Daily Gospel: Feast of Saint James Son of Zebedee, Apostle. Monday, April 30, 2012






First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16.
For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day. I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Mark 10:32-41.
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.’ James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’ When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.

Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday Angelus Message (Regina Caeli) on April 29, 2012

It was day to remember for 9 deacons who were ordained on this World Day of Prayer for Religious Vocations by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Basilica. Eight of the deacons were from the diocese of Rome, one a former pilot, another a chemistry graduate. Also ordained on Sunday was a deacon from Vietnam who had previously been a lawyer.


Speaking to the congregation on Sunday which included the family and friends of the new priests, the Holy Father said, the Priest like the Shepherd is called to lead the faithful entrusted to him to true life, “a life in abundance”


The new priests listened as the Pope told them that the value of their priestly life was not just about social works, it was also about living a life in the vital presence of God.

That presence, continued Pope Benedict was made all the more intense when the weight of the priest’s cross in life is heavier.


Referring to Sunday’s readings, Pope Benedict also noted, during his Homily, that Jesus had '' lived an experience of being rejected by the leaders of his people, yet helped by God he founded a new church.

The priest, said the Pope, is called to live the experience Jesus lived, to give himself fully to his work as preacher and healer.


Following Mass the Holy Father recited the Regina Caeli during which he prayed that more people would hear Christ’s call.

"Today’s Gospel highlights the figure of Christ the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his flock. Today we also pray for vocations to the priesthood: may more young men hear Christ’s call to follow him more closely, and offer their lives to serve their brothers and sisters. God’s peace be with you all!"


The Pope also added that the young priests he ordained on Sunday were not different from other young people, but they had been touched by a deep love of God.


 

Holy Gospel: Fourth Sunday of the Resurrection: Appearance to the Disciples by the Sea of Tiberias.




Letter to the Hebrews 13:18-25.
Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honourably in all things. I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you very soon. Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been set free; and if he comes in time, he will be with me when I see you. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 21:1-14.
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you? ’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Daily Gospel: Saturday of the Third Week of the Resurrection, April 28, 2012


Saint of the day: St John of the 72, Apostle.

First Letter of Peter 5:1-14.
Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. Through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written this short letter to encourage you, and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 6:60-71.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’ Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.’ He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

Feast of Saint Zita, Domestic Workers Patroness


On April 27 the Catholic Church honors Saint Zita, a 13th century Italian woman whose humble and patient service to God has made her a patron saint of maids and other domestic workers. 

Body of St Zita on Display in the Basilica
Di San Frediano in Lucca

Born into poverty during the early 1200s, Zita was taught by her mother from an early age to seek God's will in all circumstances. She had already developed a strong prayer life by the time she was sent, at age 12, to work in the home of the Fatinelli family in Lucca.

Zita's employers lived near a church where she managed – by waking up extremely early in the morning – to attend daily Mass. She looked upon her work primarily as a means of serving God, and kept herself mindful of his presence during long hours of exhausting tasks.

Her presence in the Fatinelli household, however, was inexplicably unwelcome and met with harsh treatment for a number of years. Zita suffered hostility and abuse from her employers, including fits of rage and beatings.

The young woman faced these trials with patience and inner strength developed through a life of prayer. In time, the members of the household came to value her service, and appreciate the virtues she had acquired through God's grace.

Zita maintained her humility when she was promoted to a position of responsibility within the Fatinelli home. She continued to view her earthly responsibilities as a service to God, and to seek his presence through prayer and fasting. She also refused to hold a grudge against those who once mistreated her.

Within her new household role, Zita was faithful to Christ's admonition that superiors should conduct themselves as the servants of all. She was kind to those under her direction, and mindful of the poor through frequent almsgiving to the point of personal sacrifice.

Throughout her life, Zita found a source of strength and consolation in the Mass and Holy Communion, which frequently moved her to tears. Despite her many responsibilities, she frequently set aside time to recall God's presence through contemplative prayer in the course of the day.

