Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 14, 2024


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R/. Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/.Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn with love when you speak to us.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: The two disciples told what had happened on the road, and how Jesus was known to them in the breaking of the bread. As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then 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 the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

1. Today’s Holy Word of God, and in fact every day’s speaks to us clearly about what God does in our lives and what we must do in return. In His merciful love, he becomes propitiation for our sins. He forgives us. He blots away our sins. He advocates on our behalf before the Father. He dispels our fears, clarifies and resolves our doubts and uncertainties. He tranquillizes our troubles. He enlightens our minds to understand and assimilate God’s word. He also shares his own self in the Holy Eucharist. He gives us the greatest gifts of peace and joy. That is why, Jesus says, “Peace be with you! Why are your hearts troubled? Why do doubts arise In your minds? Do not be afraid!”

2. If this is what God does for us, so much and everything, then what should we do for him? The answers are very clear in all the three readings: Repent, return to the Lord, avoid and combat sin and evil, trust in the Lord, touch and see him, be healed and clean, receive his peace and joy, and become his witnesses.

3. What God does from his part, and what we must do from our part are quite clear. At this point, what next? First of all, trust him totally. Be open and docile to allow him to work within us, with us and through us. Grow deeply grateful to him for his self-immolating love for us. Repent with profound anguish over failing and betraying his unconditioned mercy that forgives even our repeated sins and multitude of them.

4. This is so deep that it would pierce into the deepest recesses of the heart and cuts it through and through. It is not that usual repentance, that is so shallow and short-lived, that plays merely on emotions but does not make any worthwhile and consistent change in the character and behaviour of the person.

5. Then, Return to him with renewed trust, reinstilled confidence, enlightened clarity, recharged energy, renewed fidelity, and abounding passionate commitment. Further, deepen and foster a personal intimate relationship with the Lord.

6. This is very important, because sadly, in the case of many, God seems to become a useful concept and phenomenon, a shelter and shield in times of need and pressure, and a stop-gap in times of lack of alternatives. It is in such a context, we need to rediscover and recapture the “personal touch” with God.

7. The risen Lord is a God alive and active. He is deeply and personally involved in our lives. He is not to be a God, distant and alienated from us. He does not belong to another realm. He must be an integral part of our life. He must be indispensable in the progress of our life. He must be an inalienable sharer, partner and consultor in our every deliberation, assessment and decision and action. He must be a point of reference in our every vision and mission.

8.  This implies that we personally touch him and see him, and constantly surrender ourselves to be healed of our infirmities and fragilities. Make his presence so tangible and graspable. See and experience him so concretely in the simple details of life.

9. God should be set free from the exclusive and confined chambers of the holy tabernacles, from the spiritual domains of the churches and chapels, from the pious readings or eloquent preachings. Our faith should invite him to walk freely into our hearts, into our lives, into all our works, into our families, into our neighbourhood and surroundings, and our parish and religious communities.

10. Still further, being emboldened and empowered by his own light and power, we must assiduously combat the evil. We must never relent but be ever alert. Thus, being fully charged by his Spirit, we must become more and more authentic and effective witnesses. The risen Lord must live in and through us. People should know that the Lord is truly risen and continues to live on because he lives and works in and through us.

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