"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

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

GOD WANTS US TO LOVE!

Readings for Sunday, May 9, 2021 - Year/Sena B


Sixth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 56

Is-Sitt Ħadd tal-Għid



Reading I         ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.”  Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?” He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

QARI I         mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli  Atti 10:25-26,34-35,44-48
Xħin daħal Pietru fid-dar ta’ Kornelju, dan mar jilqgħu u ntefa’ f’riġlejh jagħtih qima. Imma Pietru qajmu u qallu: “Qum. Jien bniedem ukoll”. Pietru qabad jitkellem u qal: “Issa tassew qiegħed nifhem li Alla ma jħares lejn wiċċ ħadd, imma jilqa’ lil kull min għandu l-biża’ tiegħu u jagħmel is-sewwa, ikun minn liema poplu jkun”.  Meta Pietru kien għadu qiegħed jgħid dan, l-Ispirtu s-Santu niżel fuq dawk kollha li kienu jisimgħuh. Dawk li kienu marru ma’ Pietru, Lhud li kienu emmnu, stagħġbu kif Alla sawwab id-don tal-Ispirtu s-Santu fuq il-pagani wkoll. Għax semgħuhom jitkellmu bl-ilsna u jfaħħru l-kobor ta’ Alla.  Imbagħad Pietru qal: “Jista’ xi ħadd jiċħad l-ilma tal-magħmudija lil dawn in-nies, li ħadu l-Ispirtu s-Santu bħalma ħadnieh aħna wkoll?”. U ordna li jitgħammdu fl-isem ta’ Kristu. Imbagħad huma talbuh jibqa’ għal ftit jiem magħhom. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm         PSALM 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
.Sing to the LORD a new song,
    for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
    his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
    toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

SALM RESPONSORJALI         Salm 97(98):1,2-3ab,3ċd-4
R/. (ara 2b): Il-Mulej wera l-ġustizzja tiegħu lill-ġnus.

Għannu lill-Mulej għanja ġdida,
għax għamel ħwejjeġ tal-għaġeb.
Ġibitlu r-rebħa l-leminija tiegħu,
u d-driegħ imqaddes tiegħu. R/.

Għarraf il-Mulej is-salvazzjoni tiegħu,
f’għajnejn il-ġnus wera l-ġustizzja tiegħu.
Ftakar fit-tjieba u l-fedeltà tiegħu
mal-poplu ta’ Iżrael. R/.

L-art kollha, minn tarf għall-ieħor,
rat is-salvazzjoni ta’ Alla tagħna.
Għajtu bil-ferħ lill-Mulej fl-art kollha,
infexxu fil-hena, ifirħu u għannu! R/.

Reading II          JOHN 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

QARI II          mill-Ewwel Ittra ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu 1 Ġw 4:7-10
Għeżież, ejjew inħobbu ’l xulxin, għax l-imħabba ġejja minn Alla, u kull min iħobb hu mwieled minn Alla u jagħraf lil Alla. Dak li ma jħobbx ma għarafx lil Alla, għax Alla hu mħabba. B’dan dehret l-imħabba ta’ Alla fina, għax Alla bagħat lil Ibnu l-waħdieni fid-dinja, biex ngħixu bih. U hawn qiegħda l-imħabba; mhux għax aħna ħabbejna ’l Alla, imma għax ħabbna hu u bagħat lil Ibnu biex ikun ta’ tpattija għal dnubietna. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel        JOHN 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”

EVANĠELJU        Qari skond San Ġwann 15:9-17

F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu: “Kif ħabbni Missieri, hekk ħabbejtkom jiena. Ibqgħu fl-imħabba tiegħi. Jekk tħarsu l-kmandamenti tiegħi, intom tibqgħu fi mħabbti, kif jiena ħarist il-kmandamenti ta’ Missieri u qiegħed fi mħabbtu. Għedtilkom dan biex il-ferħ tiegħi jkun fikom, u biex il-ferħ tagħkom ikun sħiħ. Dan hu l-kmandament tiegħi: li tħobbu lil xulxin kif ħabbejtkom jien. Ħadd ma għandu mħabba akbar minn din: li wieħed jagħti ħajtu għal ħbiebu. Intom ħbiebi, jekk tagħmlu dak li jiena nikkmandakom. Ma nsejħilkomx aktar qaddejja, għax il-qaddej ma jafx x’jagħmel sidu; sejjaħtilkom ħbieb, għaliex kulma smajt mingħand Missieri jiena għarrafthulkom. Mhux intom għażiltu lili, imma jien għażilt lilkom, u ħtartkom biex tmorru tagħmlu l-frott u l-frott tagħkom jibqa’, ħalli kulma titolbu lill-Missier f’ismi, huwa jagħtihulkom. Dan hu li qiegħed nikkmandakom: li tħobbu lil xulxin”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   


  EASTER 6 -   

 Christ wants us to obey    his commandment of love

  

 

Introduction:

This Sunday’s Scripture passages declare the profound truth that those who believe in Christ are to obey his commandment of love – “Love one another as I have loved you.” When we celebrate Sunday as Mother’s Day, let us remember with gratitude that it is generally our mothers who practice the agápe love of Jesus.

Scripture Lessons summarized:


In the first reading, Peter teaches us that God shows no partiality in His love and that there are no boundaries to abiding in love. God loves everyone, both the Jews and the Gentiles, and He wants everyone to be saved through His son, Jesus. That is why God welcomed the Roman centurion Cornelius as the first non-Jew to become a Christian. The reading tells us how God also allowed the Gentiles who heard Peter’s speech to receive the same Holy Spirit and His gifts that Peter’s Jewish audience had received on the day of Pentecost. 

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 98) also directs our attention toward God’s marvelous love and kindness in offering salvation to the whole world. In the second reading, John defines God as love and explains that He expressed His love for mankind by sending His son to die for us humans “as expiation for our sins.” This Divine love gives us the command as well as duty to love one another as we have been loved by God. Since God has loved us first, we can and should love God in return, love ourselves properly, and love one another. 

After telling the parable of the vine and branches, Jesus, in today’s Gospel, teaches the disciples that are to obey his commandment of love just as Jesus has obeyed his Heavenly Father’s will by fulfilling His commandments and remaining inseparably bonded with his Father. Jesus’ unconditional, forgiving, selfless, sacrificial love for us must be the criterion of our love for others. The highest expression of this love is our willingness to lay down our lives as Jesus did, for people who don’t deserve it. The goal and result of our abiding in love, in God, will be perfect joy. Jesus no longer calls us slaves but now calls us “friends.” He tells us that he has chosen us, and that, if we use Jesus’ name, we can ask the Father for anything.

Life messages:

# 1: We need to cultivate an abiding and loving friendship with Jesus and to express it in our relationships with others by loving them and showing them trust, faithfulness, equality, forgiveness, joy and sacrifice.

