Today the Liturgy presents for our meditation a beautiful page of the Gospel where Jesus continues to be the Friend he has always been.
Let our feelings be filled with the beauty of this evangelical scene.
FIRST READING – Acts 5:27-32; 40-41
Ø We are invited to look at the first disciples, the 11 who had followed Jesus, had eaten with him, touched and heard him, experienced his friendship and his closeness.
Ø They begin to experience the persecution for the sake of the Name, because they choose to follow the Lord and obey him.
Ø Let us enter into the text, and let us try to grasp what Luke wants to convey to us:
o The Apostles were put in jail and, as God by means of his angel frees them, they continue to teach the good news of Jesus, to tell the people what they, the Apostles, had seen and heard.
o When the guards did not find them in the jail they looked for them and found them teaching the people in the Temple. They arrested them without using force, and brought them to the authorities.
o The High Priest reminded them:
§ We had forbidden you to speak about this man, and you, not only do this, but you made us responsible for his death.
§ Peter and the other Apostles answered him with words that have been repeated by all the martyrs through the centuries: We must obey God rather than men.
§ The Apostles remind the authorities again that even if they had put to death Jesus, the God of the fathers has raised him from the dead and glorified him at his right hand.
§ All this has happened to offer to his chosen people and to all the peoples repentance and forgiveness.
§ Of all these events they say we are together with the Holy Spirit witnesses. God gives his Spirit to everyone who believes. They cannot stop proclaiming with words and deeds the marvels God has done for them and for all.
Ø Today’s reading ends saying that after the authorities had reached the sentence, they called the Apostles that:
o They will be flogged, and are forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus. Afterwards they let them go free.
o They are happy to have been found worthy to suffer dishonor and humiliation for the sake of the Name.
Ø If we pay close attention to the way Luke describes the trail of the Apostles it is very similar to the trail of Jesus, and also to the trail of all those persecuted for the sake of the Name, the martyrs of all the times:
o Prohibition to speak, to follow Jesus and to invite others to do the same.
o The acknowledgment by the judges, if not verbally but in their mind, that they are condemning innocent men or women, but men/women who are dangerous who are a thread for the establishment and for their power.
o Some kind of torture to frighten them.
Ø What the persecutors do not know is:
o That the Holy Spirit gives to the witnesses words and wisdom who are not theirs,but come from God, and which are invitations to the persecutors to repent and accept the love God offers them, because God is never tired to forgive no matter how great are our sins.
o And they do not know either that those who are able to confess Jesus, even to the point of suffering torture and even death, is because they have been conquered by the love of Jesus, whom they love more than their lives. This is the reason why they can be happy to suffer for the sake of the Name.
SECOND READING Rev 5: 11-14
We continue to read from the Book of Revelation, which, as we have already said, is a book of hope that speaks to us about Jesus, the Glorified Christ, the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. This Christ, who is Jesus of Nazareth himself that the Gospels presented in his earthly life, is now glorified, full of power and majesty. He is no longer the young carpenter of Nazareth, vulnerable and limited like all of us. He did not have any earthly power because his power is superior to all other powers, but it is found in the lowliness, humiliation and love.
Let us submerge ourselves into the scene which the liturgy offers to us today. Many experts in the book of Revelation say that the best way to understand its message is trying to be part of what the scene is representing.
« The scene today shows us the adoration of the Lamb, who was slain, by all the heavenly creatures.
o The image of the lamb, which obviously represents Jesus, reminds us of the lamb the Israelites had to immolate the night of the Passover of the YHWH through the land of Egypt liberating his people.
o But there is in the Scripture (Lev. 16) another image of the lamb. Every year the people of Israel on the day of the Atonement separates two goats
§ One will be immolate in expiation for the sins of the people.
§ On the second one the high priest will put all the sins of the people, and have some one take it to a deserted place where he will be abandoned there food or drink. Symbolically the sins of the people were taken away thanks to these two goats.
§ I think that Jesus is what these two goats symbolized: he immolates himself to the Father for the forgiveness of our sins and he takes on himself our sins and nails them to the cross and destroys them dying for us; and that once and forever.
o In the vision of the glory of the lamb in the book of Revelation, the Risen Jesus, receives the same praise, honor, glory and power as the one seated on the throne, God the Father.
