"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, 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.

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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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Friday, 20 August 2021

CHOOSING GOD EVERY DAY

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


Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time   /   Lectionary: 122

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



Reading 1             JOSHUA 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b


Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges, and their officers. When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.   As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” But the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD for the service of other gods. For it was the LORD, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journeyand among the peoples through whom we passed. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

QARI 1           mill-Ktieb ta’ Ġożwè 24:1-2a,15-17,18b

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġożwè ġema’ t-tribujiet kollha ta’ Iżrael f’Sikem u sejjaħ lix-xjuħ, lill-kapijiet, lill-imħallfin, lill-uffiċjali u resqu quddiem Alla. U Ġożwè qal lill-poplu kollu: “Jekk ma jogħġobkomx taqdu l-Mulej, għażlu llum lil min tridu taqdu; jekk hux l-allat li kienu jaqdu missirijietkom lil hemm mix-xmara, jew l-allat tal-Amurrin li f’arthom qegħdin tgħammru. Imma jien u dari naqdu l-Mulej”. U l-poplu kollu wieġeb u qal: “Ma jkun qatt li aħna nħallu l-Mulej biex naqdu allat oħra! Għax kien il-Mulej, Alla tagħna, li talla’ lilna u ’l missirijietna mill-art tal-Egittu, minn dar il-jasar, u li għamel quddiemna stess dawn il-ħwejjeġ kbar, u ħarisna matul it-triq kollha li minnha għaddejna u fost il-popli li minn ġo nofshom qsamna. Għalhekk aħna wkoll lill-Mulej naqdu, għaliex hu Alla tagħna”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej. R/. Irroddu ħajr lil Alla.


Responsorial Psalm          PSALM 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


Many are the troubles of the just one,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


SALM RESPONSORJALI           Salm 33(34):2-3,16-17,18-19,20-21,22-23
R/. (9a): Ippruvaw u taraw kemm hu tajjeb il-Mulej.


Kull ħin inbierek il-Mulej;
tifħiru dejjem fuq fommi.
Bil-Mulej tiftaħar ruħi;
jisimgħu l-fqajrin u jifirħu. R/.

Għajnejn il-Mulej lejn il-ġusti,
u widnejh miftuħa għall-għajta tagħhom.
Il-ħarsa tal-Mulej fuq il-ħżiena,
biex jeqred minn fuq l-art tifkirithom. R/.

Jgħajtu l-ġusti għall-għajnuna, u l-Mulej jismagħhom;
mid-dwejjaq kollha tagħhom jeħlishom.
Qrib il-Mulej lejn dawk b’qalbhom maqsuma,
jgħin lil dawk b’ruħhom mifnija. R/.

Kbar huma l-ħsarat tar-raġel sewwa,
iżda minnhom kollha jeħilsu l-Mulej.
Iħarislu għadmu kollha,
ebda waħda ma titkissirlu. R/.

Il-ħażin ħżunitu teqirdu;
min jobgħod il-ġust iħallas għall-ħtija.
Jifdi l-Mulej il-ħajja tal-qaddejja tiegħu;
kull min jistkenn fih ma jkollux xi jpatti. R/.


Reading 2          EPHESIANS 5:21-32 or 5:2a, 25-32

Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. ives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.  As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.   He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it,  even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

QARI 2         Qari mill-Ittra ta’ San Pawl Appostlu lill-Efesin 5:21-32

Ħuti, oqogħdu għal xulxin fil-biża’ ta’ Kristu. Intom in-nisa oqogħdu għal żwieġkom bħallikieku għall-Mulej, għax ir-raġel hu ras il-mara, bħalma Kristu hu ras il-Knisja, is-salvatur tal-Ġisem tiegħu. Għalhekk, bħalma l-Knisja toqgħod għal Kristu, hekk ukoll in-nisa għandhom joqogħdu għal żwieġhom f’kollox.  Intom, l-irġiel, ħobbu n-nisa tagħkom, kif Kristu ħabb il-Knisja u ta ħajtu għaliha. U dan għamlu biex iqaddisha u jnaddafha bil-ħasil tal-ilma u l-kelma u biex iressaqha quddiemu, din il-Knisja, sabiħa, bla tebgħa, bla tikmix, bla għajb, u b’xejn minn dan, imma qaddisa u bla tmaqdir minn ħadd. Hekk għandhom ukoll l-irġiel iħobbu n-nisa tagħhom bħallikieku ġisimhom stess. Min iħobb ’il martu jkun iħobb lilu nnifsu. Qatt ħadd ma bagħad ’il ġismu stess, iżda jmantnih u jieħu ħsiebu, bħalma jagħmel Kristu mal-Knisja, għax aħna lkoll membri tal-Ġisem tiegħu.  Għalhekk ir-raġel iħalli lil missieru u ’l ommu u jingħaqad ma’ martu, u jsiru t-tnejn ġisem wieħed. Dan il-misteru – qiegħed ngħid għal Kristu u għall-Knisja – huwa kbir! Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