#2: We need to be persons for others: Jesus demonstrated the love of God, his Father, for us by living for us and dying for us. Hence, as Jesus’ disciples, we are to be persons for others, sacrificing our time, talents and lives for others. This is what parents spontaneously do, sacrificing themselves, their time, talents, health, and wealth for their children, or in other words, by spending themselves for their children. The most effective way of communicating God’s love to others is by treating everyone as a friend, giving everyone the respect he or she deserves. Let us remember that Christ’s own love was not limited to the people he liked and, hence, that we should close our minds to thoughts of revenge.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

I AM THE VINE AND YOU ARE THE BRANCHES

Readings for Sunday, May 2, 2021 - Year/Sena B

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 53

Ħames Ħadd tal-Għid. Sena “B”   



Reading 1         ACTS OF THE APOSTLES  9:26-31

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem, and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord. He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him. And when the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea  and sent him on his way to Tarsus. The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

QARI 1         Qari mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 9:26-31
F’dak iż-żmien, meta Sawl wasal Ġerusalemm beda jfittex li jissieħeb mad-dixxipli. Imma lkoll kienu jibżgħu minnu, għax ma kinux emmnu li tassew ikkonverta. Imbagħad Barnaba qabdu u ħadu miegħu għand l-appostli. Hu qalilhom kif Sawl kien ra lill-Mulej fit-triq u semgħu jkellmu, u kif f’Damasku kien tkellem b’wiċċu minn quddiem fl-isem ta’ Ġesù. Għalhekk Sawl baqa’ magħhom, dieħel u ħiereġ Ġerusalemm, u kien jitkellem bil-miftuħ f’isem il-Mulej. Kien jitħaddet mal-Lhud Griegi u jiddiskuti magħhom; iżda huma kienu jfittxu li joqtluh. Meta l-aħwa saru jafu b’dan, niżżluh lejn Ċesarija u bagħtuh Tarsu. Il-Knisja kienet fis-sliem fil-Lhudija u l-Galilija u s-Samarija kollha; kienet dejjem tikber u timxi ’l quddiem bil-biża’ tal-Mulej, u tiżdied fl-għadd bl-għajnuna tal-Ispirtu s-Santu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm         PSALM 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
    The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
    “May your hearts live forever!”
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
.
All the ends of the earth
    shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
    shall bow down before him.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

To him alone shall bow down
    all who sleep in the earth;
before him shall bend
    all who go down into the dust.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

And to him my soul shall live;
    my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
    that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
    the justice he has shown.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

SALM RESPONSORJALI          Salm 21(22):26b-27,28,30,31-32
R/. 26 (a): Mulej, nagħtik it-tifħir tiegħi f’ġemgħa kbira
.

Irrodd il-wegħdiet tiegħi
quddiem dawk li jibżgħu minnu.
Jieklu l-fqajrin u jixbgħu;
ifaħħru l-Mulej dawk li jfittxuh.
Ħa tgħix qalbhom għal dejjem! R/.

Jiftakru t-truf kollha tal-art,
u jerġgħu lura lejn il-Mulej;
u quddiemu jinxteħtu r-razez kollha tal-ġnus.
Lilu jqimu l-bnedmin, li jmutu;
quddiemu jmil kull min nieżel ġot-trab.
U għalih tgħix ruħi. R/.

Lilu jaqdi n-nisel tiegħi.
Ixandru ’l Sidi lin-nisel li għad jiġi,
ixandru l-ġustizzja tiegħu
lill-poplu li għad jitwieled:

“Dan għamlu l-Mulej!”. R/.

Reading 2        1 JOHN 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.

QARI 2         mill-1 Ittra ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu 3:18-24
Uliedi, ma nħobbux bil-kliem u t-tpaċpiċ, imma bl-għemil u bis-sewwa. Minn dan naslu li nagħrfu li aħna fil-verità, u quddiem Alla nserrħu l-kuxjenza tagħna, jekk il-kuxjenza ċċanfarna, għax Alla hu aqwa mill-kuxjenza tagħna, u hu jaf kollox. Għeżież, jekk il-kuxjenza tagħna ma ċċanfarniex, aħna qalbna qawwija quddiem Alla, u kulma nitolbu naqilgħuh mingħandu, għax qegħdin inżommu l-kmandamenti tiegħu u nagħmlu dak li jogħġob lilu. Dan hu l-kmandament tiegħu: li nemmnu fl-isem ta’ Ibnu Ġesù Kristu, u nħobbu ’l xulxin, kif wissiena hu. Min iżomm il-kmandamenti tiegħu jgħammar f’Alla u Alla fih. B’hekk nagħrfu li hu jgħammar fina: bl-Ispirtu li hu tana. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel         JOHN 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own  unless it remains on the vine,    so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me  will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

EVANĠELJU         Qari skond San Ġwann 15:1-8
F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu: “Jiena d-dielja vera u Missieri l-bidwi. Kull fergħa fija li ma tagħmilx frott jaqtagħha; u kull waħda li tagħmel il-frott jiżborha u jnaddafha, biex tagħmel frott aktar. Intom ġa ndaf minħabba l-kelma li għedtilkom. Ibqgħu fija, u jiena nibqa’ fikom. Kif il-fergħa ma tistax tagħmel frott minnha nfisha jekk ma tibqax fid-dielja, hekk anqas intom jekk ma tibqgħux fija. Jiena d-dielja, intom il-friegħi. Min jibqa’ fija u jiena fih, dan jagħmel ħafna frott; għax mingħajri ma tistgħu tagħmlu xejn. Jekk wieħed ma jibqax fija, jintrema barra bħal fergħa, u jinxef; imbagħad, friegħi bħal dawn jiġbruhom u jixħtuhom fin-nar u jinħarqu. Jekk tibqgħu fija u kliemi jibqa’ fikom, itolbu kulma tridu, u jingħatalkom. Din hi l-glorja ta’ Missieri, li intom tagħmlu ħafna frott u tkunu dixxipli tiegħi”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   
 

EASTER 5 - 

We must abide in Christ to produce fruits

Introduction:


Sunday’s Scripture selections emphasize the need for Christians to abide in Christ as a condition for producing fruits of kindness, mercy, charity, and holiness.

Scripture lessons summarized:


The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, testifies to the abundance of spiritual fruits yielded by the apostles because of their close bond with the risen Lord.  The reading tells us how the Lord pruned the former Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, a fanatic who had persecuted the Church, to produce a fruit-bearing branch called Paul, the zealous Apostle to the Gentiles, entirely dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel.  Even Paul’s forced return to Tarsus for a brief period is an example of God’s pruning of the vine to bring forth a greater harvest, namely, the mission to the Gentiles. 

In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 22), we sing the triumphant end of the Psalm which begins, ”My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” — Jesus’ Fourth Word from the cross. In the second reading, we find John, in his first letter to the Church, explaining that only if we remain united to Christ by putting our Faith in him and drawing our spiritual strength from him, will we be able to obey God’s commandments, especially the commandment of love, loving one another as Jesus commanded us.

In the Gospel, taken from the Last Supper discourse, Jesus uses his favorite image of the vine and branches to help his disciples understand the closeness of their relationship with him and the necessity of their maintaining it. They are not simply rabbi and disciples. Their lives are mutually dependent – as close as a vine and its branches. In fact, in using this image, Jesus is explaining to them and to us what our relationship with him should be like.

