A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.21)

SECOND WEEK OF EASTER: April 15-21, 2012 ***

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy of Year B from three perspectives. For reflections on the Sunday liturgy based on the Gospel reading, please scroll up to the “ARCHIVES” above and open Series 1. For reflections based on the Old Testament reading, open Series 4. For reflections based on the Second Reading, open Series 7. Please go to Series 10 for the back issues of the Weekday Lectio.

 

Series 10 presents A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: April 15-21, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

***

 

April 15, 2012: SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

 “EASTER: A Time to Touch the Divine Mercy”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 4:32-35 // I Jn 5:1-6 // Jn 20:19-31

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

The eight days of Easter, according to Saint Augustine, are “days of mercy and pardon”. Moreover, he calls the Sunday of this Octave of Easter “the summary of the days of mercy”.  On April 30, 2000, during the canonization of Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the humble “apostle of mercy”, Pope John Paul II, announced during his homily that the Second Sunday of Easter would now be celebrated as DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY throughout the universal Church. The Holy Father also explained that the image of the “Divine Mercy” revealed to Sr. Faustina represents the Risen Christ bringing mercy to the world.  Indeed, the Risen Christ brings victory, peace and mercy to a believing world. The Easter mystery of his passion, death and resurrection unleashes the power of divine mercy that flows from his pierced heart. The Holy Father Pope John Paul II had fittingly declared the eighth day of the Easter week as the Feast of Divine Mercy.

The following faith experience of Fred Berretta, a survivor of Flight 1549 – the airliner that went down in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 – is being circulated through the Internet. Fred shares his amazing story by E-mail with Vinny Flynn, a gifted Catholic speaker/writer/musician. We, in turn, are requested to diffuse this inspiring witness to God’s mercy. Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River at about three o’clock, which the Risen Christ told St. Faustina was “the hour of great mercy” and at which the merciful Lord “will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request” to him in virtue of his passion.

 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Subject: Passenger of Flight 1549

 

Vinny,

 

I sincerely hope this E-mail finds its way to you. I was a passenger on flight 1549 and my name is Fred Berretta. You might have caught a glimpse of me or heard of me on CNN or Fox the night of the crash. I interviewed with Lou Dobbe, Wolf Blitzer and Bill O’Reilly and discussed the crash that night.

 

I had been on a one-day business trip to New York and sat in seat 16A just behind the left engine. My trip was a last minute decision the day before. I finished my meetings early on Thursday and realized I had time to attend the 12 noon Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral. It was unusual for me to have the extra time, but that day I did. After Mass, I stopped by the gift shop just across from the cathedral and purchased your book, “7 Secrets of the Eucharist”. As I waited to board flight 1549 bound for Charlotte, where I live, I began reading your book. I continued reading while we taxied until just after take off.

 

I think I got through about half of it and then decided to close my eyes and reflect on the incredible insights your book gave me regarding the Eucharist. We were climbing out and just a minute or so into the flight I heard the impact of the bird strikes and then the explosion in the left engine. I could see it on fire and the cabin began to smell like jet fuel. As a private pilot, once I realized the second engine was also not functioning, things became quite tense.

 

While I had known about and prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet years before, I had not really focused on it in quite a long time. Ironically, I had prayed the chaplet the day before at 3 pm. I had forgotten that in my briefcase I had long kept a copy of a booklet of the Divine Mercy chaplet, which had excerpts from St. Faustina’s diary. When I arrived in New York, I had some time at my hotel and decided to clean out my briefcase, something long overdue. I found the Divine Mercy booklet, prayed the chaplet, and read some of the words of Jesus to Faustina.

 

Before we hit the water, I thought about the words Jesus said, that nothing would be refused if asked for during the hour of mercy. I really thought there was a good chance myself and others would die that day, but I asked God to be merciful to us. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer and a Hail Mary. I then prayed to St. Michael, and we impacted the water. The odds were not with us that day, but God clearly was. I believe it is the only jet airliner to successfully ditch in the water without fatalities in the history of aviation.

 

I just want you to know that your book gave me comfort as we were going down, and for that I am grateful. I know a lot of people prayed on that plane, and I believe the Miracle on the Hudson was a testament to the mercy of God, and a sign of hope.

 

Take care and may God continue to bless your ministry and all you do to spread the message of Divine Mercy and the wonders of Holy Communion.