After foretelling her own death and spiritually preparing for it, Saint Zita died in Lucca on April 27, 1271. Many residents regarded her as a saint and began to seek her intercession, to which a large number of miracles were attributed. Some writers even began referring to the city of Lucca as “Santa Zita” in her honor.

The Fatinelli family, which had once caused St. Zita such extreme suffering, eventually contributed to the cause of her canonization. The earliest account of her life was found in a manuscript belonging to the family, and published in 1688.

The Church's liturgical veneration of St. Zita was introduced in the early 1500s, and confirmed by Pope Innocent XII in 1696. In 1580, her body was exhumed and found to be miraculously incorrupt. It is venerated today in the Basilica of St. Frediano, where she attended Mass during her life.


Daily Gospel: Feast of Saint Simon Brother of the Lord, Apostle. Friday, April 27, 2012






Letter to the Ephesians 4:10-16.
He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Luke 6:12-19.
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Daily Gospel: Thursday of the Third Week of the Resurrection, April 26, 2012

Saint of the day: St Marcellinus, Confessor.

First Letter of Peter 4:1-11.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an account to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 6:41-47.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, "I have come down from heaven"?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God." Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

Monthly Message of the Virgin Mary to the World on April 25, 2012 From Medjugorje





“Dear children! Also today I am calling you to prayer, and may your heart, little children, open towards God as a flower opens towards the warmth of the sun. I am with you and I intercede for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience, April 25, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI continued his series on the Christian school of prayer this Wednesday with a reflection on the importance of prayer and works of charity in the life of the Church. Speaking in Italian he said the Church has the "primary need" to proclaim the Word of God, but it also has "the duty of charity and justice": between the two there is no opposition, because charity "must be permeated by the spirit of contemplation of God", "without daily prayer our action is empty, it looses its deep soul, resulting in a simple activism that eventually leaves unsatisfied".

The Pope was inspired by the Gospel of Luke where it is said that the number of disciples were increasing, but those of the Greek language were complaining because their widows were being neglected compared to those of Jewish origin. “Faced with this urgency that involved a fundamental aspect in the life of the community, charity towards the weak, the poor, the powerless, and justice, the Apostles summoned the entire group of disciples. In this time of pastoral emergency the Apostles discernment stands out. They are faced with the primary need to proclaim the Word of God according to the mandate of the Lord, but even if this is the primary need of the Church, they considered with equally seriousness the duty of charity and justice, that is their duty to assist widows, the poor, with love to respond to situations of need in which their brothers and sisters find themselves, to respond to Jesus' commandment: love one another as I have loved you (cf. Jn 15,12.17) . So the two realities that have to live in the Church - preaching the Word, the primacy of God, and practical charity, justice - are creating difficulties and a solution must be found so that both can have its place, its necessary relationship . And the reflection of the Apostles is very clear. They say, as we have heard: "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word"(Acts 6.2 to 4). Two things appear: first from that moment a ministry of charity exists in the Church. The Church must not only proclaim the Word, but also realize that the word is love and truth. And the second point: these men must not only enjoy a good reputation, but they must be men filled with the Holy Ghost and wisdom. That is, they can not just be organizers who know what they are doing, but they must do so in the spirit of faith, with the light of God, in the wisdom of the heart and therefore their function, although mainly practical, however, is a spiritual function. Charity and justice are not only social actions, but they are spiritual actions made in light of the Holy Spirit.

“This decision, made after prayer and discernment, provided for the needs of the poor while freeing the Apostles to devote themselves primarily to the word of God. It is significant that the Apostles acknowledge the importance of both prayer and works of charity, yet clearly give priority to prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel”.

