus’ lived a life of radical obedience and conformity to God’s will. Thus, the Servant passage provides background for the revelation of Jesus as the suffering Messiah. In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 116), the Psalmist invites us to turn to the Lord for help amidst the trials of this world.  It is in God that we will find deliverance from trouble and relief from our afflictions.  (Ps 116). 

Today’s second reading, taken from the Letter of James to the Church, reminds us that suffering is not only something to be accepted but also something to be alleviated. James explains how our Faith in Jesus, the Messiah, should help us to alleviate the sufferings of others by our works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual. In the Gospel, in response to Peter’s profession of Faith in Jesus as God’s Messiah and Saviour, Jesus foretells for the first of three times the passion, death and Resurrection which lie ahead. Today’s Gospel consists of two sections: 

 1) the Messianic confession of Peter, who acknowledged Jesus as “the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” and 

2) Jesus’ prediction of the passion, death and Resurrection, followed by Jesus clear teaching on the three conditions of Christian discipleship: “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”

Life Messages:

1) Jesus wants to become a living, present Reality for us, loving us, forgiving us, helping us, transforming our lives and outlook, and building a personal relationship with each of us. The knowledge of Jesus as Lord and personal Saviour needs to become a living, personal experience for each Christian drawing each of us to loving response. 

The relationship deepens and grows as we listen to Jesus through the daily, meditative reading of the Bible, speak to Jesus in our daily, personal and family prayers, offer Jesus our lives on the altar in the Holy Mass and seek reconciliation with Jesus, asking forgiveness for our sins every night and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In Sunday's Eucharistic celebration, we are celebrating and experiencing in our lives the death and Resurrection of Christ, the Messiah, our Lord and personal Saviour.  

2)  We need to surrender our life to Jesus Whom we experience as our Lord and Savior: The next step is the surrender of our lives to Jesus Whose love we have experienced by rendering humble and loving service to others with the strong conviction that Jesus is present in every person. The final step is to praise and thank God in all the events of our lives, good and bad, realizing that God’s love shapes every event of our lives.

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Friday, 3 September 2021

Say to those whose hearts are frightened - Be strong!

 Readings for Sunday, September 5th, 2021 - Year/Sena B


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Lectionary: 128


It-Tlieta u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena



Reading 1            ISAIAH 35:4-7a


Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,  the ears of the deaf be cleared;  then will the lame leap like a stag,  then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

QARI I           mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Iżaija 35:4-7a

Għidu lil dawk b’qalbhom imbeżżgħa: “Agħmlu l-ħila, la tibżgħux! Araw, Alla tagħkom ġej jitħallas; il-ħlas ta’ Alla wasal; hu stess ġej biex isalvakom”. Imbagħad jinfetħu għajnejn l-għomja, jinfetħu widnejn it-torox. Imbagħad iz-zopp jaqbeż bħal għażżiela u lsien l-imbikkma jinħall bil-ferħ.  Iva, igelgel l-ilma fid-deżert, u l-widien fix-xagħri. L-art maħruqa tinbidel f’għadira, u l-art niexfa f’għejun ta’ ilma ġieri. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

Responsorial Psalm          PSALM 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-1

The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
 secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

SALM RESPONSORJALI         Salm 145(146):7,8-9a,9bċ,10

R/. (1): Faħħar, ruħ tiegħi, il-Mulej!

Il-Mulej iżomm kelmtu għal dejjem,
jagħmel ħaqq lill-maħqurin,
u jagħti l-ħobż lill-imġewħin.
Il-Mulej jeħles lill-imjassrin. R/.

Il-Mulej jiftaħ għajnejn l-għomja;
il-Mulej jerfa’ lill-milwijin;
il-Mulej iħobb lill-ġusti;
il-Mulej iħares lill-barranin. R/.

Hu li jżomm lill-iltim u lill-armla,
imma lill-ħżiena jħarbtilhom triqathom.
Il-Mulej isaltan għal dejjem;
Alla tiegħek, Sijon, minn nisel għal nisel. R/.


Reading 2          JAMES 2:1-5


My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please, ”while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?