§ After the resurrection and the glorification of Jesus of Nazareth, the Church has given to him the same adoration and glory that the Israelites had given to YHWH.
« JESUS IS LORD FOR THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.
GOSPEL Jn 21:1-19
The liturgy presents to us the third apparition of Jesus to his disciples after the resurrection. Let us follow step by step what the gospel is telling us:
Peter takes the initiative to go fishing, and other six disciples join him: Thomas, Nathanael, the two brothers James and John and other two disciples whose names are not given.
They go at night which is the appropriate time for fishing.
But they do not catch any fish, in the morning they come back tired and probably disappointed, they had lost the night for nothing.
While they are coming back to the shore, a surprise is waiting for them, a surprise which will take away their sadness and disappointment.
o Jesus is standing on the shore and asks them if they have caught any fish
o As they say no, he invites them to cast the net to the right side of the boat
o They had experienced something like this during Jesus earthly life
o It is not the time for fishing, but they follow the directions of that man standing on the shore.
o And, what a surprise! They catch a great number of fish. This continues to be true in the Church, when we cast the nets in Jesus’ name we succeed. We never succeed when we follow our own plans ignoring the presence of the Lord and of his Spirit. .
o When they climbed out on the shore they find a fire and bread being cooked on it. They have only to put the fish and the breakfast is ready, Jesus has prepared it for them.
o The Gospel says that all of them knew he was Jesus, but did not ask him
o They continue to be the same, they do not dare to ask
o And Jesus also continues to be the same, although he is now glorified: he is the friend as always, the friend who knows the needs of his disciples, his friends. And Jesus continues to be the same through the centuries, he knows my needs, my sadness, my sorrows, my difficulties, my dreams which he helps me to follow, he gives me the surprise to discover through very little and simple things that he is with me. (I have written this section in the first person because I think that it will help us to realize that he has come for each one of us and each one can say he has come for me.)
The second part of this gospel is between Jesus and Peter. After the meal there is a dialogue between Jesus and Peter.
o Do you love me more than these? Yes, you know…
o Do you love me? Yes you know…
o Do you love me? LORD YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU.
These three questions seem to be the opposite of the three denials of Peter.
But now we see a humble Peter, he is not so sure of himself, of his love, but now he really loves his Lord, because he does not lean on himself but on Jesus who know how much Peter loves him.
Peter will have the mission to take care of the sheep and the lambs, that is the Church of all times, and the only condition that the Lord requires from him is love, but a love full of tenderness and compassion: tend. Every shepherd knows what to tend means, it means to feed, to protect, to carry on his shoulders the little ones, the sick….
Afterwards Jesus tells Peter that his death will be similar to the death of Jesus himself, he will be led where he does not want to go. Then Jesus says to Peter: FOLLOW ME.
This call is for all of us, the only condition to follow the Lord, is to take care of each other with tenderness.
So, in attention to the favor I expected (because of my poor intelligence) from the procurator, I deemed it was ingratitude to continue with my resistance and everything on my part was to pray to God to provide an obstacle , or to calm down my anguish, because, even though they gave me many favorable reasons, I was unable to agree with it, and I had nobody to consult with, since I had not consulted with Fr. Currius anything about the foundation and very few things about my soul. So, I was suffering so much not knowing what to do. One day our Lord inspired in me a great desire to consult with this good father.” And the Lord made me understand that this father had to help much in order, that he would be to me what St. John of the cross was for St. Teresa.
Our Lord said this to me two years before the foundation and it has been literally fulfilled , because if this servant of God had not helped me so much in the foundation, I do not know if the result would have been as good, so many were the obstacles raised by the entire hell in order not to be founded without incomes.. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 73-74.
I know that in a single act of mortification one may practice many other virtues, depending on the different intentions one has in performing each act. Thus, for example:
1. One who mortifies his body to check concupiscence performs an act of the virtue of temperance
2. If he does so to set his life in proper order, he performs an act of the virtue of prudence.
3. If he does so to make satisfaction for his past sins, he performs an act of justice.
4. If he does so to overcome difficulties in his spiritual life, he performs an act of fortitude.
5. If he does so to offer sacrifice to God by depriving himself of something pleasant and doing something bitter or repugnant to himself, he performs an act of the virtue of religion. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 414.
CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según Las Escrituras, Año C, 2006
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, comentario a la Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo, 2010