A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.22)

THIRD WEEK OF EASTER: April 22-28, 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.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: April 22-28, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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April 22, 2012: THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

 “EASTER: A Time to Delve into the Meaning of His Death and Rising”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 3:13-15,17-19 // I Jn 2:1-5a // Lk 24:35-48

 

 

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

 

The Easter apparition of the Lord Jesus is meant to assure the disciples that he is truly risen from the dead. Luke’s narrative underlines the reality of Jesus’ victory over death by stressing that his resurrected body, though no longer subject to physical limitations, is real. Indeed, in the Jewish mentality, for the resurrection to be real, the Risen Jesus must walk, talk and eat as he had done in his earthly life. The table fellowship of the Risen Lord with his disciples is a powerful symbol of the miracle of new life and the reality of his resurrection. 

In his Easter apparition, the Risen Jesus opens the minds of his disciples to understand the Scriptures. Ever the Divine Master and Teacher, he leads them into a kind of catechesis concerning what is written about him in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms. As the glorified Messiah, he is the fulfillment of the Scriptures. He opens their minds to a radical understanding of the fulfilled messianic prophecy: “that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day” (cf. Lk 24:47). Moreover, he gently leads them to perceive what their mission is as privileged witnesses of the resurrection: the repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, must be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem (cf. Lk 24:48). 

In the marvelous account of the Easter apparition, the Risen Master is guiding his disciples to understand fully the meaning of the greatest miracle of all: his resurrection from the dead and his glorification. He is leading them on a spiritual journey from disbelief to belief, from doubt to worship, from despair to joy, from timidity to courage, from witnesses of the resurrection to powerful messengers of the good news of salvation. The following missioner tale is very fitting for the Easter season (cf. MARYKNOLL Magazine, April 2006, p. 39). It underlines the vibrant missionary energy that should animate God’s redeemed “Alleluia” people. 

While celebrating Mass with a group of children, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa asked: “What is the most important thing in this church?” After some silence, a young girl raised her hand and said, “The exit sign.” Taken aback, he asked her to explain. She replied, “Well, aren’t we supposed to take what we learn in church out into the world?”

 

 

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

 

In the Easter apparition, the Christian disciples were led into a deeper understanding of Christ’s paschal mystery and transformed into joyful witnesses of the resurrection. Is our Easter experience equally transforming? Why or why not?

 

 

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

 

Almighty and merciful God,

your Son Jesus opened our minds and hearts

to the meaning of the Scriptures

concerning his death and rising.

May we always feel the saving power of the Risen Lord

in our daily life

so that, filled with the energy of the Easter event,

we may go out into the world

and restore joy to a broken world,

in the name of Jesus.

He lives and reigns 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.

 

            “It is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead.” (Lk 24:46)

 

 

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

 

Proclaim the Easter event of Christ’s death and resurrection in the challenging world of your daily life by word, example and deed, especially on behalf of those who need hope and consolation.

 

***

 

April 23, 2012: MONDAY - EASTER WEEKDAY (3) or SAINT GEORGE, martyr, or SAINT ADALBERT, bishop & martyr

 “EASTER: A Time to Seek the Food of Eternal Life”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 6:8-15 // Jn 6:22-29

 

 

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

 

One of the great blessings that America has received is food in abundance. In my native country, the Philippines, the daily anxiety of millions of poor people is where to get food to assuage their hunger. Scavengers rummage through filthy garbage cans to look for something to eat. Hungry children would ply the streets begging for food. I was standing on a busy street corner in Manila, waiting for a ride, when two small boys approached me begging for alms. I asked them whether they would like something to eat. They nodded their heads vigorously. I retrieved from my bag two huge sandwiches, plump with chicken salad filling, that a friend gave me at a thesis defense that I had just attended. The kids ran away munching on the sandwiches. After three minutes they came back with their half-eaten sandwiches, radiant with smiles and exclaiming gratefully, “Salamat, Sister! Masarap!” (“Thank you, Sister! Delicious!”). Then off they went. I felt good that my little beneficiaries came back to thank for the gift of bread. 