Gospel         JOHN 6:60-69

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascendingto where he was before?  It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe  and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

EVANĠELJU          Qari skont San Ġwann 6:60-69

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù tkellem fuq il-ħobż tal-ħajja. Ħafna dixxipli tiegħu, meta semgħuh, qalu: “Iebes dan il-kliem! Min jiflaħ jisimgħu?”. Ġesù ntebaħ waħdu li d-dixxipli tiegħu kienu qegħdin igergru fuq hekk, u qalilhom: “Dan il-kliem qiegħed ifixkilkom? Mela xi tgħidu kieku kellkom taraw lil Bin il-bniedem tiela’ fejn kien qabel? Hu l-Ispirtu li jagħti l-ħajja, il-ġisem ma jiswa għal xejn. Il-kliem li jiena għedtilkom huwa spirtu u ħajja. Iżda hemm xi wħud fostkom li ma jemmnux”. Għaliex Ġesù kien jaf sa mill-bidu min kienu dawk li ma emmnux u min kien dak li kellu jittradih. U ssokta jgħidilhom: “Kien għalhekk li jiena għedtilkom li ħadd ma jista’ jiġi għandi jekk il-Missier ma jagħtihx li jiġi”. Minn dakinhar bosta mid-dixxipli tiegħu telquh u ma baqgħux imorru warajh. Imbagħad Ġesù qal lit-Tnax: “Tridux titilqu intom ukoll?”. Wieġbu Xmun Pietru: “Mulej, għand min immorru? Inti għandek il-kliem tal-ħajja ta’ dejjem, u aħna emminna u għarafna li inti l-Qaddis ta’ Alla”.Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil  


OUR DAILY CHOICES FOR OR AGAINST GOD  


Introduction:  


The main theme of Sunday’s readings is that Christian life is a series of daily choices for God or against God, as we choose to live out or reject the truths He has revealed through His prophets in the Old Testament and especially through His Son Jesus in the New Testament. The fundamental choice we make determines how we live our lives, deciding whom we will serve.

Scripture lessons summarized:


In the first reading, Joshua challenges the Israelites to decide whether they will serve the gods of their fathers, the gods of the Amorites in whose country they are presently dwelling, or the God of the Israelites Who has done so much for them. The Renewal of Covenant ceremony in Joshua chapter 24 reminds us that the Eucharist is a Covenant meal that calls for a decision of Faith. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 34) reminds us that in choosing God for our God we are choosing Life and His Eternal faithfulness and Love as our shelter and salvation.

The second reading emphasizes the unity that must exist in the Body of Christ and the intimate relationship between Jesus and His followers. It also challenges the Ephesian Christians to make the right choice in life and build Christian marriages on mutual respect and love, accepting each other’s rights and dignity. Jesus also uses the husband-wife relationship as an analogy to explain the close relationship between Christ and the Church. Paul reminds us that Jesus nourishes us, the members of His Church, through the Eucharist, making us His own flesh and blood, as husband and wife become one flesh.

Concluding his long Eucharistic discourse, Jesus, in today’s Gospel, challenges his Jewish audience, and later His apostles, to make their choice: to accept Him as the true Bread from Heaven Who gives them His Body and Blood as their Heavenly Food or to join those who have lost their Faith in Jesus and left Him, expressing their confusion and doubts about His claims. Today’s passage describes the various reactions of the people to Jesus’ claims. Many of the disciples leave, but the apostles freely choose to stay with Jesus. In this Eucharistic celebration, we, too, are called to make a decision, profess our Faith in God’s Son and renew the Covenant ratified in his Life, death and Resurrection.