“So we can say that this situation is addressed, with great responsibility on the part of the Apostles, who make this a decision: seven men of good reputation are chosen, the apostles pray to ask for the strength of the Holy Spirit and then impose their own hands so that they devote themselves especially to the service of charity. Thus, in the life of the Church, in the first steps it takes, is reflected in a certain way, what happened during Jesus' public life, at the house of Martha and Mary of Bethany. Martha was distracted by offering hospitality to Jesus and his disciples, Mary, however, is devoted to listening to the Word of the Lord (cf. Lk 10:38-42). In both cases, the moments of prayer or and listening to God and daily activities, the exercise of charity are not opposing. The call of Jesus: " Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her" (Lk 10.41 - 42), as well as the reflection of the Apostles: "... we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6.4), show, the priority that we must give to God. I do not want interpret this Martha-Maria pericope now: however, activity for another should not be condemned, but it must be stressed that even inwardly it must be penetrated by the spirit of contemplation. On the other hand, St. Augustine says Mary’s reality is a vision of our situation in heaven, which we can never have completely here on earth, rather a little anticipation that contemplation of God must be present in all our activities. We must not lose ourselves in pure activism, but always allow ourselves and our activities to be penetrated by the Word of God and thus learn true charity, true service to others which does not need many things: it certainly needs necessary things, but above all it also needs the affection of our heart, the light of God”.

“In every age the saints have stressed the deep vital unity between contemplation and activity. Prayer, nourished by faith and enlightened by God’s word, enables us to see things in a new way and to respond to new situations with the wisdom and insight bestowed by the Holy Spirit”." "Every step of our lives – he said - every action, even of the Church, must be made before God in prayer, in the light of his word" "prayer to defend themselves from the dangers of a hectic life which, says St. Bernard, is likely to harden the heart”.

"When the prayer is nourished by the Word of God, we can see reality with new eyes, the eyes of faith and the Lord who speaks to the mind and heart, gives new light to our path at all times and in every situation."

"Only through an intimate relationship with God cultivated every day is the answer to the choice of the Lord born and is entrusted to every ministry in the Church." And the choice of the seven deacons by the apostles "indicates to us the primacy of prayer and the Word of God."
“In our own daily lives and decisions, may we always draw fresh spiritual breath from the two lungs of prayer and the word of God; in this way, we will respond to every challenge and situation with wisdom, understanding and fidelity to God’s will”.

"If the lungs of prayer and the Word of God does not feed the breath of our spiritual life, we risk suffocating in the midst of a thousand every day things: prayer is the breath of the soul and of life". And even when "we are in the silence of a church or in our room," we are united in the Lord and the many brothers and sisters in faith.

 

Daily Gospel: Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist and Apostle, April 25, 2012




Letter to the Colossians 4:5-10.
Conduct yourselves wisely towards outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow-servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts; he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here. Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions if he comes to you, welcome him.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Luke 10:1-7.
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, "Peace to this house!" And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.


Daily Gospel: Tuesday of the Third Week of the Resurrection, April 24, 2012

Saint of the day: St Saba the Commander, Martyr.

First Letter of Peter 3:1-12.
Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands, so that, even if some of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight. It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you. Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honour to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life so that nothing may hinder your prayers. Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called that you might inherit a blessing. For ‘Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 6:28-34.
Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat." ’Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

Daily Gospel: Monday of the Third Week of the Resurrection, April 23, 2012

Saint of the day: St George, Martyr (280-303).

First Letter of Peter 2:18-25.
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.  ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Luke 24:44-49.
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday Angelus Message (Regina Caeli) On April 22, 2012


Our ability to recognize the Risen Lord through His Word and in the Eucharist was the focus of Pope Benedict XVI’s Regina Caeli reflections this third Sunday of Easter. Speaking in French he said in the same way the Risen Jesus appeared among the apostles, still today "the Savior assures us of his real presence among us through the Word and the Eucharist" and just as "He gave peace "to the disciples, "He is still gifting us His peace and opens up life to happiness and invites us to become His witnesses to the ends of the earth, in our world marked by evil and suffering, pain and fear”.

St Peter’s Square, below the Pope’s study window was packed, mainly with young children from parishes across the diocese of Rome, who are preparing for their First Communion. They had gathered beneath his balcony early Sunday morning, animating the build up to the midday appointment with the Holy Father with song, adding splashes of color to square with bunches of balloons. And they were not disappointed. Speaking to them directly before the recitation of the Regina Caeli, which replaces the Angelus during the period between Easter and Pentecost, Pope Benedict urged "parish priests, parents and catechists to prepare this feast of faith, with great fervor, but with sobriety." This day is to be memorable as the moment when ... you too understand the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus".

