Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s video: Third Sunday of Easter B & St. Gianna Beretta Molla, April 19,2015
In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus the meaning and purpose of his resurrection for our salvation through the Paschal Mystery of his death and resurrection. But our salvation will be completed when we rise with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to everlasting glory in the home of our heavenly Father. In our journey home to the Father, the Lord gives us the mission, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Lk 24:46-48). St. Peter obeyed the Lord and preached, “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.… Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3: 15-19). St. John Climacus (605 AD) clarified this challenge of repentance as “reconciliation with the Lord by the performance of good deeds, which are the opposite of sin. It is the purification of conscience and the voluntary endurance of affliction.”
With the witness of St. Peter and the two disciples about the presence of the Lord in the breaking of the bread (Lk 24:35), we always gather for the breaking of the bread every Sunday in remembrance of His words, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6:54). St. Francis of Assisi (1226 AD) explained this truth and wrote: “Let the whole mankind tremble, the whole world shake and the heavens exult… That the Lord of universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation He hides himself under the little form of bread!” and Pope Benedict XVI said, “In the same Eucharist, Christ gives us his Body and makes us his Body” (Nov 22, 2006). “The more we allow ourselves, through the liturgy, to be transformed in Christ, the more we will be capable of transforming the world, radiating Christ’s goodness, his mercy and his love for others” (Sept 13, 2006). What will I do to radiate Christ’s goodness, mercy and love for others?
“Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with power and boldness to be your witnesses to all the nations. 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 us with your resurrection joy and help us to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May we witness to those around us the joy of the gospel and the reality of your resurrection.” In your Name, we pray. Amen.
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19 – The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead.
Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
The word of the Lord.
Ps 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
R. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
You put gladness into my heart.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
1 Jn 2:1-5a – Jesus Christ is expiation not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
The word of the Lord.
Lk 24:35-48 – Thus it was written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – Understanding the Scriptures
Dr. Scott Hahn’s Reflection click below:
Jesus in today’s Gospel, teaches His apostles how to interpret the Scriptures.
He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His passion, death, and resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church – to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
In today’s First Reading and Epistle, we see the beginnings of that mission. And we see the apostles interpreting the Scriptures as Jesus taught them to.
God has brought to fulfillment what He announced beforehand in all the prophets, Peter preaches. His sermon is shot through with Old Testament images. He evokes Moses and the exodus, in which God revealed himself as the ancestral God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Exodus 3:6,15). He identifies Jesus as Isaiah’s suffering servant who has been glorified (see Isaiah 52:13).
John, too describes Jesus in Old Testament terms. Alluding to how Israel’s priests offered blood sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins (see Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9-10), he says that Jesus intercedes for us before God (see Romans 8:34), and that His blood is a sacrificial expiation for the sins of the world (see 1 John 1:7).
Notice that in all three readings, the Scriptures are interpreted to serve and advance the Church’s mission – to reveal the truth about Jesus, to bring people to repentance, the wiping away of sins, and the perfection of their love for God.
This is how we, too, should hear the Scriptures. Not to know more “about” Jesus, but to truly know Him personally, and to know His plan for our lives.
In the Scriptures, the light of His face shines upon us, as we sing in today’s Psalm. We know the wonders He has done throughout history. And we have the confidence to call to Him, and to know that He hears and answers.
Reflection 2 – Jesus opens the understanding of his disciples
“Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.”
Obedience and love are the marks of a man who knows God and has Him in his heart. Knowing God means keeping His commandments and having a deep desire to do what one knows will please Him. Knowing God is to live as Jesus lived.
A man who knows God follows His will not for fear of punishment but out of His love for Him. Knowing God is not cerebral but personal and experiential. To know God is not simply to trust Him but to live in daily fellowship with Him. It is obedience founded on love. That is why, one who claims to know God yet chooses the precepts to obey within His church is a liar and does not really know Him.
One who is hostile to his fellow Christians most especially to those who have authority over Him despite efforts to reconcile and guide one in his work and ministry for the Lord, does not really know God. One may have a thorough knowledge of God’s Laws and the Holy Scripture and may even claim to be a competent teacher of God’s ways but if he has no obedience in his heart, then his knowledge of God is something that is purely academic, intellectual and legalistic not far from the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
Let us look deep into our hearts and ask ourselves how well we know our God.
Has God’s love for us been perfected? Has it accomplished its very purpose and has it reached its end in producing obedience to Him?
