May 1st 2022

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Contents:

  1. Parish Bulletin for Holy Family
  2. Newsletter for St Benedict's
  3. This Sunday's Readings
  4. Sunday Reflection
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May 1st Newsletter.jpg


This Sunday's Readings

First reading            Acts 5:27-32,40-41 

We are witnesses to all this: we and the Holy Spirit

The high priest demanded an explanation of the Apostles. 'We gave you a formal warning' he said 'not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man's death on us.' In reply Peter and the apostles said, 'Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.' They warned the apostles not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.



Second reading           Apocalypse 5:11-14 

The Lamb that was sacrificed is worthy to be given riches and power

In my vision, I, John, heard the sound of an immense number of angels gathered round the throne and the animals and the elders; there were ten thousand times ten thousand of them and thousands upon thousands, shouting, 'The Lamb that was sacrificed is worthy to be given power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing.' Then I heard all the living things in creation - everything that lives in the air, and on the ground, and under the ground, and in the sea, crying, 'To the One who is sitting on the throne and to the Lamb, be all praise, honour, glory and power, for ever and ever.' And the four animals said, 'Amen'; and the elders prostrated themselves to worship.



Gospel Reading            John 21:1-19 

Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee

and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.' They replied, 'We'll come with you.' They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, 'Have you caught anything, friends?' And when they answered, 'No', he said, 'Throw the net out to starboard and you'll find something.' So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord.' At these words 'It is the Lord', Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.' Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, 'Who are you?'; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes Lord, you know 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 replied, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.' Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.

'I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.'

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, 'Follow me.'


Sunday Reflection Third Sunday of Easter

In our journey through life, we are confronted with several problems and difficulties which can make us lose our perspective. We can lose all direction to life and remain helpless. Then left to ourselves we become nothing and tend to remain with uncertainty. There are moments when we feel that all is lost and the Lord has forgotten us. In such situations, we need positive support, a sincere understanding which can place us on the right path. In the Easter context, we see Jesus as a consoler and help to the disciples filled with fear. He comes constantly to the disciples to be with them, guide them and encourage them. Today we have another account of Jesus appearing to his disciples on Easter Sunday wherein he prepares a meal for them and gives them support. All the three readings of today tell us of our vocation and our mission to be at the service of the word and not to hesitate to proclaim our nearness to Jesus. We admire the courage of the Disciples of Jesus who preach in the temple with boldness and are ready to face sufferings happily for his sake. In the book of Revelation John is telling us of the loyalty of many to the Lamb, symbolised in Jesus. In the Gospel, we have the miracle of the great catch at Lake Tiberius. The disciples once discouraged totally because of the absence of Jesus and discovering that their hard labour provided no returns to find everything in Jesus, which transforms them into his loyal disciples.

Today's First Reading narrates the fact of preaching by the disciples of Jesus in the Temple. Indeed the Temple became an attractive place for them to preach the good news. While they were teaching the captain and the Temple police move to the place to arrest the disciples. They were taken before the Council and were accused of continuing to preach in the Name of Jesus even after the warnings they received. As the leader of the group, Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples before the council. He courageously tells them that they must obey God rather than any human authority. They show the authorities that the reason for their courage is the Resurrection of Jesus and the presence of the Spirit. Peter tells them that they were witnesses to the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, His glorious Resurrection and His ascension into Heaven. Secondly, they had the commission from Jesus to "Go into the entire world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation." It was indeed an open challenge and at the same time a direct insult to the authorities. They were certainly furious at the reply of the apostles. The disciples were flogged the normal forty strokes and then released. They had to bear the pain and yet Peter and the Apostles rejoice because they were considered worthy to have suffered for the sake of Jesus.

The Second Reading from the Book of Revelation calls us to be a witness to our faith with consistency and courage. In this reading, we are told that John in his vision heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In this vision John sees Christ under the image of a lamb that is slain but now is the centre of worship and adoration of angels and men. John sees a huge multitude of creatures thousands and thousands of them, surrounding Christ and singing his praises. His divinity which he emptied from himself in order to save mankind is now restored to him. He is considered worthy of all homage that all creatures can give him, the human beings of the past, present and future, and all the heavenly beings. The one who sits on the throne of God is the lamb, Christ, the God-man the object of our worship. The four living creatures and the Elders worship him and give him honour and glory for all eternity. These creatures in servitude were professing that all power, wealth, wisdom, might, honour, glory and blessing belongs to Jesus. John in this passage reminds us that every creature shall bow before the Lamb of God and give praise to him.

In celebrating the Easter season, the Church provides us with an opportunity - one of several - to relive the period of forty days which separated the Resurrection of Christ from his Ascension into Heaven. For the Apostles, this was a privileged period during which the risen Jesus remained with them, not in a manner that was always visible, as was the case in the Lord's apparitions, but rather in a mysterious manner, a spiritual one, sometimes visible, sometimes invisible. But the Church wants us to relive liturgically at this particular moment something we can live and experience throughout our life on earth, day after day, year after year. In the Gospel, we have the apparition at the Lake Tiberius and its primary purpose was to stress the actual conferring the Primacy on Peter. From his very first meeting with Jesus at the Jordan, the saviour had told him that his name Simon-Bar-Jonah would be changed to Cephas which means Rock. Some year or so later at Caesarea Philippi Jesus said to Simon that he is Peter, Rock and on this rock, he will build his church. He promised him that he will give him the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. This promise of Jesus that Simon would be the foundation, the source and strength of unity in the new Christian Community was made factual at the Lake Tiberius.