Referring to the Sunday Gospel, Luke chapter 24, Pope Benedict said “the Saviour assures us of his real presence among us through the Word and the Eucharist. Therefore, just as the disciples of Emmaus recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24:35), so we meet the Lord in the Eucharistic celebration”. Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas he said " It is absolutely necessary to confess according to Catholic faith that the entire Christ is in this sacrament.... since the Godhead never set aside the assumed body".
Finally the Pope prayed that the Mother of God help us to listen attentively to the Word of the Lord and participate worthily in the Eucharistic Sacrifice,” to become witnesses of the new humanity”.

Below is the translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s Regina Caeli reflections on the third Sunday of Easter:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today, the third Sunday of Easter, in the Gospel according to Luke, we meet the risen Jesus who comes in the midst of the disciples (cf. Lk 24.36), who were incredulous and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost (cf. Lk 24, 37). Romano Guardini writes: "The Lord has changed. He does not live as before. His existence ... it is not understandable. Yet it is corporal, including ... his whole life experience, his lived destiny, his passion and his death. Everything is real. Albeit changed, but always tangible reality "(The Lord. Meditations on the person and the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Milan 1949, 433). Since the resurrection has not erased the marks of crucifixion, Jesus shows his hands and feet to the Apostles. And to convince them, he even asking for something to eat. So the disciples' offered him a piece of baked fish, and he took it and ate it before them "(Luke 24.42-43). St. Gregory the Great says that "the fish grilled over a fire does not mean anything other than the passion of Jesus Mediator between God and men. In fact, he deigned to hide in the waters of the human race, agreed to be caught in the snare of our death and was as if he were set on fire for the pain suffered at the time of His Passion "(Hom. in Evang. XXIV, 5: CCL 141 , Turnhout 1999, 201).

Thanks to these signs very realistic, the disciples overcome their initial doubt and open up to the gift of faith, and this faith allows them to understand the things written on Christ "in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" (Luke 24.44 ). We read that Jesus "opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and said to them:" Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer, and rise from the dead on the third day. and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins…You are witnesses of these things"(Luke 24.45-48). The Saviour assures us of his real presence among us through the Word and the Eucharist. Therefore, just as the disciples of Emmaus recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24:35), so we meet the Lord in the Eucharistic celebration. In this regard, St. Thomas Aquinas explains that " It is absolutely necessary to confess according to Catholic faith that the entire Christ is in this sacrament.... since the Godhead never set aside the assumed body," (S.Th. III q. 76, a. 1).

Dear friends, the Church at Easter time, usually administers First Communion to children. I therefore urge the pastors, parents and catechists to prepare this feast of faith well, with great fervor, but also with simplicity. "This day is to be memorable as the moment when ... you too understand the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus" (Post Synodal ap.exort. Sacramentum Caritatis, 19). May the Mother of God help us to listen attentively to the Word of the Lord and participate worthily in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, to become witnesses of the new humanity.

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present for this Easter prayer to Our Lady. In today’s Gospel, the risen Lord opens the minds of the disciples to the meaning of his suffering and death, and sends them out to preach repentance. With courage and joy, may we too be authentic witnesses to Christ. God bless all of you!

Holy Gospel: Third Sunday of the Resurrection: Appearance to the Disciples of Emmaus.




Second Letter to Timothy 2:8-13.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Luke 24:13-35.
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Daily Gospel: Saturday of the Second Week of the Resurrection, April 21, 2012


Saint of the day: St Anselm, Confessor.

First Letter of Peter 2:11-17.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honourably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honourable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honour everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honour the emperor.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 22:41-46.
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ "? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Feast of Saint Anselm

On April 21, the Catholic Church honors Saint Anselm, the 11th and 12th-century Benedictine monk and archbishop best known for his writings on Christ's atonement and the existence of God.