In times of conflict or differences on how God’s work should be pursued, after deep prayer and meditation, we need to be obedient to what has been agreed upon. We obey not for fear of punishment and reprimand but out of love and deep desire to follow Jesus. If Jesus died for the expiation of our sins, we too should be able to die to ourselves and be obedient to what is right in God’s eyes which most often is expressed in prayerful discernment.
Heavenly Father, it is my heart’s desire to know You more. Let your countenance shine upon me! In Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence. – St. Augustine of Hippo
Reflection 3 – Touch Me!
One night, Steven Spielberg was seen drinking in a bar with a Chinese guy. After some time and several bottles of beer, Spielberg suddenly punched the Chinese guy in the face. The guy was surprised, and asked, “What’s that for?” Spielberg said, “That’s for bombing Pearl Harbor.” The man protested: “You idiot! Those were the Japanese. I am Chinese!” But Spielberg replied, “Whatever! Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese. They are all the same!” After a while the Chinese guy kicked Spielberg. “Why?” he asked. The guy replied, “That’s for sinking the Titanic!” “What? It was an iceberg!” protested Spielberg. The guy replied, “Whatever. Iceberg, Carlsberg, Lindbergh, Spielberg. They are all the same!”
No two people are the same, not even identical twins. Every human being is unique. But the recent advancements in the medical sciences are trying to undermine this truth. The advocates of the science of cloning are telling us that it is very possible to duplicate human beings. The human tissues and organs can be duplicated. The DNA can be duplicated. They can produce an exactly the same human person. However, they are gravely mistaken. Though it might be possible to duplicate the body and all its organs and tissues, it is not possible to duplicate a human being. Nobody can duplicate the principle of life and individuality of man, which is the soul. It is impossible to clone the soul.
And a human person is composed of both body and soul. If it is only body, it is just a corpse – ready to be buried. If it is only soul, then it must be a ghost. A human being is both body and soul. We should, therefore, avoid dichotomizing man. We cannot talk of a human person without taking both body and soul together.
Jesus Christ is true God. And he is also true man. He is both divine and human. As man, he has both body and soul. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples many times. In the Gospel account this Sunday, he made sure that they understand this. “Why are you troubled? It is I myself. Touch me.” Then, as further proof, he even asked for food: “Do you have anything to eat?” They gave him a piece of fish, and he ate it in front of them. He clearly made sure to them that he is not a disembodied spirit or a ghost.
Today’s Gospel rejects that spirit-body dualism. After his resurrection Jesus demonstrates he is not a “ghost” or a spirit without body. There is a tendency today to dichotomize Jesus: to separate the divine Jesus from the human Jesus, the bodily Jesus from the spiritual Jesus. The people of today prefer a “spiritual Jesus” to the flesh and blood Jesus.
Of course to “spiritualize” Jesus can be attractive to a lot of people. A spiritual Jesus is confined in the realm of the spirit. It keeps him at a safe distance from us, so he does not interfere in our plans and in our life; but he is always there when we need him. Many would prefer a “Jesus-on-call” (“Don’t-call-me-I’ll-call- you” arrangement.)
But an over-spiritualized approach to Jesus misses the truth: He desires that we touch him; that we contemplate his five wounds; and that we eat his body and drink his blood. That is, after all the reason for the Incarnation.
We may find it rather strange that Jesus, in his appearances after his resurrection, insisted on his physicality, the reality of his body: “Touch me!” Well, the reason is that he does not want us to put him aside to some distant spiritual realm. He desires not just a spiritual relationship with us, but also a physical one: physical and spiritual union – a “spousal union.” He wants to espouse us. He is the Bridegroom, and we, the Church, are his Bride. As St. Peter tells us, he is the “author of life” (Acts 3:17), and he invites us to share that life: “I came that you may have life and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10). And this is precisely why Jesus gave us the sacraments: that we might connect and relate with him on the material and physical as well as on the spiritual level.
This tendency to dichotomize Jesus reveals also a clear tendency among us to dichotomize man. Many people want to separate their spiritual life from their daily life, their religious life from their life in this world. They are the so-called “split-level Christians”, the dual-life Christians. They want to brush aside the commandments with a simple rule of thumb: As long as my spirit is right (that is, I feel good about myself) it does not matter what I do with my body. As the words of a famous song says: “It can’t be wrong if it feels so right. ‘Cause you, you light up my life.” I can do anything I like as long as it feels good inside.
This Sunday, Jesus calls us to be authentic in our life and in our relationship with Him and with one another. Let the words we speak reveal the truthfulness of our hearts and minds. Let our actions express the purity of our intentions. Let the beauty of our bodies be the reflection of the inner beauty and splendor of our souls.
