Saturday, 30 April 2011


  Acts 2:42-47 

The Fellowship of the Believers

 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
    43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
    44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
    45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
    46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
    47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


Responsorial Psalm

Psalm (117)118, 2-4 .13-15 .22-24 (Waddell, OCSO)

R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

1. Let the sons of Israel say: "His love endures for ever."
Let the sons of Aaron say: "His love endures for ever."
Let those who fear the Lord say: "His love endures for ever." R.

2. I was thrust down, thrust down and falling but the Lord was my helper.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he was my savior.
There are shouts of joy and victory in the tents of the just. R.

3. The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad. R.

Peter 1:3-9 (New International Version, ©2011)

Praise to God for a Living Hope
 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


For: Sunday, May 1, 2011

2nd Sunday of Easter (of the Divine Mercy)

From: John 20:19-31

Jesus Appears to the Disciples
[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors shut where
the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and
said to them, "Peace be with you." [20] When He had said this, He showed them
His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
[21] Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me,
even so I send you." [22] And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and
said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are
forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

[24] Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when
Jesus came. [25] So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But
he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my
finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."

[26] Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was
with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and
said, "Peace be with you." [27] Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here,
and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be
faithless, but believing." [28] Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!"
[29] Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Bles-
sed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

[30] Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which
are not written in this book; [31] but these are written that you may believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His


19-20. Jesus appears to the Apostles on the evening of the day of which He rose.
He presents Himself in their midst without any need for the doors to be opened,
by using the qualities of His glorified body; but in order to dispel any impression
that He is only a spirit He shows them His hands and His side: there is no lon-
ger any doubt about its being Jesus Himself, about His being truly risen from the
dead. He greets them twice using the words of greeting customary among the
Jews, with the same tenderness as He previously used put into this salutation.
These friendly words dispel the fear and shame the Apostles must have been
feeling at behaving so disloyally during His passion: He has created the normal
atmosphere of intimacy, and now He will endow them with transcendental po-

21. Pope Leo XIII explained how Christ transferred His own mission to the Apos-
tles: "What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded?
This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had
received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly re-
solved to do: this He actually did. 'As the Father hath sent Me, even so I send
you' (John 20:21). 'As Thou didst send Me into the world, so I have sent them
into the world' (John 17:18). [...] When about to ascend into Heaven, He sends
His Apostles in virtue of the same power by which He had been sent from the
Father; and He charges them to spread abroad and propagate His teachings (cf.
Matthew 28:18), so that those obeying the Apostles might be saved, and those
disobeying should perish (cf. Mark 16:16). [...] Hence He commands that the
teaching of the Apostles should be religiously accepted and piously kept as if
it were His own: 'He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects
Me' (Luke 10:16). Wherefore the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ as He is
the ambassador of the Father" ([Pope] Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum"). In this mis-
sion the bishops are the successors of the Apostles: "Christ sent the Apostles
as He Himself had been sent by the Father, and then through the Apostles made
their successors, the bishops, sharers in His consecration and mission. The func-
tion of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests
so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers
of the episcopal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had
been entrusted to it by Christ" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 2).

22-23. The Church has always understood - and has in fact defined - that Jesus
Christ here conferred on the Apostles authority to forgive sins, a power which is
exercised in the Sacrament of Penance. "The Lord then especially instituted the
Sacrament of Penance when, after being risen from the dead, He breathed upon
His disciples and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit...' The consensus of all the Fa-
thers has always acknowledged that by this action so sublime and words so
clear the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to the Apostles and
their lawful successors for reconciling the faithful who have fallen after Baptism"
(Council of Trent, "De Paenitentia", Chapter 1).

The Sacrament of Penance is the most sublime expression of God's love and
mercy towards men, described so vividly in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son
(cf. Luke 15:11-32). The Lord always awaits us, with His arms wide open, wai-
ting for us to repent and then He will forgive us and restore us to the dignity of
being His sons.

The Popes have consistently recommended Christians to have regular recourse
to this Sacrament: "For a constant and speedy advancement in the path of virtue
we highly recommend the pious practice of frequent Confession, introduced by
the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; for by this means we grow in
a true knowledge of ourselves and in Christian humility, bad habits are uprooted,
spiritual negligence and apathy are prevented, the conscience is purified and the
will strengthened, salutary spiritual direction is obtained, and grace is increased
by the efficacy of the Sacrament itself" ([Pope] Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis").

24-28. Thomas' doubting moves our Lord to give him special proof that His risen
body is quite real. By so doing He bolsters the faith of those who would later on
find faith in Him. "Surely you do not think", [Pope] St. Gregory the Great com-
ments, "that is was a pure accident that the chosen disciple was missing; who
on his return was told about the appearance and on hearing about it doubted;
doubting, so that he might touch and believe by touching? It was not an acci-
dent; God arranged that it should happen. His clemency acted in this wonderful
way so that through the doubting disciple touching the wounds in His Master's
body, our own wounds of incredulity might be healed. [...] And so the disciple,
doubting and touching, was changed into a witness of the truth of the Resurrec-
tion" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 26, 7).

Thomas' reply is not simply an exclamation: it is an assertion, an admirable act
of faith in the divinity of Christ: "My Lord and my God!" These words are an eja-
culatory prayer often used by Christians, especially as an act of faith in the real
presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.

29. [Pope] St. Gregory the Great explains these words of our Lord as follows:
"By St. Paul saying 'faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of
things unseen' (Hebrews 11:1), it becomes clear that faith has to do with things
which are not seen, for those which are seen are no longer the object of faith, but
rather of experience. Well then, why is Thomas told, when he saw and touched,
'Because you have seen, you have believed?' Because he saw one thing, and be-
lieved another. It is certain that mortal man cannot see divinity; therefore, he saw
the man and recognized Him as God, saying, 'My Lord and my God.' In conclu-
sion: seeing, he believed, because contemplating that real man he exclaimed
that He was God, whom he could not see" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 27, 8).

Like everyone else Thomas needed the grace of God to believe, but in addition to
this grace he was given an exceptional proof; his faith would have had more merit
had he accepted the testimony of the other Apostles. Revealed truths are normal-
ly transmitted by word, by the testimony of other people who, sent by Christ and
aided by the Holy Spirit, preach the deposit of faith (cf. Mark 16:15-16). "So faith
comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ"
(Romans 10:17). The preaching of the Gospel, therefore, carries with it sufficient
guarantees of credibility, and by accepting that preaching man "offers the full
submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals, willingly assenting to the
revelation given" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 5).

"What follows pleases us greatly: 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet
believe.' For undoubtedly it is we who are meant, who confess with our soul Him
whom we have not seen in the flesh. It refers to us, provided we live in accor-
dance with the faith, for only he truly believes who practices what the believes"
("In Evangelia Homiliae", 26, 9).

30-31. This is a kind of first epilogue or conclusion to the Gospel of St. John.
The more common opinion is that he added Chapter 21 later, which covers such
important events as the triple confession of St. Peter, confirmation of his primacy
and our Lord's prophecy about the death of the beloved disciple. These verses
sum up the inspired writer's whole purpose in writing his Gospel -- to have men
believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ announced by the prophets in
the Old Testament, the Son of God, so that by believing this saving truth, which
is the core of Revelation, they might already begin to partake of eternal life (cf.
John 1:12, 2:23; 3:18; 14:13; 15:16; 16:23-26).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." -- St Jerome