A Statue of Saint Anselm at the Aosta Cathedral


In a general audience given on Sept. 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI remembered St. Anselm as “a monk with an intense spiritual life, an excellent teacher of the young, a theologian with an extraordinary capacity for speculation, a wise man of governance and an intransigent defender of the Church's freedom.”

St. Anselm, the Pope said, stands out as “one of the eminent figures of the Middle Ages who was able to harmonize all these qualities, thanks to the profound mystical experience that always guided his thought and his action.”

Anselm was born in Aosta, part of the Piedmont region of present-day Italy, around 1033. While his father provided little in the way of moral or religious influence, his mother was a notably devout woman and chose to send Anselm to a school run by the Benedictine order.

The boy felt a profound religious calling during these years, spurred in part by a dream in which he met and conversed with God. His father, however, prevented him from becoming a monk at age 15. This disappointment was followed by a period of severe illness, as well as his mother's early death.

Unable to join the monks, and tired of mistreatment by his father, Anselm left home and wandered throughout parts of France and Italy for three years. His life regained its direction in Normandy, where he met the Benedictine prior Lanfranc of Pavia and became his disciple.

Lanfranc recognized his pupil's intellectual gifts and encouraged his vocation to religious life. Accepted into the order and ordained a priest at age 27, Anselm succeeded his teacher as prior in1063 when Lanfranc was called to become abbot of another monastery.

Anselm became abbot of his own monastery in1079. During the previous decade the Normans had conquered England, and they sought to bring monks from Normandy to influence the Church in the country. Lanfranc became Archbishop of Canterbury, and asked Anselm to come and assist him.

The period after Lanfranc's death, in the late 1080s, was a difficult time for the English Church. As part of his general mistreatment of the Church, King William Rufus refused to allow the appointment of a new archbishop. Anselm had gone back to his monastery, and did not want to return to England.

In 1092, however, he was persuaded to do so. The following year, the king changed his mind and allowed Anselm to become Archbishop of Canterbury. But the monk was extremely reluctant to accept the charge, which would involve him in further struggles with the English crown in subsequent years.

For a three-year period in the early 12th century, Anselm's insistence on the self-government of the Church – against the claims of the state to its administration and property – caused him to be exiled from England. But he was successful in his struggle, and returned to his archdiocese in 1106.

In his last years, Anselm worked to reform the Church and continued his theological investigations – following the motto of “faith seeking understanding.” After his death in 1109, his influence on the subsequent course of theology led Pope Clement XI to name him a Doctor of the Church in 1720.

Daily Gospel: Friday of the Second Week of the Resurrection, April 20, 2012


First Letter of Peter 2:1-10.
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner’, and ‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 2:13-25.
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Daily Gospel: Thursday of the Second Week of the Resurrection, April 19, 2012


First Letter of Peter 1:22-25.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’ That word is the good news that was announced to you.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 28:16-20.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The Easter holidays may be over but there was a palpable atmosphere of celebration in St Peter’s Square this Wednesday as an estimated 25 thousand pilgrims cheered Pope Benedict XVI in diverse languages, wishing him a happy 85th birthday and “many more years” as Pastor of the Universal Church on the eve of the 7th anniversary of his election as Pope.

Touring the square in his open topped Pope mobile, well rested after a period spent in his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict thanked pilgrims who waved enthusiastically, holding up giant banners with birthday greetings. As a special birthday gift he asked them to pray for him so that he may “persevere” in his service to Christ and His Church”.

Then, from the white canopy before the basilica, the Holy Father returned to his series of catechesis on prayer as recounted in the 4th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, inspired by the story of Peter and John who were imprisoned after the healing of a paralytic, because they had announced the resurrection of Jesus.

In comments in Italian, Pope Benedict focused on what he termed the ‘little Pentecost’ that shook the disciples gathered in prayer in the face of persecution, when “all unanimously raised their voice to God." "In the face of danger, difficulties and threats, the first Christian community does not try to carry out an analysis or draw up strategies on how to defend themselves, on measures to be taken, rather they join in prayer. A unanimous and united prayer. This something that should always be fundamental to the Church. The community is not afraid and does not become divided. This is the first miracle that takes place when believers are tested for their faith: unity is strengthened rather than compromised ".

