Friday, 24 June 2022

SUNDAY GOSPEL REFLECTION

June 26 2022 - Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Exclusive to this website English translation of a great homily from Vatican Radio for this Sunday's Gospel. The homilist, Fr Fabio Rosini, is a renowned speaker and fills the Roman basilicas with young people!


DAILY MASS REFLECTION (WEEKDAYS ONLY)

Short, straight-talking reflection on today's readings


CHECK OUT OUR BLOG

Orthodox views on the state of the Church and the world

How Mary is the New Eve, a Scriptural key for the entire Rosary, 

and much more

Friday, 17 June 2022

June 19th 2022.  Feast of Corpus Christi
GOSPEL   Luke 9:11B-17
Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio


Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

(Check us out on Facebook – Sunday Gospel Reflection)


GOSPEL   Luke 9:11B-17
Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
"Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here."
He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves."
They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people."
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
"Have them sit down in groups of about fifty."
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.
THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
 

SUMMARY

The feast of Corpus Christi is an opportunity to discover that the love of God for us is not something abstract, but something tangible. Jesus asks the disciples what to do regarding the hunger of the people, and they give the blandest of replies – “Send them away!” Jesus asks us to assist him in helping to satisfy the hunger of others, but the funny thing is that we then discover that we too are filled when we move to help others. It is when we take the little we have and give  it over to God, that a great abundance results, for us and for others. Jesus then looks to heaven and blesses the bread. We too must look to our relationship with the Father as the source of everything we do. If we try to rely on ourselves, then the results will be mediocre. But if we turn to the Lord in our times of trouble, then a moment of oppression becomes an oasis in which we meet the Lord and he can transform our desert into abundant fruit for ourselves and others.


1. God’s relationship with us is not something abstract but rather very tangible

The feast of the Lord's Body and Blood celebrates our relationship with God, which is not made up of abstractions, but of concrete realities, such as the food that nourishes us. This Sunday's Gospel reading starts with Christ’s announcement of the Kingdom of God and his healing of the crowd. What follows afterwards will serve to manifest tangibly what He has preached and done.


2. It is in satisfying the needs of others that our own hunger is satisfied.

We are at the end of the day, the evening is approaching and a need is looming: these people, who have listened all day, will have to eat something . . . In every relationship, sooner or later, comes the time when the needs of the other person emerge. What ought I do at this point? We have a tendency to shy away from this kind of situation. In fact, the attitude of the disciples is exactly that: "Let the crowd go to the villages of the surrounding area to find food and a place to stay".  Jesus' strategy is totally different. He, moreover, does not solve the problem alone, but involves his reluctant disciples in the effective solution. He needs their input of loaves to solve this crisis. What a curious thing! We are hungry ourselves but instead He calls us to satisfy the hunger of others. And it is precisely in satisfying the needs of others that our own hunger is truly satiated. We think: "If I had enough, I would give to others as well, but not having enough, I certainly cannot deal with their problems . . ." – it seems obvious, but things with God do not work like this! With Jesus it is not a matter of having enough, but it is rather a matter, little or much, to give him whatever I do or have. He will be able to multiply that "little", but he needs to start from being able to dispose of it.

3. When we are confronted by problems, the key is not to rely on our own solutions but to rely steadfastly on God

Man, under pressure from various issues, uses his intelligence and his skills to devise solutions. However, experience shows that sometimes solutions are worse than the problems. If, in fact, anxiety is the driving force of our lives, we will end up in self-destruction or mediocrity. The solution proposed by the disciples, in fact, is characterised by mediocrity. The crucial step – here as in any other situation – is not to have great resources at your finger tips to solve problems; no, what matters is that we make the leap beyond ourselves and enter into a relationship with God. How often it happens that the last thing we think about is that it is all a matter of handing over to God what little we have!


4. Times of stress become an opportunity for growth if we find God in them and turn to him. Our problems then become oases where we find the Lord

For us Christians, every problem is played out on the level of the relationship with the Father. There we discover continually that times of stress or oppression are an opportunity for growth. They are a place where we have the possibility of entering into a relationship with His providence. The hunger of the crowd is a chance for the disciples to experience the Kingdom of God, which Jesus spoke of all day. The power of God does not eliminate our fragility, but it makes our precariousness the place where we find peace in him. Jesus himself raises his eyes to heaven before blessing the bread and distributing it to the disciples. He too, in order to solve the problem of hunger in the masses, takes this step of passage through Heaven; he relies on his relationship with the Father; then comes abundance.

 

5. Our problems are an opportunity to hand things over to God. He brings abundance when we give him the little that we own.