QARI 2           mill-Ittra ta’ San Ġakbu Appostlu 2:1-5

Ħuti, tħalltux il-fidi f’Ġesù Kristu, il-Mulej tagħna tal-glorja, mal-ħarsien lejn l-uċuħ. Għax jekk fil-laqgħat tagħkom jidħol xi ħadd biċ-ċrieket tad-deheb f’subgħajh u bi lbies ilellex, imbagħad jidħol xi ħadd ieħor fqir liebes imċerċer, u intom idduru ma’ dak bl-ilbies ilellex u tgħidulu: “Int oqgħod komdu bilqiegħda”, waqt li lill-fqir tgħidulu: “Int oqgħod bilwieqfa”, jew: “Oqgħod bilqiegħda fuq il-mirfes ta’ riġlejja”, ma jidhrilkomx li tkunu qegħdin tagħmlu għażla bejniethom, u hekk issiru mħallfin qarrieqa? Isimgħu, ħuti għeżież: mhux Alla kien li għażel lill-foqra għad-dinja biex jistagħnu fil-fidi u jsiru werrieta tas-Saltna li hu wiegħed lil dawk li jħobbuh? Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel         MARK 7:31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

EVANĠELJU          Qari skond San Mark 7:31-37

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù telaq mill-inħawi tal-belt ta’ Tir, għadda minn Sidon lejn il-baħar tal-Galilija, fl-inħawi tad-Dekapoli. U ġibulu wieħed, trux u mbikkem, u talbuh iqegħedlu idu fuqu. Ġesù ħarġu għalih waħdu minn qalb in-nies, daħħal subgħajh f’widnejh u messlu lsienu bir-riq tiegħu. Imbagħad refa’ għajnejh lejn is-sema, tniehed tnehida, u qallu: “Effata!”, jiġifieri: “Infetaħ!”. U minnufih widnejh infetħulu, l-irbit ta’ lsienu nħallu u qabad jitkellem sewwa. Ġesù wissiehom biex ma jgħidu lil ħadd; iżda aktar ma wissiehom, aktar bdew ixandruh. U mimlijin bil-għaġeb, bdew jgħidu: “Kollox għamel tajjeb: jagħti s-smigħ lit-torox u l-kliem lill-imbikkmin!”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.



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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   



TWO CHALLENGES TO CONTEMPLATE


Introduction:

Sunday’s readings offer two challenges:

1) Become humble instruments of healing in Jesus’ hands by giving voice to the voiceless and caring love to the needy and the marginalized in our society.   

2) Open your ears to hear the word of God, open your eyes to see God’s presence in everyone, and loosen your tongue to praise and worship God loudly and to convey the Good News of God’s love and salvation to others. (Anecdote of the “little monk” who opened blind eyes & deaf ears).

Scripture lessons summarized:

In the first reading (Is 35:4-7), the prophet Isiah reminds us that God’s eyes are constantly focused on the helpless. “He comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 146) sings of a God who gives sight to the blind, raises up those who are bowed down and welcomes strangers.

That is why, in today’s second reading (Jas 2:1-5), the apostle gives us some basic and challenging principles of social justice. He exhorts Christians to show no partiality based on external appearance and to practice God’s “preferential option” for the poor. He warns the faithful against scorning or shaming the poor while showing special consideration to the rich.

Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus, by healing a deaf man with speech impediment, fulfilled Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”  The ailments listed by Isaiah are symbolic of our interior illnesses:  blindness to the needs of our neighbor, unwillingness to hear God’s voice and the inability to speak words of praise, apology, forgiveness, and gratitude. Through this miracle story, Mark also reminds us that no one can be a follower of the Lord without reaching out to the helpless (“preferential option for the poor”).

Life messages:  

1) We need to allow Jesus to heal our spiritual deafness, muteness, and blindness.   We may find it hard to speak to God in prayer and harder still to hear Him speaking to us through the Bible and through the Church.  Let us ask God’s help to open our ears so that we may hear Him while reading the Bible, and praise and worship Him loudly in our family prayer and in our public worship by actively participating in the Holy Mass, singing with the choir and praying with the congregation. Jesus’ compassionate touch will help us to hear the cries of the poor and the sick,  and to show kindness, mercy and consideration to others. His healing touch will also help us convey peace and hope to those around us.

2) We need to help Jesus to heal the deaf and the mute today. Let us lend Jesus our hands to give the touch that heals the sick. Let us lend Jesus our tongues to speak to the spiritually hungry through us.   Let us lend Jesus our hearts to touch the lives of people in our day through us, just as Jesus touched the lives of millions through saintly souls like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugan, and St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa).

