"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)
Photo copyright : John R Portelli

Thursday, 12 May 2022

A QUESTION OF LOVE...

Readings for Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 54


Il-Ħames Ħadd tal-Għid


Reading 1               ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 14:21-27

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to  with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

 Qari 1                mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli  14:21b-27

F’dak iż-żmien, Pawlu u Barnaba reġgħu lura lejn Listra, Ikonju u Antjokja, jagħmlu l-qalb lid-dixxipli u jħeġġuhom biex jibqgħu fil-fidi, għaliex, kif kienu jgħidulhom, “jeħtiġilna nbatu ħafna biex nidħlu fis-Saltna ta’ Alla”. Għamlulhom ukoll presbiteri f’kull Knisja, u bit-talb u s-sawm ħallewhom f’idejn il-Mulej, li fih kienu emmnu. Imbagħad għaddew minn Pisidja u ġew fil-Pamfilja. Wara li xandru l-kelma f’Perġe, niżlu Attalija; minn hemm marru bil-baħar lejn Antjokja, mnejn kienu bagħtuhom u rrikkmandawhom f’idejn il-grazzja ta’ Alla għax-xogħol li temmew.
Meta waslu, laqqgħu l-membri tal-Knisja u qagħdu jgħarrfuhom b’dak kollu li Alla għamel magħhom, u wrewhom kif fetaħ il-bieb tal-fidi għall-pagani. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.      

 Responsorial Psalm               PSALM 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13

The LORD is gracio
us and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or: R/ Alleluia.


Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or: R/ Alleluia.


Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or: R A/lleluia.

 Salm Responsorjali               Salm 144(145):8-9,10-11,12-13ab

R/. Imbierek ismek għal dejjem, Mulej.
jew  R/. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.


Twajjeb u ħanin il-Mulej,
idum biex jagħdab u kollu tjieba.
Twajjeb ma’ kulħadd il-Mulej,
tjubitu fuq kulma għamel. R/.

Kulma għamilt iroddlok ħajr, Mulej;
iberkuk il-ħbieb tiegħek kollha.
Is-sebħ tas-saltna tiegħek ixandru,
fuq is-setgħa tiegħek jitkellmu. R/.

Jgħarrfu lill-bniedem il-qawwa tiegħek,
u s-sebħ u l-ġmiel tas-saltna tiegħek.
Saltnatek hi saltna għaż-żminijiet kollha,
minn nisel għal nisel il-ħakma tiegħek. R/.


Reading 2               REVELATIONS 21:1-5a

Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” The One who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Qari 2               mill-Ktieb tal-Apokalissi ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu 21:1-5a

Jiena, Ġwanni, rajt sema ġdid u art ġdida, għax is-sema ta’ qabel u l-art ta’ qabel għabu, u ma kienx hemm iżjed baħar. U l-Belt il-qaddisa, Ġerusalemm il-ġdida, rajtha nieżla mis-sema mingħand Alla, imħejjija bħal għarusa mżejna għall-għarus tagħha. U smajt leħen qawwi ġej mit-tron jgħid: “Din hi l-għamara ta’ Alla mal-bnedmin! Hu jgħammar magħhom, u huma jkunu l-poplu tiegħu, u Alla nnifsu jkun magħhom, Alla tagħhom. Hu jixxuttalhom kull demgħa minn għajnejhom; ma jkunx hemm iżjed mewt,anqas biki jew għajat jew tbatija ma jkun hemm iżjed, għax għabu l-ħwejjeġ ta’ qabel”. Imbagħad dak li hu bilqiegħda fuq it-tron qal: “Ara, se nġedded kollox”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

  Gospel               JOHN 13:31-33a, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
 
Evanġelju               Qari skont San 13:31-33a,34-35

Kif ħareġ Ġuda miċ-ċenaklu, Ġesù qal: “Bin il-bniedem huwa gglorifikat issa, u permezz tiegħu huwa gglorifikat Alla. Jekk Alla huwa gglorifikat permezz ta’ Bin il-bniedem, Alla wkoll permezz tiegħu nnifsu għad jigglorifika lilu, u dalwaqt jigglorifikah. Uliedi, ftit ieħor se ndum magħkom. Nagħtikom kmandament ġdid, li tħobbu lil xulxin. Bħalma ħabbejtkom jien, hekk ukoll ħobbu intom lil xulxin. Minn dan jagħraf kulħadd li intom dixxipli tiegħi, jiġifieri, jekk ikollkom l-imħabba bejnietkom”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

RENEWAL AND NEW THINGS

Introduction:


Sunday’s readings are about renewal and new things: The New Jerusalem, a new Heaven and a new earth, and a new commandment. 

 Scripture lessons: 

The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes how the small Christian communities helped the work of renewal in their members by their agápe love, imitating the agápe love of Paul and Barnabas. The second reading, from the Book of Revelation, explains how God renews His Church, the New Jerusalem, by being present in her members, in their parish communities, and in their liturgical celebrations. “See, I am making all things new.” 

Today’s Gospel passage gives us the secret of Christian renewal as the faithful practice of Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:35). Jesus has added a new element to the Old Testament command of love by teaching us that the true test of discipleship is to love other people in the same way that he has loved us, with sacrificial, selfless, self-giving, unconditional, agápe love. 

Hence, the renewal of Christian life means a radical change of vision and a reordering of our priorities in life. Such a renewal brings us to embrace new attitudes, new values, and new standards of relating to God, to other people and, indeed, to our whole environment.

Life messages:

1)   Let us learn to love ourselves so that we may learn to love each other. The old commandment (Lv 19:1-2, 9-18) says: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We cannot learn to cherish others and care for them if we have never learned to do the same for ourselves. We live in a world that denies our basic human worth. How do we reclaim our basic worth? 
We can become whole and holy only when we learn to love ourselves properly, acknowledging the fact that we are children of God and that the Triune God resides in our souls, making our bodies the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”

2)   Let us love others in our daily lives: We are asked to love as Jesus loved, in the ordinary course of our lives. We love others by responding to their everyday needs with love and compassion. We love others by comforting and protecting those who have experienced loss. We love others by serving others in every possible way, no matter how small, seeing the face of Jesus in them. We love others by forgiving rather than condemning, by challenging rather than condoning. Finally, we love others by sacrificially sharing our time, talents, and blessings with them.

3)   Let us demonstrate our love for others in our gatherings and parish assemblies: When we are assembled as a religious or social community, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our love for one another. People must see Christians as people who interact with a love and concern for one another that reveals their strong love and appreciation for each other. They should see in us a quickness to appreciate and readiness to forgive, even as Christ has forgiven us.

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Thursday, 5 May 2022

WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, THE SHEEP OF HIS FLOCK

 Readings for Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 51

Ir-Raba’ Ħadd tal-Għid


Reading 1                ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 13:14, 43-52


Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats. Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God. On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers  and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

QARI 1                mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 13:14,43-52

F’dak iż-żmien, Pawlu u Barnaba minn Perge baqgħu sejrin sa ma waslu f’Antjokja ta’ Pisidja. F’jum is-Sibt daħlu fis-sinagoga u qagħdu bilqiegħda. U meta xterdet il-ġemgħa tas-sinagoga, ħafna, kemm mil-Lhud u kemm mill-prosèliti twajba, marru ma’ Pawlu u ma’ Barnaba, u dawn ħeġġewhom biex jibqgħu fil-grazzja ta’ Alla. Is-Sibt ta’ wara, tista’ tgħid il-belt kollha nġabret biex tisma’ l-kelma tal-Mulej. Il-Lhud, meta raw il-folol, imtlew bl-għira u bdew imieru lil Pawlu u jidgħulu. Imma Pawlu u Barnaba bil-kuraġġ kollu qalu: “Hekk kien meħtieġ, li l-kelma ta’ Alla titħabbar lilkom l-ewwel. Billi intom qegħdin twarrbuha, u jidhrilkom li ma tistħoqqilkomx il-ħajja ta’ dejjem, aħna se nduru fuq il-pagani. Għax hekk ordnalna l-Mulej: ‘Jien għamiltek dawl tal-ġnus, biex twassal is-salvazzjoni sa truf l-art’”. Il-pagani, meta semgħu dan, bdew jifirħu u jigglorifikaw il-kelma tal-Mulej, u dawk kollha li kienu magħżula għall-ħajja ta’ dejjem emmnu. Hekk il-kelma tal-Mulej baqgħet tixtered mal-art kollha. Imma l-Lhud xewxu n-nisa twajba u magħrufa u wkoll il-kbarat tal-belt, u qajmu persekuzzjoni kontra Pawlu u Barnaba u keċċewhom ’il barra minn arthom. Huma farfru għal fuqhom it-trab minn ma’ riġlejhom u marru Ikonju. Iżda d-dixxipli mtlew bil-ferħ u bl-Ispirtu s-Santu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

Responsorial Psalm               PSALM 100:1-2, 3, 5

Sing joyfully to the LORD,
all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R  We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or:  R  Alleluia.


Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R  We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or: R  Alleluia


The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R  We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or:  R  Alleluia.

SALM RESPONSORJALI               Salm 99(100):2,3,5

R/.(3c): Aħna l-poplu tiegħu u n-nagħaġ tal-mergħa tiegħu.
jew   R/. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

Għajtu bil-ferħ lill-Mulej fl-art kollha,
aqdu bil-ferħ lill-Mulej,
idħlu quddiemu b’għana ferrieħi. R/.

Kunu afu li Jaħweh hu Alla:
hu ħalaqna, u aħna tiegħu,
aħna l-poplu tiegħu u n-nagħaġ tal-mergħa tiegħu. R/.

Għax twajjeb il-Mulej,
għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu;
minn żmien għal żmien il-fedeltà tiegħu. R/.
               

Reading 2               REVELATIONS 7:9, 14b-17

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

 Qari 2                mill-Ktieb tal-Apokalissi 7:9,14b-17

Jiena, Ġwanni, ħarist, u ara, kien hemm kotra kbira li ħadd ma jista’ jgħoddha, minn kull ġens u tribù, minn kull poplu u lsien, weqfin quddiem it-tron u quddiem il-Ħaruf, lebsin ilbiesi twal bojod, u bil-friegħi tal-palm f’idejhom. U wieħed mix-Xjuħ qalli: “Dawn huma dawk li ġejjin mit-taħbit il-kbir, u l-ilbiesi tagħhom ħasluhom u bajduhom fid-demm tal-Ħaruf. Għalhekk jinsabu quddiem it-tron ta’ Alla, lejl u nhar jaqduh fit-tempju tiegħu; u dak li qiegħed fuq it-tron jeħodhom jgħammru taħt il-kenn tiegħu. Ma jbatux aktar ġuħ, anqas għatx ma jagħmel bihom aktar; ix-xemx ma taħkimhomx, u anqas ebda għomma, ladarba l-Ħaruf, li hemm f’nofs it-tron, ikun ir-ragħaj tagħhom; u hu jwassalhom ħdejn ilmijiet tal-għejun tal-ħajja. U Alla jixxuttalhom kull demgħa minn għajnejhom”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

Gospel               JOHN 10:27-30

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Evanġelju               Qari skont San Ġwann 10:27-30

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal: “In-nagħaġ tiegħi jisimgħu leħni, u jiena nagħrafhom, u huma jimxu warajja. U jiena nagħtihom il-ħajja ta’ dejjem; u huma ma jintilfu qatt, u minn idejja ma jaħtafhomli ħadd. Missieri, li tahomli, hu akbar minn kulħadd, u ħadd ma jista’ jaħtafhom minn id il-Missier. Jien u l-Missier aħna ħaġa waħda”.
Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.
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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
(World Day of Prayer for Vocations)


Introduction:


The fourth Sunday of Easter, known as Good Shepherd Sunday, is also the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” Each year on this Sunday, we reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who devotedly and kindly takes care of his flock. The title “pastor” means shepherd. A shepherd leads, feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects his flock—responsibilities that belong to all Church leaders, parents, civil leaders, and all who are in charge of others.

Scripture lessons summarized:
 

Sunday’s first reading describes how Paul and Barnabas opted to listen to the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and follow him, and how, like their Master, they were rebuffed and rejected when they tried to share the good news of salvation. It also suggests that the sympathy of the early Christians for the Gentiles caused a rupture with Judaism. 

The second reading, taken from the book of Revelation, depicts Jesus as both the glorified Lamb and the Shepherd. John’s vision encourages his readers with the assurance that every person who has ever followed Christ and led others to him will share everlasting life with him. The Gospel text offers us both comfort and a great challenge. The comforting message is that no one can snatch the sheep out of his Father’s hands. The challenge is that pastors should be good shepherds to those entrusted to their care, while their flock of lay people should respond by being good sheep.

Shepherds in the Bible:

In the Old Testament, the image of the Shepherd is often applied to God as well as to the leaders of the people. The book of Exodus represents Yahweh several times as a Shepherd. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel compare Yahweh’s care and protection of His people to that of a shepherd. Ezekiel represents God as a loving Shepherd who searches diligently for the lost sheep. Psalm 23 is David’s famous picture of God as The Good Shepherd: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” 

In the New Testament, introducing himself as the Good Shepherd of his flock, Jesus makes three claims in today’s Gospel: 

1) He knows his sheep and his sheep hear his voice: 

2) He gives eternal life to us, his sheep (by giving us Faith in him through Baptism, and then by strengthening that Faith through Confirmation, by nourishing our souls with the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Bible, and by making our society holy through the Sacraments of Matrimony and the priesthood (Holy Orders). 

3) He protects his sheep by placing them in the loving hands of his Almighty Father. St. John’s Gospel adds two more claims: 

4) He goes in search of stray lambs and heals the sick ones (through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the sick). 

5) Jesus died for his sheep to free us from our sins, giving us life.

Life Messages:

Let us become good shepherds and good sheep, good leaders and good followers.

(1) Let us become good shepherds: Everyone who is entrusted with the care of others is a shepherd. Hence pastors, parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, government officials, etc. are all shepherds. We become good shepherds by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time and talents for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers.

(2) Let us be good sheep in the fold of Jesus, the Good Shepherd: Our local parish is our sheepfold, and our pastors are our shepherds. Hence, as the good sheep of the parish, parishioners are expected to: 

    a) hear and follow the voice of their shepherds through their homilies, Bible classes, counseling, and advice; 

    b) receive the spiritual food their pastors provide by regular participation in the Holy Mass, by frequenting the Sacraments, and by attending prayer services, renewal programs, and missions; 

    c) cooperate with their pastors by giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the parish, by encouraging them in their duties, by lovingly offering them constructive criticism when they are found misbehaving or failing in their duties and by praying for them always and forgiving them at need; and d) cooperate in the activities of various councils, ministries, and parish associations.

(3) Let us pray for vocations to priestly and religious life so that we may have more good shepherds to lead, feed, and protect the Catholic community.

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Thursday, 28 April 2022

GOD'S TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER

Readings for Sunday, May 1st, 2022

Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 48

 It-Tielet Ħadd tal-Għid



Reading 1                 ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 5:27-32, 40b-41


When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles said in reply,“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

Qari 1                Qari mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 5:27b-32,40b-41

F’dak iż-żmien, il-qaddejja ressqu lill-appostli quddiem is-Sinedriju. U l-qassis il-kbir qalilhom: “Aħna għednielkom fuq li għednielkom biex ma tgħallmux fuq dan l-isem. U araw, issa mlejtu ’l Ġerusalemm bit-tagħlim tagħkom, u tridu titfgħu fuqna l-ħtija ta’ demm dan il-bniedem!”. Iżda Pietru, flimkien mal-appostli, wieġeb u qal: “Jeħtieġ nobdu aktar lil Alla milli l-bnedmin. Alla ta’ missirijietna qajjem lil Ġesù li intom qtiltuh billi dendiltuh ma’ għuda. Alla għollieh bil-leminija tiegħu u għamlu kap u salvatur, biex jagħti lil Iżrael l-indiema u l-maħfra tad-dnubiet. U ta’ dan kollu hawn xhieda aħna flimkien mal-Ispirtu s-Santu li Alla ta lil dawk li jobduh”. Lill-appostli, wara li tawhom is-swat, ordnawlhom li ma jitkellmux fuq l-isem ta’ Ġesù; imbagħad telquhom. Iżda huma ħarġu minn quddiem is-Sinedriju ferħana talli ġew meqjusa bħala nies li jistħoqqilhom li jkunu mmaqdra minħabba l-isem ta’ Ġesù. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm               PSALM 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R/   I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or: R/  Alleluia.


Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R/  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:  R/  Alleluia.


Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R/  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:   R/  Alleluia.


Salm Responsorjali               Salm 29(30):2,4,5,6,11,12a,13b

R/.(2a): Ngħollik, Mulej, għax erfajtni.
jew
R/. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

Ngħollik, Mulej, għax erfajtni,
u ma ferraħtx l-għedewwa tiegħi bija.
Mulej, tellajtli mill-mewt ’il ruħi,
ħlistni minn fost dawk li jinżlu fil-ħofra. R/.