And let this also be the way we look at others. We cannot continue looking at people and judging them by their external appearances alone. A human person is more than the physical body we see. He is both corporeal and spiritual. Lest we forget, Jesus identified himself with the poor, the neglected and the rejects of society: “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”
St. Irenaeus said: “The glory of God is man fully alive.” God is glorified when we live our lives to the full. Let us live as true human beings, created in the image and likeness of God. We have bodies, but with souls. So we are not corpses. We have souls, but with bodies. So we are not ghosts. We are human beings, men and women created by God and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, destined to share in the eternal life and glory in our God’s heavenly kingdom (Source: Fr. Mike Lagrimas, Sta. Lucia Church, JP Rizal Street, Bgy. Sta. Lucia, Novaliches, Quezon City 1117).
Reflection 4 – Witness of Peace
“In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy, and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is God plan for mankind. Man is made for peace which is God’s gift…..
“ Jesus, the revelation of the Father’s love, does not hesitate to offer himself in self-sacrifice. Once we accept Jesus Christ, God and man, we have the joyful experience of an immense gift: the sharing of God’s own life, the life of grace, the pledge of a fully blessed existence. Jesus Christ, in particular, grants us true peace, which is born of the trusting encounter of man with God….
“In effect, peace presupposes a humanism open to transcendence. It is the fruit of the reciprocal gift, of a mutual enrichment, thanks to the gift which has its source in God and enables us to live with others and for others. The ethics of peace is an ethics of fellowship and sharing….
“The precondition for peace is the dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality which precludes acknowledgment of the ineluctable natural moral law inscribed by God upon the conscience of every man and woman. Peace is the building up of coexistence in rational and moral terms, based on a foundation whose measure is not created by man, but rather by God (Source: Pope Benedict XVI, Magnificat, Vol. 17, No. 2, April 2015, pp. 71-72).
Reflection 5 – The presence of Christ in the Eucharist and in his people
The two disciples in the Gospel story recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. The breaking of the bread reaches so deep into who we are as Catholics, as Christians, that the teaching of the Catholic Church places before us as a precept, as a command, that we are to gather for the breaking of the bread each week. Millions of Catholics around the world gather daily in their local parishes, in monasteries and convents, in hospitals and on the road for breaking of the bread.
In some way beyond our human perception, the breaking of the bread is both a sign that Jesus is already with us – in the Christian people who gather in his name, in you and me, and under the form of bread and wine, which become his Body and Blood. St. Francis of Assisi wrote: “Let the whole mankind tremble, the whole world shake and the heavens exult… That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation He hides himself under the little form of bread!” When we speak of the real presence of Christ, generally we refer to that presence under the form of bread and wine, of the Eucharist. But the real presence of Christ is not only there, but in us and in Christ’s people, too.
We hear of the real presence of Jesus today in the gospel twice. First, we heard of it in the description of what had happened to those disciples who had walked with Jesus to Emmaus, that they knew him in the breaking of the bread. Second, Jesus joined those disciples and those to whom they spoke. The risen Jesus was really there with them. He was not a ghost. Though now in glory Jesus in some miraculous way remains flesh and blood. The risen Christ is as real as those sitting next to you now, or when you watch a movie, or eat a meal. He was really there with the disciples – not a ghost. By eating fish, Jesus showed the disciples that he was flesh and blood. Jesus remains as real in this world as wives and husbands, parents and children. Jesus is as real in this world as the strangers on our streets, at our borders, or in scenes of devastation. Jesus is a real in our world as any human being, who, like us, longs for food for the day and shelter for the night.
Jesus asked the disciples to look at his hands and feet, to touch him, to see his flesh and feel his bones. Jesus reminds us that every time we touch each other, we are touching him. We are not simply touching Jesus; we are touching his wounds. For in each other, we touch Jesus’ broken body. We know how much it hurts when we cut our finger with a piece of paper. The wounds of Jesus reflect the wounds which he bore for all of us and those wounds go as deep as nail marks, rather than being as shallow as paper cuts. So we are called to be loving and gentle with one another. Jesus challenges us to touch others with the same kind of love with which he reached out to us. Jesus’ love was not always about warm, sweet cuddly things. Sometimes that love challenged the perceptions and prejudices of those around him. Sometimes that love was an invitation to sacrifice. Always, that love called for putting God first and loving my neighbors as myself.
