Posts Tagged ‘Mk 16:9-15’

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, April 22, 2017 — “He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart.” — It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.

April 21, 2017

Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 266

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

He appeared to them walking along the road. Art by Greg Olsen

Reading 1 ACTS 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm PS 118:1 AND 14-15AB, 16-18, 19-21

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Image result for Jesus appeared to those walking along the road, art, photos

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Reflection From Christian Women’s Corner

Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  Who he had cast out seven demons from!

What does it mean to have demons?  In the New Testament demons often appeared in the form of mental illness.  Mary had seven; seven different demons each most likely of a different type.

Why in the world would Jesus appear first to a woman and one who happened to have had seven demons?

Throughout the New Testament Jesus had many interactions with women, he spoke to them freely, ignoring the social restrictions of the time.  They also served multiple important roles, such as preparing his body for burial using costly perfumed oils, they were the ones who were there as he made his way to his crucifixion; no woman denied Jesus.

Women had the role of being in tune intuitionally with Jesus.  They are receptive, where as the men disciples are doers.  Jesus counted on them for action, and on women for understanding.

Is it really so surprising then than Jesus appeared first to a woman; a woman who had been purified from the demons that possessed her.  She was the perfect person to be receptive to his rising from the dead, the perfect person to see, because he had opened her eyes.

https://christianwomenscorner.wordpress.com/tag/reading-and-reflection-from-the-gospel-of-mark-169-15/

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Gospel Reflection From Father Afonse

Doubts, disbelief, fears and terror. These are the sights and sounds of the early Church as they waited for their eyes to see the Risen Lord.
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Surprise, joy, boldness and outreach. These are the sights and sounds of those whom the Lord revealed himself to.
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In the Acts of the Apostles we witness an on-going transformation that continues to rock our world today. The Eleven, who were once locked in fear, can no longer contain themselves. They must proclaim the Good News, not because they received a death threat from the Lord but because they received his life. What was once considered impossible or dangerous (like being recognized, going out into the streets and preaching the Truth; preaching Jesus as Lord and God; preaching to the Jews and standing before the leaders, the elders and the chief priests, etc.) they now do without hesitation. They believe in themselves because the Lord believes in them.
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When we believe in God, we begin to believe in ourselves. Nothing is impossible! Nothing, for nothing matters more than the Lord. What will separate me from the love of God: tribulations, betrayals, fear, suffering and pain, anxieties, bitterness, ridicule, loss of life, death, even death on a cross? Nothing. Nothing will separate me from the love of God. The old man is dead, buried and gone away. The new man has risen from the dead, and has been sent by the Lord.
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Here I am Lord, send me! And he does, like he always has, and he will continue to bear fruit through me and after me.
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How many times have I said, Enough!? Too many. How many times have I said, I can’t do this anymore!? Too many. How many times have I said, I will never make a difference”? Too many. I could go on and on, so many more doubts come to my mind as I write this list. But the Lord loves me and loves sharing everything with me, even my dirty laundry list! The doubts we have the Apostles shared too. We, the modern-intelligent creatures, have the same doubts as the Apostles, those uncivilized-uneducated men. Yes, they may have said the exact same thing, but look and see for yourself what they did. They lived for the Lord and not for themselves. They believed in God because God shared his belief in them. He lifted them up! He told them as he told me, “Go and sin no more.” God has more faith in us than we have in Him!
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The Apostles woke up one morning and rocked the world. They had finally learned all things from the Master, and they began to imitate Him in everything – even his resurrection; for the Lord was the first to wake up one Sunday morning and change the world forever! We must do the same thing. Awake, O sleeper, arise from thy slumber. Christ is calling you by name!
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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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22 APRIL, 2017, Saturday within Easter Octave
IRRESISTIBLE POWER OF GRACE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ ACTS 4:13-21; PS 117:1,14-21; MARK 16:9-15 ]

It is man’s nature to want to be in control of their lives.  This was the sin of Adam and Eve.  The devil promised them that if they ate the forbidden fruit, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  (Gn 3:5) That is why we do not like situations that are unpredictable.  We want our lives to run like clockwork, precise and in a mechanical manner.  We hate surprises because it means upsetting our program and our schedule.  Things must go according to our way and according to our plan.  This, too, was the attitude of the Jewish leaders.  They sought to be in control of the situation and to ensure that everyone toed the line.  The scriptures clearly spelt out the laws, and the traditions had kept the Jews together for centuries.  So, too, the Romans were always fearful of rebellion, social and political upheavals.

But this God is a God of surprises.  He does not follow the laws all the time!  Not even the laws of nature!  Indeed, we are always being challenged to think out of the box.  This God works out of the box and brings us new situations that we have no control over.  When the Jewish leaders saw “the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer.”  Indeed, no human, scientific or natural explanation could be found.  They themselves admitted this fact.  “It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it.”

This was also the experience of the apostles in encountering the power of grace.  They initially could not believe in the resurrection of Jesus.  They were “in mourning and in tears!”  When Mary Magdalene and the two disciples from Emmaus recounted their encounter with the Risen Lord, they did not believe them.  Only when the Lord appeared to them, did they come to believe.  “He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”  We can appreciate their reluctance because it was too good to be true, and it was a trans-historical event.  Their fears, sadness and despair prevented them from looking beyond the fact of the crucifixion.  Once again, one has to drop all logic and human reasoning to accept this event of encountering the Risen Lord.  Furthermore, this encounter was beyond description as they were encountering someone that came from the future to the present.