            In today’s Gospel reading, the evangelist John tells us that the crowd Jesus fed on the other side of the lake got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. The beneficiaries of the loaves of bread and the fish were searching for him. They came back to Jesus, not to thank him, but for a mere material motive: as the source of an unlimited supply of bread and material goods. After experiencing the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, they wanted to make him their breadbasket king. Jesus, however, saw through it all and admonished them. Indeed, Jesus wanted to raise their minds from purely earthly concerns to that which leads to eternal life. That is why he exhorted his superficially intentioned beneficiaries: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

This Sunday’s Gospel reading has a tremendous relevance for our world and society. According to statistics, half of the people of the world go to bed hungry every night and by the end of today, 60,000 more people will die of hunger. Harold Buetow comments: “Bad as things are, the unrecognized hunger for God is even worse …And we still hunger for things beyond food: for forgiveness, for reconciliation, for kindness, for restoration in relationships, for justice, for joy in place of bitterness and cynicism, for peace, for unity – in short, for taking away the emptiness of our lives … Jesus is the way to eternal life. Unless we fill ourselves with him, we’re not just empty and hungry: we’re spiritually dead.” 

 

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

 

What are the various hungers we are experiencing personally and as a community? What are the most vicious hungers of humanity today? How do we respond to Jesus’ declaration and invitation: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you”?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

we come into your presence

with our deepest hungers for things beyond food:

for forgiveness and reconciliation,

for kindness and restoration in relationships,

for justice and freedom,

for joy in place of bitterness and cynicism,

for peace and unity,

for beauty and harmony,

and for spiritual and physical healing.

Take away, we beg you,

the gnawing emptiness of our lives.

You are the bread of life,

the food that satisfies.

We long for you,

the food that endures to eternal life.

Help us to work dutifully and lovingly for the kingdom value

that we may feast on this bread of life,

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.

 

“Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” (cf. Jn 6:27)

 

 

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

 

When you break the bread at the family table, do it with a grateful heart and think with reverence of the millions of hungry people the world over. Pray that they too may have their share of daily bread.

 

***

 

April 24, 2012: TUESDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (3) or SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, priest & martyr

“EASTER: A Time to Be Nourished by Bread from Heaven”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 7:51-8:1a // Jn 6:30-35

 

 

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

To the perplexed crowd asking for a “sign” that they might believe in him, Jesus responds by directing their attention to “the bread of heaven” that God sends for the life of the world. This ultimate gift exceeds the manna that God rained down from heaven on the Israelites journeying through the wilderness in the time of Moses. And to the people’s plea to give them this bread always, Jesus answers: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Indeed, the manna received by the Israelites through Moses is a figure of the all-surpassing food given by God in the person of his beloved Son Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the “bread of the Word” and life-giving “Eucharistic bread”. We need to go to him. He will satisfy the pangs of our inmost spiritual hunger and yearning for meaning and eternal destiny. In offering himself to us as the “living bread”, he appeals to our faith, to our personal response and free commitment to follow him. At the Eucharistic banquet, Jesus invites us to the table of plenty in which he offers the “bread of the word” and sets himself as the sacramental food.

Sr. Mary Rachel, who worked as a missionary in Canada, suffered a series of strokes after her return to the Philippines. The third stroke was bilateral. It left her entire body paralyzed except from the neck up. She could not talk. All she could do was cry. She had to be fed through a nasal-gastric tube and assisted in everything. Terror and anguish etched her face in the beginning. After a period of anger and denial, her features started to relax. While attending to her one day, I noticed that she was unusually quiet. Gazing directly on her pensive eyes, I spoke slowly: “Sister Rachel, do you want to receive Communion? If so, please turn your head to one side.” She responded with such vigor that her head almost snapped. We requested a priest to come and celebrate Mass in her room. Sr. Mary Rachel received Communion for the first time after the third stroke. And she would do so every day until she passed away four years later. In her sickness and suffering, Sr. Mary Rachel fully accepted the words of Jesus: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

 

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

What is our personal response to Jesus’ revelation: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst”? Do we hunger for the Bread of the Word and the Eucharistic Bread?

 

 

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

 

O living Bread, Jesus Christ,

we praise you and thank you!

You feed us at the Eucharistic banquet

of your heavenly and glorified Body.

Nourished by your sacred body and blood

and united with your paschal sacrifice,

we no longer hunger or thirst.

Let our lives be transformed into “Eucharistic bread”

blessed, broken and shared for the life of the world.

We love you and adore you

for you are our Risen Lord,

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.

 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (cf. Jn 6:35)

 

 

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

 

Spend some moments of quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and ask the Divine Master, present in the living Word and the Eucharist, to show you what it means to be nourished by “the bread of life” and the grace needed to be “the bread of life” for others.