This Gospel is a manual which tells us how to behave when we are confronted with that which overwhelms us. What should we do? Take what little we have and give it to the Lord! He knows how to multiply it! Many saints have had this experience. By handing what they possess over to the Lord, they have been able to give consolation in a manner that would never have been possible with their own limited resources. This is the story of the Christian life. The Lord takes our few loaves, blesses them, breaks and gives them. A curious thing is that it is when Christ breaks the bread that it is multiplied. He is a creator who brings abundance out of nothing. The problems and limitations that we experience are an opportunity to entrust ourselves to the power of God.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

June 12th 2022. TRINITY SUNDAY

GOSPEL: John 16:12-15

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio

Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading ...

 

(Check us out on Facebook – Sunday Gospel Reflection)

 

GOSPEL: John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you."

The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

 

SUMMARY OF HOMILY

We are inclined to think that the truth is a body of knowledge or information. Maybe we think that truth is something that can be diffused through the world with a sufficiently good internet service. However Jesus teaches us that truth is not information, but the relationship of love that is the life of God. This love is the source of all that exists. Jesus tells us that we cannot comprehend this truth using our own capacities. We must be led gradually into the truth by the Holy Spirit. How does he lead us into the truth? Is it like doing a university course? No! How do I learn who my child is? By studying or reading books? I learn who my child is by living with him in a relationship of love. Similarly it is one thing to “know” who Christ is by studying theology, but an entirely different matter to know Jesus from the point of view of a person who has been saved by him. It is significant that the Holy Spirit is described as the one “who does not speak about himself”. This is the fundamental characteristic of love, focus on the other instead of upon oneself.  Further on in this Gospel passage, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will “announce the things to come”. Is this a reference to prophecies about the future? No, this rather is the way in which the authentic Christian, possessed by the Holy Spirit, trusts implicitly in the providence of God to look after everything in the future. A person who does not trust in the providence of God might have a very anxious or deceptive view of the future. Christians are called upon to develop an attitude in which we permit the Holy Spirit to announce to us the things that are to come. In other words, when we are led by the Spirit, we trust implicitly in the designs of a loving God. We know what our future is: intimate union with God.

 

1. Jesus tells us that we enter into the truth in a gradual way

“I still have many things to tell you, but for the moment you are not able to carry the weight of it ". There is a gradualness in the spiritual life. It is analogous to the biological one in that for both there exists a birth, a childhood and a maturity. We start from a first light on the truth, with a good orientation towards it. Then we begin to live more and more in the truth and go towards fulfillment. It is a gradual process and the ultimate goal is beyond this earthly existence. We are inclined to think that someone either knows the truth or they do not. In reality, we enter into the truth slowly. It takes a lifetime to open up to it. At some point in our lives we discover that she was always there waiting for us before that we finally started to see better and allow ourselves to be changed by it.

 

2. How do we enter into the truth?

"When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will lead you into all truth." The truth is not something that we conquer by our own efforts. Rather, we are led to it. Letting myself be guided to the truth is not easy, because it implies renouncing my own inclinations, calling into question the things that I consider to be certain. The truth is greater than us and we know that we will always remain disciples of the truth, never the owners. But just what is truth? Is it an abstraction? A concept to understand? A doctrine? "The Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth because he will not speak of himself." The Master of truth is humble. He does not focus on himself. He does not deliver the truth as some sort of body of information, but as something that arises from a relationship. For example, I could learn about the nature of childhood by attending an academic course, but it is another thing entirely to be a father or a mother! Similarly, it is one thing to talk about Christ from the point of view of one who has studied theology, but a different thing altogether to talk about Jesus as one who has been saved by him! In the second case we do not speak simply about ourselves, or the abstract contents of our minds, but of the Lord as my personal saviour. In this case, the Holy Spirit is no longer an idea or a rule but a lived experience.

 

3. Our future is in the intimate life of God

The Holy Spirit, from the very heart of God, "will say all that he has heard". He will repeat what he himself has heard, and he will also do other things: "he will announce the things to come". We might think that this refers to prophecies regarding the future, but it is something else: if our heart is open to the interior guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will slowly be brought to the whole truth, which is God himself, that is, to the intimate life of Lord Jesus and his Father. And knowing "all that the Father possesses", we will then know the love, generosity and mercy that is in him. We may not realize it, but we are in a relationship with the future. We are shaped by our way of thinking about what is to come. If I believe that my future is a black sky without stars, I live with an oppressed frame of mind and everything can become distressing. If I believe that my tomorrow is in the hands of a good Father who provides for me, then I already know what is coming towards me: the designs of loving Providence are unfolding before me; I know where my path leads and who is guiding my life. We need to learn the art of allowing the Holy Spirit to announce the future to us, rather than being led by our deceptive or anxious projections. I know my future, I know where my life is heading: towards the Father.