In the face of the power of grace, we can take two approaches.  One is to reject and the other is to accept.  The Jewish leaders took the path of denial and rejection.  “So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked.”  And the decision reached was “to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.”  Instead of dealing and reflecting on the marvelous event, they sought to quash it for fear of losing their status quo, their position in society and their institutions.  And they knew that they were wrong.  Instead, “the court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.”   They refused to recognize the facts that were so obvious before their eyes.

How true for many of us as well.  When we see miracles happening, we still do not want to admit that it is the power of grace and the power of God.  There are many agnostics who would not surrender themselves to the power of grace.  They see the facts and conclude that science cannot explain, but they would not ascribe the event to the power of God’s grace at work in their lives.  We are simply too proud to submit to a higher authority because we think we are in control and we have the answers to everything.  Human pride and fear are the causes of unbelief.

The other response is to bow down before the power of God, as St Peter asks of us.  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.”  (1 Pt 5:6)  That was what the apostles did even when they were under threat not to repeat what they said and especially  “on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’”  For the apostles, it was clear that the healing of the crippled man was the power of God, regardless whether they believed it or not.  It was in the name of the Lord Jesus that the man was healed.  Indeed, if we have seen and heard the power of God at work in our lives, there is no way for us to remain quiet.  This in itself is the proof of the work of God!  The grace of God is irresistible and overwhelming for anyone who encounters Him.  

So, what brought about the powerful grace of God? What gave the apostles who were uneducated, ordinary men such boldness, courage and confidence to preach the Good News about Jesus?  The cause of their radical change, they came to realize, was that they were simply “associates of Jesus.”  Indeed, those who associated with Jesus were radically transformed after the resurrection and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit.  Their fears were removed completely and they could stand tall before the Jewish leaders testifying to the power of the Risen Lord.  Once, they were fearful of the authorities and afraid of suffering and prosecution.  But now they were ready to suffer anything for the Lord Jesus.  We can explain such radical change only because they walked with Jesus, they saw Him, they loved Him and they were inspired by Him and, last but not least, they encountered Him alive after being put to death.  The resurrection as the radical expression of grace was enough to transform their lives radically.

This means that if we are to see the Risen Lord in our lives, the first thing we need to do is to associate with Jesus!  Unless we are in contact with Jesus, reading the scriptures, studying about the faith, reading spiritual books and making contact with the disciples of Christ, we cannot know Jesus sufficiently to have faith in Him. Hearing and seeing open our hearts and minds to the grace of God.  This is the purpose of preaching;to help potential believers to respond to the grace of God.  That is why sharing of faith among Catholics, finding a faith community for spiritual and moral support is so critical for anyone who wants to be an associate of Christ.  Where is Christ today if not in His Church, in the liturgy, in the priests and in their fellow Catholics?

This, however, is just the first stage.  The second stage to respond to grace is through intimacy and love.  It is significant to take note that it was not to Peter that the Risen Lord first appeared but to “Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils.”  St Peter was using too much of his head, logic and reasoning.  But the Lord appeared to those who loved Him.  Mary Magdalene had been forgiven much and liberated from her severe bondages to her sins and her past.  For that, she loved Jesus deeply and passionately.  She was the first to arrive at the Tomb on Sunday.  She could not wait to see Jesus, even if He were just a corpse.   Love enables us to see the Lord that reason cannot.  Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  (Jn 14:21)

So today, we are invited to come to God not through reason but in faith and in love.  Only faith and love can allow the grace of God to open our hearts and our minds.  It is not wrong to have a rationalizing and empirical spirit, but it should come only after the experience of the power of grace.  We are called to take the leap of faith, relying not on our own strength but the power of God.  If we behave like the Sanhedrin, we will end up fighting against God. The question of Peter is also ours when he retorted, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”  We ignore the power of grace to our disadvantage.  Those who seek to smother grace will be the ones who will lose out to the greater things of life that the Lord wants to offer them.

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
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http://www.catholic.org.sg/archbishop/scripture-reflection/
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Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, April 2, 2016 — “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

April 1, 2016

Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 266

Art: Paul before the Sanhedrin (1768) is a fresco by Christoph Anton Mayr, at St.Peter and Paul Parish Church, Söll (Tyrol), Austria.

Reading 1 ACTS 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm PS 118:1 AND 14-15AB, 16-18, 19-21

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaPS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
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Commentary on Mark 16:9-15 from Living Space

This passage, known as the ‘Longer Ending’, is a kind of summary of all that we have been reading during the past week. It comes from the very end of Mark’s gospel, verses many commentators believe are not part of the original text. Most commentators believe the original text ends with 16:8. However, this ending is so abrupt that many feel the original ending was somehow lost and this ending was put in its place.

Although the style shows it was not written by Mark, it has long been accepted as a canonical part of the gospel and was defined as such by the Council of Trent. It was known to Tatian and to Irenaeus in the 2nd century, and is found in the vast majority of Greek MSS.

The text consists of brief summaries of longer stories which appear in the other gospels [Luke 24 and John 20] e.g. the appearance to Mary Magdalene, the disciples going to Emmaus, and the appearance in the upper room.

The common theme is the incredulity of the disciples who could not accept that Jesus was truly risen. Right to the very end of his gospel, Mark continues to be harsh on the disciples’ lack of understanding. It is, of course, not about them he is writing but us.

The passage seems directed at many of the early Christians’ contemporaries who would not accept the message of Christ risen. But, as we can see from the First Reading today, the disciples very soon not only found faith but were more than ready to suffer and die for it.

In our times of doubt, let us remember their experience and their example and the fruits of their work. It is a work that still urgently needs to be done.