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Thursday, 26 August 2021

PRACTICING TRUE RELIGION

 Readings for Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 - Year/Sena B

 
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 125

It-Tnejn u Għoxrin Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena


Reading 1            DEUTERONOMY 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people: “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.  Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’ For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”

QARI 1             mill-Ktieb tad-Dewteronomju 4:1-2,6-8

Mosè kellem lill-poplu u qal: “U issa, Iżrael, agħti widen għal-liġijiet u l-ordnijiet li qiegħed ngħallimkom tagħmlu, ħalli tgħixu, u tidħlu tieħdu l-art li se jagħtikom il-Mulej, Alla ta’ missirijietkom.  La żżidu xejn ma’ dak li qiegħed nordnalkom u lanqas tnaqqsu minnu; qisu li tħarsu l-liġijiet tal-Mulej, Alla tagħkom, bħalma qiegħed nagħtihomlkom jien. Ħarsuhom u agħmluhom, għax hekk tidhru għorrief u għaqlin f’għajnejn il-ġnus li, kif jisimgħu b’dawn il-liġijiet kollha, jgħidu: ‘M’hemmx poplu ieħor għaref u għaqli għajr dan il-ġens kbir’. Għax liema ġens hu hekk kbir li għandu l-allat hekk qrib tiegħu daqskemm hu qrib tagħna l-Mulej, Alla tagħna, kull xħin insejħulu? Jew liema ġens hu hekk kbir li għandu liġijiet u ordnijiet hekk sewwa daqs dak kollu li fiha din il-liġi li qiegħed noffrilkom illum jien?”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

Responsorial Psalm           PSALM 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5

Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

SALM RESPONSORJALI           Salm 14(15):2-3a,3ċd-4ab,5

Min jgħix bla ħtija u jagħmel it-tajjeb,
min jgħid is-sewwa f’qalbu;
min ma jqassasx bi lsienu.

R/. (1a): Mulej, min jgħammar fid-dar tiegħek? 

Min ma jagħmilx deni lil ġaru,
u ma jgħajjarx lil għajru;
min ma jistmax lill-bniedem ħażin,
imma jweġġaħ lil dawk li jibżgħu mill-Mulej.

R/. (1a): Mulej, min jgħammar fid-dar tiegħek?

 Min jislef u ma jitlobx imgħax,
u ma jixxaħħamx kontra min hu bla ħtija.
Min jagħmel dan qatt ma jitħarrek. 
 
R/. (1a): Mulej, min jgħammar fid-dar tiegħek?

Reading 2           JAMES 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

QARI 2           mill-Ittra ta’ San Ġakbu Appostlu 1:17-18,21b-22,27

Għeżież, kull ħaġa tajba li tingħata u kull don perfett jiġi mis-sema, jinżel mingħand il-Missier, l-għajn tad-dawl, li fih ma hemm ebda tibdil u anqas dell ta’ tidwir. Għax ried hu, wilidna bil-kelma tal-verità, biex inkunu l-ewwel frott tal-ħlejjaq tiegħu. Ilqgħu bil-ħlewwa l-Kelma mħawla fikom, li tista’ ssalvalkom ruħkom. Kunu intom dawk li jagħmlu l-Kelma, u mhux tisimgħuha biss u hekk tqarrqu bikom infuskom. Quddiem Alla u Missierna r-reliġjon ġenwina u bla tebgħa hija din: iżżur l-iltiema u r-romol fl-hemm tagħhom, u żżomm ruħek bla tinġis ’il bogħod mid-dinja. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel           MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23


When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. —For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. — So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile. “From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

EVANĠELJU          Qari skond San Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