Life messages:

1) We need pruning in our Christian life. Cutting out of our lives everything that is contrary to the spirit of Jesus and renewing our commitment to Christian ideals in our lives every day is the first type of self-imposed pruning expected of us. A second means of pruning is to practice self-control over our evil inclinations, sinful addictions and aberrations. Cordial mingling in our neighborhood and society with people of different cultures, races, religions, and orientations also enables us to prune away our selfish, judgmental, and prejudicial tendencies as we treat others in the society with Christian charity, and strengthens us, enabling us to face with the courage of our Christian convictions the pain, suffering, contradictions, and difficulties He permits to enter our lives.

2) We need to abide in Christ and let Christ abide in us: The four Gospels teach us how to become true disciples of Jesus and how to abide in him as branches abide in the main trunk of the vine, drawing their life from it.   Personal and liturgical prayers, frequenting of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily, meditative reading of Scripture, and our loving, mutual forgiveness exchanged with everyone enable us to abide in Jesus, the true Vine, as fruit-bearing branches.

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Thursday, 22 April 2021

The Shepherd we know and respond to

Readings for Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Year/Sena B

 
Fourth Sunday of Easter 
Vocations Day. Year B

Lectionary: 50

Ir-Raba’ Ħadd tal-Għid
Jum il-Vokazzjonijiet. Sena “B”


Reading I         ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 4:8-12
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
 
QARI 1         mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 4:8-12
F’dak iż-żmien, Pietru, mimli bl-Ispirtu s-Santu, wieġeb: “Kapijiet tal-poplu u xjuħ, intom illum qegħdin tistħarrġuna fuq il-ġid li għamilna lil wieħed marid, u biex dan fieq. Mela kunu afu intom ilkoll, u l-poplu kollu ta’ Iżrael: jekk dan ir-raġel hu hawn quddiemkom qawwi u sħiħ, dan ġara bis-saħħa tal-isem ta’ Ġesù Kristu ta’ Nazaret, li intom sallabtuh u Alla qajmu mill-imwiet. Dan Ġesù hu l-ġebla li intom, il-bennejja, warrabtu u li saret il-ġebla tax-xewka. F’ħadd ħliefu ma hemm salvazzjoni, għax imkien taħt is-sema ma hemm isem ieħor mogħti lill-bnedmin li bih aħna għandna nkunu salvi”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Responsorial Psalm         PSALM 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.
R.  The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
    we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

SALM RESPONSORJALI         Salm 117(118):1,8-9,21-23,26,28ċd,29
R/. (22): Il-ġebla li warrbu l-bennejja saret il-ġebla tax-xewka.


Faħħru l-Mulej, għaliex hu tajjeb,
għax għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu!
Aħjar tistkenn fil-Mulej
milli tittama fil-bnedmin.
Aħjar tistkenn fil-Mulej
milli tittama fil-kbarat. R/.

Niżżik ħajr talli weġibtni
u kont għalija s-salvazzjoni tiegħi.
Il-ġebla li warrbu l-bennejja
saret il-ġebla tax-xewka.
Bis-saħħa tal-Mulej seħħ dan:
ħaġa tal-għaġeb f’għajnejna. R/.

Imbierek min ġej f’isem il-Mulej!
Inberkukom minn dar il-Mulej.
Alla tiegħi, jien lilek inkabbar.
Faħħru l-Mulej, għaliex hu tajjeb,
għax għal dejjem it-tjieba tiegħu! R/.


Reading II        1 Jn 3:1-2

Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

QARI 2        mill-Ewwel Ittra ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu 3:1-2
Għeżież, araw b’liema għożża ħabbna l-Missier; nistgħu nissejħu wlied Alla, u hekk aħna tassew. Għalhekk id-dinja ma tagħrafniex, għax ma għarfitx lilu. Għeżież, issa aħna wlied Alla, imma x’se nkunu ’l quddiem mhuwiex irrivelat lilna. Madankollu nafu li meta jidher hu, aħna nkunu bħalu, għax narawh kif inhu. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


Gospel        JOHN 10:11-18

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

EVANĠELJU        Qari skond San Ġwann 10:11-18
F’dak iż-żmien, Ġesù qal: “Jiena r-ragħaj it-tajjeb. Ir-ragħaj it-tajjeb jagħti ħajtu għan-nagħaġ tiegħu. Il-mikri, li mhuwiex ir-ragħaj, u li n-nagħaġ mhumiex tiegħu, jara l-lupu ġej, u jħalli n-nagħaġ u jaħrab; u l-lupu jaħtafhom u jxerridhom. Mikri hu, u ma jħabbilx rasu min-nagħaġ. Jiena r-ragħaj it-tajjeb; jiena nagħraf in-nagħaġ tiegħi, u n-nagħaġ tiegħi jagħrfu lili, bħalma l-Missier jagħraf lili u jiena nagħraf lill-Missier; u għan-nagħaġ tiegħi nagħti ħajti. Għandi wkoll nagħaġ oħra, li mhumiex minn dan il-maqjel; lilhom ukoll jeħtieġ li niġbor, u huma jisimgħu leħni, u jkun hemm merħla waħda, ragħaj wieħed.  /Għalhekk iħobbni l-Missier, għax jien nagħti ħajti, biex nerġa’ neħodha. Ħadd ma jeħodhieli, iżda jien nagħtiha minn rajja. Għandi setgħa li nagħtiha, u għandi s-setgħa li nerġa’ neħodha; din hi l-ordni li ħadt mingħand Missieri”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   //  

EASTER 4 -  

Looking after God's flock   


Introduction:


On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, called Good Shepherd Sunday, we continue to reflect on the meaning of the Resurrection. This is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Today, we celebrate the risen Lord as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. The priest in charge of a parish is called pastor because “pastor” means shepherd. As shepherd, he leads, feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects Christ’s sheep, the people of i the parish. The earliest Christians saw Jesus as the fulfillment of the ancient Jewish dream of a Good Shepherd.   They also wished to include the Gentiles as part of God’s flock.

Scripture lessons:

In Sunday’s first reading, Peter asserts unequivocally before the Jewish assembly that there is no salvation except through Christ, the Good Shepherd — the one whom the Jewish leaders have rejected and crucified and in whose name the apostles preach and heal. In the second reading, St. John tells us how Yahweh, the Good Shepherd of the Old Testament, expressed His love for us through His Son Jesus, the Good Shepherd, by making us His children. In today’s Gospel Jesus introduces himself as the “Good Shepherd.” Jesus claims that as Good Shepherd he knows his sheep and loves them so much he is ready to die for them. The Gospel text offers us both comfort — Good Shepherd, knows us, provides for us and loves us – and a double challenge: to become good shepherds to those entrusted to our care and good sheep in our parish, the sheepfold of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Life messages:

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, bosses, dand politicians are all shepherds. We become good shepherds by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time, talents, health and wealth for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers.  Parents must be especially careful of their duties as shepherds, becoming role models for their children by leading exemplary lives.