Life messages:    

Let us make our choice for Christ and live it:

We Christians have accepted the challenge of following the way of Christ and making choices for Christ, fortified by the Bread He gives and relying on the power of His Holy Spirit. The Heavenly Bread and the Holy Spirit will give us the courage of our Christian convictions to take a stand for Jesus, accepting the Church’s teachings and will enable us to face ridicule, criticisms, and even social isolation for our adherence to sound Christian principles in our lives. That is what we mean by our “Amen” while receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. We express without any conditions or reservations our total commitment to Jesus in the community to which we belong. Christ’s thoughts, attitudes, values, and life-view must become totally ours. Above all, we are to identify with Jesus in the offering of His Flesh and the pouring out of his Blood on the cross by spending our lives for others.

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Thursday, 12 August 2021

Readings for Sunday, August 15, 2021 - Year/Sena B



Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mass during the Day
Lectionary: 622

It-Tlugħ fis-Sema tal-Verġni Mqaddsa Marija

Solennità




 

 

Reading 1          REVELATIONS 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed One.”
 
QARI  1          mill-Ktieb tal-Apokalissi 11:19a; 12:1-6a,10ab
         
Infetaħ it-Tempju ta’ Alla, li hemm fis-sema, u dehret l-arka tal-patt tiegħu fit-Tempju tiegħu. U deher sinjal kbir fis-sema: mara, liebsa x-xemx, bil-qamar taħt riġlejha, u b’kuruna ta’ tnax-il kewkba fuq rasha. Hija kienet fit-tqala, u bdiet tgħajjat bl-uġigħ tal-ħlas u tbati biex teħles. Imbagħad fis-sema deher sinjal ieħor: ara, Dragun kbir minn lewn in-nar, b’sebat irjus u għaxart iqrun, u b’seba’ djademi fuq irjusu. U b’denbu kines waħda mit-tlieta tal-kwiekeb tas-sema u waddabhom lejn l-art. U d-Dragun mar qagħad quddiem il-mara li kienet sa tiled, biex kif tiled lil binha jibilgħu. U hi wildet iben, tifel, li kien għad irid jirgħa l-ġnus b’xettru tal-ħadid. U binha ġie maħtuf għal quddiem Alla u quddiem it-tron tiegħu. U l-Mara ħarbet fid-deżert. U smajt leħen qawwi fis-sema jgħid: “Issa ġiet is-salvazzjoni u l-qawwa u s-saltna ta’ Alla tagħna u s-setgħa tal-Messija tiegħu”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm          PSALM 45:10, 11, 12, 16

Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
    forget your people and your father’s house.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

So shall the king desire your beauty;
    for he is your lord.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

They are borne in with gladness and joy;
    they enter the palace of the king.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.


SALM RESPONSORJALI          Salm 44:10bc,11-12ab,16
R/.  F’lemintek is-Sultan, fid-dawl tal-glorja!

Ulied is-sultan jiġu jilqgħuk,
f’lemintek is-sultana mżejna b’deheb ta’ Ofir.
Isma’, binti, ħares u agħti widen,
insa ’l niesek u ’l dar missierek. R/.

Jixxennaq is-sultan għal ġmielek;
u għax hu sidek, agħtih qima.
Ix-xebbiet jiġu b’għana ta’ ferħ u għajat,
jidħlu fil-palazz tas-sultan. R/.


Reading 2          1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

QARI 2           mill-Ewwel Ittra ta’ San Pawl Appostlu lill-Korintin 15:20-26

Ħuti, Kristu kien imqajjem tassew mill-imwiet, l-ewwel fost dawk li raqdu. Għaliex jekk permezz ta’ bniedem feġġet il-mewt, bi bniedem ukoll iseħħ il-qawmien mill-imwiet. Għax bħalma l-bnedmin kollha jmutu f’Adam, hekk ilkoll jiksbu l-ħajja fi Kristu. Imma kulħadd skont kif imissu: l-ewwel, Kristu; wara, dawk li huma ta’ Kristu, meta jerġa’ jiġi. Imbagħad it-tmiem, meta Kristu jerħi s-saltna f’idejn Alla l-Missier, wara li jkun qered kull ħakma u kull setgħa u kull qawwa. Għax jeħtieġ li hu jsaltan “sa ma jqiegħed l-għedewwa kollha taħt riġlejh”. L-aħħar għadu li jinqered il-Mewt.
Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel          LUKE 1:39-56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed:the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him  in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit.  He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,  and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