Għannu lill-Mulej, ħbieb tiegħu,
faħħru l-isem imqaddes tiegħu.
Għax ftit iddum is-saħna tiegħu,
iżda għomor sħiħ l-imħabba tiegħu.
Filgħaxija jidħol il-biki,
filgħodu jidwi l-għajat ta’ ferħ. R/.

Ismagħni, Mulej, u ħenn għalija;
kun, Mulej, l-għajnuna tiegħi!
Int bdilt fi żfin l-għali tiegħi.
Mulej, Alla tiegħi, infaħħrek għal dejjem! R/.

 
Reading 2               REVELATIONS 5:11-14

I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honou r and glory and blessing.” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out:  “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour, glory and might, forever and ever.” The four living creatures answered, “Amen, “  and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Qari 2                mill-Ktieb tal-Apokalissi 5:11-14

Jiena, Ġwanni, ħarist, u minn madwar it-tron u l-Ħlejjaq Ħajjin u x-Xjuħ smajt il-leħen ta’ ħafna anġli, li l-għadd tagħhom kien għaxriet ta’ eluf, u eluf ta’ eluf, jgħidu b’leħen qawwi: “Jistħoqqlu l-Ħaruf li kien maqtul li jirċievi l-qawwa u l-għana u l-għerf u s-saħħa u l-ġieħ u l-glorja u t-tifħir”. U fis-sema, fuq l-art, taħt l-art, u fil-baħar u l-ħlejjaq kollha li fihom, smajthom jgħidu: “Lil dak li qiegħed fuq it-tron u lill-Ħaruf, jingħata t-tifħir u l-ġieħ u l-glorja u l-ħakma, għal dejjem ta’ dejjem”. L-erba’ Ħlejjaq Ħajjin bdew iwieġbu: “Amen!”, filwaqt li x-Xjuħ inxteħtu jagħtu qima. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel               JOHN 21:1-19 or 21:1-14


At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Evanġelju               Qari skont San Ġwann 21:1-19

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù raġa’ deher lid-dixxipli ħdejn il-baħar ta’ Tiberija. Dehrilhom hekk: Xmun Pietru, Tumas, li jgħidulu t-Tewmi, Natanjel minn Kana tal-Galilija, ulied Żebedew u tnejn oħra mid-dixxipli tiegħu kienu flimkien. Xmun Pietru qalilhom: “Sejjer nistad”. Qalulu: “Ħa niġu miegħek aħna wkoll”. Marru, rikbu d-dgħajsa, u dak il-lejl ma qabdu xejn. Filgħodu mas-sebħ, Ġesù kien qiegħed ix-xatt, imma d-dixxipli ma kinux jafu li kien Ġesù. Ġesù qalilhom: “Għandkom x’tieklu, ħbieb?”. “Le”, weġbuh. Qalilhom: “Waddbu x-xibka n-naħa tal-lemin tad-dgħajsa u ssibu”. Dawn waddbu x-xibka, u mbagħad ma felħux jiġbduha daqskemm qabdu ħut! Id-dixxiplu li kien iħobb Ġesù qal lil Pietru: “Il-Mulej dan!”. Għalhekk Xmun Pietru, kif sama’ li kien il-Mulej, xeħet fuqu l-libsa ta’ fuq, għax kien għoddu għeri, u ntafa’ l-baħar. Id-dixxipli l-oħra, billi ma kinux imbiegħda wisq mill-art, imma xi mitejn driegħ biss, resqu bid-dgħajsa jkaxkru warajhom ix-xibka bil-ħut. Kif niżlu l-art, raw li kien hemm xi faħam jaqbad, bil-ħut fuqu, u xi ftit ħobż. Qalilhom Ġesù: “Newlu ’l hawn xi ħutiet minn dawk li għadkom kemm qbadtu”. Xmun Pietru tala’ fid-dgħajsa u ġibed l-art ix-xibka mimlija b’mija u tlieta u ħamsin ħuta kbira; u minkejja daqshekk ħut, ix-xibka ma nqasmitx. Qalilhom Ġesù: “Ejjew, kulu”. Imma ħadd mid-dixxipli ma ssogra jistaqsih: “Int min int?”, għax kienu jafu li kien il-Mulej. Ġesù resaq, qabad il-ħobż u newwilhulhom; u hekk ukoll għamel bil-ħut. Din kienet ġa t-tielet darba li Ġesù deher lid-dixxipli wara l-qawmien tiegħu mill-imwiet. Wara li kielu xi ħaġa, Ġesù qal lil Xmun Pietru: “Xmun bin Ġwanni, tħobbni int aktar minn dawn?”. Wieġbu: “Iva, Mulej, int taf li nħobbok”. Qallu: “Irgħa l-ħrief tiegħi”. Staqsieh għat-tieni darba: “Xmun bin Ġwanni, tħobbni int?”. Wieġbu: “Iva, Mulej, int taf li nħobbok”. Qallu: “Irgħa n-nagħaġ tiegħi”. Għat-tielet darba staqsieh: “Xmun bin Ġwanni, tħobbni?”. Pietru ħass għafsa ta’ qalb għax staqsieh għat-tielet darba: “Tħobbni?”, u qallu: “Mulej, int taf kollox, inti taf li nħobbok”. Qallu Ġesù: “Irgħa n-nagħaġ tiegħi. Tassew tassew ngħidlek, meta kont żagħżugħ, kont titħażżem waħdek u tmur fejn trid; imma meta tixjieħ, int tiftaħ idejk u ħaddieħor iħażżmek u jieħdok fejn ma tkunx trid!”. Dan qalu biex ifisser b’liema mewta kien sejjer jagħti glorja lil Alla. Imbagħad Ġesù ssokta jgħidlu: “Ejja warajja”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TRANSFORMS US

Introduction:


Sunday’s Gospel narrative shows us the rehabilitation of Peter, who denied Jesus three times in the courtyard of Caiaphas, repented, and then received Primacy in the Church from Jesus. The Gospel also shows us God in search of man, even when man tries to evade Him.

Scripture lessons:

The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, tells us how the Holy Spirit transformed Peter, whom Jesus had appointed head of his Church, from a man fearful of powerful men into a brave witness to the Resurrection. Peter stands before the Jewish Supreme Court – the Sanhedrin — boldly announcing that he and the others must obey God rather than men.

The second reading, taken from Revelation (the Apocalypse), presents John’s vision of the Risen Lord as the glorified “Lamb of God,” enthroned in Heaven. The whole of Revelation is an expression of Christian hope in the Risen Lord. 

Sunday’s Gospel tells the post-Resurrection story of our merciful Saviour Who goes in search of His band of disappointed and dejected disciples. The incident proves that Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances were not mere hallucinations. In the first part of today’s Gospel, the risen Jesus appears to His disciples and gives them a symbol of their mission in a miraculous catch of fish followed by a grilled fish breakfast prepared by Jesus himself. 

The second part is a dialogue between Jesus and Simon where Simon is asked three times whether he loves Jesus, and he answers that he does, as if in reparation for his triple denial of Jesus. The two metaphors used in the story, namely fishing and shepherding, are the duties of the Church in her missionary work. Peter, as a forgiven sinner, is chosen for the quality of his love to serve as leader in a community of brothers and sisters. As his primary mission, Peter is given the care of the vulnerable lambs and sheep, and he is told that fidelity to this mission will lead him to martyrdom.

Life messages:


We need to open our eyes, ears and hearts wide to see, hear, and experience the Risen Lord coming into our lives in various forms, circumstances, and events: 

1) The Risen Lord blesses us with success and achievements. We often fail to acknowledge the presence of the Risen Lord behind our unexpected successes, great achievements, promotions at work, miraculous healings, and success in relationships. He is right there in our parties, celebrations, and occasions of rejoicing.

 2) The Risen Lord is present in our pains and suffering: Acts 9:1-13 tells us how the Risen Lord transformed the life of Saul by pushing him down onto the Damascus Road and making him temporarily blind. The same Jesus often visits us in the form of accidents, illnesses, the loss of dear ones, pain, suffering, and problems in relationships. 

3) The Risen Lord visits us through our friends and well-wishers: He is present in those who visit us and encourage us in our sad and desperate moments. The Risen Lord visits us in the form of unexpected help from the least expected persons in our dire needs.

4) The Risen Lord is present in our Christian worship: He is present on our altars during the Holy Mass to share His life with us; He is present in the words of Holy Scripture; He is there in the Sacraments, and He is there where two or three are gathered in his name (Mt 18: 20).

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Friday, 22 April 2022

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND HAVE NOT SEEN.

