Easter Sunday – April 21, 2019 – Year C

Witness is one who “saw” the Lord

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

The words with which John begins his letter are moving: “What we have heard and have seen with our own eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, I mean the Word who is Life… we are telling you of it” (1 Jn 1:1-3). His is an enviable experience, but unrepeatable. However, to become “witnesses” of Christ, it is not necessary to have walked with Jesus of Nazareth on the roads of Palestine.

 

Paul—who also did not know Jesus personally—is constituted a witness of the things he saw (Acts 26:16) and receives this task from the Lord: “As you have born witness to me here in Jerusalem, so must you do in Rome” (Acts 23:11). 

 

To be a witness, it’s enough to have seen the Lord really alive, beyond death.

 

Witnessing is not to give good example. This is certainly useful, but the testimony is something else. This can only be given by one who passed from death to life; one who can confirm that his existence is changed and acquired meaning when it was illuminated by the light of Easter; one who has made the experience that faith in Christ gives meaning to the joys and sorrows and illuminates the joyful and sad moments.

 

Let’s ask ourselves: is Christ’s resurrection a constant point of reference in all the projects we do, when we buy, sell, dialogue, divide an inheritance, choose to have another child… or do we believe that the reality of this world has nothing to do with Easter? Anyone who has seen the Lord will do nothing more without him.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“If our heart open itself to the understanding of the Scriptures, we will see the Lord.”

 

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2nd Sunday of Easter – April 28, 2019 – Year C

It’s Hard to Believe Even for Those Who Have Seen

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

“Fortunate are you to see what you see!” Jesus said one day (Lk 10:23). The disciples who accompanied the Master during his public life are called by Luke witnesses of the events that have taken place among us (Lk 1:1-2). It is undeniable; they are blessed because they have seen. Among them, there is also Thomas. 

 

Yet this experience was just the first stage of a demanding journey, one that had to bring them to faith.

 

Many who like them have seen have not come to believe. It’s enough to think of the “woes” pronounced by Jesus against the cities of the lake that witnessed the signs he performed and they did not convert (Lk 10:13-15). Seeing is the cause of bliss, but it is not enough.

 

After Easter, the Lord—who can no longer be seen by the material eyes—proclaims another beatitude: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29). They are blessed if, by listening, they come to the same goal, the faith. To them, Peter turns moving words: “You have not yet seen him and yet you love him; even without seeing him, you believe in him and experience a heavenly joy beyond all words” (1 P 1:8).

 

It is the joy assured to those who trust the Word, not that of people, but that of Christ, contained in the scriptures and given to the Church by the apostles —as John reminds us in the conclusion of his Gospel.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“Blessed are we, though not having seen, believe.”

 

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3rd Sunday of Easter – May 5, 2019 – Year C

It’s Hard to Believe Even for Those Who Have Seen

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

In the Christian community we elaborate ambitious pastoral programs, in the family, we implement the latest psychological techniques to better educate the children, we make every effort, make plans, and yet—we know—even the most laudable efforts are not always successful. The child enrolled, with many sacrifices, in the most famous Catholic school, the English course, swimming, music, trained in the traditional religious canons; one day he disappoints all expectations, he says he has no ideals and thinks of enjoying life. Why?

 

Something similar happens to us as what happened to the seven disciples After Easter, they started to fish: they were trained, experienced, willing people. They have worked for a whole night, but have not achieved anything. Many efforts thwarted: they acted in the dark without the light of the Word of the Risen One. Sometimes this Word seems to give absurd guidelines, far from any logic, contrary to common sense: building a world of peace without the use of violence, turning the other cheek, love your enemy, refuse competition, being poor … these are absurd suggestions like that of casting the nets in broad daylight. But the choice is between to trust and getting a result and to scramble without concluding anything.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“Without you, Lord, without your word, we cannot do anything.”

 

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4th Sunday of Easter – May 12, 2019 – Year C

It’s Nice to be Carried, but by Whom

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

From the third century A.D. (not before) the image of Christ the shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders and surrounded by the flock often appears in the catacombs. It is a scene that intends to portray the confidence and serenity with which the believer crosses the dark valley of death, supported or guided by his Lord.

 

But it is not only when he leaves this world that the disciple relies on the arms of his Shepherd. That is only the last when it is clear that all those who during life posed themselves as shepherds, but preached doctrines opposed to those of Christ, were really just mercenaries, peddlers of illusions. At the decisive moment, they are forced to declare their inability to help.

 

The disciple agrees to be accompanied by the Good Shepherd in every moment of his life. Letting oneself be carried is a less comfortable choice than it looks. It requires the courage to entrust one’s life to Christ, without getting caught up in dismay when it is not clear where he is going and where he wants to lead. It also means resisting the blandishments of pseudo-shepherds who really are thieves and raiders whose only goal (often not even conscious) is self-affirmation; it is the pursuit of self-interest.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“If I will be led through the dark valleys I will fear no evil.”

 

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