2) Let us be good sheep in the fold of Jesus, our Good Shepherd:
  a) by hearing and following the voice of our shepherds through their homilies, Bible classes, counseling and advice;  
  b) by taking the spiritual food given by our pastors through regular and active participation in the Holy Mass and by frequenting the sacraments, prayer services, renewal programs, and missions;  
  c) by cooperating with our pastors, giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the parish, encouraging them in their ministry by prayer and presence, by offering them praise and thanks for all they are doing for us, and occasionally by making constructive suggestions for changes;
  d) by cooperating as good stewards in the activities of various councils, ministries and parish associations.

3) Let us pray for vocations to the Priesthood, the diaconate and the consecrated life so that we may have more holy and Spirit-filled shepherds to lead, feed, and protect the Catholic community. Christ Jesus is the Priest in the full sense because He is the one mediator between God and humanity who offered Himself, a unique sacrifice, on the cross. The universal priesthood of all believers, the sharing of all the baptized in the priesthood of Christ, has received special emphasis since Vatican II. Those who are called to make a lifelong commitment to serve as ordained ministers share the ministerial priesthood of Jesus. On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations  we are asked to encourage and pray for our young men to respond to God’s call to serve His Church in the ministerial priesthood.

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

WHY ARE YOU TROUBLED?

 Readings for Sunday, April 11, 2021 - Year/Sena B

Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 47

It-Tielet Ħadd tal-Għid


Reading 1       ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 3:13-15, 17-19

Peter said to the people: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

QARI 1         mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 3, 13-15.17-19
F’dak iż-żmien, Pietru qal lill-poplu: “Alla ta’ Abraham, Alla ta’ Iżakk, u Alla ta’ Ġakobb, Alla ta’ missirijietna gglorifika lill-qaddej tiegħu, Ġesù, li intom ittradejtuh u ċħadtuh quddiem Pilatu, għalkemm dan kien qatagħha li jitilqu. Intom ċħadtu l-Qaddis u l-Ġust, tlabtu l-ħelsien ta’ wieħed qattiel u qtiltu lill-awtur tal-ħajja. Imma Alla qajmu mill-imwiet, u ta’ dan aħna xhieda. Issa, ħuti, jiena naf li kemm intom u kemm il-kapijiet tagħkom, għamiltu dan għaliex ma kontux tafu. Imma b’hekk Alla temm dak li hu kien ħabbar sa minn qabel b’fomm il-profeti, jiġifieri, li l-Messija tiegħu kellu jbati. Indmu, mela, u erġgħu lura minn dnubietkom biex jinħafrulkom”. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Responsorial Psalm        PSALM 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
    you who relieve me when I am in distress;
    have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
.

Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
    the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.

O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
    You put gladness into my heart.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.

As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
    for you alone, O LORD,
    bring security to my dwelling.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.

SALM RESPONSORJALI         Salm 4, 2.4.7.9
 R/. (7a): Ixħet fuqna, Mulej, id-dawl ta’ wiċċek

 Weġibni, meta nsejjaħlek,
Alla tal-ġustizzja tiegħi;
oħroġni fil-wisa’ meta nkun imdejjaq,
ħenn għalija u isma’ talbi. R/.
 
Kunu afu li l-Mulej
wera tjieba kbira miegħi;
jismagħni l-Mulej meta nsejjaħlu. R/.
 
Ħafna jgħidu: “Min jurina r-riżq?”.
Ixħet fuqna, Mulej, id-dawl ta’ wiċċek.
Nimtedd u norqod minnufih fis-sliem,
għax int waħdek, Mulej, fis-sod tqegħedni. R/.

 
Reading 2         1 JOHN 2:1-5a
My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.

QARI 2        mill-Ewwel Ittra ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu  2, 1-5a
Uliedi, dan qiegħed niktibhulkom biex ma tidinbux; imma jekk xi ħadd jidneb, aħna għandna Difensur quddiem il-Missier, lil Ġesù Kristu, il-ġust. U hu jħallas għal dnubietna, mhux għal tagħna biss, iżda wkoll għal dawk tad-dinja kollha. U b’dan nafu li nagħrfu ’l Ġesù: jekk inżommu l-kmandamenti tiegħu. Min jgħid: “Jiena nafu” u ma jżommx il-kmandamenti tiegħu, hu giddieb u l-verità mhijiex fih. Iżda kull min iżomm ilkelma tiegħu, fih hemm tassew l-imħabba ta’ Alla fil-milja tagħha. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


Gospel        LUKE 24:35-48
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them  in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

EVANĠELJU        Qari skond San Luqa  24, 35-48
F’dak iż-żmien, iż-żewġ dixxipli li reġgħu lura Ġerusalemm minn Għemmaws kienu qegħdin itarrfu lill-Ħdax u lil dawk li kienu magħħom xi ġralhom fit-triq, u kif kienu għarfu lil Ġesù fil-qsim tal-ħobż! Kif kienu għadhom jitkellmu, Ġesù nnifsu waqaf f’nofshom u qalilhom: “Is-sliem għalikom!” Huma twerwru bil-biża’ għax ħasbu li qegħdin jaraw xi fantażma. Iżda hu qalilhom: “Għaliex tħawwadtu? Għaliex dan it-tħassib kollu f’qalbkom? Araw idejja u riġlejja. Jiena hu! Missuni, u ifhmuha li l-ispirtu ma għandux laħam u għadam bħalma qegħdin taraw li għandi jien”. Huwa u jgħidilhom dan, uriehom idejh u riġlejh. Iżda billi huma, fil-ferħ tagħhom, kienu għadhom ma jridux jemmnu u baqgħu mistagħġba, qalilhom: “Għandkom xi ħaġa tal-ikel hawn?” Huma ressqulu quddiemu biċċa ħuta mixwija, u hu ħadha u kielha quddiemhom. Imbagħad qalilhom: “Meta kont għadni magħkom għedtilkom dawn il-kelmiet: jeħtieġ li jseħħ kull ma nkiteb fuqi fil-Liġi ta’ Mosè, fil-Profeti u fis-Salmi”. Imbagħad fetħilhom moħħhom biex jifhmu l-Iskrittura. U qalilhom: “Hekk kien miktub, li l-Messija jbati u fit-tielet jum iqum mill-imwiet, u li l-indiema għall-maħfra tad-dnubiet tixxandar f’ismu lill-ġnus kollha, ibda minn Ġerusalemm. Intom xhud ta’ dan”.Il-Kelma tal-Mulej


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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection 

by Fr Antony Kadavil   
 EASTER III - -    

Adjusting our lives to His living presence  

Introduction: 

The common theme of this Sunday’s readings is the challenge to adjust our lives to the living presence of the risen Lord as we grow daily more aware of the presence of His Holy Spirit within us and surrounding us. This awareness should strengthen our hope in His promises, bring us to true repentance for our sins and the renewal of our lives, and lead us to bear witness to Christ by our works of charity. The readings also remind us that the purpose of the suffering, death, and Resurrection of Jesus was to save us from our sins.

