READINGS for 2009-04-24
SEASONS IN THE CHURCH
The Jewish feast of Passover was near. – John 6:4
After more than four years of spending full-time ministry here in our parish, I have learned to appreciate the calendar of the Church. It gives rhythm to my life. Christmas and Lent are great days. They are busy times of the year. The caroling and Simbang Gabi during Christmas season drain my energy but fill my heart. But more than that, I can feel the spirit of Christmas powerfully.
When all schedules stand still in the morning of Good Friday, except for queues in the confessional, the meaning of Lent becomes more vivid to me as I walk the corridors of the church. Other seasons, memorials, feasts and solemnities bring back memories of people and events that echo my mission here on earth, my reason for living. There is so much wisdom in the liturgical calendar. It was the Spirit of God who spoke through Moses and the prophets to celebrate feasts as recorded in the early books of the Old Testament. And surely, it was His same Spirit who inspired our Church authorities to calendar the different seasons of the church. Cristy Galang
Do I know what the Church celebrated last Sunday? Have I reflected on its message?
Lord, please instill in me the habit of taking the different feasts of the Church seriously. Give me an open spirit to Your message each season that I may benefit fully from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I am sure that in accepting the advice of Gamaliel, the Sanhedrin was expecting the new Christian sect to disappear within a few months or years. They could not have been any more wrong! It went from strength to strength such that the Roman Empire ultimately bowed before its beliefs. Unfortunately, today’s age does not seem to have much time for faith. It is time for us to rekindle the world’s desire for the Christian Gospel.
34 A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the men to be put outside for a short time, 35 and said to them, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men. 36 Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. 37 After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. 38 So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. 39 But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him. 40 After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. 41 So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.
P S A L M
Psalm 27:1. 4. 13-14
R: One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? (R) 4 One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek, to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple. (R) 13 I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD. (R)
G O S P E L
I wonder why the miracle of the feeding of the multitude is the only miracle to appear in all four of the Gospels? If you have an answer to this question please let me know! Perhaps it is because this miracle seems to precede and provide a basis for understanding the Eucharist (Note: There is no Last Supper narrative in John’s Gospel!) in that we see the basic actions of taking (bread and fish); blessing them; breaking them and then offering them to all present. When all is said and done, it is an amazing event and perhaps that is good enough reason for it to be included by all the four Evangelists.
1 Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee [of Tiberias]. 2 A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 5 When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” 6 He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 12 When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. 14 When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” 15 Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
think:It is time for us to rekindle the world’s desire for the Christian Gospel.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 79-83
The Gospel of John never speaks of “miracles” but calls the miraculous acts of Jesus’ “signs.” A sign points beyond itself to a hidden meaning; it must be interpreted. John presents in his Gospel seven signs of Jesus. The fourth, the one in the middle,
is the multiplication of the loaves which we read about today. The very fact that the evangelist put it in the center of all signs means that it is the most important sign. It is also the only miracle that all four evangelists recorded. I think it is obvious to all who read the story that this sign points to the Eucharist.
A student once asked me, “Father, why did Jesus multiply so much that there were 12 baskets of leftovers? He knew how many people were there and could have provided just enough for those present.”
My good student had not understood the word “sign” John uses. Everything in this event has a deeper meaning which becomes clear when we connect the multiplication of the loaves with the Eucharist. Jesus did not intend to nourish only those present, as He did not intend to give Himself during the Last Supper to His disciples only. The abundance of nourishment points to His continuous sharing of Himself in the Eucharist throughout the centuries without end to countless followers. And there is always something “leftover”! Jesus’ gift is inexhaustible. This thought makes us marvel at the miracle of the Eucharist, at the generosity of Jesus and the treasure the Lord has left us. Should we not be more grateful and treasure the Eucharist more by preparing ourselves better and by not taking it for granted?
There is another thought I would like to add. What made this sign possible? The generosity of the little boy who was ready to share his baon when asked by the Lord. Jesus wants us to cooperate. We are not just recipients but contributors. If we do little signs of love and compassion to the hungry and poor people around us with the intention of offering it to the Lord and then go to Church, we make Mass and Holy Communion much more meaningful and pleasing to the Lord. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
Do I thank the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist by sharing with others?
Lord, thank You for the gift of Yourself in the Eucharist. Let me appreciate Your great gift of love more and open my heart toward those who are hungry.
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest and Martyr, pray for us.
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