 

Best regards,

 

Fred Berretta

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO 

 

Do we believe that in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of his Easter gift of the Holy Spirit, we are reborn as God’s children and victorious in his divine mercy?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

(From the Chaplet of Divine Mercy)

 

Eternal God,

in whom mercy is endless

and the treasury of compassion is inexhaustible,

look kindly upon us

and increase your mercy in us,

that in difficult moments

we might not despair nor become despondent,

but with great confidence

submit ourselves to your holy will,

which is love and mercy itself.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

            “Bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (Jn 20:27)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO   

 

Pray that those who are distressed and despondent on account of illness, poverty, unjust situations, financial crisis, etc. may experience the abundance and richness of divine mercy. Be an instrument of God’s mercy for the unfortunate and the needy.

 

 

***

 

April 16, 2012: MONDAY - EASTER WEEKDAY (2)

 “EASTER: A Time to Be Born from Above”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 4:23-31 // Jn 3:1-8

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The Easter season is a special time of mystagogy when we are led into a deeper understanding of Christ’s paschal mystery. The saving event of his passion, death and resurrection is made present to us in the here and now through the liturgy, especially the sacraments. Savoring the glorious aftermath of the Easter event in which many believers are baptized, we are called today to focus on the need to be “born from above” through water and the Spirit. In his conversation with a “night” visitor, Nicodemus, who typifies the “imperfect” and closet believers, Jesus declares the necessity to be born from God (“anew” and “from above”) if we are to enter or see the reign of God. By his passion and death on the cross and by his rising from the dead, Jesus gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the agent of rebirth to eternal life. The transforming action of the Holy Spirit in our life is as mysterious and palpable as the wind, but as decisively real in its effects. Baptism is the sacramental sign of “spiritual rebirth” in which we become the children of God and heirs of his kingdom.

 

Last February 24, our parish, St. Christopher, was privileged to have a Lenten retreat animated by John Michael Talbot, a “troubadour for the Lord”. One of the participants commented that more than the music, what touched her deeply was the faith he shared. The following is John’s account of an important part of his spiritual rebirth (cf. Dan O’Neill, SIGNATURES: The Story of John Michael Talbot, Berryville: Troubadour for the Lord, 2003, p. 106-108).

 

“I will never forget that day”, John asserts. “I was received with the rites of initiation, including conditional baptism. My godparents, Chuck and Elle Callahan, provided a small flask of water brought all the way from the Jordan River. It was a very moving experience.” (…) John’s parents were in attendance and watched the proceedings with great interest. Within a year they would follow their youngest child into the Church.

 

“One of the themes of my ministry is integration: healing and reconciliation … unity”, John states with great emphasis. ‘In my house are many mansions’, Jesus said. There are many expressions of Christian faith and I will not judge any of them. Instead, we must re-gather, come together into a building made of living stones – the church of Jesus Christ – sharing all our marvelously diverse gifts and personalities. Yes, I believe we are one in Christ already, but we must continue to unify, to direct our hearts and minds toward reconciliation.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we thank the Lord for the great gift of rebirth from on high through the power of the Holy Spirit? Do we live in accord with our baptismal consecration and rebirth to new life?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

we thank you for your Son Jesus

who suffered for us and rose from the dead

that we may be reborn into eternal life.

Make us open to the action of the Holy Spirit,

the principle of our rebirth and transformation.

He is the Risen Lord’s Easter gift.

Help us to live by the Spirit

that we may truly be your loving children

and partakers of your heavenly kingdom.

We love you and we give you praise,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” (cf. Jn 3:5)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Thank the Lord for the gift of baptismal rebirth to new life. Do something special for the newly baptized in your parish and for anyone who is in need.

 

***

 

April 17, 2012: TUESDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (2)

“EASTER: A Time to Be Lifted Up”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 4:32-37 // Jn 3:7b-15

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

Jesus continues his discourse with Nicodemus, the closet believer. The Divine Master speaks authoritatively of heavenly things because he is “from above”. Coming forth from the bosom of God, Jesus carries out his saving mission as the “Son of Man”. He who has “descended” from heaven now speaks of “exaltation”. Jesus recalls the bronze serpent mounted on a pole by Moses as commanded by God. It was “lifted up” in the desert for the salvation of the chosen people. Those who gazed upon the bronze serpent were cured from the bites of poisonous snakes that were sent by God as punishment for their obduracy. The object of punishment became a means of salvation. Like the bronze serpent “lifted up” for healing, Jesus is “lifted up” on the cross for our salvation. The suffering that Jesus endured becomes the font of salvation. His “exaltation” on the wood of the cross results in his resurrection and exaltation as the Lord of glory, forever and ever.