 

 

***

 

 

April 25, 2012: WEDNESDAY – SAINT MARK, evangelist

“EASTER: A Time to Proclaim the Easter Good News”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Pt 5:5b-14 // Mk 16:15-20

 

 

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

 

The continuing presence of the Risen Lord in the lives of his apostles and disciples, confirms them in the missionary mandate: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” The Church’s missionaries have nothing to fear because the glorified Christ is with them in their preaching and would confirm their message with special signs of his protection and power (vv. 17-18). Indeed, our celebration of the Lord’s Easter mystery is a call to actively spread the Gospel. The “Gospel” to be proclaimed to every creature refers not to a doctrine, but to the very person of Jesus. With the Risen Lord Jesus as the content of the proclamation, the apostles of then and now are empowered by the Holy Spirit in their task of evangelization.

 

Saint Mark, the evangelist, is a sterling example of one who has used the oral tradition and written form to spread the Easter Good News. The following prize-winning story by an eighth-grader at St. John Vianney School in San Jose, California illustrates how we can use the means of social communication and other means to make the Good News alive in our own time (cf. Clarissa Vokt, “Good News Alive Today” in MARYKNOLL, May/June 2011, p. 47-49).

 

The ways that I share the Good News are posting and reading articles on the social network websites about men and women doing good deeds in our community, to encourage others to do the same. I also send messages to others telling them to go to church on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, and learn all about the Good News.

 

I spread the Good News almost all the time when I help out at places in my community. Sometimes I volunteer to help at the park, where I help clean up after the animals and wash their feeding bowls so they always have clean water, because they are also God’s creation and should be treated so.

 

If I am not doing community service, then usually I will go around the house and search for items that we no longer use, and donate them to organizations such as The Salvation Army to help those in poverty who do not have the luxuries we take for granted each day.

 

I experience the Good News being spread when I listen to the radio. There is a radio station called Catholic Radio that my mother and I listen to almost every day, and it is always talking about the Gospel, answering questions about our beliefs, and telling us about campaigns and upcoming Catholic events in our community.

 

One such campaign is called “40 Days for Life”. This campaign draws attention to the evils of abortion with a three-point program including prayer and fasting, constant vigil and community outreach. My family joined this campaign together and we have blue wristbands we wear to show our support and spread the Good News everywhere we go.

 

Catholic Radio has expanded my knowledge of the Gospel and inspired me to share this Good News with my friends and neighbors. This radio station has their own page on Facebook, so I decided to join it and share the Good News with my friends on the social network, who did the same.

 

The Good News is being spread everywhere, from the radio to popular websites, and through community service, and is spread by everyone, including teenagers and older men and women. The ways in which the Good News is being spread may have changed over the past 100 years, but the meaning still stays the same, and today it is as alive as ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

How do we respond to the missionary mandate of the Risen Jesus to go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature? How do we make the Good News alive in the here and now? 

 

 

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

 

O Risen Christ,

you commanded us to go into the whole world

to proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

Teach us to use wisely and efficaciously

the traditional and modern means

to spread the Easter Good News.

Show us how to utilize all resources at our disposal

to share your saving love

with all peoples and cultures.

Let the power of the Holy Spirit, the Easter gift, be upon us

as we share your gift of redemption to all.

May your glorious name

be praised, honored and revered,

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.

 

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (cf. Mk 16:15)

 

 

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

 

Using whatever means available, and by your words and deeds, help the people of today experience the saving glory of the Risen Christ. 

 

 

***

 

 April 26, 2012: THURSDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (3)

“EASTER: A Time to Draw Strength from the Bread of Life”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 8:26-40 // Jn 6:44-51

 

 

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

 

The benefactor, Jesus Christ, who is both the giver and the gift, nourishes us through his teaching. As the Word-made-flesh and as the Wisdom of God, he lays out for us a rich banquet of spiritual nourishment. He offers himself to us as the bread of the Word, the saving revelation of God’s infinite love for us, and fulfills what is written in the prophets: “They shall all be taught by God”. In the last part of today’s Gospel reading, the topic shifts from Jesus as revealer of the Father to Jesus as the giver and gift of the Eucharist. The liturgical assembly is being led to contemplate, not just the “word nourishment” offered by Jesus, but the “sacramental” nourishment that he gives of his own flesh and blood. Jesus’ wondrous gift includes the “Eucharistic” nourishment provided by his Spirit-filled and glorified body. The Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, who nourishes us with his Word and the Eucharistic bread, satisfies our most intense hunger for the fullness of life. We need to feed on him continually who is offered to us in multiple ways as spiritual nourishment.