Source http://livingspace.sacredspace.ie/e1017g/

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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02 APRIL 2016, Saturday Within Easter Octave
BRINGING THE INCREDULOUS TO FAITH

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ ACTS 4:13-21; MK 16:9-15  ]

In both scripture readings today, we have a common reaction to the resurrection of our Lord.  The immediate reaction was one of disbelief.  When Mary of Magdala shared the good news with the disciples “that he was alive and that she had seen him”, they did not believe.  If they were skeptical of the testimony of Mary of Magdala, it is understandable.  But even the two men whom the Lord appeared to on their way to Emmaus were not believed by the other disciples either.  And among the Eleven, St Thomas was slow to believe in the resurrection.  Today, after 2000 years, this same doubt and skepticism of Jesus’ resurrection persists. Many non-believers listen to our claims of Jesus’ resurrection with disbelief.  They remain suspicious and unconvinced of the claims of Christianity that Jesus has risen.

What is the crux of the difficulty in convincing the doubters and unbelievers?  It has to do with the resurrection appearances.  The truth is that the Risen Lord does not appear in the same way as a ghost, an apparition or an earthly human being.  The Risen Lord comes in His transfigured body, the body which we will have at the resurrection.   This resurrected body is described in different terms but it is surely not an ordinary body.  The resurrected Lord could walk through doors and walls.  He could appear and disappear in a moment.  He came in different forms and hence unrecognizable initially.  Mary of Magdala took a while to recognize the Risen Lord when He appeared to her.  So too, the disciples at Emmaus, because the Lord “showed himself under another form.”  Then we read, “he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table.”  It is important to take note the words used, “appeared and showed.”  These are different terms to describe an out-of-this-world experienced.

So what have we got to convince someone who does not subscribe to the resurrection of our Lord?  The way to the Easter faith unfortunately is through the faith testimony of those who have seen Him.  To find the Easter Faith, we need to depend on the witnessing of the disciples of our Lord who had seen Him.  Only those who had encountered the Risen Lord could pass on their testimony to us.

But how can we be sure that their testimony was not concocted or staged?  We therefore need to rely on external evidence.  

Firstly, we consider whether they are credible witnesses.  The fact that they were not expecting Jesus to be alive and were reluctant to accept the testimony of those who saw Him demonstrates that they were not prone to having visions.  They too had no intention to lie because it was against their interest.  If their master, a miracle worker, could not accomplish His mission to restore the Kingdom of Israel, how could they, uneducated and ordinary people?  Indeed, they were not credulous and naïve.

Secondly, we see the transformation of their lives, from being cowards to courageous witnesses.  Before then, they were fearful of the soldiers and fled when their master was arrested.  They had seen how Jesus was flogged, scourged and crucified.   Would they want to follow the same path that Jesus took?  Could they take the pain and shame for nothing?  That after encountering the Risen Lord they lost all their fears and overcame especially the fear of death and suffering could only mean that they had seen the Lord and therefore were clear of their destiny.   Hence, they were not even afraid of death.

Thirdly, we see the indisputable fact of the healing of the crippled man.  “The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer.”  Something wonderful and miraculous had happened.  Instead of admitting the fact and finding an answer to the mystery, they denied the truth and sought to extinguish the fact.  They said, “It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.”

Fourthly, we see the apostles’ total obedience to God without fear of men. “Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’” Only if we have truly encountered the Risen Lord would we be ready to stand up for Jesus and even die for Him.  That the apostles remained undaunted by the threats implied that they knew that the Lord who was now alive could do even more in and through them than He did before His death and resurrection. Indeed, it must be because they have taken the command of the Risen Lord seriously when He said, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.

But does it mean that we cannot see the Lord for ourselves but simply depend on their testimony alone?  Whilst we might not be able to see the Risen Lord in the way He appeared to them, we still can see Him, just like them, with the eyes of faith.   Mary of Magdala could see Jesus because of her intense love and devotion for Him.  Contemplation and fervent prayers enable us to connect with the Lord once again.  When we are in love, we see and feel the presence of the person in a special way.  This too was the case for St John, the beloved disciple of the Lord, who immediately intuited that it was the Lord when they were out fishing in the sea.

The disciples at Emmaus had their eyes open only after hearing the scriptures and at the breaking of bread.   For some, seeing the Risen Lord becomes a reality when they read the Word of God because their eyes are opened.   And more so when the Word is read, heard and contemplated during the Eucharistic celebration.  Indeed, there is no better place to encounter the Risen Lord than during the Eucharistic celebration.  For in a par excellence manner, the Lord is present in the bread and wine personally, body, soul and spirit.

Finally, we meet the Lord especially when we are in the fellowship of the Christian community. When Jesus reproached the apostles “for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen”, we think of St Thomas who could not see the Risen Lord because he was not with the rest.  If we were to see the Risen Lord, it would often be in the context of a believing community.  In our fellowship with the rest of our fellow brothers and sisters, we will encounter the Lord in a special way.  In truth, our faith is also a given and a shared faith.  Faith is caught and passed on rather than taught.  So if we want to see the Risen Lord, we must see with the eyes of faith.  And often, we need the faith of others, as in the case of the paralyzed man who was healed by the faith of his friends.

So let us not make the same mistake of the incredulous disciples of the Lord or, worse still, the members of the Sanhedrin whose mind were already made up in spite of the evidence before them.  Let us remember the words of St Thomas who said, “We never know everything all at once but we must believe first in faith; and then having mastered the evidences we can then show that it is true.”  Believe and you will see and understand!