EVANĠELJU           Qari skond San Luqa 11:39-56

F’dawk il-ġranet Marija qamet u marret tħaffef lejn il-għoljiet, f’belt tal-Lhudija. Daħlet għand Żakkarija u sellmet lil Eliżabetta. Malli Eliżabetta semgħet ’il Marija ssellmilha, it-tarbija qabżet fi ħdanha, u Eliżabetta mtliet bl-Ispirtu s-Santu; u nfexxet f’għajta kbira u qalet: “Imbierka inti fost in-nisa, u mbierek il-frott tal-ġuf tiegħek! U minn fejn ġieni dan li omm Sidi tiġi għandi? Għax ara, malli smajt f’widnejja leħen it-tislima tiegħek, it-tarbija qabżet u tqanqlet bil-ferħ fi ħdani. Iva, hienja dik li emmnet li jseħħ kulma ntqalilha min-naħa tal-Mulej”. Imbagħad qalet Marija: “Ruħi tfaħħar il-kobor tal-Mulej, u l-Ispirtu tiegħi jifraħ f’Alla s-Salvatur tiegħi, għax hu xeħet għajnejh fuq iċ-ċokon tal-qaddejja tiegħu. Iva, minn issa ’l quddiem kull nisel jibda jsejjaħli hienja, għax is-Setgħani għamel miegħi ħwejjeġ kbar; qaddis hu l-isem tiegħu. Il-ħniena tiegħu tinfirex f’kull żmien fuq dawk li jibżgħu minnu. Hu wera l-qawwa ta’ driegħu, xerred lil dawk li huma mkabbra f’qalbhom. Niżżel is-setgħana minn fuq it-tron tagħhom, u għolla ċ-ċkejknin. Mela b’kull ġid ’il min hu bil-ġuħ, u l-għonja bagħathom ’il barra b’xejn. Ħa ħsieb Iżrael, qaddej tiegħu, għax ftakar fil-ħniena tiegħu – bħalma wiegħed ’il missirijietna – b’riżq Abraham u nislu għal dejjem”.
Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   


 

ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Introduction:  

We honour Mary, venerate her, express our love for her and never worship her. So, why do we honour her?

1) Mary herself gives the most important reason in her “Magnificat:” “All generations (ages) will call me blessed because the “The Mighty One has done great things for me” a) by choosing Mary as the mother of Jesus b) by filling her with His Holy Spirit twice, namely at the Annunciation and at Pentecost, c) by making her “full of grace,” the paragon or embodiment of all virtues, d) by allowing her to become the most active participant with Christ, her Son, in our Redemption, suffering in spirit what Jesus suffered in body.

2) Mary is our Heavenly Mother. Jesus gave us His Mother as our Mother from the cross: “Woman, behold your son.” … “Behold your mother” (John 19: 26-27).

3) Mary is the supreme model of all virtues and hence our role model, especially in holiness of life (“full of grace”), obedience to the will of God (“fiat”) and true humility (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you have said”).

Reasons why we believe in the dogma of Assumption:

Pope Pius XII in the papal document Munificentimus Deus gives four reasons for our belief in the Dogma of Assumption of Mary.

1) The uninterrupted tradition about Mary’s death and Assumption starting from the first century. 

2) The belief expressed in all the ancient liturgies of the Church. 

3) The negative evidence — the absence and veneration of a tomb of Mary while most of the apostles have their tombs. 

4) The possibility of bodily assumption warranted in the Old Testament in the cases of Enoch (Gn 5:24), perhaps Moses (Dt 34:5), and especially Elijah (II Kgs 2:1).

5) The theological reasons: a) The degeneration of the body after death is the consequence of “original sin,” and Mary, as “Immaculately Conceived,” is exempted from the post-mortem decay of the body. b) As receiver of the fullness of grace and holiness because she is mother of Jesus and co-redeemer with Him, Mary’s place is with her son, God’s Son Jesus, the Redeemer, in the abode of holiness, Heaven.

