The Gospel of John is like a vast ocean: it can be contemplated on the surface or in depth. From the shore, the rippling waves, the unfolding of the sails, the reflections of light and color fascinate. But the most intense emotions are for those who have a chance to gear up and go down to the bottom, where the most unexpected and varied forms of life…
Today’s Gospel opens with a significant finding, “the people were in expectation.” It is easy to imagine what they are waiting for: the slave expected freedom, the poor a new condition of life, the exploited laborer hoped for justice, the sick healing, and the humiliated and raped woman the recovery of dignity.
The Magi thus personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland. They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts be anesthetized.
The council taught us to look upon Mary as a “figure” of the Church, that is, as the Church’s perfect exemplar, as the first fruits of the Church. But can Mary be a model of the Church even as “Mother of God,” the title with which she is honored this day? Can we become mothers of Christ?
Faced with the often inexplicable and incomprehensible events there is only one correct attitude: “To keep all these things in our hearts,” as Mary did and ponder them in the light of the Word of God. It was not also easy for her to understand and accept the path to which God wanted his son to tread.
God is always among us as one who is young. St Augustine wrote that God is younger than all else. We have become older than our God. This means that God always retains that fresh vigour of youth, the vitality and playfulness of one who is always ready to begin anew.
Elizabeth feels enveloped in great astonishment — don’t forget this word, astonishment. Astonishment. To celebrate Christmas in a fruitful manner, we are called to pause in “places” of astonishment. And what are these places of astonishment in everyday life? There are three…
We feel that this question — “What shall we do?” — is ours also. Today’s liturgy tells us, in the words of John, that it is necessary to repent, to change direction and take the path of justice, solidarity, sobriety: these are the essential values of a fully human and genuinely Christian life.
The traditional prophets helped their contemporaries look beyond the wall of time and see into the future, but John helps the people to look past the wall of contrary appearances to make them see the Messiah hidden behind the semblance of a man like others.
Mary made her life beautiful. Not appearances, not what is fleeting, but the heart directed toward God makes life beautiful. Today let us look joyfully at her, full of grace. Let us ask her to help us to remain youthful, by saying ‘no’ to sin, and to live a beautiful life, by saying ‘yes’ to God.
With the First Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. The Gospel that will accompany us in the course of this year, Cycle C, is the Gospel of St. Luke. The Church takes the occasion to invite us to stop for a moment and reflect and ask ourselves some essential questions.
It has always proved difficult to hold these two prerogatives of Christ together — majesty and humility — deriving from his two natures, divine and human. The man of today has no problem seeing in Jesus the friend and brother of all, but he finds it hard to also proclaim him Lord and recognize Jesus’ royal power over him.
We must, I think, completely change the attitude with which we listen to these Gospels that speak of the end of the world and the return of Christ. We must no longer regard as a punishment and a veiled threat that which the Scriptures call “the blessed hope” of Christians, that is, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We might call this Sunday the “Sunday of the widows.” The story of a widow was also told in the first reading, the widow of Zarephath who gave up all she had left to eat (a handful of flour and a drop of oil) to prepare a meal for the prophet Elijah.
Truly, loving God, more than a commandment, is a privilege, a concession. If one day we find him, we will not cease to thank God for commanding us to love him and we will not desire to do anything else but cultivate this love.
Bartimaeus is someone who does not miss an opportunity. He heard that Jesus was passing by, understood that it was the opportunity of his life and acted swiftly. The reaction of those present — “and many rebuked him, telling him to be silent” — makes evident the unadmitted pretension of the wealthy of all times.
After the Gospel on riches, this Sunday’s Gospel gives us Christ’s judgment on another of the great idols of the world: power… Our minds — the thoughts of the heart — can become a kind of throne on which we sit to dictate laws and thunder against those who do not submit to us
“Nothing is impossible for God,” says Scripture, and also: “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” But the world says: “Everything is possible for the one who has money.”
What is important is that one must understand that in this process of tears and repairs, of crises and surmounted obstacles, marriage is not exhausted, but is refined and improves. I perceive an analogy between the process that leads to a successful marriage and one that leads to holiness.