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
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Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, April 11, 2015 — “Do not be afraid: He will look after us so long as we are faithful to Him”

April 10, 2015

 

Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 266

Jesus appears to the disciples by William Hole

Reading 1 Acts 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Ps 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus revealing himself to Mary Magdalene by William Brassey Hole

Gospel Mk 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
.
************************************
.
From Peace and Freedom
.
Father Robert Barron says, “Jesus Christ was either the most important person ever to walk on the face of the earth or he was a liar and a fraud.”
.
.
Fr. Robert Barron
.
So there’s our choice.
.
And for me I would have to deny all the apostles and all the followers of Jesus throughout the history of man to not believe in Jesus.
.
I would have to say that Michelangelo was insane, Thomas Aquinas was a fool, and all the saints, and popes, and all the followers ever were just flat wrong.
.
I would have to declare, if I choose not to follow Christ, that I am smarter and better informed that John the Baptist, John the Apostle, and the Apostle Thomas who traveled all the way to what is now India to spread the Word of God after Jesus Rose From The Dead.
.
I can’t do that.
.
Jesus’ impact on man, on mankind, is so profound that he cannot be denied — even in this “all knowing” Internet and technology Age.
.
Jesus is not just the main thing. He is the only things.
.
Jesus is our  Raison d’être.
.
I can either be a follower with conviction or face conviction and hell after the Court of Real Justice in Heaven!
.
No. I have faced conviction and hell already.
.
I choose life and conviction to Jesus and His Father — with the help and intercession of the Holy Spirit.
.
John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom
.
***********************************************
.

Commentary on Mark 16:9-15 from Living Space

This passage, known as the ‘Longer Ending’, is a kind of summary of all that we have been reading during the past week. It comes from the very end of Mark’s gospel, verses many commentators believe are not part of the original text. Most commentators believe the original text ends with 16:8. However, this ending is so abrupt that many feel the original ending was somehow lost and this ending was put in its place.

Although the style shows it was not written by Mark, it has long been accepted as a canonical part of the gospel and was defined as such by the Council of Trent. It was known to Tatian and to Irenaeus in the 2nd century, and is found in the vast majority of Greek MSS.

The text consists of brief summaries of longer stories which appear in the other gospels [Luke 24 and John 20] e.g. the appearance to Mary Magdalene, the disciples going to Emmaus, and the appearance in the upper room.

The common theme is the incredulity of the disciples who could not accept that Jesus was truly risen. Right to the very end of his gospel, Mark continues to be harsh on the disciples’ lack of understanding. It is, of course, not about them he is writing but us.

The passage seems directed at many of the early Christians’ contemporaries who would not accept the message of Christ risen. But, as we can see from the First Reading today, the disciples very soon not only found faith but were more than ready to suffer and die for it.

In our times of doubt, let us remember their experience and their example and the fruits of their work. It is a work that still urgently needs to be done.

http://livingspace.sacredspace.ie/e1017g/

***********************************

Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
On Gospel of Mark 16:9-15, April 26, 2014
.
COURAGEOUS WITNESSING TO THE RISEN LORD PRESUPPOSES WE HAVE HEARD AND SEEN HIM 
.

Why is it that our witness to the Risen Lord is often timid and unconvincing?  Indeed, many of us Catholics hardly proclaim to others about our faith in Jesus.  We seem to have barely anything exciting to share about our faith with others.  Of course, how could we when we have not had a real personal encounter with the Risen Lord!  The stark reality is that many of us Catholics have not seen the Risen Lord in our lives or we have failed to recognize Him.  Our faith in the Risen Lord is based on some traditional doctrines imparted to us from young.   But they remain merely doctrines and traditions.  We do not even know where to look for the Risen Lord.

In contrast, we have Mary Magdalene, the two disciples at Emmaus and, later on, the apostles testifying with boldness that Jesus has risen from the dead.  What gave them the impetus and the courage to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection against all disbelief, ridicule and even threats to their lives?  We read that when Mary Magdalene, in obedience to Jesus’ instruction, announced to the apostles that Jesus “was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. Similarly too, when the apostles, Peter and John were threatened with “a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name”, their response was swift and pointed when they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.”

The clue to their courageous witnessing is clear from their response.  “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.“  Truly, it was because they had seen and heard the Risen Lord that they could no longer keep silent.  It was also true for Mary Magdalene and the other two unknown disciples on the way to Emmaus.  Having seen the Lord and in spite of the disbelief of the apostles, the companions of Jesus, they did not waver in their testimony.  They could not, even if they had wanted to.  Indeed, anyone who has had a personal encounter with the power of the Risen Lord at work in their lives, whether it was in overcoming a particular sin, addiction, depression or illness which no doctor or counselor could help with; would know that our Lord is a mighty God.  Without a true encounter of the power of the Risen Lord at work in our own lives, it is difficult to speak of a personal faith in Him.

Wasn’t this the experience of the psalmist as well when he invites us to give thanks to the Lord?  He said, “I will give thanks to you, for you have rescued me.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Though the Lord has indeed chastised me, yet he has not delivered me to death.”  His testimony to us is that God truly was his Saviour.  With the Lord, he was saved from his enemies and through Him; he had won victory over sin and the evil forces.

So what hinders us from coming to the same faith of those who have encountered the Risen Lord?  The reprimand of Jesus to His disciples also applies to us.  “As the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.”   If we want to come to the Easter Faith, the process to faith requires that we first believe in the testimony of those who have seen Him.

Testimony to the Risen Lord abounds in scripture and in the tradition of the Church.  The apostles and the early Christians were the first to testify how they encountered Him.  We can read all their testimonies and their stories of faith in the scriptures.  Christians throughout the ages, particularly the Fathers of the Church and holy people, have also witnessed to us the presence and reality of the Risen Lord.  The Church as a community of faith, through her doctrines, liturgy and life, has also conveyed to us the presence of the Risen Lord.