Friday, 3 June 2022

June 5th 2022. Pentecost Sunday

GOSPEL: John 20: 19 - 23

 

From a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio

 

Check us out on Facebook - Sunday Gospel Reflection

 

Gospel: John 20:19-23
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."

The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you Lord Jesus

 

SUMMARY

The Holy Spirit respects our freedom. We are not puppets in his hands. He wishes us to enter into a personal relationship and adhere to him in the depths of our being. Jesus tells us that the Spirit takes up residence in us. The deepest part of us - our hearts - becomes his temple. And if someone is living with you on this deep level, then you acquire his habits. But what are these habits? Do we start doing extraordinary things? No. We start to do the ordinary things in an extraordinary way. And he guides the development of our minds and hearts so that we have a natural love for what is good, clean and simple. By contrast, those who do not have intimacy with the Spirit, have a fascination for what is ambiguous, scandalous and perverse. With Pentecost begins the epoch of the Church, an epoch in which men and women allow the Holy Spirit to operate through them. The Church is not a collection of extraordinary or super-talented people, but ordinary people who have been visited by the extraordinary love of God and who, by their actions, express the love that they have experienced.

 

1. The Holy Spirit respects our freedom. He wants us to adhere to him in freedom.

The Greek term "Paraclete" corresponds to the Latin ad-vocatus and literally means "one who is called near". It ancient times, the defence lawyer did not speak in place of the defendant, but stood by him and advised him on how to defend himself. The Holy Spirit does not do things for us but advises us what to do. We can accept or neglect his inspirations. Our freedom is precious in the eyes of the Lord and the Holy Spirit does not abuse our freedom, but nurtures an adult personal relationship. With him, one walks in free adherence, not by force or constraint. Sometimes, in our spiritual immaturity, we want to be managed like slaves, asking for orders and instructions to get out of difficult situations, but faith does not work like that. Instead, obligation and compulsion characterize temptation, as is evident when a vice dominates a person's life: then one is a slave, not a free person.

 

2. If we open the door to the Holy Spirit, then we will have intimacy with God. This intimacy involves having the Lord dwelling in us. This is not about some extraordinary experience, but living ordinary experiences in extraordinary ways.

The Holy Spirit by nature inspires, touches inwardly. And if the door is opened to him by us, then it leads to intimacy with God. The Gospel uses a remarkable expression to speak of this intimacy: "We will take up residence with him". In the Old Testament, the dwelling place of God was the Temple. The new temple of God is the heart of man, the deepest part of his being. "Taking up residence" is the opposite of a casual or transient relationship. Living at home with someone naturally leads to the development of habits. While some think that the Christian life is the fulfilment of a series of external duties, in reality it is a matter of living out good habits, in a stable, continuous relationship. It is not about living the exceptional but the ordinary. It is not about doing beautiful things, but about doing everything according to beauty. It is not about doing something extraordinary, but doing the ordinary in an extraordinary way.

 

3. The Holy Spirit does not guide us like puppets. He speaks to us in the depths of our hearts. He teaches us and leads us to a sense of the good and an aversion for evil.

On the feast of Pentecost, it is right to ask what it means to be guided by the Holy Spirit. You can think of an external guide, a sort of navigator that moment by moment says whether to turn right or left. But if the Holy Spirit were like that, we would be puppets, not people. The Holy Spirit speaks instead in the depths, where he teaches and remembers, making the heart grow, familiarizing us with the good and developing our instinct for what is simple and clear. Consequently we feel at ease in love, tenderness and care, and discomfort with what is turbid and perverse. On the other hand those who have the spirit of the world have sympathy for what is ambiguous and wayward, are intrigued by speaking ill, are amused by transgression, seek satisfaction and pleasure at every moment, dislike simple and linear things. Permit me to make an unusual analogy: goodness is like a beautiful girl who does not place herself at the centre of attention, but when you see her simple beauty you are attracted to her immediately. Evil is like an unattractive girl who is plastered with make-up and seeks to seduce. Evil seduces, good respects. Good does not impose itself. They do not play the same game. Whoever has the Holy Spirit has learned the difference.

 

4. The Church is not a collection of extraordinary or super-talented people, but ordinary people who have been visited by the extraordinary love of God and who, by their actions, express the love that they have experienced.