I recently watched the beautiful film, “BAKHITA: From Slave to Saint”. Two scenes impressed me: the crucifixion of a slave that the little girl, Bakhita, was witnessing with horror and the young woman, Bakhita, contemplating with fascination Jesus on the cross. Bakhita concluded with awe: “The man on the cross is a slave!” The crucified Jesus became her hope and salvation. Saint Bakhita would affirm: “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me – I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.” And with heavenly understanding, she remarked: “If I was to meet those slave traders that abducted me and those who tortured me, I’d kneel down and kiss their hands, because, if it had not been for them, I would not have become a Christian and a religious woman.”

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

Do we contemplate the great mystery of salvation that flows forth from Jesus lifted up on the cross and in his rising from the dead and glorification? Do we allow ourselves to be a part of that saving mystery?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus,

how awesome the love you reveal

by being “lifted up” on the cross!

How abundant the saving grace

that flows forth from your wounded side!

We adore and praise you

for your life-giving sacrifice.

Unite us deeply with your self-emptying and glorification.

Grant us the grace to share in your glorification.

You are the Risen Christ and our Lord of glory,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“The Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (cf. Jn 3:15)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

By your act of charity alleviate the pain of those who find their daily cross burdensome and too difficult to bear.

 

***

 

April 18, 2012: WEDNESDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (2)

“EASTER: A Time to Imitate the Father’s Sacrificial Love”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 5:17-26 // Jn 3:16-21

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

God offers his beloved Son for our total liberation and redemption. Christ Jesus “lifted up” on the cross and raised in glory is the ultimate sacrament of the Father’s saving love. The death of Jesus on the cross is the high point of God’s passionate pursuit of his people. In the life-offering of the Son of God, the fullness of divine mercy is revealed. Indeed, as we contemplate the life-giving death of Jesus on the cross, we can not help but praise God the Father for the wondrous mystery of his unbounded love.

 

Easter is a privileged time to contemplate and imitate God who loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. The sacrificial stance of God the Father can be gleaned from the following story.

 

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the Church’s pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, he briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.

 

With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak. “A father, his son and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast”, he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.”

 

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. The aged minister continued with his story, “Grabbing a rescue line, the Father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy would he throw the other end of the lifeline. He only had seconds to make the decision. The Father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves.

 

As the Father yelled out, “I love you son!” he threw out the lifeline to his son’s friend. By the time the Father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered. By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth.

 

“The father”, he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that he should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed his only begotten son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept his offer to rescue you and take hold of the lifeline he is throwing out to you in this service.”

 

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room (…) Within minutes after the service ended the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. “That was a nice story”, politely stated one of them, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

 

“Well, you’ve got a point there”, the old man replied, glancing down at his worn bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face. He once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But, I’m standing here today to tell you: that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up his son for me. You see … I was the father and your pastor is my son’s friend.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Are we grateful to God for loving us so much that he gave his only Son to save us? How do we show our gratitude to God for his sacrificial love?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Loving Father,

you are compassionate and abounding in love.

You offered your Son to save us

by his passion and death on the cross.

You sent him not to condemn, but to save us.

We praise you, God the Father, for your sacrificial love. Grant that we may imitate your unbounded love and your Son’s total self-giving. You live and reign, forever and ever. Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” (cf. Jn 3:16)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Offer the daily sacrifice that you experience as a Christian disciple to God the Father and beg him for the grace to be self-giving in our ministry to others.

 

 

***

 

 April 19, 2012: THURSDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (2)

“EASTER: A Time to Accept His Testimony”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 5:27-33 // Jn 3:31-36

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

John the Baptist speaks in today’s Gospel about Jesus. The Baptist testifies that the Father loves the Son. God has given everything to Jesus, especially the fullness of the gift of the Spirit. Jesus in turn gives to us the Spirit of God without measure. The Son speaks the words of God by the Spirit. Whoever believes in the Son and receives his testimony manifests to the world that God is trustworthy. The one who trusts in the Son and accepts his testimony has eternal life. It is very fitting that in this Easter season we hear the Baptist’s exhortation to receive the Son’s testimony about the heavenly Father. The Baptist himself witnessed to the world that Jesus Christ is trustworthy. By his ministry and martyrdom, John the Baptist surrendered trustingly to the Father and has received eternal life through the Son.