Scripture lessons: 

The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, gives us Peter’s second sermon addressing the Jewish assembly at the Portico of Solomon in Jerusalem. Peter forcefully shows how the messianic prophecies have been fulfilled in the crucified and risen Jesus and challenges the Jews to repent and turn toward God so that their sins may be wiped away. 

In the second reading, John answers doubts raised by the heretics of his time, asserting the fundamental Christian doctrine that Jesus’ death was a sacrifice offered as expiation for our sins. 

Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ appearance on the evening of His Resurrection to his apostles who were in the locked Upper Room, the Cenacle. We see Jesus remove the doubts of his apostles about his Resurrection by inviting them to touch him and by eating a piece of cooked fish. Jesus explains how the prophecies have been fulfilled in him. Then he commissions them to bear witness to him and preach “repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name” after receiving the Holy Spirit.

Life messages: 

 1) We need to share the apostles’ “Upper Room Experience” in the Holy Mass: The same Jesus who, in the Upper Room, the Cenacle, prepared the disciples for their preaching and witnessing mission, is present with us in the Eucharistic celebration.   In the “Liturgy of the Word” of God, Jesus speaks to us. In the “Liturgy of the Eucharist,” Jesus becomes our spiritual food and drink.  Thus, today’s Gospel scene is repeated every Sunday on our parish altars.  Like the early disciples, we come together to repent of our sins, express our gratitude for blessings received, listen to God’s word, and offer our lives to God along with our petitions and His gifts of consecrated Bread and Wine.  We also consume the spiritual food Jesus supplies, thus gaining the strength necessary for sharing Christ’s message with the entire world, mainly by living transparent Christian lives.

2) Jesus needs us as witnesses to continue his mission.  Jesus needs Spirit-filled followers to be his eyes, ears, hands, and feet, to bear witness to his love, mercy and forgiveness by our interactions with our brother and sisters. 

3) Our daily lives are meant to serve as a means for us to experience and share the risen Lord with others. Just as the disciples experienced the risen Lord in their community, let us learn to recognize the presence of Jesus in our own homes, social service centers, nursing facilities, hospitals, workplaces, and schools.  Jesus wants us to be a community which shares and cares, a community which knows how to recognize Jesus in the poor, the marginalized, the sick – that is, in everyone – and does so.

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Thursday, 8 April 2021

God’s invitation to celebrate and practice mercy in our life

Readings for Sunday, April 11, 2021 - Year/Sena B

Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday of Divine Mercy
Lectionary: 44

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


Reading 1        ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 4:32-35
 

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

QARI I          mill-Ktieb tal-Atti tal-Appostli 4, 32-35
Il-kotra kbira ta’ dawk li emmnu kienu qalb waħda u ruħ waħda. Ħadd minnhom ma kien jgħid li l-ġid li kellu kien tiegħu, iżda kellhom kollox flimkien. B’qawwa kbira l-appostli kienu jagħtu xhieda tal-qawmien tal-Mulej Ġesù, u kulħadd kien iġibhom ħafna. Ħadd minnhom ma kien jonqsu xejn; għax kull min kellu oqsma jew djar kien ibigħhom, u l-flus li jdaħħal minnhom kien imur iqegħedhom f’riġlejn l-appostli. Imbagħad kien jitqassam kollox skont il-ħtieġa ta’ kull wieħed. 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.

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.

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.

SALM RESPONSORJALI        Salm 117 (118), 2-4.16ab-18.22-24
 R/. (1): Faħħru l-Mulej, għaliex hu tajjeb, għax it-tjieba tiegħu għal dejjem!

 
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-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.
Ħaqarni tassew il-Mulej,
iżda ma telaqnix għall-mewt. 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/.


Reading 2        1 JOHN 5:1-6
Beloved:  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.

QARI II        mill-1 Ittra ta’ San Ġwann Appostlu 5, 1-6
Għeżież, kull min jemmen li Ġesù hu l-Messija hu mwieled minn Alla, u kull min iħobb lill-Missier iħobb lil min twieled minnu. Minn dan nafu li nħobbu lil ulied Alla, meta nħobbu ’l Alla u nagħmlu l-kmandamenti tiegħu. Għax din hi l-imħabba ta’ Alla, li nżommu l-kmandamenti tiegħu; u l-kmandamenti tiegħu mhumiex tqal; għax kull min hu mwieled minn Alla jegħleb lid-dinja. Din hi r-rebħa fuq id-dinja: il-fidi tagħna. Għax min hu dak li jegħleb lid-dinja, jekk mhux min jemmen li Ġesù hu l-Iben ta’ Alla? Dan huwa dak li ġie bl-ilma u d-demm, Ġesù Kristu; mhux bl-ilma biss, iżda bl-ilma u d-demm. U l-Ispirtu hu li jixhed, għax l-Ispirtu hu l-verità. 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 skond 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 idejja, 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   
 
TRUSTING IN GOD'S DIVINE MERCY  


Introduction 

 he 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, instituted to sanctify us.

Scripture lessons:

The first reading, taken from Acts, stresses the corporal acts of mercy practiced by the early Christian community before the Jews and the Romans started persecuting them.  Practicing the sharing love, compassion and the mercy of God as Jesus taught, this witnessing community derived its strength from community prayer, “the Breaking of the Bread” and the apostles’ teaching read at the worship service. The second reading: taken from John’s first Letter, deals with practicing both corporal and spiritual works of mercy by obeying God’s Old Testament commandments and focusing on Jesus’ commandment of loving others as He loves us, with selfless, sacrificial, agape love. Loving others as Jesus loves us also demands that we treat others with God’s mercy and compassion. Today’s Gospel vividly reminds us of how Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a sacrament of Divine Mercy. The Risen Lord gave his apostles 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” (Jn 20:28), the Gospel illustrates how Jesus showed Divine 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 one our loving service.  The spiritual Fathers 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 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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Thursday, 1 April 2021

 Readings for Sunday, April 4, 2021 - Year/Sena B

 

Easter Sunday:  The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day

Lectionary: 42

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


Reading I         ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 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 I        Atti ta' l-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.

“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.

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.

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 II        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 II         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. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.
.
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!
    Amen. Alleluia.

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”.
O, nemmnu li llum Kristu rxoxta
tassew mill-imwiet!
Int mela, Sultan, ħenn għalina,
O Kristu rebbieħ.
Amen! Hallelujah!


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.

EVANĠELJU         Qari skond 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   


Easter Sunday -

 JESUS IS GOD! 

 He Is Risen!

 

 

Introduction:   

Significance of Easter: Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church for three 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, because Jesus had prophesied His Resurrection as a sign of His Divinity:  The founder of no other religion has an empty tomb as Jesus has.  

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 is our belief in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus in our souls, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament, and in Heaven that gives meaning to our personal as well as our communal prayer, strength to fight against temptations, and freedom from unnecessary worries and fears.  (+ one anecdote)

Life Messages: 

1) Let us live the lives of “Resurrection people”: Easter gives us the joyful message that we are a “Resurrection people.”  This means that 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 in all the events of our lives and amid the boredom, suffering, pain, and tensions of our day-to-day life.  