Readings for Sunday, April 24th, 2022

 
 Second Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy)
Lectionary: 45

 It-Tieni Ħadd tal-Għid (il-Ħadd tal-Ħniena Divina)



Reading 1               ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 5:12-16


Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s portico. None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them. Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

Qari 1                mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 5:12-16

Bis-saħħa tal-appostli kienu jsiru ħafna sinjali u mirakli fost il-poplu. U huma lkoll qalb waħda kienu jinġabru flimkien fil-portiku ta’ Salamun, u ħadd mill-oħrajn ma kien jissogra jissieħeb magħhom; imma kulħadd kien ifaħħarhom ħafna. L-għadd ta’ dawk li kienu jemmnu fil-Mulej, kemm irġiel kemm nisa, kien dejjem jiżdied u joktor, hekk li kienu wkoll iġorru l-morda tagħhom fuq sodod u mtieraħ u jqegħduhom fil-pjazez biex, xħin jgħaddi Pietru, jaqa’ mqar id-dell tiegħu fuq xi ħadd minnhom. In-nies kienu jiġu mill-ibliet ta’ madwar Ġerusalemm, iġorru l-morda u lil dawk li kienu maħkuma mill-ispirti mniġġsa; u lkoll kienu jitfejqu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm               PSALM 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:  Alleluia.


I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:  Alleluia.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:  Alleluia.


Salm Responsorjali               Salm 117(118):2-4,22-24,25-27a

R/: Faħħru ’l Mulej, għaliex hu tajjeb!
jew  Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Ħa jgħidu wlied Iżrael:
“Għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu”.
Ħa tgħid dar Aron:
“Għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu”.
Ħa jgħidu dawk li jibżgħu mill-Mulej:
“Għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu”. R/.

Il-ġebla li warrbu l-bennejja
saret il-ġebla tax-xewka.
Bis-saħħa tal-Mulej seħħ dan:
ħaġa tal-għaġeb f’għajnejna.
Dan hu l-jum li għamel il-Mulej;
ħa nifirħu u nithennew fih! R/.

Ejja, nitolbuk, Mulej, salvana!
Ejja, nitolbuk, Mulej, agħtina r-riżq!
Imbierek minn ġej f’isem il-Mulej!
Inberkukom minn dar il-Mulej.
Jaħweh hu Alla; hu d-dawl tagħna. R/.


Reading 2               REVELATIONS 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19

I, John, your brother, who share with you the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, found myself on the island called Patmos because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus. I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said, “Write on a scroll what you see.” Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest. When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld. Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

Qari 2                mill-Ktieb tal-Apokalissi 1:9-11a,12-13,17-19

Jiena, Ġwanni, ħukom u sieħeb tagħkom fit-taħbit u fis-saltna u fis-sabar ma’ Ġesù, jien sibt ruħi fil-gżira jisimha Patmos minħabba l-Kelma ta’ Alla u x-xhieda ta’ Ġesù. Darba, f’jum il-Mulej, ħassejtni merfugħ fl-Ispirtu, u minn warajja smajt leħen qawwi, bħal ta’ tromba, jgħidli: “Kulma tara niżżlu fi ktieb u ibagħtu lis-seba’ knejjes”. U jiena dort biex nara min kien qiegħed ikellimni; u, kif dort, rajt seba’ kandelabri tad-deheb, u f’nofs il-kandelabri kien hemm wieħed qisu Iben ta’ bniedem, liebes libsa twila sa wiċċ saqajh, b’sidru mħażżem bi ħżiem tad-deheb. Jien, kif rajtu, waqajt qisni mejjet f’riġlejh. Iżda hu ressaq idu l-leminija fuqi u qalli: “Tibżax! Jien hu l-Ewwel u l-Aħħar, jiena l-Ħaj; jien kont mejjet, u ara, jien issa ħaj għal dejjem ta’ dejjem, u għandi jinsabu l-imfietaħ tal-Mewt u ta’ Post il-Mejtin. Ikteb kulma tara, kemm il-ħwejjeġ li hawn issa u kemm dawk li se jiġru ’l quddiem”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel               JOHN 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Evanġelju               Qari skont San Ġwann 20:19-31

Dakinhar filgħaxija, fl-ewwel jum tal-ġimgħa, meta d-dixxipli kienu flimkien imbeżżgħa mil-Lhud, bil-bibien magħluqa, ġie Ġesù u qagħad f’nofshom; u qalilhom: “Is-sliem għalikom!”. Kif qal hekk, uriehom idejh u ġenbu. Id-dixxipli ferħu meta raw lill-Mulej. Imbagħad Ġesù tenna jgħidilhom: “Is-sliem għalikom! Kif il-Missier bagħat lili, hekk jien nibgħat lilkom”. Kif qal hekk, nefaħ fuqhom u qalilhom: “Ħudu l-Ispirtu s-Santu. Dawk li taħfrulhom dnubiethom ikunu maħfura, u dawk li żżommuhomlhom ikunu miżmuma”.  Tumas, wieħed mit-Tnax, jgħidulu t-Tewmi, ma kienx magħhom meta ġie Ġesù. Għalhekk id-dixxipli l-oħra qalulu: “Rajna lill-Mulej”. Iżda hu qalilhom: “Jekk ma narax f’idejh il-marka tal-imsiemer u ma nqigħedx sebgħi fuq il-marka tal-imsiemer u idi fuq ġenbu, jien ma nemminx”. Tmint ijiem wara, id-dixxipli reġgħu kienu ġewwa, u Tumas magħhom. Il-bibien kienu magħluqa, imma Ġesù daħal, qagħad f’nofshom, u qalilhom: “Is-sliem għalikom!”.  Imbagħad qal lil Tumas: “Ġib sebgħek hawn u ara jdejja, u ressaq idek u qegħedha fuq ġenbi; tkunx bniedem bla fidi, iżda emmen”. Wieġeb Tumas u qallu: “Mulej tiegħi u Alla tiegħi!”. Qallu Ġesù: “Emmint għax rajtni! Henjin dawk li ma rawx u emmnu”. Hemm ħafna sinjali oħra li Ġesù għamel quddiem id-dixxipli tiegħu u li mhumiex imniżżla f’dan il-ktieb. Iżda dawn inkitbu sabiex intom temmnu li Ġesù hu l-Messija l-Iben ta’ Alla, u biex bit-twemmin tagħkom ikollkom il-ħajja f’ismu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.



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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

FAITH, FORGIVENESS and the FATHER

Introduction:


The readings for this Sunday are about God’s mercy, the necessity for trusting Faith, and our need for the forgiveness of our sins. The opening prayer addresses the Father as “God of everlasting Mercy.” In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 118), we repeat several times, “His mercy endures forever!” God revealed His mercy, first and foremost, in sending His only begotten Son to become our Savior and Lord through His suffering, death, and Resurrection. Divine Mercy is given to us also in each celebration of the Sacraments (all instituted to sanctify us) , especially that of Reconciliation.

Scripture lessons summarized:

The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, explains how the Risen Lord continued to show His Divine Mercy to the sick through the healing and preaching ministry of the apostles in the early Church. The Faith of the apostles enabled them to minister to the people, giving them the Lord’s healing love in “signs and wonders.”

The second reading, taken from the Book of Revelation (given by Jesus to the Apostle John in exile on Patmos), was intended to comfort and bolster the Faith of persecuted Christians for all time. Sunday’s selection assures us of the presence of the merciful Lord in our lives and encourages all of us to fight fear with Faith, and trepidation about the future with trust and Hope.

Today’s Gospel recalls Jesus’ institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a Sacrament of Divine Mercy. The Risen Lord gave his apostles and their successors the power to forgive sins with the words, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:19-23). Presenting the doubting Thomas’ famous profession of Faith, “My Lord and my God,” the Gospel illustrates how Jesus showed his mercy to the doubting apostle and emphasizes the importance of Faith.

Life messages:

1) We need to accept God’s invitation to celebrate and practice mercy in our Christian lives: One way the Church celebrates God’s mercy throughout the year is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finding time for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is another good way to receive and give thanks for Divine Mercy. But it is mainly through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy that we practice mercy in our daily lives and become eligible for God’s merciful judgment.

2) Let us ask God for the Faith that culminates in self-surrender to God and that leads us to serve those we encounter with love. Living Faith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives us the willingness to render to each our loving service. 

The Fathers of the Church prescribe the following traditional means to grow in the living and dynamic faith of St. Thomas the Apostle: 

a) First, we must come to know Jesus personally and intimately by our daily and meditative reading of the Bible. 

b) Next, we must strengthen our Faith through our personal and community prayer. 

c) Third, we must share in the Divine Life of Jesus by frequenting the Sacraments of Reconciliation and receiving the Holy Eucharist. St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) presents it this way: “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve. Only then we put our love of God into action.”