Life messages:

1)  As Mary’s Assumption was a reward for a holy life, this feast invites us to keep our bodies pure and holy. Paul gives three additional reasons: a) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, b) our body parts are the members of Christ’s Body, and c) our bodies are to be glorified on the day of the Last Judgment.

2) We are given an assurance of hope in our resurrection and a source of inspiration during moments of despair and temptations.

3) We receive a message of total liberation from all our bondages: impure, unjust, uncharitable thoughts, desires, words, actions, and neglects, addiction to evil habits, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography and sexual aberrations.

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There is a legend about the Assumption of the Virgin Mary – The tradition holds that Blessed Virgin Mary died in Jerusalem (or Ephesus?) and during the last moments of her earthly life all surviving Apostles were present there except St. Thomas, who was then preaching in India. He then was miraculously brought there, and he insisted on seeing the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But to everyone’s surprise, her tomb was found empty, excepting her clothes.

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Friday, 6 August 2021

WE ARE TO NOURISH ONE ANOTHER

Readings for Sunday, August 8, 2021 - Year/Sena B

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 116

Id-Dsatax-il Ħadd taż-Żmien ta’ Matul is-Sena



Reading 1           1 KINGS 19:4-8

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.  He prayed for death saying: “This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

QARI 1           mill-Ewwel Ktieb tas-Slaten 19:4-8

F’dak iż-żmien, il-profeta Elija rħielha lejn id-deżert. Wara jum mixi waqaf, inxteħet taħt siġra tal-ġummar, talab li jmut, u qal: “Issa biżżejjed, Mulej; ħudli ’l ħajti, għax m’iniex aħjar minn missirijieti!”. U mtedd għad-dell tal-ġummara, u raqad. Kif kien rieqed messu anġlu, u qallu: “Qum u kul!”. Elija dawwar wiċċu, u lemaħ ħdejn rasu ftira moħmija u ġarra ilma; kiel u xorob, u raġa’ mtedd. Għat-tieni darba ġie l-anġlu tal-Mulej, u raġa’ messu u qallu: “Qum u kul, inkella ma tkunx tiflaħ għall-mixja li fadallek”. Elija qam, kiel u xorob, u bis-saħħa ta’ dak l-ikel baqa’ miexi għal erbgħin jum u erbgħin lejl sa ma wasal Ħoreb, il-muntanja tal-Mulej. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm         PSALM 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the LORD at all times;
    his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
    the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
       Let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
       and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.
       and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the afflicted man called out, the LORD heard,
       and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
       around those who fear him and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
       blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

SALM RESPONSORJALI          Salm 33(34):2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9

R/. (9a): Ippruvaw u taraw kemm hu tajjeb il-Mulej.


Kull ħin inbierek il-Mulej;
tifħiru dejjem fuq fommi.
Bil-Mulej tiftaħar ruħi;
jisimgħu l-fqajrin u jifirħu. R/.

Xandru l-kobor tal-Mulej miegħi;
ħa ngħollu ismu flimkien.
Jien fittixt il-Mulej, u weġibni,
minn kull biża’ tiegħi ħelisni. R/.

Ħarsu lejh u jiddi bil-ferħ wiċċkom,
u ma jkollkomx għax tistħu.
Dan il-fqajjar sejjaħ u l-Mulej semgħu,
u mid-dwejjaq tiegħu kollha ħelsu. R/.

L-anġlu tal-Mulej jgħasses
madwar dawk li jibżgħu minnu, u jeħlishom.
Ippruvaw u taraw kemm hu tajjeb il-Mulej;
hieni l-bniedem li jistkenn fih. R/.

Reading 2         EPHRSIANS 4:30—5:2

Brothers and sisters: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.  All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

QARI 2          mill-Ittra ta’ San Pawl lill-Efesin 4:30–5:2

Ħuti, tnikktux l-Ispirtu s-Santu ta’ Alla, li fih intom issiġillati għal jum il-fidwa. Imrar, saħna, korla, tagħjir, għajat, dan kollu warrbuh minnkom, u wkoll kull ħażen ieħor. Kunu twajba ma’ xulxin, ħennu għal xulxin, aħfru lil xulxin, bħalma Alla ħafer lilkom fi Kristu. Kunu, mela, tixbhu lil Alla, bħala wlied maħbuba, u imxu fl-imħabba, bħalma Kristu wkoll ħabb lilna u ta lilu nnifsu għalina, offerta u sagrifiċċju jfuħu quddiem Alla. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel          JOHN 6:41-51