The Bread of Life gives strength and impels us to share the fullness of life even in most difficult situations. Archbishop Van Thuan, who was imprisoned by the Vietnamese government for thirteen years and then “released” to house arrest, testifies to this (cf. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, Testimony of Hope, Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2000, p. 132-133).

Thus, in prison, I felt beating within my heart the same heart of Christ. I felt that my life was his life and his was mine. The Eucharist became for me and for the other Christians a hidden and encouraging presence in the midst of all our difficulties. Jesus was adored secretly by the Christians who lived with me, just as happened so often in other prison camps of the twentieth century.

In the re-education camp, we were divided into groups of fifty people; we slept on a common bed, and everyone had a right to 50 centimeters of space. We managed to make sure that there were five Catholics with me. At 9:30 P.M. we had to turn off the lights and everyone had to go to sleep. It was then that I would bow over the bed to celebrate the Mass by heart, and I distributed communion by passing my hand under the mosquito net. We even made little sacks from the paper of cigarette packs to preserve the Most Holy Sacrament and bring it to others. The Eucharistic Jesus was always with me in my shirt pocket.

Every week there was an indoctrination session in which the whole camp had to participate. My Catholic companions and I took advantage of the break in order to pass the small sack to everyone in the four other groups of prisoners. Everyone knew that Jesus was in their midst. At night, the prisoners would take turns for adoration. With his silent presence, the Eucharistic Jesus helped us in unimaginable ways. Many Christians returned to a fervent faith-life, and their witness of service and love had an ever greater impact on the other prisoners. Even Buddhists and other non-Christians came to the faith. The strength of Jesus’ love was irresistible.

In this way, the darkness of the prison became a paschal light, and the seed germinated in the ground during the storm. The prison was transformed into a school of catechesis. Catholics baptized fellow prisoners and became the godparents of their companions.

 

 

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

 

When we partake of the Eucharistic bread and wine, do we believe that it is font of life, strength and transformation?

 

 

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

 

O Risen Christ,

you are the font of eternal life

and source of spiritual strength.

By our sharing in the sacred meal,

you enable us to share in your paschal destiny.

We believe that you are really and substantially present

in the most holy sacrament of your body and blood.

Transform us into “new” persons

capable of utmost self-giving.

Help us to give an Easter testimony of hope

in today’s fragmented world.

We give you thanks and 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.

 

“I am the bread of life.” (Jn 6:48)

 

 

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

 

By your self-giving love and sacrifice, enable the fragmented society of today to draw strength and hope from the Eucharist and experience the healing and transforming power of the Risen Christ.

 

 

***

 

 April 27, 2012: FRIDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (3)

“EASTER: A Time to Eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 9:1-20 // Jn 6:52-59

 

 

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

Here is an interesting story that illustrates the skepticism of an unbeliever with regards to the power of the Eucharist and the tremendous wisdom that a believers draws from it.

A man came to a priest and wanted to make fun of his faith, so he asked, “How can bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ?” The priest answered, “No problem. You yourself change food into your body and blood, so why can’t Christ do the same?” But the objector did not give up. He asked, “But how can the entire Christ be in such a small host?” “In the same way that the vast landscape before you can fit into your little eye.” “But he still persisted, “How can the same Christ be present in all your churches at the same time?” The priest then took a mirror and let the man look into it. Then let the mirror fall to the ground and broke it and said to the skeptic, “There is only one of you and yet you can find your face reflected in each piece of that broken mirror at the same time.” 

Indeed, with the eyes of faith, it is easy to perceive the answer to the “HOW” of salvation and the workings of the miracle of love, the Eucharist. From the point of view of the believer’s heart, everything is possible with God. The principal challenge in today’s Gospel reading (Jn 6:51-18) is faith in the power of God and his beloved Son, Jesus, to give life by the means they choose. Jesus did not answer the cynical “HOW” of the unbelievers, but responded to them with more powerful statements about himself and the new presence that he will assume in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He also affirmed the necessity of feeding upon his own body and blood as the natural food for the new life that he came to give in abundance. In the Eucharistic species, he is the true FLESH to eat and the true BLOOD to drink. Through a miracle of love and the power of faith, the Eucharistic bread has become the reality of Jesus’ glorified body; the Eucharistic wine has become the reality of Jesus’ sacred blood. 