One of the apostles, John, saw demons cast out in the name of Jesus by one who did not belong to the circle of disciples and forbade him to do so. On recounting the incident to the master, he is heard to reply: “Do not forbid him … For he that is not against us is for us”
In service all benefit from the greatness of one. Whoever is great in service, is great and makes others great; rather than raising himself above others, he raises others with him. Alessandro Manzoni concludes his poetic evocation of Napoleon’s ventures with the question: “Was it true glory? In posterity the arduous sentence.”
Regrettably we must state that Peter’s error has been repeated in history. Also certain men of the Church, and even Successors of Peter, have behaved at certain times as if the Kingdom of God was of this world and should be affirmed with the victory (if necessary also with arms) over enemies
We are deaf when we shut ourselves in, out of pride, in an aloof and resentful silence, while perhaps with just one word of excuse or forgiveness we could return peace and serenity to the home.
The evangelists would not have retained these harsh words of the Master if he had not understood the perennial relevance of the risk of introducing into the Church this hypocritical worship and the danger of equating the law of God with the traditions of humans.
There’s something that Peter doesn’t forget: «You have the message of eternal life». He feels that Jesus’ words aren’t empty or deceitful words. Alongside of Jesus they have discovered life anew. His message has opened for them a life eternal. Where could they find better news of God?
The experience of «live in» Jesus and allow Jesus to «live in» us can transform our life at its root. This mutual interchange, this intimate communion, difficult to express in words, constitutes the true relationship of the disciple with Jesus. This is what it means to follow him, sustained by his very life-force.
Mary—the “handmaid of the Lord”—is presented today to all believers not as a privileged one, but as the most excellent model, as the sign of destiny that awaits every person who believes “that the Lord’s word would come true” (Lk 1:45).
According to John’s story, Jesus repeats each time more openly that he comes from God to offer everyone a food that gives life eternal. The people can’t keep listening to something so scandalous without reacting. They know his parents. How can he say he comes from God?
When they heard his words, those people of Capernaum cried out from the depths of their hearts: «Sir, give us that bread always». With our wavering faith, we sometimes don’t dare to ask for such a thing. Perhaps we only worry about the food for each day. And sometimes just for ourselves alone.
Of all the things done by Jesus during his prophetic activity, the most remembered by the first Christian communities was surely a huge meal organized by him out in the countryside, near the lake of Galilee. It’s the only story recounted in all the Gospels.
In the Church we need to learn to gaze at the people as Jesus did: catching on to the suffering, the loneliness, the confusion or the isolation that many suffer. Compassion doesn’t spring from paying attention to norms or remembering our duties. It awakens in us when we look attentively at those who suffer.
When he sent them, Jesus doesn’t leave his disciples abandoned to their own power. He gives them his «power», which isn’t a power to control, govern or dominate others, but his power to «cast out evil spirits», free people from what enslaves, oppresses and dehumanizes them.
Jesus isn’t a Temple priest, busy about taking care of and promoting religion. Nor does anyone confuse him with a Teacher of the Law, dedicated to defend the Torah of Moses. The Galilean villagers see in his healing actions and in his words of fire the actions of a prophet moved by God’s Spirit.
The scene is surprising. Mark the Evangelist presents an unknown woman as a model of faith for the Christian communities. From her they can learn how to seek Jesus with faith, how to reach a healing contact with him, and how to find in him the energy to begin a new life, full of peace and health.
Today, as we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, we are remembering someone who was called by God to deliver a message and a man who took this mission very seriously.
Sooner or later, we Christians will feel the need to return to what’s essential. We will discover that only the power of Jesus can regenerate faith in the de-Christianized society of our day. Then we will learn to sow the Gospel with humility as the start of a renewed faith
X Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B Mark 3:20-35 The cost of being a disciple of Jesus today In the gospels there are many different images and titles used … Continua a leggere
‘Believe what you see, see what you believe and become what you are, the Body of Christ. When we say ‘amen’ we are saying, Yes, I believe this is the Body and Blood of Jesus and I will become the Body of Christ for others’.