When the apostles are visited by tongues of fire – in other words, when a word of fire has entered their hearts – a multitude of people of different ethnic backgrounds hear in their own languages the proclamation of the great works of God. The Holy Spirit does not speak of our works but of the works of God. Let us recall that the Acts of the Apostles were written by Luke, the same Evangelist whose Gospel begins with the annunciation to Mary and her response: “Let it be done onto me according to your word”. What the Church announces is the power of God. Our vocation is to be open to the work of God in our lives. The Holy Spirit does not announce moralism or ethics but the power of the Father to recreate us and bring us to fullness. The epoch of the Church is the epoch in which men and women allow the Holy Spirit to operate in them. The Church is God working through men. It is not extraordinary or peculiar people different to others, but ordinary people who are visited by the extraordinary love of God and who express through their actions the love that they have experienced. To this we are all called.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Friday, 6 May 2022

May 8th 2022.  Fourth Sunday of Easter
GOSPEL   John 10:27-30

Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio

 

Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

 

(Check us out on Facebook – Sunday Gospel Reflection)


GOSPEL   John 10:27-30

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

 

SUMMARY OF HOMILY

1. Our desire for autonomy  leads to suffering and division. We need to stop following ourselves and follow the Lord.

On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, the readings are all consistent with the theme of the Good Shepherd as the one who must be followed. When Paul and Barnabas are rejected by their Jewish listeners, they are compelled to turn to the pagans. Thus, we Gentiles inherit the promises made to Abraham, becoming his children by faith. In the Gospel, we are told that the sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow him. The drama of not following the voice of the Lord but of following one’s own volition is a drama that has unfolded since the Fall in Eden. When man emphasizes his own autonomy, then suffering, dictatorship and tyranny follow.  How important it is in life to permit oneself to be corrected and guided by others! Teachers often discover that those who are self-taught often never arise above mediocrity whilst those that are open to the teachings of others attain a completely different level. As St Bernard of Clairvaux said, “He who makes himself teacher of himself becomes the disciple of a fool”. Our desire for autonomy leads to solitude because it causes rivalry with others and fixation with oneself.

 

2. By baptism we are washed in the blood of the Lamb and called to enter into the great tribulation, the battle of being transformed, no longer following one’s own passions, but following the voice of the Lamb.

The second reading speaks of this enormous multitude dressed in white before the throne of the Lamb. This is a symbol of baptism. These people have come from the great tribulation and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. The tribulation is that of living out one’s baptismal calling, being freed from one’s own ego, from the violence of the passions, from the weight of a self-referential existence. Blood does not seem a good substance for washing something and making it white, but the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin. We are made brilliantly white because we have encountered the purifying mercy and pardon of God. This multitude is constantly in front of the Lord’s throne because they live for him, not for human respect. They exist in intimate communion with God and no longer have hunger or thirst for anything, having overcome the need for the compensation of the passions, “for the lamb who is in the centre of the throne will shepherd them”.

 

3. Intimacy with the Lamb is fundamental. We follow him not because he is dominant or forceful but because he knows us and loves us. It is his voice that leads us away from our self-deception and to true life.

It is a curious thing to be led by a lamb, because a lamb is a meek creature. Usually we are led by dominant forces, not by a creature who has lost the battles of this world. But the key to being led by this lamb is the fact that we know and trust him. Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me”. To “know” someone in Hebrew refers to profound knowledge of the other. We Christians have the experience of being known and loved, even in our poverty and misery. We have been washed in the blood of the lamb and have been transformed, brought through the tribulation – the slavery to passions, trapped in lives of deception. The fundamental issue is to follow the Lord and not follow oneself, to allow oneself to be pastured. The first thing Jesus said to his disciples was “Follow me!” We have thousands of daily opportunities to trust in the Lord and follow him. May this liturgy lead us to the white garments, to the tent of intimacy with the Father, and to this voice of the Good Shepherd which guides us interiorly, instructs us and saves us, freeing us from our deceptions.

 

ALTERNATIVE HOMILY

This Gospel tells us so much about the spiritual life and about true discipleship! How are we to follow Jesus? How do we encourage others to follow Jesus? Should we give them a moral lecture, telling them all the norms that they need to observe? Should we frighten them into submission, warning them about the dangers of not following Jesus? All too often, our preaching has been of this sort! But in the Gospel for today, Jesus outlines a completely different way. He tells us that his sheep hear his voice. He knows them and they follow him. As a consequence, he gives them life, and this life leads them into communion with the Father. There is no imposition here or blind obedience! In fact, the Hebrew word for “obey” means “to listen”. Jesus speaks his word to us. If we are receptive to that word, then it penetrates within us and we feel known and understood by the Lord. This is what prompts us to follow Jesus! Of all the five senses, listening is the most important when it comes to receiving the Lord’s word. This listening leads us to be known by the Lord. To be known in Hebrew does not mean to have knowledge but to be in an intimate relationship. The foundation of my stability and security derives from my memories of the times when I have felt known and understood by the Lord. Let us cultivate our memory of these occasions! My weakness and my misery are not decisive! What is decisive is that the Lord has spoken his word to me, that he knows and loves me, and that he calls me to follow him in freedom.

Find us on facebook

Sunday Gospel Reflection