 

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

 

Do we allow our life to be troubled and shortchanged by the unbeliever’s “HOW”? With regards to the Eucharistic mystery, do we sometimes react with incredulity and ask: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat”? What is our response to Jesus’ radical Eucharistic affirmation: “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink”?

 

 

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

 (Prayers composed by Blessed James Alberione) 

Jesus, eternal Truth, I believe you are really present in the bread and wine. You are here with your body, blood, soul and divinity. I hear your invitation: “I am the living bread descended from heaven”, “take and eat; this is my body”. I believe, Lord and Master, but strengthen my weak faith. 

Jesus Master, you assure me: “I am the Life”, “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life.” In baptism and in the sacrament of reconciliation you have communicated to me this life of yours. Now you nourish it by making yourself my food. Take my heart; detach it from the vain things of the world. With all my heart I love you above all things because you are infinite goodness and eternal happiness. 

 

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.

 

 “For my flesh is true food, and my blood true drink.” (Jn 6:52-59).

 

 

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

 

Before you receive communion at the celebration of the Eucharist, recall with conviction the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and make an act of faith.

***

 

April 22, 2012: SATURDAY – EASTER WEEKDAY (3) or SAINT PETER CHANEL, priest and martyr, or SAINT LOUIS GRIGNION de MONTFORT, priest

“EASTER: A Time to Respond to the Challenge of Faith”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 9:31-42 // Jn 6:60-69

 

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

 

Fr. Jon Sobrino, a Jesuit theologian based in El Salvador, gives us a first hand account of an incident that illustrates Archbishop Oscar Romero’s radical response for Christ and the good of his people. 

 

On May 19, 1977 the army went to Aguilares, expelled the three remaining Jesuits, desecrated the church and sacristy, and declared a state of emergency. After a month of the state of emergency, the army simply drove the people out of Aguilares. Archbishop Romero decided to go there at the first opportunity, denounce the atrocities that had been committed, and try to inspire a threatened, terrorized people with hope. ‘You are Christ today, suffering in history,’ he told them. After the Mass we held a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. We processed out into a little square in front of the church to make reparation for the soldiers’ desecration of the sacramental Body of Christ and the living Body of Christ, the murdered ‘campesinos’. Across the square, in front of the town hall, were armed troops, standing there watching us, sullen, arrogant and unfriendly. We were uneasy. In fact, we were afraid. We had no idea what might happen. And we all instinctively turned around and looked at Archbishop Romero, who was bringing up the rear, holding the monstrance. ‘Adelante! (Forward!)’, said Archbishop Romero. And we went right ahead.

On March 24, 1980 Archbishop Romero was shot to death while celebrating the Mass, the blood of his martyred body mixing with the sacramental body and blood of Christ on the altar of Eucharistic sacrifice.  The death of Archbishop Romero sealed his fundamental option to commit himself totally to Christ and to be radically united with him, who is the Son of God, the living bread come down from heaven, the food for eternal life. 

Today’s Gospel reading highlights the fundamental option and core decision of the disciples, either to break away from Christ or to reinforce their commitment to him. The scenario, however, ends on a very positive note. Addressing the Twelve, the most intimate circle of Jesus’ disciples, he said: “Do you also want to leave?” (Jn 6:67). Simon Peter answered truthfully, vocalizing the fundamental option of the Twelve: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:68-69). Responding with faith to Jesus’ self-revelation as the Holy One of God and source of life, Peter’s confession is a paradigm of the radical decision of the Eucharistic-centered community of believers through all ages to love and follow Christ. The choice we have made must be proven in our daily life.

 

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

 

Do we manifest in our life our option for Christ: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God”?

 

 

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

 

O Risen Christ,

we believe in you who said:

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven;

if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever.”

Nourished by this heavenly food,

make us always yearn and toil

for the coming of God’s kingdom.

O Risen Master,

to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life.

Help us to manifest in our life

the fundamental choice we have made for you.

Pour out your Easter Spirit upon us

and draw us close to you.

We love you and adore 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.

 

“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68)

 

 

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

Create a space of quiet and serenity within yourself. Reinforce your core decision for Christ by pronouncing repeatedly, as a mantra: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”  When you faith is challenged, be ready to stand up for it.

 

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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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