May 3 - Fifth Sunday of Easter: God prunes us

April 30th, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 9:26-31
Paul is accepted by the apostles at Jerusalem.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 22:26-27,28,30,31-32
The whole world shall praise the Lord.

Second Reading  1 John 3:18-24
God commands us to believe in Jesus Christ and to love one another.

Gospel Reading
John 15:1-8

Jesus sets forth two situations. The first is negative: The branch is dry, it bears no fruit, and so it is cut off and thrown away. The second is positive: The branch is living and healthy, and so it is pruned. This contrast already tells us that pruning is not a hostile act to the branch. The vinedresser expects much from it; he knows it can bear fruit; he has confidence in it. The same happens on the spiritual plane. God intervenes in our lives with the cross. It does not mean he is irritated with us but, in fact, the opposite. This is even truer in the spiritual life. Holiness is like a sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci defined sculpture as "the art of removing," i.e. of taking away the pieces of marble that are in excess, so that the figure can emerge that one has in mind. Christian perfection is also obtained like this, by removing and making useless pieces fall off, namely, desires, ambitions, projects, carnal tendencies that disperse us and do not let us finish anything. Thus God would take the chisel,

which is the cross, and begins to work on us. He takes the pruning shears, and begins to prune us.

April 26 - Fourth Sunday of Easter: To carry each other on our shoulders

April 22nd, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12
Peter announces an act of healing in the name of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28,29
A prayer of thanksgiving to God for his kindness

Second Reading  1 John 3:1-2
God revealed his love for us by calling us children of God.

Gospel Reading
John 10:11-18

Traditionally, this fourth Sunday of Easter is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” because each year the Church presents us with our Lord’s beautiful description of himself as a shepherd who has tender, merciful love for his sheep. For many years now, the Church has also designated this Sunday as World Day of Prayer for Vocations. So we pray today in a special way in this Holy Mass that God will call many more men to the great adventure of being shepherds for his flock. Jesus the Good Shepherd carrying us on his shoulders is symbolized in a beautiful way by the Pallium which archbishops wear over their shoulders while celebrating Mass. The Pallium is made from lamb’s wool. During the Mass for the inauguration of his Pontificate on Sunday April 24th 2005 Pope Benedict explained the significance of the Pallium when he said that the Pallium is an invitation to carry one another, we are all to be shepherds to each other, to carry each other on our shoulders.

April 19 - Third Sunday of Easter: With God everything makes sense

April 15th, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 3:13-15,17-19
Peter preaches that Jesus has been raised from the dead and calls upon the people to repent.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 4:2,4,7-8,9
A prayer seeking God's favour

Second Reading  1 John 2:1-5a
Those who know God keep his commandments. 

Gospel Reading
Luke 24:35-48 

 In today’s Gospel we see how Jesus trys to help the disciples understand that all that had taken place—his suffering, death and resurrection—made sense. That was something that took the disciples a while to get their heads around, as suffering never makes sense to any of us.  So Jesus had to help them understand not only that he was alive, but that all that had taken place was meant to happen. They were meant to happen and they fitted into God’s plan for the world. All of us are continually faced with difficult situations of suffering. So often we cannot make sense of why we have to suffer and we may even see it as a punishment. Even though we don’t have a direct answer to this question, what Jesus says to his disciples in this Gospel is a help, because it reminds us that everything that happens fits into God’s bigger plan. The point is that God can bring good out of every situation, even turning the evil work of people into good.  But for the most part we cannot see that.  We are just faced with each individual situation of suffering and that is hard.  However, the Lord is telling us that there is a bigger picture which makes sense of everything that happens.  When we die we will then see that picture and it will all make sense to us. 

April 12 - Second Sunday of Easter : Peace, Forgiveness and Faith

April 7th, 2015

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35
The first Christian community shared their possessions, and no one was needy.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24
The Lord's mercy endures forever.

Second Reading  1 John 5:1-6
Those who love God keep his commandments.

Gospel Reading
John 20:19-31

Thomas does not  refuse the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus but simply insists that the risen Jesus must fulfil all his expectations. The following Sunday Thomas is challenged by Jesus himself to come to the true peace which only authentic faith can produce. Like Thomas, are we sometimes 'not there' when Jesus comes, or, again like Thomas, do we want God to behave int he way that might suit us best? The story of Jesus was written for us, so that we might deepen our belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. such belief is life-giving. 

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