As we reflect on the Gospel of today we see the revelation of the Resurrected Jesus to the disciples. The disciples had seen the person of Jesus after the resurrection had eaten with him and had listened to his teaching. However, there seems to be some uncertainty among them and their absence of a clear understanding of the resurrected Jesus was still haunting them. As far as they were concerned it was all over and it seemed to be the end of everything. They had the constant threat and danger to face from the Jews. Today's Gospel implies that they had left Jerusalem and went back all the way to their native Galilee to resume their former way of life as fishermen. The previous three years had been an interesting and even exciting interlude in their lives but now they were back to what they had always been doing. There they spend a whole night's fishing, they catch absolutely nothing. Suddenly they encounter a stranger on the shore; a shadowy outline in the morning's dew begins a dialogue with them. He asked them whether they had caught some fish in the lake. Reluctantly the fishermen did admit they had caught nothing. He gave them advice from the shore to drop their nets on the right side of the boat and they would find something. They simply obeyed the stranger and the result of this action made them realise it is no other than their master who is guiding them from the shore.

Christ's passage through death and resurrection manifests itself in that, despite the great quantity of fish taken, the net did not break after the resurrection, whereas it did before the resurrection as their nets were breaking says Luke in chapter 5. At the time of the first miraculous catch of fish, Jesus had said to Simon Peter: "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." The Lord thus compared men and women, of all races and nations, to the fish that Peter had just caught. This comparison was such that, from the earliest years of Christianity, the symbol of the fish was the secret means of signifying one's membership in Christ. From age to age, this comparison would endure, even in the name of the ring used by the Pope to seal his decrees and ordinances: the Ring of the Fisherman. Absolutely unequivocally, the fish that Simon caught, both before and after the resurrection of the Lord, are indeed men, at least in a symbolic, mystical way!

Here we see the concern of Jesus. He welcomed them to the shore. He knew of their struggle through the night and their exhaustion through hard work. When they came ashore they found the stranger-Lord had prepared a meal for them of bread and roasted fish. He told them to bring some of the fish they had just caught and make their breakfast. They were aware that he was no other than the Lord and they had a meal together. This meal symbolised the Eucharist into which all of us participate. The disciples were now in the presence of Jesus, the Word of God, and listened to him. He called them together to come and eat and share the togetherness. He broke the bread and shared the fish as if to say: "Take, all of you, and eat together." They and he shared what they had and ate in unity and community. Such a simple scene provides us a beautiful picture of the Church. The disciples had the lesson to have the meal together to share in the breaking of the bread.

Again, there is a great similarity between this miracle and the calming storm as recorded by the Synoptic writers. The disciples were struggling in the storm. Lord was not there in their struggle or they thought he was far away and sleeping in the boat. He came to them walking on water and calmed the storm. Once Jesus was with them all was quiet. In this miracle, we see the feeling of the disciples that the Lord was not there with them when they went fishing. They struggled without the Lord's presence and caught nothing. The Lord came to them and there was a large catch of fish. This symbolises the early church during the days of the persecutions and was considered to have been struggling in the middle of a storm. There was the absence of the Lord. They thought the Lord was far away.

In the second part of the Gospel we have the scene where Jesus was asking Peter three times the question, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" And three times, Peter affirmed his loyalty to Jesus, promising to serve Him, even to death. Each time Jesus gave him the mission to care for his sheep. He was given the call to leadership and to continue his mission. Jesus demanded a threefold profession of love from Peter was in response to Peter's threefold denial prior to the passion. Undoubtedly, Peter knew that he was being reminded that on three past occasions, he had denied his knowing the Lord Jesus. When Peter is asked the third time, he was pained and finally, he said: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Knowing the transformation and conversion that had taken place in the heart of Peter, Jesus accepted his word and placed His authority and leadership on him. He was commissioning Peter to be the shepherd of his newly founded church.

Today when we receive the Holy Eucharist, let us publicly show our loyalty to Jesus. Through the reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we are professing our faith in the Divine Presence of Jesus manifested in the Living Bread. By our presence here today, we are saying to Jesus, "My Lord, all authority is yours! You are our Lord and our God. Guide us and we humbly obey your commission." In our moments of emptiness and when we see the Lord is not close to us but has left us alone we seek his presence. Let us realise that he close to us and supports us. If there is a grace of the Resurrection, it is that of the unity of all Christians! And if there is indeed an unequivocal sign that will announce to us the Return of the risen Jesus, it is the perfect realization of the unity of all those who belong to Christ and who remain in Him, and He in them: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt. 28:20) We can conclude our reflection with a short prayer: "Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may be only a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every person I come in contact with will feel your presence in me. Let them look up and see, not only me but also Jesus."

The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me?" he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied. "GOD works mysteriously." He knows exactly what we need. And because God loves us so much, He said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Trust in God.

A little girl was ill in hospital with a rare blood disorder and was badly in need of a blood donor but a match could not be found. As a last resort, her six-year-old brother was checked as a match and much to everyone's relief, he was. Both his mother and Doctor sat the little boy down and explained how they would like his blood to help his sister so she would not die. The little boy waited a few moments then asked if he could think about it. It wasn't the reaction the mother or Doctor expected but they agreed. The following day the little boy sat in front of the Doctor with his mother and said he agreed to give his sister what she needed. The hospital staff moved quickly for his sister was fading quite fast. So the little boy could understand what was happening, he was placed in a bed next to his sister and so the transfusion began. Quickly, the colour and life began flooding back into the little girl and everyone was overjoyed. The little boy turned to the Doctor and quietly asked, "How long will it be before I die?" You see, the little boy thought that by giving his blood, he was giving his own life, which is why he took a little time to think about it.

Fr. Eugene Lobo S.J. Bangalore, India