The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven, ” and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

EVANĠELJU          Qari skond San Ġwann 6:41-51

F’dak iż-żmien, il-Lhud bdew igergru fuq Ġesù għax kien qal: “Jiena hu l-ħobż li niżel mis-sema”. U bdew jgħidu: “Dan mhuwiex Ġesù bin Ġużeppi? Lil missieru u ’l ommu ma nafuhomx? Mela kif qiegħed jgħid: ‘Jiena nżilt mis-sema’?”. Ġesù weġibhom: “Toqogħdux tgorru bejnietkom. Ħadd ma jista’ jiġi għandi jekk il-Missier li bagħatni ma jiġbdux lejja; u jiena nqajmu mill-imwiet fl-aħħar jum. Hemm miktub fil-Profeti: ‘U kulħadd ikun imgħallem minn Alla’. Mela kull min jisma’ lill-Missier u jitgħallem minnu jiġi għandi. Mhux għax xi ħadd qatt ra lill-Missier ħlief dak li hu minn Alla; hu dan li ra lill-Missier. Tassew tassew ngħidilkom, min jemmen għandu l-ħajja ta’ dejjem. Jiena hu l-ħobż tal-ħajja. Missirijietkom kielu l-manna fid-deżert, u mietu; dan hu l-ħobż nieżel mis-sema, biex min jiekol minnu ma jmutx. Jiena hu l-ħobż il-ħaj, li niżel mis-sema. Jekk xi ħadd jiekol minn dan il-ħobż jgħix għal dejjem. U l-ħobż li jiena nagħti huwa ġismi għall-ħajja tad-dinja”.Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   

WE HUNGER SPIRITUALLY  

 

Introduction: 

We are living in a world where people of all races and creeds hunger more for spiritual sustenance than for physical food.  In response to the spiritual hunger of people in his own day, Jesus proclaims Himself to be “the Bread of Life that came down from Heaven” and feeds them with His words.

Scripture lessons summarized:

The first reading describes the physical and spiritual hungers experienced by the prophet Elijah.  The Bread of Life Jesus speaks about is prefigured in this reading by the miraculous food with which the angel nourished the Prophet Elijah in the desert while he was fleeing from the soldiers of Queen Jezebel.  After being nourished by the Lord, Elijah was strengthened for the long journey of “forty days and forty nights,” to Mount Horeb where God instructed Elijah to continue his prophetic work. 

The second reading presents Christ Jesus, the “Bread of Life,” as a “sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.”  Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that, instead of seeking satisfaction in the stale food of anger, slander, bitterness, and malice, they are to nourish one another with the spiritual food of compassion, kindness and mutual forgiveness. 

sUNday’s Gospel describes Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum on his return there after his miraculous feeding of the five thousand.  During the discourse, Jesus reveals himself as the true “Bread of Life that came down from Heaven,” to give life to the world.  Jesus proclaims that it is He himself, the Incarnate Son of God, who is the new and perfect manna, literally “come down from Heaven.”  This means that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gives us a share of eternal life while we are still on earth.  But some of Jesus’ followers turn away when Jesus explains the Source of His mysterious power and Heavenly origin.

Life messages:

# 1) Let us accept the challenge to become bread and drink for others: “You are what you eat?” Let us recognize that Jesus whom we consume in the Holy Eucharist is actually God Who assimilates us into His being. Thus, from Sunday to Saturday we will grow into Jesus, as Jesus grows in us, our lives will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we will become more like Jesus. In this way, we shall share in the joyous and challenging life of being the Body of Christ for the world – Bread for a hungry world, and Drink for those who thirst for justice, peace, fullness of life, and even eternal life. In other words, the Eucharist challenges us to sacrifice ourselves for others, as Christ has done for each of us.

# 2) Let us  appreciate Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist:   Since the Holy Eucharist is “the Body and Blood, together with the soul and Divinity, of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” the Sacrament a) increases our intimate union with Christ; b) preserves, increases, and renews the Sanctifying Grace we received at Baptism; c) cleanses us of past sin and preserves us from future sins; d) strengthens the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity in us, thus enabling us to be separated from our disordered attachments and to be rooted in Christ; and e) unites us more deeply with the mystery of the Church
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