2) We need to live aware of the presence of the Risen Lord with us. Our awareness of the all-pervading presence of the Risen Lord in and around us, and the strong conviction of our own coming resurrection, help us to control our thoughts, desires, words and behavior.  This salutary thought inspires us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure, and free from evil habits and addictions. Our conviction about the presence of the Risen Lord in our neighbors and in all those with whom we come into contact should encourage us to respect them, and to render them loving, humble and selfless service.

3) We need to radiate the Risen Lord all around us: We are called to be transparent Christians, showing others through our lives the love, mercy, compassion, and the spirit of self-sacrificing service lived by the Risen Jesus dwelling in our hearts.

4) We need to share in the power of the Risen Lord: Let us recall that, 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/21)
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Prayerful Easter Greetings
 

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 in all you do.


 

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Thursday, 25 March 2021

TIME TO BE SAVED!

 Readings for Sunday, March 28, 2021 - Year/Sena B

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion


Lectionary: 37 and 38

Ħadd il-Palm u l-Passjoni tal-Mulej




Reading I        - 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 I        mill-Ktieb tal-Profeta Iżaija 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

R. (2a)  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

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 jdejja 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 II        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 II         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        THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST according to ARK 14:1—15:47
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread  were to take place in two days’ time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death. They said, “Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people.” When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”The n Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them;  and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, “Surely it is not I?” He said to them,  “One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 

He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine  until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: he will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed. But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him,  “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.” Then Jesus said to him, "Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” But he vehemently replied, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all spoke similarly. Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough.  The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.” Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.”  And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me;  but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled. Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked. They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire. The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none. Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,  alleging, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.’” Even so their testimony did not agree. The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?” Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as deserving to die. Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards greeted him with blows. While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids came along. Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” So he went out into the outer court. Then the cock crowed. The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” Once again he denied it. A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, “Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.” He began to curse and to swear, “I do not know this man about whom you are talking.” And immediately a cock crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” He broke down and wept. As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 
Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd  to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.” Pilate said to them, “Why?  What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified. The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him. They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. They brought him to the place of Golgotha — which is translated Place of the Skull —, They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha!  You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him. At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,  “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. (Here all kneel and pause for a short time.) The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he  breathed his last he said,  “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.

EVANĠELJU        Il-Passjoni ta’ Sidna Ġesù Kristu skond San Mark 14:1–15:47
Kien għad baqa’ jumejn għall-Għid u għall-Ażżmi, u l-qassisin il-kbar u l-kittieba bdew ifittxu kif jaqbdu lil Ġesù bil-qerq ta’ moħħhom u jagħtuh il-mewt. Għax bdew jgħidu:  “Mhux fil-festa, li ma tqumx xi rewwixta fil-poplu”. Ġesù kien qiegħed jiekol għand Xmun il-lebbruż f’Betanja. Daħlet mara, b’vażett tal-alabastru biż-żejt ifuħ ta’ nard pur, jiswa ħafna, kissret għonq il-vażett, u ferrgħet iż-żejt fuq ras Ġesù. U kien hemm xi wħud li bdew jitmasħnu bejniethom u jgħidu: “Dal-ħala kollu ta’ fwieħa għalfejn? Dil-fwieħa setgħet iġġib aktar minn tliet mitt dinar u jingħataw lill-foqra”. U bdew jeħduha magħha. Imma Ġesù qal: “Ħalluha; għala qegħdin iddejquha? Ħaġa tajba għamlet miegħi. Il-foqra ssibuhom dejjem magħkom, u tistgħu tgħinuhom kull meta tridu. Imma lili mhux dejjem se ssibuni magħkom. Hi għamlet li setgħet; dilkitli ġismi bil-fwieħa għad-difna minn qabel. Tassew ngħidilkom li, kull fejn jixxandar l-Evanġelju fid-dinja kollha, li għamlet din jingħad ukoll, b’tifkira tagħha”. Imbagħad Ġuda l-Iskarjota, wieħed mit-Tnax, mar għand il-qassisin il-kbar biex jagħtihom lil Ġesù f’idejhom. Għal din l-aħbar ferħu ħafna, u wegħduh li jagħtuh xi flus. U hu beda jfittex il-waqt tajjeb biex jagħtihom lil Ġesù f’idejhom. Fl-ewwel jum tal-Ażżmi, meta kienu jissagrifikaw il-ħaruf tal-Għid, id-dixxipli tiegħu qalulu: “Fejn tridna mmorru nħejju biex tiekol l-ikla tal-Għid?”. Imbagħad hu bagħat tnejn mid-dixxipli tiegħu u qalilhom: “Morru l-belt, u tiltaqgħu ma’ raġel iġorr ġarra ilma. Morru warajh, u għidu lil sid id-dar ta’ fejn tarawh dieħel: ‘Qallek l-Imgħallem: Fejn hi l-kamra tiegħi li fiha nista’ niekol l-ikla tal-Għid mad-dixxipli tiegħi?’. U hu jurikom kamra kbira fuq, mgħammra u lesta. Ħejjulna hemmhekk”. U d-dixxipli marru u daħlu fil-belt u sabu kollox kif kien qalilhom hu; u ħejjew l-ikla tal-Għid. Għall-ħin ta’ filgħaxija Ġesù ġie mat-Tnax. U kif kienu fuq il-mejda jieklu qal: “Tassew ngħidilkom li wieħed minnkom se jittradini, wieħed li qiegħed jiekol miegħi”. Huma bdew isewdu qalbhom, u wieħed wara l-ieħo staqsewh: “Jaqaw jien?”. Qalilhom: “Wieħed mit-Tnax, li qiegħed ibill il-ħobż fi platt wieħed miegħi. Għax Bin il-bniedem imur, kif hemm miktub fuqu; imma ħażin għalih dak il-bniedem li permezz tiegħu Bin il-bniedem ikun mogħti f’idejn l-għedewwa! Kien ikun aħjar għalih dak il-bniedem li kieku ma twieled xejn!”. Huma u jieklu, ħa l-ħobż f’idejh, qal il-barka, qasmu, newwilhulhom u qal: “Ħudu, dan hu ġismi”. Imbagħad ħa l-kalċi f’idejh, radd il-ħajr, u newwilhulhom, u lkoll xorbu minnu. U qalilhom: “Dan huwa demmi, id-demm tal-patt, li jixxerred għal ħafna. Tassew ngħidilkom li ma nixrobx iżjed mill-frott tad-dielja sa dakinhar li nixrob inbid ġdid fis-Saltna ta’ Alla”.Imbagħad kantaw is-salmi u ħarġu lejn l-Għolja taż-Żebbuġ. U Ġesù qalilhom: “Ilkoll se titħawdu, għax hu miktub: ‘Nidrob ir-ragħaj, u n-nagħaġ jitferrxu’. Imma wara li nqum mill-mewt, immur il-Galilija qabilkom”. Qallu Pietru: “Ukoll jekk jitfixkel kulħadd, jiena ma nitfixkilx”. Qallu Ġesù: “Tassew ngħidlek li llum, dal-lejl stess, qabel ma s-serduk ikun idden darbtejn, int tkun ġa ċħadtni tliet darbiet”. Iżda Pietru tenna bil-qawwa kollha: “Le, ma niċħdekx, anqas jekk ikolli mmut miegħek!”. U l-oħrajn ukoll, kollha qalu l-istess. Waslu f’qasam jismu Ġetsemani, u qal lid-dixxipli tiegħu: “Oqogħdu bilqiegħda hawn sakemm nitlob”. U ħa miegħu lil Pietru u lil Ġakbu u lil Ġwanni, u bdew jaħkmuh il-biża’ u d-dwejjaq. Qalilhom:“Inħossni mnikket għall-mewt; ibqgħu hawn u ishru”. Mexa kemmxejn ’il quddiem, inxteħet fl-art, u talab li, jekk jista’ jkun titwarrab minnu dik is-siegħa. U qal:  “Abbà, Missier, kollox jista’ jkun għalik; biegħed minni dan il-kalċi! Iżda mhux li rrid jien, imma li trid int”. Ġie ħdejhom u sabhom reqdin, u qal lil Pietru: “Xmun, rieqed? Ma flaħtx tishar siegħa waħda! Ishru u itolbu biex ma tidħlux fit-tiġrib. L-ispirtu, iva, irid; imma l-ġisem dgħajjef”. U raġa’ mar u tenna l-istess talba. Mill-ġdid ġie u għal darb’oħra sabhom reqdin għax għajnejhom kienu tqal bin-ngħas; u ma għarfux x’jaqbu jgħidulu. Ġie għat-tielet darba u qalilhom: “Torqdu issa u tistrieħu? Biżżejjed. Is-siegħa waslet; araw li Bin il-bniedem se jkun mogħti f’idejn il-midinbin. Qumu! Ejjew immorru! Ara, dak li se jittradini hu fil-qrib!”. 