So the problem lies on our side. It is not because there are not sufficient testimonies to the fact of His resurrection; it is simply because we are too proud to believe.  We find it difficult to accept that the resurrection of Christ is not something within human logic and understanding because it is purely the power of God.  St Peter and the other apostles could not accept that Jesus would have appeared first to Mary Magdalene instead of them; they being His chosen leaders.  So, too, they could not believe that Jesus would allow Himself to be seen by two unknown disciples of Jesus.  Most of all, the Jewish religious leaders could not reconcile Jesus with their scriptures, as they did not read them in the light of Christ’s death and resurrection.  As a consequence, they rejected the apostles’ claims of Jesus’ resurrection.

Yet, they could not explain how the uneducated disciples, with no status, no education and no influence in society, could speak so boldly and convincingly that even they, as theologians, were not able to refute.  Luke the evangelist noted, “Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply.”  In the face of the evidence before them, they could not deny, but yet they were simply too stubborn to believe.  But we are called to believe!  Faith is the key to sharing our faith in the Risen Lord.  By taking the leap of faith in their testimony, we too will be able to encounter Him in our lives, through prayer and our daily life events.

Only those who have seen the Lord will not flinch before their opponents and enemies.  This is because they will have confidence that the Lord is on their side and will win the battle for them, just as the psalmist says, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”  What about us?  Are we willing to allow the Risen Lord to rule our lives?  Can we surrender our future to the Lord and trust that somehow He will look after us so long as we are faithful to Him and His ways?  Let us learn that the future belongs to the Lord alone and that is why, like the apostles, we must be ready to surrender our vision, hopes and plans to Him. 

What was the secret of the Apostles’ faith?  They were “the companions of Jesus.”  Truly, if today we want to be dynamic witnesses of Jesus, we need first to be His companions above everything else.  We remember that when the Lord first chose the apostles, He chose them first to be His companions as well before He sent them out to preach (cf Mk 3:14).  Before action, we must have contemplation.  No one should ever attempt to preach Jesus without first having spent sufficient time and intimacy with Him.  The truth is that the power of God is shown in and through human weakness, not through human wisdom, strength, ingenuities and professionalism.  That was why He chose uneducated men without status and Mary Magdalene, who had a dubious past, to be His proclaimers of the Good News to all creation.  If we are willing to surrender our lives and our future to Him, He will show what faith in Him can do for us.

– See more at: http://www.csctr.net/26-april-2014-saturday-within-the-octave-of-easter/#sthash.EillrRcg.dpuf

.

http://www.csctr.net/

*************************************

.

Father Alfonse on Mark 16: 9-15

.

Doubts, disbelief, fears and terror. These are the sights and sounds of the early Church as they waited for their eyes to see the Risen Lord.
Surprise, joy, boldness and outreach. These are the sights and sounds of those whom the Lord revealed himself to.
 .
In the Acts of the Apostles we witness an on-going transformation that continues to rock our world today. The Eleven, who were once locked in fear, can no longer contain themselves. They must proclaim the Good News, not because they received a death threat from the Lord but because they received his life. What was once considered impossible or dangerous (like being recognized, going out into the streets and preaching the Truth; preaching Jesus as Lord and God; preaching to the Jews and standing before the leaders, the elders and the chief priests, etc.) they now do without hesitation. They believe in themselves because the Lord believes in them.
 .
When we believe in God, we begin to believe in ourselves. Nothing is impossible! Nothing, for nothing matters more than the Lord. What will separate me from the love of God: tribulations, betrayals, fear, suffering and pain, anxieties, bitterness, ridicule, loss of life, death, even death on a cross? Nothing. Nothing will separate me from the love of God. The old man is dead, buried and gone away. The new man has risen from the dead, and has been sent by the Lord.
 .
Here I am Lord, send me! And he does, like he always has, and he will continue to bear fruit through me and after me.
 .
How many times have I said, Enough!? Too many. How many times have I said, I can’t do this anymore!? Too many. How many times have I said, I will never make a difference”? Too many. I could go on and on, so many more doubts come to my mind as I write this list. But the Lord loves me and loves sharing everything with me, even my dirty laundry list! The doubts we have the Apostles shared too. We, the modern-intelligent creatures, have the same doubts as the Apostles, those uncivilized-uneducated men. Yes, they may have said the exact same thing, but look and see for yourself what they did. They lived for the Lord and not for themselves. They believed in God because God shared his belief in them. He lifted them up! He told them as he told me, “Go and sin no more.” God has more faith in us than we have in Him!
 .
The Apostles woke up one morning and rocked the world. They had finally learned all things from the Master, and they began to imitate Him in everything – even his resurrection; for the Lord was the first to wake up one Sunday morning and change the world forever! We must do the same thing. Awake, O sleeper, arise from thy slumber. Christ is calling you by name!
.
.

************************************

Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore

For April 11, 2015

Jesus with the Disciples at  Emmaus by Rembrandt

COURAGEOUS WITNESSING TO THE RISEN LORD PRESUPPOSES WE HAVE HEARD AND SEEN HIM

SCRIPTURE READINGS:  ACTS 4:13-21; MARK 16:9-15

Why is it that our witness to the Risen Lord is often timid and unconvincing?  Indeed, many of us Catholics hardly proclaim to others about our faith in Jesus.  We seem to have barely anything exciting to share about our faith with others.  Of course, how could we when we have not had a real personal encounter with the Risen Lord!  The stark reality is that many of us Catholics have not seen the Risen Lord in our lives or we have failed to recognize Him.  Our faith in the Risen Lord is based on some traditional doctrines imparted to us from young.   But they remain merely doctrines and traditions.  We do not even know where to look for the Risen Lord.