Nicholas Sparks’ novel “The Rescue” (cf. Reader’s Digest Select Editions, Large Type, p. 275-277) contains the poignant past of a firefighter, Taylor McAden. He was nine years old when it happened. One night, when he was unable to sleep, he went to the attic to play with his set of plastic soldiers. He did not realize that the house was on fire and did not answer when his parents frantically searched and yelled for him. The fire trapped him in the attic. He scrambled to the window crying for help. Taylor narrated: “My dad … my big strong dad came running across the lawn to the spot right beneath the window. By then most of the house was on fire. I remember him reaching up his arms, yelling, ‘Jump, Taylor! I’ll catch you! I’ll catch you, I promise!’ But instead of jumping, I just started to cry all the harder … The more my dad called for me to jump, the more paralyzed I became. I can still see my father’s face when he realized I wasn’t going to jump … Then my father nodded ever so slightly, and we both knew what was he going to do … He finally turned and started running for the front door … By then the house was completely in flames … I remember seeing him rushing toward me. He was on fire. His skin, his arms, his face, his hair – just this human fireball rushing at me. He pushed me toward the window, saying, ‘Go, son.’ He forced me out, holding on to my wrist until I was dangling above the ground. He finally let go … I watched my father pull his flaming arm inside … He never came back out … I didn’t mean to kill him.”

 

The failure of young Taylor to trust and to throw himself into his father’s waiting, rescuing arms proved disastrous. For many years, he would carry the specter of the dreadful accident. He was burdened with guilt for having refused his father’s saving hands. In a way, this is what happens when we fail to surrender ourselves to the loving design of the Father and refuse to accept his Son Jesus’ life-giving testimony.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we truly believe that God is trustworthy and that his Son Jesus’ testimony about his compassionate love is true? Do we trust that in Jesus Christ the Father gives us eternal life?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

you sent your Son Jesus to reveal your great love for us.

His life-giving testimony is true.

The words that your Son speaks in your name

are life-giving.

O compassionate God,

you are trustworthy!

Together with John the Baptist,

we accept Jesus as the Christ

and testify to the world

that in him we have eternal life.

Grant us the grace to be faithful.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.” (Jn 3:31-36)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

Make an effort to read the Gospel accounts so as to come in contact with the life-giving words of Jesus and the testimony he gives of the Father. By your act of charity give witness to the world that you have accepted Christ’s testimony of the Father.

 

 

***

 

 April 20, 2012: FRIDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (2)

“EASTER: A Time to Participate in the Miracle of Loaves and Fish

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 5:34-42 // Jn 6:1-15

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

As I read today’s Gospel account (Jn 6:1-15), I remember a true story for inspiration that I read in a magazine. A housewife was in a quandary. Some dear friends from out of town called for an impromptu visit. She and her husband were delighted to see them, but she was worried because there was not enough food in the house. They had been working on a shoestring budget and the pantry was practically empty. Anxiously she went to her bedroom to pray. Then she heard a kindly voice assuring her, “You have food to serve.” She went to the kitchen to check. She found a fistful of ground meat in the freezer; two pieces of withered carrot and some onions in the vegetable bin, and a small box of biscuit mix in the cabinet. She hurriedly prepared a small pot of meat stew from this meager supply and baked mouth-watering biscuits, her specialty. The guests came and sat with them. She dreaded that there was not enough food for all. But as they amiably exchanged stories and the food was passed around, the guests as well as the hosts were able to serve themselves. They even treated themselves to a second serving. After the fine dinner when she was lavishly complimented by the well-satiated guests for the delicious stew and biscuits, she was aghast that there was even some leftover! Indeed, the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves was replicated in their lives. 