At this time of trial, he said, the Church does not seek "safety in the face of persecution, but that it may be granted to boldly proclaim the word of God, it prays not to lose the courage to proclaim the faith, but first try to read events in the light of faith", until it sees in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus" the key to understanding persecution. "

Here, the Pope continued “we also find the meaning of the persecution that the early Christian community is experiencing; this first community is not a simple association, but a community that lives in Christ, so what happens is part of God's plan . As it happened to Jesus, the disciples also encountered opposition, misunderstanding, persecution. In prayer, meditation on Sacred Scripture in the light of the mystery of Christ helps us to read the present reality within salvation history which God realizes in the world, always in His own way. "

The Holy Father concluded his catechesis: “Like the first Christian community prayer helps us to read personal and collective history in a just perspective that is faithful to God. We too want to renew the request of the gift of the Holy Spirit, that warms the heart and enlightens the mind, to recognize how the Lord realizes our prayers according to His loving will and not according to our ideas. Led by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, we will be able to live with serenity, courage and joy in all of life’s situations and with St. Paul boast in our sufferings, knowing that tribulation brings patience, patience brings tested virtue and tested virtue, hope: the hope that does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Holy that was gifted to us. "

As is tradition the Pope also greeted pilgrims in various languages including English: “I offer a warm welcome to the General Chapter of the Brothers of Saint Gabriel. I also greet the group from the Faculty of Canon Law of Saint Paul’s University in Ottowa, Canada. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, including those from England, Ireland, Finland, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Trinidad, Canada and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord”.

Daily Gospel: Wednesday of the Second Week of the Resurrection, April 18, 2012

First Letter of Peter 1:17-21.
If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 28:11-15.
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, ‘You must say, "His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep." If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

Daily Gospel: Tuesday of the Second Week of the Resurrection, April 17, 2012


First Letter of Peter 1:10-16.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things into which angels long to look! Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 20:11-18.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." ’Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Daily Gospel: Monday of the Second Week of the Resurrection, April 16, 2012

Saint of the day: Saint Bernadette Soubirous, Confessor.

First Letter of Peter 1:1-9.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 20:1-10.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday Angelus Message, April 15, 2012



Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Regina coeli with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square this Sunday – The Sunday of the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday.

In remarks ahead of the prayer, the Holy Father focused on the continuing celebrations of the season, saying, “Each year, celebrating Easter, we relive the experience of the first disciples of Jesus, the experience of meeting him Risen.” The Pope went on to say, “Christian worship is not just a commemoration of past events, or even a particular mystical, interior experience, but essentially an encounter with the Risen Lord,” adding that Christ is at once with God the Father, beyond time and space, and yet, really present to us all. “He speaks to us in Scripture,” he said, “and breaks for us the bread of eternal life.”

Pope Benedict said that through these signs we live what the disciples experienced, that is, seeing Jesus and at the same time not to recognize him – touching his body, a real body, yet free from earthly ties.

Christ’s greeting to the disciples in the upper room, as recorded in the Gospel according to St John: “Peace be with you,” was a special focus of the Holy Father’s remarks. “This traditional greeting,” he said, is in that scene transformed into something new. “It becomes the gift of peace that only Jesus can give,” said Pope Benedict, “because it is the fruit of his radical victory over evil. The “peace” that Jesus offers to his friends is the fruit of the love of God that led him to die on the cross, to pour out all of his blood in payment, as the meek and humble Lamb, “full of grace and truth.”

The Holy Father explained that this is the reason for which Blessed John Paul II desired to call this Sunday after Easter “Divine Mercy Sunday” - with an icon in mind: that of the pierced side of Christ, from which flow blood and water. But now Christ is risen, and the Living Christ spring the Easter Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist: those who approach them with faith receive the gift of eternal life.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” said Pope Benedict, “Let us welcome the gift of peace that the risen Jesus offers us, let us fill our hearts with His mercy!” He concluded saying, “In this way, with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead, we too can bring these Easter gifts to others. May Mary, Mother of Mercy, obtain these things for us.”