In contrast, we have Mary Magdalene, the two disciples at Emmaus and, later on, the apostles testifying with boldness that Jesus has risen from the dead.  What gave them the impetus and the courage to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection against all disbelief, ridicule and even threats to their lives?  We read that when Mary Magdalene, in obedience to Jesus’ instruction, announced to the apostles that Jesus “was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. Similarly too, when the apostles, Peter and John were threatened with “a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name”, their response was swift and pointed when they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.”

The clue to their courageous witnessing is clear from their response.  “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”  Truly, it was because they had seen and heard the Risen Lord that they could no longer keep silent.  It was also true for Mary Magdalene and the other two unknown disciples on the way to Emmaus.  Having seen the Lord and in spite of the disbelief of the apostles, the companions of Jesus, they did not waver in their testimony.  They could not, even if they had wanted to.  Indeed, anyone who has had a personal encounter with the power of the Risen Lord at work in their lives, whether it was in overcoming a particular sin, addiction, depression or illness which no doctor or counselor could help with; would know that our Lord is a mighty God.  Without a true encounter of the power of the Risen Lord at work in our own lives, it is difficult to speak of a personal faith in Him.

Wasn’t this the experience of the psalmist as well when he invites us to give thanks to the Lord?  He said, “I will give thanks to you, for you have rescued me.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Though the Lord has indeed chastised me, yet he has not delivered me to death.”  His testimony to us is that God truly was his Saviour.  With the Lord, he was saved from his enemies and through Him; he had won victory over sin and the evil forces.

So what hinders us from coming to the same faith of those who have encountered the Risen Lord?  The reprimand of Jesus to His disciples also applies to us.  “As the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.”   If we want to come to the Easter Faith, the process to faith requires that we first believe in the testimony of those who have seen Him.

Testimony to the Risen Lord abounds in scripture and in the tradition of the Church.  The apostles and the early Christians were the first to testify how they encountered Him.  We can read all their testimonies and their stories of faith in the scriptures.  Christians throughout the ages, particularly the Fathers of the Church and holy people, have also witnessed to us the presence and reality of the Risen Lord.  The Church as a community of faith, through her doctrines, liturgy and life, has also conveyed to us the presence of the Risen Lord.

So the problem lies on our side. It is not because there are not sufficient testimonies to the fact of His resurrection; it is simply because we are too proud to believe.  We find it difficult to accept that the resurrection of Christ is not something within human logic and understanding because it is purely the power of God.  St Peter and the other apostles could not accept that Jesus would have appeared first to Mary Magdalene instead of them; they being His chosen leaders.  So, too, they could not believe that Jesus would allow Himself to be seen by two unknown disciples of Jesus.  Most of all, the Jewish religious leaders could not reconcile Jesus with their scriptures, as they did not read them in the light of Christ’s death and resurrection.  As a consequence, they rejected the apostles’ claims of Jesus’ resurrection.

Yet, they could not explain how the uneducated disciples, with no status, no education and no influence in society, could speak so boldly and convincingly that even they, as theologians, were not able to refute.  Luke the evangelist noted, “Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply.”  In the face of the evidence before them, they could not deny, but yet they were simply too stubborn to believe.  But we are called to believe!  Faith is the key to sharing our faith in the Risen Lord.  By taking the leap of faith in their testimony, we too will be able to encounter Him in our lives, through prayer and our daily life events.

Only those who have seen the Lord will not flinch before their opponents and enemies.  This is because they will have confidence that the Lord is on their side and will win the battle for them, just as the psalmist says, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”  What about us?  Are we willing to allow the Risen Lord to rule our lives?  Can we surrender our future to the Lord and trust that somehow He will look after us so long as we are faithful to Him and His ways?  Let us learn that the future belongs to the Lord alone and that is why, like the apostles, we must be ready to surrender our vision, hopes and plans to Him. 

What was the secret of the Apostles’ faith?  They were “the companions of Jesus.”  Truly, if today we want to be dynamic witnesses of Jesus, we need first to be His companions above everything else.  We remember that when the Lord first chose the apostles, He chose them first to be His companions as well before He sent them out to preach (cf Mk 3:14).  Before action, we must have contemplation.  No one should ever attempt to preach Jesus without first having spent sufficient time and intimacy with Him.  The truth is that the power of God is shown in and through human weakness, not through human wisdom, strength, ingenuities and professionalism.  That was why He chose uneducated men without status and Mary Magdalene, who had a dubious past, to be His proclaimers of the Good News to all creation.  If we are willing to surrender our lives and our future to Him, He will show what faith in Him can do for us.

.

 

.
.
******************************************
.

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, April 26, 2014 — Are we easily recognized as companions of Jesus?

April 26, 2014

.


Art: Jesus revealing himself to Mary Magdalene by William Brassey Hole

Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 266

Reading 1 acts 4:13-21

.

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
.So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.
.

Responsorial Psalm ps 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21

.

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
.

Gospel mk 16:9-15

.

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
.After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.
.But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
.
**********************************
.
Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
COURAGEOUS WITNESSING TO THE RISEN LORD PRESUPPOSES WE HAVE HEARD AND SEEN HIM 
.