Jesus is as truly present here as he was with the disciples, in the breaking of the bread and in our broken lives. We heard in the first reading (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19) how Jesus was put to death, and we know that we can help others, or we can hurt them. We heard in the second reading (1 Jn 2:1-5) that Jesus intercedes for us, and we know that we are to pray, we are to do, we are to be: for each other.
Aware that Christ is truly present in us, we gather to have that real presence affirmed and strengthened by seeking the nourishment of his Body and Blood. By paying attention to the reality of Christ present in the breaking of the bread, we are called as well to recognize the real presence of Christ in ourselves, in the community of faith and in the needs of those around us.(Source: Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM, editor. Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, April 26, 2009).
Reflection 6 – The word of God
It seems that wherever we go we see people talking on mobile phones – on the street, in the supermarket, driving. People use mobile phones because they love to talk, to communicate. Sometimes, rarely, it is a matter of life or death. If communication is important to people, why should God be unable to communicate with creatures he made to his image? He has, and he has done it well through prophets and perfectly through his son made man, Jesus Christ. Much of his vital message has been committed to writing and so we have the Bible, the Word of God. Because we heard in the gospel that Jesus opened the apostles’ minds “to understand the Scriptures” we pray that he will do the same for us. Today we shall consider why the Bible is the Word of God and specifically why it is inspired and inspiring.
We show great reverence for the Bible. The lectionary is often carried aloft as the celebrant processes to the altar. The priest carries the Book of Gospels to the pulpit as the Alleluia is sung. It is incensed before the reading of the gospel and the book is kissed at the conclusion. Pause a moment! What are we doing? Years ago Catholics were accused of being “idol worshipers” because they reverenced the statures of saints. Are we now “book worshipers?” Of course not! We reverenced statues because they helped us recall the lives of saints. We reverence the liturgical books because of the Word of God written in them. Concentrate on the Word of God, not the kisses and censer!
The Bible is the all time best-seller in the world. More effort and research, time and study have been dedicated to preserving, copying, translating and printing it than to all the classics combined – Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe, to mention a few. Millions of copies have been distributed throughout the world and countless sermons have been preached urging people to read it. Fervent souls have testified to its power to comfort, enlighten and strengthen and yet… so many Christians keep the Bible for recording family dates, for taking an oath of office, for show and little more. Why? People do not understand what inspiration means. They think it is like a poet being inspired by a great tree or old urn.
Biblical inspiration consists in this. The Holy Spirit so moved human authors by supernatural power to write the Bible and so guided them in writing it “that the things that he ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth” (Providentissimus Deus). We believe that God is the author of sacred Scripture and yet that human writers were not robots but free agents of the Holy Spirit. They used their talents and abilities while remaining creatures of their age and culture. As instruments of the Holy Spirit they communicated God’s Word to mankind and were truly prophets, speakers for God.
Once we understand what biblical inspiration is, we can no longer dismiss it lightly or ignore it. Nevertheless the Bible cannot by itself prove that it is truthful, much less inspired. St. Paul assures us, “All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching – for reproof, correction and training in holiness” (2 Tim 3:16), but one can ask, was he quoted correctly? Was his letter to Timothy genuine? The fact is that there is only one credible guarantor of biblical genuineness, veracity and inspiration, and it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church is this credible guarantor because of her past history and continuing vitality, her uninterrupted presence in the world from apostolic times, her widespread acceptance among nations, her success in promoting heroic virtue, her unshaken authority, unchanging doctrine and admirable unity resting on the Rock that is Peter – all this despite attacks from outside and betrayals from within!
History shows that without a living authority the Bible is soon subjected to personal contrivance and interpretation. A retired auto-worker, Randall Peterson, has proposed that there be a new kind of Bible. He sarcastically says that a publisher ought to create an electronic Bible that would allow for editing from people in the pew. That way everyone could make the Bible say what they want it to say. It could even be sold to any church regardless of what it believes. The Roman Catholic Church knows what it believes and interprets Scriptures in accord with the deposit of faith committed to her by Christ.
Another factor to consider is that while the Bible is inspired it does not contain the entire deposit of faith. The Bible itself makes this clear. Jesus never commanded the apostles to write, only to teach all that he commanded them. Indeed not all of the apostles became inspired authors of Scripture. We also know that the spoken Word of God, the oral tradition of the Church, took place long before the writing of the New Testament and complements it. The Holy Spirit not only guided the writers of Scripture but also guides the Church.