After the traditional Eastertide prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father had greetings for pilgims in many languages, including English:

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present today. In today’s Gospel, Jesus appears to his disciples and overcomes the doubts of Thomas. Through his Divine Mercy, may we always believe that Jesus is the Christ and, believing, may we have life in his name. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.

Daily Gospel: First Sunday of the Resurrection: New Sunday, April 15, 2012



"Blessed are those who have not seen
and yet have come to believe"

Second Letter to the Corinthians 5:11-21.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 20:26-31.
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Daily Gospel: Saturday of the Week of Hawarayeen, April 14, 2012


Letter to the Colossians 2:8-15.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 20:19-25.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

Daily Gospel: Friday of the Week of Hawarayeen, April 13, 2012

Letter to the Romans 10:4-12.
For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that ‘the person who does these things will live by them.’ But the righteousness that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" ’ (that is, to bring Christ down)  ‘or "Who will descend into the abyss?" ’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Luke 24:36-45.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

Monthly Communiqué of the Maronite Bishops, April 2012


On April 4, 2012, their Excellencies the Maronite Bishops held their monthly meeting in Bkerkeh , which was presided over by His Beatitude Bechara Peter Rai and with the participation of His Beatitude and Eminence Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir and the presence of General Superiors of the Maronite orders. They studied church and national matters. At the end of the meeting, they issued the following communiqué:

 


 1. The Fathers congratulated His Beatitude Bechara Peter Rai on the occasion of the one year anniversary of his occupation of the Patriarchal See. They wished His Beatitude long years full of giving in the consecration of “communion and love” on all church and national levels.

2. The Fathers expressed their deep sorrow for the death of the Anba Shnouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Missionary Province of Saint Marc in this delicate period of Egypt history. He was a person known for his piety, broad culture, daring stands and wisdom in dealing with events. They ask God to grant the Coptic Orthodox Church comfort of the faith for his loss and a good successor who will continue the march.

3. The Fathers raised the prayer in the meeting for the soul of the late Bishop John Chedid and presented their condolences to his relatives and to the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, of Los Angeles, priests and faithful.

4. The Fathers valued the meeting of deliberation between the Lebanese heads of communities that was held at the patriarchal see in Bkerkeh. It aspired at spreading among the citizens’ ranks, the spirit of unity, understanding and friendship that reigned over it. They approved the proposal of a spiritual summit on the Arab World and Middle East levels to affirm the Islamo-Christian community of life.

5. The Fathers expressed their anxiety about the escalation of the language in the political speech which is derailing, once again, by assailing personal dignities. An agreement had already been reached on an honor pact that contributes in rising up that speech. They call upon all to be committed by objectivity in approaching issues and make the language of dialogue and the public good prevail over all goods and interests.

6. In spite of the pressure caused by atmospheres surrounding Lebanon, the influence of political changes in the region upon Lebanon’s interior and the increasing division in opinions about them, the Fathers expressed their relief for the several and various initiatives which work at averting their negative reflections upon the actual national situations and at affirming the final Lebanese option to hold Lebanon as a land of dialogue among civilizations and religions and an exemplary model of coexistence among its citizens.

7. The Fathers tarried upon the necessity to hurry in passing the law about recovering citizenship by the descendants from Lebanese origin, in order to secure their legitimate right, which international laws and the Lebanese Constitution guarantee, and their participation in making the future of this homeland.

8. The Fathers warn against the explosive economic and living situation and its bad consequences upon the Lebanese and the Lebanese State. They call the authorities to the necessity of making the public good overcome anything else, to follow a clear economic policy and adopt firm treatments inspired by the right of the citizens, the good of the country and its development. This is linked to a chain of irreplaceable steps, as filling in posts in public administration on the base of qualification, protection of the judiciary, inducement of productive sectors, regulation of ports and enforcement of control, non leniency with the violations of economic and nutritional policies and the financial settlement of the State dues to private health, educational and social institutions.