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Saturday, 16 April 2022

HE IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!

Readings for Sunday, April 17h, 2022


Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord
Lectionary: 42

 L-Għid il-Kbir tal-Qawmien tal-Mulej mill-Imwiet
Solennità - Quddiesa tal-Jum



Reading 1                ACTS 10:34a, 37-43

Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Qari 1                mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli  10, 34a.37-43

F’dak iż-żmien, Pietru qabad jitkellem u qal: “Intom tafu b’dak li ġara mal-Lhudija kollha, ibda mill-Galilija, wara li Ġwanni kien xandar il-magħmudija; tafu kif Alla kkonsagra lil Ġesù ta’ Nazaret bl-Ispirtu s-Santu u bil-qawwa, u kif dan Ġesù għadda jagħmel il-ġid u jfejjaq lil dawk kollha li kienu maħkuma mix-xitan, għax Alla kien miegħu. U aħna xhud ta’ dak kollu li hu għamel fl-art tal-Lhudija u f’Ġerusalemm. Tawh il-mewt billi dendluh mal-għuda tas-salib; imma Alla qajmu mill-imwiet fit-tielet jum u għamel li hu jidher, mhux lil kulħadd, imma lix-xhieda li Alla għażel minn qabel, lilna, li miegħu kilna u xrobna wara l-qawmien tiegħu mill-imwiet. Lilna ordnalna biex inxandruh lill-poplu u nixhdu li dan hu dak li Alla għamlu mħallef tal-ħajjin u tal-mejtin. Il-profeti kollha jixhdu għalih u jgħidu li kull min jemmen fih jaqla’ l-maħfra tad-dnubiet bis-saħħa ta’ ismu”.  Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm               PSALM 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.


Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
 for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. or:   R  Alleluia.

“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
 the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
 and declare the works of the LORD.”
R  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.  or: R  Alleluia.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
It is wonderful in our eyes.
R  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. or:    R  Alleluia.

Salm Responsorjali               Salm 117 (118), 1-2.16ab-17. 22-23

R/. (24): Dan hu l-jum li għamel il-Mulej; ħa nifirħu u nithennew fih. Hallelujah

Faħħru lill-Mulej, għaliex hu tajjeb,
għax għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu!
Ħa jgħidu wlied Iżrael:
“Għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu”. R/.

Il-leminija tal-Mulej ’il fuq merfugħa,
il-leminija tal-Mulej għamlet ħwejjeġ ta’ ħila!
Ma mmutx, imma nibqa’ ngħix,
u nħabbar l-għemejjel tal-Mulej. R/.

Il-ġebla li warrbu l-bennejja
saret il-ġebla tax-xewka.
Bis-saħħa tal-Mulej seħħ dan:
ħaġa tal-għaġeb f’għajnejna. R/.

Reading 2               COLOSSIANS 3:1-4
Brothers and sisters:  If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

Or:               1 CORINTHIANS 5:6b-8
Brothers and sisters: Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

QARI 2               mill-Ittra lill-Kolossin 3, 1-4

Ħuti, jekk intom irxuxtajtu ma’ Kristu, fittxu l-ħwejjeġ tas-sema, fejn Kristu qiegħed fuq il-lemin ta’ Alla. Aħsbu fil-ħwejjeġ tas-sema, mhux f’dawk tal-art. Għax intom mittu, imma ħajjitkom hi moħbija flimkien ma’ Kristu f’Alla. Meta jidher Kristu, li hu l-ħajja tagħkom, imbagħad intom ukoll tidhru flimkien miegħu fil-glorja.

Jew :                   mill-Ewwel Ittra lill-Korintin 5, 6b-8
Ħuti, ma tafux li ftit ħmira ttalla’ l-għaġna kollha? Tnaddfu mill-ħmira l-qadima ħalli tkunu għaġna ġdida, kif intom bla ħmira. Il-Ħaruf tal-Għid tagħna, li hu Kristu, hu maqtul! Nagħmlu festa, mhux bil-ħmira l-qadima, anqas bil-ħmira tal-qerq u tal-ħażen, imma bil-ħobż bla ħmira tas-safa u tas-sewwa.
Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Sequence    (Victimae paschali laudes)

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
 What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

Sekwenza

Ħa jgħollu l-insara b’tifħirhom
il-Vittma tal-Għid:
għax feda l-Ħaruf in-nagħaġ tiegħu
mill-jasar tal-mewt;
Ġesù raġa’ ħabbeb il-midneb
ma’ Alla l-Missier.
F’taqbida tal-għaġeb mal-Ħajja
inqerdet il-Mewt;
u qam Sid il-ħajja mill-qabar,
isaltan rebbieħ.

“Għidilna, Marija, ħabbrilna:
fit-triq lil min rajt?”
“Jien rajt qabar Kristu li rxoxta
fis-sebħ tal-qawmien;
rajt l-Anġli li ġew jagħtu xhieda,
il-faxxa, il-liżar.
Irxoxta mill-mewt Kristu Sidi,
li fih ittamajt!
Mar hu l-Galilija qabilkom:
hemmhekk se tarawh”.          


Gospel            JOHN 20:1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

EVANGELJU              Qari skont San Ġwann 20, 1-9

Kien l-ewwel jum tal-ġimgħa, filgħodu kmieni kif kien għadu d-dlam, u Marija ta’ Magdala ġiet ħdejn il-qabar u rat il-blata mneħħija mill-qabar. Għalhekk telqet tiġri għand Xmun Pietru u għand id-dixxiplu l-ieħor li kien iħobb Ġesù, u qaltilhom: “Qalgħu lill-Mulej mill-qabar, u ma nafux fejn qegħduh!”. Pietru u d-dixxiplu l-ieħor ħarġu u ġew ħdejn il-qabar. It-tnejn ġrew flimkien, imma d-dixxiplu l-ieħor ħaffef aktar minn Pietru u laħaq qablu ħdejn il-qabar. Tbaxxa, u ra l-faxex tal-għażel imqiegħda hemm, iżda ma daħalx. Imbagħad wasal warajh Xmun Pietru, daħal fil-qabar, u ra l-faxex tal-għażel imqiegħda hemm, u l-maktur li kien madwar rasu; dan ma kienx mal-faxex, imma mitwi u mqiegħed f’post għalih. Imbagħad id-dixxiplu l-ieħor, li kien wasal l-ewwel ħdejn il-qabar, daħal hu wkoll, ra, u emmen. Sa dakinhar kienu għadhom ma fehmux l-Iskrittura li tgħid li kellu jqum mill-imwiet. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   


THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF EASTER


“Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.” Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church for four reasons:

1) The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith. It is the greatest of the miracles, for it proves that Jesus is God. That is why St. Paul writes: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in vain” (I Cor 15:14). “Jesus is Lord, He is risen” (Rom 10:9), was the central theme of the kerygma (or “preaching”), of the Apostles

2) Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will live even though he dies…” (Jn 11:25-26).

3) Easter is a feast which gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows and tears. It reminds us that life is worth living. It also gives us strength to fight against temptations and freedom from unnecessary worries and fears.

4) Easter gives meaning to our prayers: It supports our belief in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus in and around us, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament and in Heaven, hearing our prayers, and so gives meaning to our personal as well as our communal prayers. (An anecdote may be added here)

Reasons why we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus:

(1) Jesus himself testified to his Resurrection from the dead, giving it as a sign of his divinity. (Mark 8:31; Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). "Tear down this temple and in three days I will build it again”(Jn 2: 19).

(2) The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday (Luke 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Matthew 28:13), that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it was impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to steal the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by an armed, 16-member Roman Guard detachment.

(3) The initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in Jesus’ Resurrection, in spite of His repeated apparitions, serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. Their initial disbelief explains why the Apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

(4) The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: Jesus’ Resurrection and the anointing of the Holy Spirit transformed men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19), into men who now were confident and bold witnesses to the Resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2)powerfully preaching the Risen Lord.

(5) Neither the Jews nor the Romans could disprove Jesus’ Resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus.

(6) The Apostles and early Christians would not have fearlessly preached Christ as Savior and faced martyrdom if they were not absolutely sure of Jesus’ Resurrection.

(7) The Apostle Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a zealous preacher of Jesus supports the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection (Galatians 1:11-17, Acts 9:1, Acts 9:24-25, Acts 26:15-18).

(8) The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian Church, bravely facing and surviving three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the Resurrection claim.

(9) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. The Apostles and the early Christians were absolutely sure about the Resurrection of Jesus.

