Monthly Archives: April 2017

3rd Sunday of Easter – Year A – April 30, 2017

When does a bride cry?

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/Vx6XSSoPGms

 

 

Introduction

 

The loved one experiences an irrepressible need to be at the side of the man she loves. In the silence of the night, she thinks of him. She says his name and dreams his caresses: “His left hand is under my head and his right hand embraces me” (Song 8:3). She is desolate unless she receives a message from him. When she hears his voice she is seized by a tremor. She runs to open, turns the lock and unlocks the door. But the loved one is not there anymore. He turns, goes, and disappears and my soul goes after him (Song 5:5-6).

 

“They have taken away my Lord,”—Mary Magdalen exclaims through her tears. The two disciples of Emmaus walk sadly. The women bow their faces to the ground, looking for him who is alive at the tomb (Lk 24:5). They are the living portrait of the community that does not notice any longer “the beloved of her heart.” With him every night was transformed into light, the sunset a prelude to dawn, the pain in the announcement of a birth, tears in the blossoming of a smile.

 

“Stay with us”—the bride begs—when the Lord appears to act “as if he were going farther.” He promised to stay with her, every day, until the end of the world (Mt 28:20). Why does he leave her alone? But it is not he who turns away, she is the one incapable of recognizing him.

 

As soon as he begins to explain the Scriptures, her heart starts to burn. As the beloved in the Song of Songs, she recognizes the voice of her beloved, and at the breaking of the bread, her eyes light up and recognize him. He had not left her, and will never leave her.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Make us hear your voice in the Scriptures, and that we recognize you in the breaking of the bread.”

 

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2nd Sunday of Easter – Year A – April 23, 2017

They rejoice in seeing the Lord

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/WNNKZX8gaAE

 

Introduction

 

The best outfit is worn when one goes to church. It is said in a popular Portuguese language: “Dressed to see God.” This phrase stems from the belief that, on Sunday, the celebrating community comes together to “see the Lord.”

 

It’s a day of joy, because, as at Easter and “eight days later” (Jn 20:19,26), the Risen Lord becomes present again in the midst of the gathered disciples. He warms their hearts, opening them to understand the Scriptures, and “the breaking of the bread”. He opens their eyes and makes himself known (Lk 24:31-32).

 

The evangelists show little interest in the chronological accuracy, yet they agree perfectly on a datum: it was on the “first day after the Sabbath” that the disciples saw the Lord. For this reason, the Christian community chose this day dedicated to the listening to the word (Acts 20:7-12), the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:20-26), prayer and the sharing of goods.

 

Every first day of every week each put aside what he had managed to save (1 Cor 16:2) and presented his gift to the community, which in turn distributed the offerings to the most needy members or sent them to the poorer communities.

 

One of the most ancient evidence is offered to us by a pagan writer, Pliny the Younger. In 112, he wrote to Emperor Trajan: Christians “meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing hymns to ‘Christ as a God.’”

 

It was the day of the Lord—Sunday (Rev 1:10)—the one in which each community celebrated in the rite, its faith, and life.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Like newborn babies, the mother church feeds her children, not with visions, but with the milk of the Word.”

 

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Easter Sunday – Year A – April 16, 2017

Witness is one who “saw” the Lord

 

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

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

https://youtu.be/r-YnPB-EPlc

 

Introduction

 

The words with which John begins his letter are moving: “What we have heard and what we have seen with our own eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, I mean the Word who is Life… we proclaim also to you” (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 a 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 opens itself to the understanding of the Scriptures, we will see the Lord.”

 

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Holy Thursday – Year A – April 13, 2017

Jesus: Broken bread, offered as nourishment

 

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

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

https://youtu.be/ZX2M1hdKC9M

 

Introduction

 

Among the many names by which the Eucharist was called, the one that best expresses the meaning and richness of the sacrament is the breaking of the bread. The disciples of Emmaus recognized the Lord “in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35); the community of Jerusalem diligently participates in the catechesis of the apostles and to “the breaking of bread;” at Troas they met “on the first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7).

 

Why were the early Christians so fond of this expression? What memories, what emotions it aroused in them? The meal of the pious Israelites always started with a blessing on the bread. The head of the family took it in his hands, broke it and offered it to the diners. It could not be eaten before it is being broken and shared with everyone present. Since childhood, Jesus noted Joseph devoutly fulfill this sacred rite every day, and he himself, as an adult, repeated it several times: in Nazareth, when his father passed away and during his public life wherever he was invited at table.

 

One evening, in Jerusalem, he gave it a new meaning. At the Last Supper, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples saying: “This is me. Take, eat!”, arcane, enigmatic words that the disciples understood only after Easter. At the end of his “day,” the Master had summed up in that gesture his entire history, his whole life given. He had not offered anything but himself. He had given his person as food. Every bit of his existence had been given to satisfy people’s hunger: hunger for God and his word, hunger for meaning of life, happiness and love.

 

Moving in front of the “sheep without a shepherd” he sat down to teach many things: he had broken the bread of the Word (Mk 6:33-34). To those who were hungry for forgiveness he had offered the signs of God’s tenderness.

 

In Jericho, no one imagined that Zacchaeus was hungry. No one showed himself sensitive to his pleading for understanding and hospitality. No one saw the one who was ashamed to be seen, hidden among the leaves of a sycamore tree, but Jesus. He entered his house and satiated him with love and joy.

 

At the Eucharistic table, during any celebration, Jesus presents—in the signs of bread—all his life and asks to be eaten.

 

In the world people “eat.” They struggle to overpower and enslave; they “devour” themselves to hoard the goods and to dominate. One who proves himself the strongest is, in this competition for food, is successful. Jesus revolutionized this pre-human way of relating. Instead of “eating” the others, of fighting for the conquest of the kingdoms of this world—as the evil one had suggested to him—he had himself eaten.

 

It is from this gift of himself as food that the new humanity began. The gesture of putting on a table, in front of a hungry person, a loaf of bread and a cup of wine is a clear invitation not to look at or to contemplate, but to sit down, to take, to eat and to drink.

 

On the altar, the Eucharistic bread is a proposal of life: eating it means to adhere to Jesus, to accept to become with him bread and to offer oneself as food to anyone who is hungry.

 

“We cannot live without the Lord’s supper.” “Yes, I went to the assembly and celebrated the Lord’s supper with my brothers and sisters, because I am a Christian.”

 

Uttered by the martyrs of Abitinae, in proconsular Africa, these words reveal the passion with which, from the earliest centuries, Christians have participated in the breaking of bread every Sunday. It was for them an indispensable requirement. They understood that that was the hallmark of the disciples of the Lord Jesus.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
We cannot live without the Lord’s Supper.”

 

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