People can be so blind. They can’t see what’s right in front of them. In the first reading Stephen chastises the people because they had the right information, they were told by prophets and angels but they wouldn’t believe it. They denied the prophecies, they put the prophets to death, and when Stephen reminds them that those prophecies came true – they were told the truth but wouldn’t accept and acknowledge it – they get so angry at him that they stone him to death. I suppose he should have seen it coming, given their past history with prophecy. Plus, people don’t like to be told they’re wrong or have their mistakes shown to them. But then that just perpetuates the blindness. It turns out that Stephen had it right too, and the people he was trying to help kept getting it wrong.
Acts 6:8-15; John 6:22-29
Today’s readings are both preparatory for tomorrow’s: the martyrdom of Stephen and the discourse of Jesus on Himself as the Bread of Life. Yet they both have a common message of their own. I would put it this way: how we LOOK and how we LISTEN determine what we see and what we hear. Looking and listening objectively are very hard for us humans who tend to see and hear things only through the lenses and hearing aids of our own self-interests, self-pre-occupations, personal concerns, narrow biases, etc. And so, in our first reading, the religious leaders who oppose Stephen cannot even hear the grace and power of his words or see his face “like the face of an angel.” And this will lead to them becoming murderers, as well as missing out on the saving mystery of Easter.
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
1 John 2:1-5A
Jesus, to the roomful of his amazed, fearful friends, said: “it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day …You are witnesses to these things.”
And Peter, standing with John and the healed man, surrounded by his fellow Jews, said: “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.”
Acts 6:1-7; John 6:16-21
We belong to various communities and groups. Some of them are ‘blood’-based communities – our families. Some are networks based on choice – our friends, people who have the same interests as we have, and so on. Some are work and career oriented – class mates and work mates. Some are grounded in shared beliefs and understandings about life and the world – religious groups, churches, and ideological movements to whom we belong. All these communities face threats: threats from the outside and threats from the inside. This came to my mind when I read the two readings of today. They remind us that challenges endanger our communities.
Acts 5:34-42; John 6:1-15
Today’s gospel is one of the several “multiplication” stories found in the four accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Each one of them reminds us of the abundance of God’s love for us in the person of Jesus Christ. A pattern emerges in each of the “multiplication” stories: a huge crowd of people are gathered around Jesus looking to him for healing (“about five thousand”); they gather in an open place (“on a mountain”); there is a need to feed the crowd; but without proper resources (“five barley loaves and two fish belonging to a boy in the crowd”); Jesus tells the disciples to distribute the food after he blesses the extremely small amount; the throng is not only satisfied, but there are leftovers (“twelve wicker baskets” full).
Only the children who are preparing for their first confession and Holy Communion joined the catechetical classes in this school year. This is a large group, about 15 people, because last year, due to the pandemic, First Communion was postponed. After the start of classes in September last year, the children eagerly began to attend meetings and actively participate in their preparation. But it didn't last long, because the classes had to be canceled beginning in November.
With much joy, the long awaited moment has arrived, as we welcomed our two young Missionary Sisters from the Queen of Peace Province, Tanzania. It was indeed a blissful and exciting day for our Province in South Africa as well as for these two young Sisters. Amidst the Corona pandemic, on 21st March, Sr. Dorothea Laurent Lyimu a qualified counselor and Sr. Suzana Amon Kimario a junior sister arrived in Cape Town.
Acts 5:27-33; John 3:31-36
“We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts of the Apostles
In Luke’s version of the Passion the disciples demonstrate what ordinary people they were. During the Last Supper, they argued about who is the greatest. Then when Jesus told Peter that he would deny him, Peter says no way. He’d risk prison and even death before that – and we all know how that one comes out.
Then during the agony in the garden, the disciples keep falling asleep and Jesus has to wake them up to try to get them to pray. The apostles aren’t highly visible during the crucifixion either, unlike the women whom Luke mentions several times.Fast forward to today’s reading from Acts and juxtapose it against Luke’s account of the Passion and you get a sense of the amazing impact of the Resurrection in the lives of these men – and by extension the potential for transformation of our lives.
"Vita Consecrata" 25 Years Later
The Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA), Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, sent a message to all consecrated men and women on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata of St. John Paul II.
Acts 5:17-26; John 3:16-21
Today’s readings present a challenge for us: what will we do with the light we have?
In the first reading, the Apostles had an encounter with an angel of the Lord, who opened the doors of the prison, led them outside, and then said, “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.” They did this, teaching and sharing with the people in fulfillment of this broad mandate, even after being jailed.
Acts 4:32-37; John 3:7-15
…see the kingdom
The gospel of John was written about 60 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Unlike the other three gospels, it was written as a testimony to Jesus’s divinity. Chapter 1: “He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God”. “with God” speaks to the preexisting relationship between God and Jesus. Jesus’ divinity. Signs, symbols of light and darkness, life and death, spirit and wind, seeing and rebirth are testimonial themes to Jesus’ divinity and relationship with God. The gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke speak of Jesus’s journeys, parables, and healings. They testify to Jesus’s humanity. These gospels are a call to discipleship. John’s gospel is an invitation to be in relationship, in communion with Jesus’s Father, with God, just as Jesus is in relationship with his Father.
Acts 4:23-31; John 3:1-8
In the gospel story there are some people who are mentioned very briefly and about whom we would like to know much more than what the gospel tells us. For me, one such person is Nicodemus, a central figure in today's gospel reading. Nicodemus is mentioned only in the gospel of St. John. He refers to Nicodemus on three occasions, and all three are very brief. We don't know much about Nicodemus, but we do know a few things. We know that he had a Greek name, Nicodemus, but we don't know what his Hebrew name was. St. John tells us that Nicodemus was a pharisee. He was also probably a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel. So Nicodemus was a man of power and influence in Jerusalem.