Life Messages:

1) Let us live the lives of Resurrection people: We are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins, evil habits, dangerous addictions, despair, discouragement or doubts. Instead, we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the living presence of the Risen Lord Who loves us in all the events of our lives and amid the boredom, suffering, pain and tensions of our day-to-day life.

2) The conviction of the real presence of the Risen Lord with us and within us and all around us, enables us to lead disciplined Christian lives. It will help us to control our thoughts, desires, words, behavior and actions.

3)
This salutary awareness of the presence of the Risen Lord within us inspires us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure and free from evil habits and addictions. Our conviction that the loving presence of the Risen Lord dwells in our neighbors and in all those we encounter, should encourage us to respect them and to render them loving, humble and selfless service.

4) We need to become transparent Christians, radiating the Risen Lord around us in the form of selfless and sacrificial agape love, mercy, compassion and a spirit of humble service. each time we try to practice Christian charity, mercy and forgiveness and each time we fight against temptations, we share in the Resurrection of Jesus. (L/22)

May the Risen Lord be a living experience to you, pervading every area of your life, blessing you, strengthening you, inspiring you, guiding you and supporting you

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Thursday, 7 April 2022

THE PASSION THAT REDEEMED US

Readings for Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 37         
At the Mass 

Ħadd il-Palm u l-Passjoni tal-Mulej
Il-Quddiesa



Reading 1               ISAIAH 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he 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.

Qari 1                mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Isaija 50, 4-7

Sidi l-Mulej tani lsien ta’ wieħed jitgħallem, biex nagħraf ngħin lill-għajjien b’xi kelma. Ta’ kull filgħodu jqajjimli lil widinti, biex nisma’ bħal wieħed jitgħallem. Sidi l-Mulej fetaħli widinti, u jiena ma webbistx rasi, ma rġajtx lura. Tajt dahri lil dawk li kienu jsawtuni, ħaddejja lil dawk li kien 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. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej
 

Responsorial Psalm               PSALM 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24.

All who see me scoff at me;
 they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Salm Responsorjali               Salm 21 (22), 8-9.17-18a.19-20.23-24

R/. (2a): Alla tiegħi, Alla tiegħi, għaliex tlaqtni?


Dawk kollha li jarawni jidħku bija,
jgħajbuni, iħarrku rashom u jgħidu:
“F’idejn il-Mulej intelaq; ħa jeħilsu hu!
Ħa jsalvah hu, la bih jitgħaxxaq!” R/.

Qabda klieb daru għalija;
ġemgħa nies ħżiena rassewni.
Taqqbuli idejja u riġlejja;
nista’ ngħodd għadmi kollu. R/.

Ħwejġi jaqsmu bejniethom,
jaqtgħu x-xorti għal-libsa tiegħi.
Mulej, la titbegħidx minni;
qawwa tiegħi, fittex għinni! R/.

Inxandar ismek lil ħuti;
infaħħrek f’nofs il-ġemgħa.
Faħħru l-Mulej, intom li tibżgħu minnu;
sebbħuh ilkoll, nisel Ġakobb!
ibżgħu minnu lkoll, ulied Iżrael! R/.
 

Reading 2               PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God  something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Qari 2                mill-Ittra lill-Filippin 2, 6-11

Ġesù Kristu li għad li kellu n-natura ta’ Alla, ma qagħadx ifittex tiegħu li hu daqs Alla, iżda xejjen lilu nnifsu billi ħa n-natura ta’ lsir, sar jixbah lill-bnedmin, u deher minn barra bħala bniedem; ċekken lilu nnifsu, billi obda sal-mewt, anzi sal-mewt tas-salib. Għalhekk Alla għollieh sas-smewwiet u żejnu bl-isem li hu fuq kull isem, biex fl-isem ta’ Ġesù – fis-sema, fl-art u f’qiegħ l-art –il-ħlejjaq kollha jinżlu għarkupptejhom, u kull ilsien jistqarr: “Ġesù Kristu hu l-Mulej”, għall-glorja ta’ Alla l-Missier.  Il-Kelma tal-Mulej

Gospel               LUKE 22:14—23:56


When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. “And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” And they began to debate among themselves who among them would do such a deed. Then an argument broke out among them about which of them should be regarded as the greatest. He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves. It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” He said to him, “Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.” But he replied, “I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.” He said to them, “When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?” “No, nothing, “ they replied. He said to them, “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, namely, He was counted among the wicked; and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.” Then they said, “Lord, look, there are two swords here.” But he replied, “It is enough!”

Then going out, he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, “Lord, shall we strike with a sword?” And one of them struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, “Stop, no more of this!” Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him. And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? Day after day I was with you in the temple area, and you did not seize me; but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness.” After arresting him they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest; Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter sat down with them. When a maid saw him seated in the light, she looked intently at him and said, “This man too was with him.” But he denied it saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A short while later someone else saw him and said, “You too are one of them”; but Peter answered, “My friend, I am not.” About an hour later, still another insisted, “Assuredly, this man too was with him, for he also is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.” Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. The men who held Jesus in custody were ridiculing and beating him. They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying, “Prophesy!  Who is it that struck you?” And they reviled him in saying many other things against him. When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, “ but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, “We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.” Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.”

Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, “I find this man not guilty.” But they were adamant and said, “He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here.” On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” But all together they shouted out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” — Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder. — Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, but they continued their shouting, “Crucify him!  Crucify him!” Pilate addressed them a third time, “What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished. As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Here all kneel and pause for a short time. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events. Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.

Evanġelju               Il-Passjoni ta’ Sidna Ġesù Kristu skont San Luqa 22, 14 – 23, 56

Meta sar il-ħin, Ġesù qagħad fuq il-mejda flimkien mal-appostli, u qalilhom: “Kelli xewqa kbira li nagħmel din l-ikla tal-Għid magħkom qabel ma nbati! Għaliex, ngħidilkom, din l-ikla m’iniex se nagħmilha iżjed sa ma tkun seħħet għalkollox fis-Saltna ta’ Alla”.  U qabad kalċi, radd il-ħajr u qal: “Ħudu dan il-kalċi u aqsmuh bejnietkom. Għaliex, ngħidilkom, minn issa ’l quddiem ma nixrobx iżjed mill-frott tad-dielja sa ma tiġi s-Saltna ta’ Alla”. Imbagħad ħa l-ħobż, radd il-ħajr, qasmu, newwilhulhom u qal: “Dan hu ġismi li jingħata għalikom; agħmlu dan b’tifkira tiegħi”.  Hekk ukoll wara l-ikla ħa l-kalċi u qal: “Dan il-kalċi huwa l-Patt il-Ġdid b’demmi, id-demm li jixxerred għalikom. Imma, araw, id dak li se jittradini qiegħda miegħi fuq il-mejda. Għax tassew li Bin il-bniedem imur, kif hemm maqtugħ, imma ħażin għalih dak il-bniedem li jittradih!”. Huma għalhekk bdew jistaqsu lil xulxin min minnhom kien se jagħmel dan. Inqalgħet ukoll kwistjoni bejniethom dwar min minnhom kellu jinżamm bħala l-akbar wieħed. Imma hu qalilhom:  “Fost il-pagani s-slaten jaħkmu fuq in-nies, u dawk li jħaddmu s-setgħa fuqhom isejħulhom benefatturi. Intom mhux hekk, imma l-akbar fostkom għandu jġib ruħu tal-iżgħar wieħed, u min hu fuq l-oħrajn iġib ruħu ta’ qaddej. Għax min hu l-akbar, dak li jkun fuq il-mejda, jew dak li jkun qiegħed jaqdi? Mhux dak li jkun fuq il-mejda? Imma jien qiegħed fostkom nagħmilha ta’ qaddej. Intom, imbagħad, intom dawk li żammejtu sħiħ miegħi fit-tiġrib kollu li ġie fuqi; u bħalma Missieri ħejja saltna għalija, hekk ukoll jiena nħejji għalikom, biex tieklu u tixorbu fuq il-mejda miegħi f’saltnati, u toqogħdu fuq tronijiet biex tagħmlu ħaqq mit-tnax-il tribù ta’ Iżrael. Xmun! Xmun! Ara, ix-Xitan riedkom f’idejh biex jgħaddikom mill-għarbiel bħall-qamħ; imma jiena tlabt għalik, biex il-fidi tiegħek ma tiġix nieqsa. Inti mbagħad, meta terġa’ lura għas-sewwa, wettaq lil ħutek”. Qallu Xmun:  “Mulej, jiena lest li miegħek niġi saħansitra l-ħabs, lest li nieħu l-mewt ukoll”. Imma Ġesù qallu: “Ngħidlek, Pietru, li ll m, qabel ma jidden is-serduk, tkun ċħadt għal tliet darbiet li inti tafni”.Imbagħad qalilhom: “Naqsitkom xi ħaġa meta bgħattkom bla borża u bla ħorġa u bla qorq?” Huma weġbuh:  “Ma naqasna xejn”.  Qalilhom Ġesù: “Imma issa, min għandu borża jqis li jeħodha miegħu, u min għandu ħorġa wkoll; u min ma għandux sejf, ibigħ il-libsa ta’ fuqu u jixtri wieħed. Għaliex ngħidilkom, jeħtieġ li jseħħ fija dak li hemm miktub, jiġifieri: “Li kien magħdud mal-ħżiena”. Tabilħaqq, dak li hemm miktub fuqi jseħħ”. Qalulu d-dixxipli:  “Mulej, ara, hawn żewġt isjuf hawnhekk”.  Qalilhom Ġesù: “Biżżejjed!”  Imbagħad ħareġ u mar bħas-soltu fuq l-Għolja taż-Żebbuġ, u d-dixxipli wkoll marru miegħu. Kif wasal hemmhekk qalilhom: “Itolbu li ma tidħlux fit-tiġrib”.  Imbagħad tbiegħed minnhom daqs tefgħa ta’ ġebla, u nxteħet għarkupptejh jitlob u jgħid: “Missier, jekk inti trid, warrab minni dan il-kalċi! Iżda tkun magħmula r-rieda tiegħek, u mhux tiegħi”. Deherlu anġlu mis-sema biex jagħmillu l-qalb, imma hu ħass dwejjaq tal-mewt fuqu u beda jitlob b’ħerqa akbar. L-għaraq sarlu bħal qtar tad-demm iċarċar sal-art. 