9. In this Holy Week, during which The Church meditates over Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, the Fathers call upon the faithful to realize the value of their redemptive struggle on earth and wish them a glorious Easter that leads them to a new life.

Daily Gospel: Thursday of the Week of Hawarayeen, April 12, 2012


Letter to the Ephesians 2:1-10.
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Mark 16:15-18.
And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’

Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the transformation which Jesus' Resurrection brought about in His disciples, also reflecting on the meaning that Easter has for Christians today. Faith in the Risen One, he said, "transforms our lives; it frees them from fear, gives them firm hope, and infuses them with something that provides existence with full meaning: the love of God".

Benedict XVI explained how on the evening of the day of the Resurrection the disciples were at home behind locked doors, full of fear and doubt at the recollection of the passion of their Lord. "This situation of anguish changed radically when Jesus arrived. He entered through the closed doors, was among them and brought them peace", peace which "for the community became source of joy, certainty of victory, trusting reliance on God".

After His greeting, Jesus showed His wounds to the disciples, "signs of what had befallen and would never be cancelled. His glorious humanity remained 'wounded'. The gesture had the aim of confirming the new reality of the Resurrection. The Christ Who returned among His followers was a real person, the same Jesus Who three days earlier had been nailed to the cross. Thus, in the shining light of Easter, in the meeting with the Risen One, the disciples came to understand the salvific meaning of His passion and death. Then sadness and fear became overwhelming joy".

Jesus greeted them again: "Peace be with you". Yet this, the Pope explained, was not just a greeting, "it was a gift, the gift the Risen One made to His friends. At the same time it was a commission: the peace which Christ had bought with His blood was for them, but it was also for everyone else, and the disciples would have to carry it throughout the world". Jesus "had completed His mission in the world, now it was up to them to to sow faith in people's hearts".

However, the Lord knew that His followers were still afraid. "For this reason He breathed upon them and regenerated them in His Spirit. This gesture was the sign of the new creation. With the gift of the Holy Spirit which came from the Risen Christ, a new world began".

"Today too the Risen One enters our homes and hearts, although sometimes the doors are closed", the Pope said, "He enters bringing joy and peace, life and hope, gifts we need for our human and spiritual rebirth". Only He can put an end to division, enmity, rancour, envy, mistrust and indifference. Only He can give meaning to the lives of those who are weary, sad and without hope.

This was the experience of the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus, full of foreboding at the recent death of their Master. Jesus came up to them and accompanied them without being recognised, explaining the meaning of Sacred Scripture to help them understand His salvific mission. Later they asked Jesus to stay with them and recognised him as He blessed and broke the bread. "This episode", said the Holy Father, "shows us two privileged 'places' in which we can meet the Risen One Who transforms our lives: ... the Word and the Eucharist".

The disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem to join the others. "Their enthusiasm for the faith was reborn, their love for the community and their need to communicate the good news. The Master rose and with Him all life resurges. Bearing witness to this event became an irrepressible need for them".

For Christians, Easter must be a time for the joyful and enthusiastic rediscovery of the sources of the faith. "This means following the same path as that along which Jesus directed the two disciples of Emmaus, through the rediscovery of the Word of God and the Eucharist. The culmination of this journey, then as now, is Eucharistic communion. In communion Jesus nourishes us with His Body and His Blood, becoming present in our lives, making us new and animating us with the power of the Holy Spirit".

In conclusion the Holy Father invited Christians to remain faithful to the Risen One Who "living and true, is always present among us, Who walks with us to guide our lives", and Who "has the power to give life, to make us reborn as children of God, capable of believing and loving".

Before the audience, Pope Benedict blessed a mosaic representing the Holy Family. It will be brought to Milan for the World Meeting of Families which begins on May 30th.

Daily Gospel: Wednesday of the Week of Hawarayeen, April 11, 2012


Letter to the Colossians 3:1-11.
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 21:15-25.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’ This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Daily Gospel: Tuesday of the Week of Hawarayeen, April 10, 2012


Letter to the Romans 6:3-11.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint John 21:1-14.
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you? ’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.