            The account of the multiplication of the loaves carries a powerful message to the people of today. In a distressed world convulsed with deep human hunger, we are reminded that there is bread for all, if only we are willing to share. It teaches us that personal involvement is needed in carrying out a miracle of “loaves and fish” for God’s people. Although overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, Andrew did not detach himself from the problem. He said to Jesus: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Andrew was creatively involved in the pastoral situation of the hungry crowd. Rather than being passive, he was exploring possible solutions. In the process, he unwittingly pointed to a basic material for Jesus’ miraculous intervention. From the modest portion offered by the boy, Jesus prepared a banquet for all.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we believe that we are being called to share our modest portion of “five barley loaves and two fish”? Are we personally involved in making the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves happen in our community/society today?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus, Bread of life,

when you went across the Sea of Galilee,

a large crowd followed you

because they saw the signs you performed

in healing the sick.

On the mountain,

you set a table of plenty for the hungry crowd,

giving them a sign of the heavenly banquet and Eucharistic feasting.

Help us to be attentive to the stupendous “signs”

that you continually carry out in our lives.

Like your disciple, Andrew,

help us to be personally involved

in the pastoral care for your flock.

Teach us to explore the potential of the resources available to us,

and never be daunted by the overwhelming cries of today’s poor.

Like the boy who provided you

with the material for the multiplication of the loaves

and the feeding of the hungry crowd,

may we experience the beauty and nobility

of contributing our modest resource

of “five barley loaves and two fish”

for your messianic work and miracle of love.

You continually nourish your flock

by offering yourself for them as their Bread of life.

For your miracles and the wonders of your love,

we thank and bless you, now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

 “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.” (Jn 6:11).

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Spend a moment of quiet before the Blessed Sacrament, and ask the Lord to help you acknowledge and identify the “five barley loaves and two fish” that you have. Identify the needs in your community/society and make a practical move to share your “five barley loaves and two fish” with the needy.

 

 

***

 

 

April 21, 2012: SATURDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (2)

“EASTER: A Time to Trust in Him in the Raging Sea”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 6:1-7 // Jn 6:16-21

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Today’s Gospel episode invites us to cling to the saving Lord through whatever storms we may be experiencing. Walking on the sea, he comes to us with the consoling words: “It is I. Do not be afraid.” When overwhelmed with anxieties and overcome with doubts and when we feel that we are sinking and drowning in misery, we need to call out to Jesus, who tames the raging sea. In whatever distress and trouble, we need to cling to him and put our faith in him that he will bring us safely to shore.

 

An example of a deep trust in Jesus can be gleaned from the life of Sr. Mary Agape Saccone, PDDM, who died in Fresno, California on April 28, 2008. Born in Messina, Sicily, this Sister with a bright smile was a woman of faith. For 60 years she worked as a missionary, mostly in USA. Here is an account of her faith experience in the high seas, during her second trip back to the United States in 1965 after visiting her family in Italy.

 

“We had a reservation on the ship NUOVA RAFFAELO, a beautiful ship traveling to America. (…) After sailing for five days, at around 2:00 P.M., I went to the upper balcony to contemplate the sea and the immensity of the ocean and enjoy the beautiful view. All of a sudden, I heard a noise, like an explosion. After a short while, I became aware that the crewmembers were hurrying back and forth, and seemed to be worried. Later I learned that one of the engines of the NUOVA RAFFAELO had caught fire. The captain was forced to advise the passengers that the ship had to return to port for mechanical reasons. When the crew began the maneuvers to turn around, there were other noises and the ship began to shake. Everyone was worried. I sought to help the others remain calm and to encourage them during those terrible moments. I recall that I took the Gospel and read the passage about the calming of the sea to the other passengers. Finally, on November 6, we arrived safely at the port in Genoa. From there we left for New York once again, this time in an airplane. Once again we thanked God for his help.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

When buffeted by howling winds and violent storms in the sea of life, how steadfast is our faith? In the midst of life’s storms, do we respond trustingly to Christ’s words: “It is I. Do not be afraid”?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

  

O loving and merciful Jesus,

when we are in troubled waters,

you are there for us with your saving love.

You assure us: “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

When overwhelmed with fears and challenges,

may we not sink into despair,

but believe that you are there for us

to draw us out of the raging waters.

Bring us safely back to shore.

We give you praise and bless you,

we thank and serve you,

we adore you and obey your gracious will,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Jn 6:20)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for those whose lives are in a “raging sea”. Do what you can to lift them up from their trials and difficulties.

 

 

***

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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