Imbagħad qam mit-talb, mar ħdejn id-dixxipli u sabhom reqdin minħabba s-swied ta’ qalb. U qalilhom: “Kif! Irqadtu? Qumu u itolbu biex ma tidħlux fit-tiġrib!”  Kif kien għadu jitkellem, waslet ġemgħa nies. Quddiem kien hemm dak li jismu Ġuda, wieħed mit-Tnax, u dan resaq lejn Ġesù biex ibusu. Imma Ġesù qallu: “Bewsa għażilt, Ġuda, biex tittradih lil Bin il-bniedem?”  Dawk ta’ madwaru, meta raw x’kien ġej, qalulu: “Mulej, tridx nagħtu bis-sejf?” U wieħed minnhom ta daqqa ta’ sejf lill-qaddej tal-qassis il-kbir u qatagħlu barra widintu l-leminija. Imma Ġesù qal: “Ieqfu! Biżżejjed!”  U messlu widintu u fejqu. Imbagħad Ġesù qal lill-qassisin il-kbar, lill-uffiċjali tat-tempju u lix-xjuħ li ġew għalih: “Qiskom ħriġtu għal xi ħalliel, armati bis-sjuf u l-bsaten! Meta kont inkun magħkom kuljum fit-tempju, ma meddejtux idejkom fuqi. Imma din hi s-siegħa tagħkom u s-setgħa tad-dlamijiet!” Imbagħad qabdu lil Ġesù u ħaduh magħhom, u daħħluh fil-palazz tal-qassis il-kbir. Pietru baqa’ miexi warajhom mill-bogħod. Meta mbagħad qabbdu n-nar f’nofs il-bitħa u nxteħtu bilqiegħda madwaru, Pietru mar qagħad bilqiegħda f’nofshom. Imma kif kien hemm bilqiegħda maġenb in-nar, ratu waħda qaddejja, waħħlet għajnejha fuqu u qalet: “Dan ukoll kien miegħu!” Iżda hu ċaħad u qalilha:  “Mara, anqas biss nafu!”  Wara ftit rah xi ħaddieħor, u qallu:  “Int ukoll wieħed minnhom”.  Imma Pietru wieġbu: “Le, sieħeb, m’iniex!”  Għaddiet xi siegħa u raġa’ kien hemm ieħor li beda jisħaq u jgħid:  “Iva, tassew, dan ukoll kien miegħu, għax dan ukoll mill-Galilija”.  Iżda Pietru qallu:  “Ma nafx x’inti tgħid, sieħeb”.  U minnufih, kif kien għadu jitkellem, is-serduk idden. U l-Mulej dar u ħares lejn Pietru; u Pietru ftakar fil-kelma li l-Mulej kien qallu: “Illum, qabel ma jidden is-serduk, inti tkun ġa ċħadtni tliet darbiet”. U ħareġ ’il barra jibki b’qalbu maqsuma. 

L-irġiel li kienu qegħdin iżommu lil Ġesù bdew jgħadduh biż-żufjett u jsawtuh, u għattewlu wiċċu u bdew jistaqsuh u jgħidulu: “Aqta’ min tahielek din id-daqqa!”  U qagħdu jgħajruh b’ħafna kliem ieħor. Meta sebaħ, iltaqgħet il-ġemgħa tax-xjuħ tal-poplu, il-qassisin il-kbar u l-kittieba, u ħadu lil Ġesù quddiem is-Sinedriju tagħhom. U qalulu: “Jekk inti l-Messija, għidilna”.  Iżda hu weġibhom: “Jekk ngħidilkom, ma temmnux; jekk nistaqsikom, ma tweġbux. Imma minn issa ’l quddiem Bin il-bniedem ikun bilqiegħda n-naħa tal-lemin ta’ Alla li jista’ kollox”.U lkoll qalulu: “Inti mela l-Iben ta’ Alla?” Qalilhom Ġesù: “Intom stess qegħdin tgħiduh; iva, jien”. U huma qalu: “Xi ħtieġa għandna iżjed ta’ xhieda? Għax smajnieha aħna minn fommu stess”.Imbagħad qamet il-ġemgħa kollha u ħaduh għand Pilatu. U bdew jakkużawh u jgħidu: “Aħna sibna li dan il-bniedem qiegħed ixewwex lill-ġens tagħna, li mhuwiex iħalli lil min iħallas it-taxxa lil Ċesari, u li qiegħed jgħid li hu l-Messija Sultan”.Pilatu staqsieh u qallu:  “Inti s-sultan tal-Lhud?” U hu wieġbu: “Inti qiegħed tgħidu”. Pilatu qal lill-qassisin il-kbar u lill-kotra tan-nies:  “Ebda ħtija ma nsib f’dan il-bniedem”. Iżda huma baqgħu jinsistu u jgħidu: “Qiegħed ixewwex lill-poplu, u jgħallem fil-Lhudija kollha, ibda mill-Galilija sa hawnhekk stess”.  Kif sama’ dan, Pilatu staqsa jekk dak ir-raġel kienx mill-Galilija, u meta sar jaf li hu kien min-naħa li kien jagħmel minnha Erodi, bagħtu quddiemu, għax f’dawk il-jiem Erodi wkoll kien Ġerusalemm. 

Erodi feraħ ħafna meta ra lil Ġesù, għax minn dak li kien sama’ fuqu kien ilu żmien jixtieq jarah, bit-tama li jara li jagħmel xi sinjal. U għamillu bosta mistoqsijiet, imma Ġesù ma wieġbu xejn. Il-qassisin il-kbar u l-kittieba, b’saħna kbira fuqhom, qagħdu jakkużawh. Imma Erodi, flimkien mas-suldati tiegħu, beda jżebilħu u jgħaddih biż-żufjett, libbsu libsa ta’ kulur ilellex u raġa’ bagħtu quddiem Pilatu. Issa Erodi u Pilatu fl-imgħoddi kellhom għal xulxin, imma dakinhar saru ħbieb. Pilatu sejjaħ flimkien il-qassisin il-kbar, il-kapijiet, u l-poplu u qalilhom: “Ġibtuli quddiemi lil dan il-bniedem bħala wieħed li qiegħed ixewwex lill-poplu. Ara, jiena stħarriġtu quddiemkom fuq l-akkużi li qegħdin iġġibu kontra tiegħu, u ma sibt ebda ħtija fih. U anqas Erodi ma sab, għax raġa’ bagħtu quddiemna. Qegħdin taraw, mela, li ma għamel xejn li ħaqqu l-mewt. Għalhekk nagħtih is-swat u nitilqu”. Iżda huma qabdu jgħajtu lkoll f’daqqa: “Agħtih il-mewt lil dan! Itilqilna ’l Barabba!” Dan Barabba kienu tefgħuh il-ħabs minħabba rewwixta li kienet qamet fil-belt għax kien qatel. Pilatu, billi ried jitlaq lil Ġesù, għolla leħnu u raġa’ kellimhom; iżda huma qabdu jgħajtu aktar minnu u jgħidu: “Sallbu! Sallbu!”  