Minnufih, kif kien għadu jitkellem, wasal Ġuda, wieħed mit-Tnax, b’ġemgħa nies miegħu, armati bis-sjuf u l-bsaten, mibgħuta mill-qassisin il-kbar u mill-kittieba u x-xjuħ. Issa dak li kien se jittradih kien tahom sinjal minn qabel u qalilhom:“Dak li nbusu huwa hu; aqbduh u morru bih mgħasses tajjeb”. Malli mbagħad wasal, baqa’ sejjer fuqu u qallu:  “Rabbi”. U biesu. Huma meddew idejhom fuqu u qabduh. Imma wieħed minn dawk ta’ madwaru silet is-sejf, ta daqqa bih lill-qaddej tal-qassis il-kbir u qatagħlu widintu. Ġesù dar fuqhom u qalilhom: “Qiskom ħriġtu għal xi ħalliel, armati bis-sjuf u l-bsaten biex taqbdu lili! Jien kuljum kont inkun fostkom fit-tempju ngħallem u ma żammejtunix. Imma dan kollu ġara biex isseħħ l-Iskrittura”. Imbagħad id-dixxipli tiegħu kollha telquh u ħarbu. Wieħed żagħżugħ mar warajh imgeżwer b’liżar biss fuq xejn, u qabduh; imma hu telqilhom il-liżar f’idejhom u ħarab għeri. Ħadu lil Ġesù għand il-qassis il-kbir, u nġabru l-qassisin il-kbar kollha u x-xjuħ u l-kittieba. Pietru kien baqa’ miexi warajh mill-bogħod sa ġol-palazz tal-qassis il-kbir, u qagħad bilqiegħda mal-qaddejja ħdejn in-nar għas-sħana. Il-qassisin il-kbar u s-Sinedriju kollu bdew ifittxu xhieda kontra Ġesù biex jagħtuh il-mewt, u ma sabux. Tassew li kien hemm ħafna li xehdu bil-qerq kontra tiegħu, imma x-xhieda tagħhom ma kinitx taqbel. Imbagħad qamu xi wħud jagħtu xhieda qarrieqa kontra tiegħu u qalu:“Aħna smajnieh jgħid: ‘Jiena nħott dan it-tempju mibni bl-idejn, u fi tlitt ijiem nibni ieħor li ma jkunx mibni bl-idejn!’”. Imma x-xhieda tagħhom anqas f’dan ma kienet taqbel. Imbagħad il-qassis il-kbir qam f’nofs il-ġemgħa u staqsa lil Ġesù: “Xejn ma twieġeb? X’inhuma jixhdu dawn kontra tiegħek?”.    Iżda hu baqa’ sieket u ma wieġeb xejn. Mill-ġdid il-qassis il-kbir staqsieh u qallu: “Int il-Messija, Bin l-Imbierek?”. Ġesù wieġbu:“Jien hu, u intom għad taraw lil Bin il-bniedem bilqiegħda n-naħa tal-lemin tal-Qawwa u ġej fuq is-sħab tas-sema”. Imbagħad il-qassis il-kbir ċarrat l-ilbies ta’ fuqu u qal: “Xi ħtieġa għandna iżjed ta’ xhieda? Id-dagħwa smajtuha! X’jidhrilkom?”. U kollha qatgħuhielu li kien ħaqqu l-mewt. Imbagħad xi wħud bdew jobżqulu fuqu, jgħattulu wiċċu, jagħtuh bil-ponn u jgħidulu: “Aqta’ min!”. U l-qaddejja bdew jagħtuh bil-ħarta. Waqt li Pietru kien isfel ’il ġewwa mid-daħla tal-palazz, ġiet waħda qaddejja tal-qassis il-kbir. Kif rat lil Pietru qiegħed għas-sħana, waħħlet għajnejha fuqu u qaltlu:"Int ukoll kont ma’ Ġesù ta’ Nazaret”. Imma hu ċaħad u qal: “Ma nafx, m’iniex nifhem x’inti tgħid”. U ħareġ ’il barra fid-daħla tal-palazz. U s-serduk idden. Il-qaddejja ratu, u reġgħet bdiet tgħid lil dawk li kienu hemm: “Dan wieħed minnhom”. U mill-ġdid ċaħad. Wara ftit dawk li kienu ħdejh reġgħu qalu lil Pietru: “Tassew, int wieħed minnhom; għax int ukoll mill-Galilija”. 