Why is it that our witness to the Risen Lord is often timid and unconvincing?  Indeed, many of us Catholics hardly proclaim to others about our faith in Jesus.  We seem to have barely anything exciting to share about our faith with others.  Of course, how could we when we have not had a real personal encounter with the Risen Lord!  The stark reality is that many of us Catholics have not seen the Risen Lord in our lives or we have failed to recognize Him.  Our faith in the Risen Lord is based on some traditional doctrines imparted to us from young.   But they remain merely doctrines and traditions.  We do not even know where to look for the Risen Lord.

In contrast, we have Mary Magdalene, the two disciples at Emmaus and, later on, the apostles testifying with boldness that Jesus has risen from the dead.  What gave them the impetus and the courage to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection against all disbelief, ridicule and even threats to their lives?  We read that when Mary Magdalene, in obedience to Jesus’ instruction, announced to the apostles that Jesus “was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. Similarly too, when the apostles, Peter and John were threatened with “a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name”, their response was swift and pointed when they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.”

The clue to their courageous witnessing is clear from their response.  “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.“  Truly, it was because they had seen and heard the Risen Lord that they could no longer keep silent.  It was also true for Mary Magdalene and the other two unknown disciples on the way to Emmaus.  Having seen the Lord and in spite of the disbelief of the apostles, the companions of Jesus, they did not waver in their testimony.  They could not, even if they had wanted to.  Indeed, anyone who has had a personal encounter with the power of the Risen Lord at work in their lives, whether it was in overcoming a particular sin, addiction, depression or illness which no doctor or counselor could help with; would know that our Lord is a mighty God.  Without a true encounter of the power of the Risen Lord at work in our own lives, it is difficult to speak of a personal faith in Him.

Wasn’t this the experience of the psalmist as well when he invites us to give thanks to the Lord?  He said, “I will give thanks to you, for you have rescued me.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Though the Lord has indeed chastised me, yet he has not delivered me to death.”  His testimony to us is that God truly was his Saviour.  With the Lord, he was saved from his enemies and through Him; he had won victory over sin and the evil forces.

So what hinders us from coming to the same faith of those who have encountered the Risen Lord?  The reprimand of Jesus to His disciples also applies to us.  “As the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.”   If we want to come to the Easter Faith, the process to faith requires that we first believe in the testimony of those who have seen Him.

Testimony to the Risen Lord abounds in scripture and in the tradition of the Church.  The apostles and the early Christians were the first to testify how they encountered Him.  We can read all their testimonies and their stories of faith in the scriptures.  Christians throughout the ages, particularly the Fathers of the Church and holy people, have also witnessed to us the presence and reality of the Risen Lord.  The Church as a community of faith, through her doctrines, liturgy and life, has also conveyed to us the presence of the Risen Lord.

So the problem lies on our side. It is not because there are not sufficient testimonies to the fact of His resurrection; it is simply because we are too proud to believe.  We find it difficult to accept that the resurrection of Christ is not something within human logic and understanding because it is purely the power of God.  St Peter and the other apostles could not accept that Jesus would have appeared first to Mary Magdalene instead of them; they being His chosen leaders.  So, too, they could not believe that Jesus would allow Himself to be seen by two unknown disciples of Jesus.  Most of all, the Jewish religious leaders could not reconcile Jesus with their scriptures, as they did not read them in the light of Christ’s death and resurrection.  As a consequence, they rejected the apostles’ claims of Jesus’ resurrection.

Yet, they could not explain how the uneducated disciples, with no status, no education and no influence in society, could speak so boldly and convincingly that even they, as theologians, were not able to refute.  Luke the evangelist noted, “Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply.”  In the face of the evidence before them, they could not deny, but yet they were simply too stubborn to believe.  But we are called to believe!  Faith is the key to sharing our faith in the Risen Lord.  By taking the leap of faith in their testimony, we too will be able to encounter Him in our lives, through prayer and our daily life events.

Only those who have seen the Lord will not flinch before their opponents and enemies.  This is because they will have confidence that the Lord is on their side and will win the battle for them, just as the psalmist says, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”  What about us?  Are we willing to allow the Risen Lord to rule our lives?  Can we surrender our future to the Lord and trust that somehow He will look after us so long as we are faithful to Him and His ways?  Let us learn that the future belongs to the Lord alone and that is why, like the apostles, we must be ready to surrender our vision, hopes and plans to Him. 

What was the secret of the Apostles’ faith?  They were “the companions of Jesus.”  Truly, if today we want to be dynamic witnesses of Jesus, we need first to be His companions above everything else.  We remember that when the Lord first chose the apostles, He chose them first to be His companions as well before He sent them out to preach (cf Mk 3:14).  Before action, we must have contemplation.  No one should ever attempt to preach Jesus without first having spent sufficient time and intimacy with Him.  The truth is that the power of God is shown in and through human weakness, not through human wisdom, strength, ingenuities and professionalism.  That was why He chose uneducated men without status and Mary Magdalene, who had a dubious past, to be His proclaimers of the Good News to all creation.  If we are willing to surrender our lives and our future to Him, He will show what faith in Him can do for us.