F’dak iż-żmien, il-Fariżej u xi wħud mill-kittieba li ġew minn Ġerusalemm inġabru ħdejn Ġesù, u raw li xi wħud mid-dixxipli tiegħu kienu qegħdin jieklu b’idejhom mhumiex indaf, jiġifieri mhumiex maħsulin. Għax il-Fariżej, u l-Lhud kollha, biex iħarsu t-tradizzjoni ta’ missirijiethom, ma jmissux ikel qabel ma jkunu ħaslu jdejhom sewwa; hekk ukoll wara li jerġgħu lura mis-suq, ma jiklux jekk ma jinħaslux; u għandhom bosta drawwiet oħra li baqgħu marbutin magħhom minn żmien għal ieħor, bħalma huma l-ħasil tat-tazzi u tal-buqari u tal-ktieli tal-bronż. Mela, il-Fariżej u l-kittieba staqsewh: “Dan l-għala d-dixxipli tiegħek ma jġibux ruħhom skont it-tradizzjoni ta’ missirijiethom, imma jieklu b’idejhom mhumiex indaf?”. Iżda hu weġibhom: “Sewwa ħabbar Iżaija fuqkom, ja nies ta’ wiċċ b’ieħor, bħalma hu miktub: ‘Dan il-poplu bix-xufftejn biss jagħtini ġieħ, imma qalbhom hija ’l bogħod minni. Fiergħa hi l-qima li jagħtuni; jgħallmu duttrina li mhijiex għajr preċetti tal-bnedmin’. Hekk intom, twarrbu l-kmandamenti ta’ Alla biex tħaddnu t-tradizzjoni tal-bnedmin”. Raġa’ sejjaħ in-nies lejh u qalilhom: “Isimgħuni, intom ilkoll, u ifhmuni! Ma hemm xejn minn barra li meta jidħol fi bniedem itebbgħu; imma dak li joħroġ minn ġol-bniedem, dak hu li jtabba’ lill-bniedem. Għax hu minn ġewwa, mill-qalb tal-bniedem, li joħorġu l-ħsibijiet il-ħżiena, żína, serq, qtil, adulterju, regħba, ħażen, qerq, libertinaġġ, għira, malafama, suppervja u bluha. Dal-ħażen kollu minn ġewwa joħroġ u jtabba’ lill-bniedem”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   


WHAT RELIGION TRULY IS  


Introduction:
 

Sunday’s readings explain what true religion is. It is not simply a scrupulous, external observance of rules, laws, traditions and rituals. It is a loving, obedient relationship with God expressed in obeying His Commandments, worshipping Him, recognizing His presence in other human beings, and rendering them loving and humble service. Prayers, rituals, Sacraments, and religious practices only help us to practice this true religion in our daily lives.

Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading explains that religion is a Covenant relationship with a caring, providing and protecting God, fostered by keeping His Commandments given through Moses. God gave Israel the Law so that the Israelites might keep their Covenant with Yahweh and thank Him for His love and fidelity to His Chosen People. The Law was also intended to keep them a united, holy and intelligent nation, proud of their powerful, protective, single God.

The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 15) describes a person who practices true religion —blameless and just, thoughtful and honest in dealing with others.

In the second reading, St. James defines true religion as keeping the word of God and doing His will by helping the needy, the poor and the weak in the community. He challenges Christians to become doers of the word, not merely hearers.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes true religion as serving God and all His children with a pure and holy heart.  The Gospel explains the encounter of Jesus with the Sanhedrin observers and the Pharisees who had been sent to assess Jesus’ unique, controversial teachings. These experts had found Jesus’ teachings an open violation of the “Traditions of the Elders,” and judged Jesus’ implied and spoken claims blasphemous.

They also noticed that Jesus’ disciples omitted the required ritual washing before meals. It was in the fifth century BC that the scribes started adding oral traditions as interpretations and practical applications of the Mosaic Law. The Pharisees observed them and insisted that all the Jews should do so. The original noble purpose was to sanctify the daily lives of the people, making them “holy as God is holy” (“You are a priestly kingdom, a holy nation” — Ex 19:6), and different in lifestyle from their pagan neighbors. 

Jesus uses the occasion as a teachable moment to give them the following lessons:

1) Don’t teach human doctrines as dogmas of Faith.

2) Sincerity of heart, internal disposition, purity, and holiness are more important than mere external ritual observances. 

3) Keep your heart holy as it is the source of sins, vices and evil habits. The observance of traditions and of washing rituals does not correct the internal motivations and inclinations that really defile people. 

4) External piety without internal holiness is hypocrisy.

Life messages:

1)
We need to learn and keep the spirit of the Church’s laws and ritual practices. For example, our Sunday obligation is intended to allow us to worship God in the parish community, to offer our lives to God, to ask His pardon for sins, to thank God for His blessings, and to receive Divine Life and strength from Him in Holy Communion. Our daily family prayers are meant to thank God for His blessings, to present the family’s needs before God, to ask pardon for sins, to maintain the spirit of unity and love in the family, and to keep a close relationship with God.

 2) Let us avoid the tendency to become cafeteria Christians that is, to choose certain Commandments and Church laws to follow, and to ignore the others as we choose certain food items and ignore others in a cafeteria.

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