Inspiration finally does not extend to copies or translations of the Bible. Before the invention of printing, the texts of Scriptures were copied by hand, usually by monks. It was tedious work and at times errors were made, which now have been corrected. Today we have many translations of Scripture. Not all are equally elegant, accurate or faithful. To choose a version solely on the basis of linguistic style may not always be wise.
Since Scripture is inspired, it is also inspiring, but just as the Holy Spirit’s guidance was necessary to the authors of the Word of God, so it is to us if we are to grasp God’s message. We must however, be properly disposed and the first requirement is humility. God “teaches the humble his way” (Ps 25:9). Thomas a Kemphis offers this advice: “All holy Scripture should be read in the spirit in which it was written. We should seek profit in the Scriptures rather than subtlety of speech… If thou wilt derive profit, read with humility, with simplicity, and with faith.” (Source: Rev. George M. Franko, “Homilies on the Liturgies of Sundays and Feasts,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Vol. CIX, No. 6. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, March 2009, pp. 42-44; Suggested reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 105-108, 111-114, 129, 137).
Reflection 7 – Christ is there to accompany us
Purpose: At every Eucharist, as at Emmaus, Christ is there to accompany us on our journey home.
Readings: Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19; Ps. 4: 2, 4, 7-8, 9; I John 2: 1-5a; Luke 24: 35-48
The Emmaus event gives us great insight into the faith of the early Christian community regarding the resurrection of Christ Jesus. No one was physically present to witness the very moment of the resurrection. But, this event is not questioned by the early Christians. The early Christians had a solid faith in the resurrection of Jesus, not only because of the Apostles telling their experience of the empty tomb, or the many apparitions that followed, but because of the power of signs, most especially the sacramental sign of the Eucharist, to communicate the reality of the resurrection.
It is at Emmaus that we see the Eucharist—the “breaking of the bread” as it was called in the early Church—become the sign, par excellence, to communicate the resurrection of Jesus. For, even though Jesus walked the long road to Emmaus with the disciples, and even though their hearts burned within them as Jesus preached and taught them about the recent events that occurred in Jerusalem, it was only at the “breaking of the bread” (in the celebrating of the Eucharist) that their eyes were opened to faith, and they recognized Jesus’ presence.
As it was for these early disciples in the Christian community, it is for us today. The celebration of the Mass gives us the opportunity to walk alongside Jesus, and have him instruct us, that our hearts may burn within us, during the proclamation and preaching of the Word of God. Yet, it is not until we experience the Eucharist, and allowing it to affect what it signifies—the real and true crucified and resurrected presence of Jesus—that we are capable of seeing Jesus and, thus, understanding all that he instructs us during the Liturgy of the Word.
The Eucharist is the sign of God’s actual presence with us. It is a mystery. It is the sign that conveys the mysteries of our salvation, and God’s love for us. It is also the sign that mysteriously works within us, the faith that affects our senses, so that we see in the Eucharist a meaning and reality that goes beyond our prima facie perception. Therefore, we are elevated to the realm of the beautiful and transcendent glory of the Resurrected One. This encounter changes our lives and strengthens our resolve by giving the faith we heard proclaimed and preached—which burned in our hearts—credibility. Now we follow Christ with conviction because the Eucharist shows us his presence alongside us for the journey.
Reflection 8 – St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)
In less than 40 years, Gianna Beretta Molla became a pediatric physician, a wife, a mother and a saint!
She was born in Magenta (near Milano) as the 10th of Alberto and Maria’s 13 children. An active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna earned degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia and opened a clinic in Mesero. Gianna also enjoyed skiing and mountain climbing.
Shortly before her 1955 marriage to Pietro Molla, Gianna wrote to him: “Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.” She and Peter had three children, Pierlluigi, Maria Zita and Laura.
Early in the pregnancy for her fourth child, doctors discovered that Gianna had both a child and a tumor in her uterus. She allowed the surgeons to remove the tumor but not to perform the complete hysterectomy that they recommended, which would have killed the child. Seven months later, Gianna Emanuela was born, The following week Gianna Beretta Molla died in Monza of complications from childbirth. She is buried in Mesero.
Gianna Emanuela went on to become a physician herself. Gianna Beretta Molla was beatified in 1994 and canonized 10 years later.
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1987
With great faith and courage, Gianna made the choice that enabled her daughter to be born. We can often wish that we were in different circumstances, but holiness frequently comes from making difficult choices in bad situations.
In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said: “Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love…Following the example of Christ, who ‘having loved his own…loved them to the end’ [John 13:1], this holy mother of a family remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves.”