Imbagħad qabad jisħet lilu nnifsu u jaħlef: “Jiena ma nafux lil dan il-bniedem li qegħdin issemmu”. Minnufih is-serduk idden għat-tieni darba. Pietru ftakar fil-kelma li kien qallu Ġesù: “Qabel ma s-serduk jidden darbtejn, inti tiċħadni tliet darbiet”. U nfexx jibki. Filgħodu kmieni l-qassisin il-kbar iltaqgħu malajr max-xjuħ u mal-kittieba u mas-Sinedriju kollu biex jiftiehmu bejniethom. Imbagħad rabtu lil Ġesù, ħaduh u tawh f’idejn Pilatu. Pilatu staqsieh: “Inti s-sultan tal-Lhud?”. U hu wieġeb u qallu: “Int qiegħed tgħidu”.Il-qassisin il-kbar bdew jaqilgħu ħafna akkużi kontra tiegħu. Iżda Pilatu raġa’ staqsieh:  “Ma twieġeb xejn? Ara kemm akkużi qegħdin iġibu kontra tiegħek!”. Imma Ġesù ma wieġeb xejn iżjed, hekk li Pilatu baqa’ mistagħġeb. F’nhar ta’ festa kien jitilqilhom wieħed ħabsi, lil dak li kienu jitolbu huma. Issa fil-ħabs kien hemm wieħed jismu Barabba, arrestat flimkien max-xewwiexa li fir-rewwixta kienu qatlu lil xi ħadd. In-nies telgħu u bdew jitolbuh jagħmel kif kien jagħmlilhom dejjem. Qabad Pilatu u qalilhom: “Tridux nitilqilkom is-sultan tal-Lhud?”. Għax hu għaraf tajjeb li l-qassisin il-kbar kienu tawh lil Ġesù f’idejh minħabba l-għira. Iżda l-qassisin il-kbar bdew ixewxu n-nies li aħjar jitilqilhom lil Barabba. Pilatu raġa’ staqsiehom u qalilhom: “U x’nagħmel imbagħad b’dak li intom issejħulu s-sultan tal-Lhud?”. Iżda huma nfexxew jgħajtu mill-ġdid: “Sallbu!”. Qalilhom Pilatu: “Imma x’għamel ħażin?”. Huma aktar bdew jgħajtu: “Sallbu!”.Pilatu mbagħad, biex jogħġob lin-nies, telqilhom lil Barabba, u lil Ġesù, wara li tah is-swat, tahulhom biex isallbuh. Is-suldati ħaduh magħhom ġewwa fil-palazz, jiġifieri l-Pretorju, u sejħu r-riġment kollu. Libbsuh ilbies aħmar skur, u qegħdulu fuq rasu kuruna minsuġa mix-xewk. U bdew isellmulu: “Is-sliem għalik, sultan tal-Lhud!”. U qabdu jagħtuh b’qasba fuq rasu, jobżqulu fuqu, u jilwu rkupptejhom quddiemu biex jagħtuh qima. Imbagħad, wara li għaddewh biż-żuffjett, neżżgħulu l-ilbies aħmar u xeddewlu ħwejġu. U ħaduh ’il barra biex isallbuh. Kien għaddej wieħed, Xmun minn Ċireni, missier Xandru u Rufu, ġej lura mir-raba’, u ġagħluh jerfagħlu s-salib. U wassluh f’post jismu Golgota, li jfisser post il-Qorriegħa. U tawh jixrob inbid imħallat bil-mirra, imma hu ma riedx jieħu minnu. Imbagħad sallbuh, u qassmu ħwejġu bejniethom billi tellgħuhom bix-xorti ħalli kull wieħed jieħu li jmissu. Kienet it-tielet siegħa xħin sallbuh. Il-kitba li turi l-ħtija tal-kundanna tiegħu kienet tgħid hekk: “Is-sultan tal-Lhud”. Miegħu sallbu wkoll żewġ ħallelin, wieħed fuq il-lemin u l-ieħor fuq ix-xellug. Dawk li kienu għaddejjin bdew jgħajruh, iċaqilqu rashom u jgħidu: “Għajb għalik, int li tħott it-tempju u tfittex terġa’ tibnih fi tlitt ijiem! Inżel minn fuq is-salib u salva lilek innifsek!”. Hekk ukoll il-qassisin il-kbar bdew jiddieħku bih bejniethom u mal-kittieba u jgħidu: “Salva oħrajn, lilu nnifsu ma jistax isalva! Ħa jinżel issa l-Messija, is-sultan ta’ Iżrael, minn fuq is-salib biex aħna naraw u nemmnu!”. U dawk li kienu msallbin miegħu bdew imaqdruh huma wkoll. Xħin saret is-sitt siegħa waqgħet dalma kbira fuq il-pajjiż kollu sad-disa’ siegħ  U fid-disa’ siegħa Ġesù għajjat b’leħen qawwi:“Eloì, Eloì, lemà sabaqtàni!”. li jfisser: “Alla tiegħi, Alla tiegħi, għaliex tlaqtni!”. Xi wħud minn dawk li kienu hemm, kif semgħuh, qalu: “Ara, qiegħed isejjaħ lil Elija!”.U mar wieħed jiġri jxappap sponża bl-inbid qares, waħħalha f’tarf ta’ qasba u tah jixrob filwaqt li qal: “Stennew, ħa naraw jiġix Elija jniżżlu!”. Imma Ġesù għajjat għajta kbira u radd ruħu. 

(Hawnhekk kulħadd jinżel għarkupptejh u jinżamm is-skiet għal ftit ħin.)

U l-purtiera tas-santwarju ċċarrtet fi tnejn minn fuq s’isfel. Iċ-ċenturjun li kien wieqaf biswitu, meta rah jgħajjat u jmut hekk, qal: “Dan il-bniedem kien tassew Bin Alla!”. Kien hemm ukoll xi nisa jħarsu mill-bogħod, fosthom Marija ta’ Magdala, Marija omm Ġakbu ż-żgħir u Ġosè, u Salomi; dawn, meta Ġesù kien fil-Galilija, kienu jmorru miegħu u jaqduh. U kien hemm ukoll bosta oħrajn li kienu telgħu Ġerusalemm miegħu. Kien ġa sar filgħaxija, u billi kien Jum it-Tħejjija, jiġifieri lejlet is-Sibt, Ġużeppi minn Arimatija, membru magħruf tal-Kunsill, li hu wkoll kien jistenna s-Saltna ta’ Alla, għamel il-ħila, daħal quddiem Pilatu u talbu l-ġisem ta’ Ġesù. Pilatu stagħġeb li kien ġa miet; bagħat għaċ-ċenturjun u staqsieh jekk kienx ilu li miet. Meta mbagħad sar jaf mingħand iċ-ċenturjun, ta l-ġisem ta’ Ġesù lil Ġużeppi, u dan xtara liżar tal-għażel, niżżel lil Ġesù mis-salib, keffnu fil-liżar u qiegħdu f’qabar imħaffer fil-blat; imbagħad gerbeb ġebla fid-daħla tal-qabar. Marija ta’ Magdala u Marija omm Ġosè qagħdu jaraw fejn tqiegħed. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.

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Eight-minute  Gospel reflection by Fr Antony Kadavil   
 

TIME TO BE SAVED!

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 crucifixion, death and burial for 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 today’s Gospel describes the royal reception Jesus received from his admirers, who paraded with him for a distance of two miles:  from the Mount of Olives to 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 Mark. 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 that I have become by my addiction to uncharitable, unjust and 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 Savior? 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 we receive forgiveness: “through his wounds 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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