– See more at: http://www.csctr.net/26-april-2014-saturday-within-the-octave-of-easter/#sthash.EillrRcg.dpuf

.

http://www.csctr.net/

.
*********************************
.
Lectio Divina from the Carmelites
.
Reflection
.
Today’s Gospel forms part of a broader literary unit (Mk 16, 9-20) which places us before a list or summary of diverse apparitions of Jesus: (a) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, but the disciples do not accept her testimony (Mk 16, 9-11); (b) Jesus appears to the disciples, but the others do not accept their testimony (Mk 16, 12-13); (c) Jesus appears to the eleven, he criticizes their lack of faith and orders them to announce the Good News to all (Mk 16, 14-18); (d) Jesus ascends to Heaven and continues to cooperate with the disciples (Mk 16, 19-20).
.
• Besides this list of apparitions in the Gospel of Mark, there are other lists of apparitions which do not always coincide among themselves. For example, the list kept by Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians is very different (1 Co 15, 3-8). This variety shows that at the beginning the Christians were not concerned to prove the Resurrection by means of the apparitions. For them faith in the Resurrection was so evident and alive that there was no need to prove it. A person who takes sun on the shore is not concerned in showing that the sun exists, because she herself, sun burnt, is the evident proof of the existence of the sun. The communities, existing in the midst of the immense Empire, were a living proof of the Resurrection. The list of the apparitions began to appear later, in the second generation in order to refute the criticism of the enemies.
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• Mark 16, 9-11: Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, but the other disciples do not believe her. Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene. She goes to announce this to the others. To come into the world, God wanted to depend on the womb of a young girl 15 or 16 years old, called Mary of Nazareth (Lk 1, 38). To be recognized alive in our midst, he wants to depend on the announcement of a woman who had been liberated from seven devils, also called Mary, of Magdala! (This is why she was called Mary Magdalene). But the others did not believe her. Mark says that Jesus appeared first to Magdalene. In the list of apparitions, transmitted in the letter to the Corinthians (1 Co 15, 3-8), the apparitions of Jesus to the women are not mentioned. The first Christians had difficulty to believe in the testimony of women. It is a sin!
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• Mark 16, 12-13: Jesus appears to the disciples, but the others do not believe them. Without too many details, Mark refers to an apparition of Jesus to two disciples, “while they were on their way into the country”. This is perhaps a summary of the apparition of Jesus to the disciples of Emmaus, narrated by Luke (Lk 24, 13-35). Mark insists in saying that “the others did not believe them either”.
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• Mark 16, 14-15: Jesus criticizes the unbelief and orders them to announce the Good News to all creatures. For this reason, Jesus appears to the Eleven and reproaches them because they had not believed the persons who had seen him resurrected. Once again, Mark refers to the resistance of the disciples in believing to believe the testimony of those who have experienced the Resurrection of Jesus. Why? Probably to teach three things. In the first place that faith in Jesus passes through the faith in the persons who give witness. In the second place, that nobody should be discouraged, when the doubt or the unbelief arises in the heart. In the third place, in order to refute the criticism of those who said that the Christian is naïve and accepts without criticism any news, because the Eleven had great difficulty to accept the truth of the Resurrection!
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• Today’s Gospel ends with the sending out: “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation!” Jesus confers to them the mission to announce the Good News to all creatures.

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Personal questions
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• Mary Magdalene, the two disciples of Emmaus and the eleven disciples: who had the greatest difficulty to believe in the Resurrection? Why? With whom do I identify myself?
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• Which are the signs which can convince persons of the presence of Jesus in our midst?
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Concluding Prayer
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May God show kindness and bless us,
and make his face shine on us.
Then the earth will acknowledge your ways,
and all nations your power to save. (Ps 671-2)
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Saturday After Easter, Prayer and Meditation: “He appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart”

April 6, 2013

Saturday in the Octave of Easter Lectionary: 266

Reading 1 Acts 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus. Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, “What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
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So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm PS 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me. or: R. Alleluia.
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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just.
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R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me. or: R. Alleluia.
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“The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.” I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. Though the LORD has indeed chastised me, yet he has not delivered me to death.
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R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me. or: R. Alleluia.
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Open to me the gates of justice; I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the just shall enter it. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior.
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R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me. or: R. Alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
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After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.
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But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
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Holy Ghost! Can you imagine being “rebuked” by Jesus after he came back from the dead for us?
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That is exactly what happened to his disciples and that is exactly what will happen to me if I leave his loving arms and his church by sinning, ignoring his law (the commandments) and ignoring his teaching to me in The Word (Gospels).
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For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8: 36)
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Meditation: The first to see the risen Lord was not Peter or one of the apostles, but Mary Magdelen and the women who stood by Jesus at the cross and who went to the tomb on Sunday to pay their last respects.  Unfortunately for the disciples, they would not believe their account of the Risen Master. Jesus had to scold his apostles because of their unbelief and stubborn hearts.  Are you like the apostles or like Mary Magdelen and the other women  — slow to believe or quick to run to Jesus? Do you doubt because you do not see?  The Lord makes his presence known to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.  He gives us the gift of faith to know him personally and to understand the mystery of his death and rising. Do you believe his word and do you listen to his voice?

Jesus’ departure and ascension into heaven was both an end and a beginning for his disciples.  While it was the end of Jesus’ physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus’ presence with them in a new way.  Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time.  Now as the glorified and risen Lord and Savior, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would anoint them with power on the Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry at the River Jordan. When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they were not left in sorrow or grief.  Instead, they were filled with joy and with great anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ last words to his apostles point to his saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of his saving death and his glorious resurrection and to proclaim the good news of salvation to all the world. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations. God’s love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a nation, but it is for the whole world — for all who will accept it.  The gospel is the power of God, the power to forgive sins, to heal, to deliver from evil and oppression, and to restore life.  Do you believe in the power of the gospel?

This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task — to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit.  Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission world-wide.  Do you witness to others the joy of the gospel and the hope of the resurrection?

“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue.  Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory.  May I witness to those around me the joy of the gospel and the reality of your resurrection.”

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mark1614.htm

             Jesus rebukes Peter, by William Hole