Għat-tielet darba qalilhom: “Imma dan x’għamel ħażin? Ma sibt fih ebda ħtija li ħaqqha l-mewt. Mela nagħtih is-swat u nitilqu”. Iżda huma b’ħafna għajjat baqgħu jinsistu u jitolbu li jkun imsallab, sakemm fl-aħħar għaddiet tagħhom. Għalhekk Pilatu qatagħha li jsir kif talbu huma. Telqilhom lil min talbu, jiġifieri lil dak li kien mitfugħ il-ħabs minħabba rewwixta u qtil, u lil Ġesù tahulhom bħalma xtaqu. Huma u sejrin bih, qabdu wieħed, jismu Xmun, minn Ċireni, li kien ġej lura mir-raba’, u għabbewh bis-salib biex iġorru wara Ġesù. Kotra kbira ta’ nies kienet miexja warajh; fosthom kien hemm xi nisa li bdew iħabbtu fuq sidirhom u jibkuh. Imma Ġesù dar lejhom u qalilhom: “Nisa ta’ Ġerusalemm, mhux lili ibku, iżda ibku lilkom infuskom u lil uliedkom. Għax, araw, għad jiġi żmien meta jgħidu: “Hienja dik li ma għandhiex tfal, hieni l-ġuf li qatt ma wiled u s-sider li qatt ma redda!”. Imbagħad jibdew jgħidu lill-muntanji: “Aqgħu fuqna!”, u lill-għoljiet: “Ordmuna!”. Għax jekk dan kollu qegħdin jagħmluh liz-zokk meta għadu aħdar, mela xi jsir minnu meta jinxef?”. Kien hemm ukoll tnejn oħra, żewġt irġiel ħatja, li ħaduhom għall-mewt miegħu. Meta waslu fil-post jgħidulu l-Qorriegħa, sallbuhom hemm, lilu u lill-ħatja, wieħed fuq il-lemin tiegħu u l-ieħor fuq ix-xellug. U Ġesù qal: “Missier, aħfrilhom, għax ma jafux x’inhuma jagħmlu”. Imbagħad tellgħu x-xorti u qassmu ħwejġu bejniethom. Il-poplu waqaf hemm, iħares, waqt li l-kapijiet bdew jiddieħku b’Ġesù u jgħidu:   “Salva lil oħrajn; ħa jsalva lilu nnifsu jekk dan hu l-Messija, il-Maħtur ta’ Alla!”  Is-suldati wkoll bdew jgħadduh biż-żmien; u resqu lejh, newlulu nbid qares u qalulu: “Jekk inti s-sultan tal-Lhud salva lilek innifsek!” Fuq rasu kien hemm ukoll kitba li kienet tgħid: “Dan huwa s-sultan tal-Lhud”. 39Wieħed mill-ħatjin li kienu msallbin miegħu beda jgħajru u jgħidlu:  “Int m’intix il-Messija? Salva lilek innifsek u lilna”. Imma qabeż l-ieħor, ċanfru u qallu:  “Anqas minn Alla int ma tibża’, int li qiegħed taħt l-istess kundanna? Tagħna hija ġusta, tassew, għax qegħdin nieħdu li ħaqqna ta’ kulma għamilna; imma dan ma għamel xejn ħażin”. Imbagħad qal: “Ġesù, ftakar fija meta tidħol fis-Saltna tiegħek”. U Ġesù wieġbu: “Tassew ngħidlek, illum tkun fil-Ġenna miegħi”. 

Għall-ħabta tas-sitt siegħa waqgħet dalma kbira fuq il-pajjiż kollu sad-disa’ siegħa, għax ix-xemx iddallmet. Il-velu tas-santwarju ċċarrat min-nofs. Imbagħad Ġesù għajjat għajta kbira u qal: “Missier, f’idejk jien nerħi ruħi”. U kif qal hekk, ħarġet ruħu. Hawnhekk kulħadd jinżel għarkopptejh u jinżamm is-skiet għal ftit ħin.  Iċ-ċenturjun, meta ra x’ġara, beda jfaħħar lil Alla u jgħid: “Tassew li dan bniedem ġust!” U n-nies kollha li kienu nġabru hemm biex jaraw, meta raw dawn il-ġrajja, reġgħu lura jħabbtu fuq sidirhom. Dawk kollha li kienu jafuh qagħdu jaraw kollox mill-bogħod; hekk ukoll xi nisa li kienu ġew warajh sa minn meta kien għadu fil-Galilija.  U kien hemm wieħed jismu Ġużeppi, membru tal-Kunsill, imma raġel tajjeb u ġust, li ma kienx qabel mal-membri l-oħra f’dak li riedu u f’dak li għamlu. Kien minn Arimatija, belt tal-Lhudija, u kien jistenna s-Saltna ta’ Alla. Dan mar għand Pilatu u talbu l-ġisem ta’ Ġesù; niżżlu mis-salib, keffnu f’liżar, u qiegħdu f’qabar maqtugħ fil-blat, li fih kien għadu ma tqiegħed ħadd. Dak in-nhar kien Jum it-Tħejjija, u s-Sibt kien għoddu beda. In-nisa, li kienu ġew mill-Galilija ma’ Ġesù marru wara Ġużeppi u raw il-qabar u kif kienu qiegħdu l-katavru; imbagħad reġgħu lura u ħejjew il-fwejjaħ u l-mirra. Is-Sibt għaddewh fil-mistrieħ, skont il-preċett tal-Liġi.  Il-Kelma tal-Mulej
 

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

 

                                 RELIVING OUR                                                       REDEMPTION

Introduction:

The Church celebrates this sixth Sunday of Lent as both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. This is the time of year we stop to remember and relive the events which brought about our redemption and salvation. What we commemorate and relive during this week is not just Jesus’ dying and rising, but our own dying and rising in Jesus, which will result in our healing, reconciliation, and redemption. 

Attentive participation in the Holy Week liturgy will deepen our relationship with God, increase our Faith, and strengthen our lives as disciples of Jesus. Today’s liturgy combines contrasting moments, one of glory, the other of suffering: the royal welcome of Jesus in Jerusalem, and the drama of the trial, culminating in the crucifixion, death, and burial of the Christ.

Scripture lessons summarized:

Sunday’s first reading, the third of Isaiah’s four Servant Songs, like the other three, foreshadows Jesus’ own life and mission. The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 22), ”My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” plunges us into the heart of Christ’s Passion. 

The Second Reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, is an ancient Christian hymn representing a very early Christian understanding of who Jesus is, and of how his mission saves us from sin and death. 

The first part of sunday’s Gospel describes the royal reception Jesus received from his admirers, who paraded with him for a distance of the two miles between the Mount of Olives and the city of Jerusalem. In the second part of today’s Gospel, we listen to/participate in a reading of the Passion of Christ according to Luke. 

We are challenged to examine our own lives in the light of some of the characters in the Passion story – like Peter who denied Jesus, Judas who betrayed Jesus, Herod who ridiculed Jesus, Pilate who acted against his conscience as he condemned Jesus to death on the cross, and the leaders of the people who preserved their position by getting rid of Jesus.

Life messages:

We need to answer 5 questions today:

1) Does Jesus weep over my sinful soul as he wept over Jerusalem at the beginning of his Palm Sunday procession?

2) Am I a barren fig tree? God expects me to produce fruits of holiness, purity, justice, humility, obedience, charity, and forgiveness. Do I? Or worse, do I continue to produce bitter fruits of impurity, injustice, pride, hatred, jealousy and selfishness?

3) Will Jesus need to cleanse my heart with his whip? Jesus cannot tolerate the desecration of the temple of the Holy Spirit (which I have become), by my addiction to uncharitable, unjust, impure thoughts, words, and deeds; nor does Jesus praise my business mentality or calculation of loss and gain in my relationship with God, my Heavenly Father.

4)
Do I welcome Jesus into my heart? Am I ready to surrender my life to him during this Holy Week and welcome him into all areas of my life as my Lord and Saviour? Let us remember that we are all sinners who have crucified Jesus by our sins, but we are still able to turn to Jesus again to ask for pardon and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is through the Passion of Jesus that we receive forgiveness: “with His stripes we are healed.” (Is 53:5).

5) Are we like the humble donkey that carried Jesus, bringing Jesus’ universal love, unconditional forgiveness, and sacrificial service to our families, places of work, and communities by the way we live our lives?


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