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Daily Reflections


Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

The beating heart of our faith is the sacrament of the Eucharist, a chance to eat and drink at God’s table. In doing this we are fortified by the divine substance of God’s love, especially when we partake on a regular basis. Today’s Gospel is a reminder, much like my cookbook, of the power of participating in the feast God has set forth for us. Jesus is our spiritual food and all of us are welcome at the table. And the more we partake in the nourishment that God’s grace and love provides the more satisfied we will become. 

As we work through our busy day and week let’s keep remembering to take a seat at the table God has set for us. Let’s also find a place at the banquet for those who might have differing viewpoints or are sad and lonely. Let’s recognize that Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection are a gift that should be shared on a large platter. Let’s keep accruing the sustenance that comes from a rich relationship with God.

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Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

In receiving the Bread of Life, we no longer spiritually hunger and thirst. In fact, we are transformed and empowered to act as Christ in the world today. May we respond to this nourishment with the courage to be compassionate to those most in need in our communities, to love our enemies, and to use our time, talents, and resources for a more just world.

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Monday of the Third Week of Easter

Today’s gospel reading immediately follows the miracle of walking on the water. But the crowds who had just witnessed the miracle of the multiplication of loaves were not privy to this other miracle. Hence, their wonder at how Jesus got to the other side when they did not see him get into the boat with the disciples. One would think that seeking Jesus is something to be praised and desired. Yet, Jesus himself chastises the crowds who seek him out. This is because they have a wrong idea of who he is. Their focus is on the earthly and temporal whereas Jesus is inviting them to move their attention to the heavenly and eternal. He wants them to seek the food that only he can give, one that will last forever.

As I reflect on the gospel, I ask myself whether I focus on what is temporary, fleeting, superficial, or on what is eternal, lasting, deep. Is my relationship with Jesus merely one where I seek him to perform miracles? Or is it one where I truly believe who Jesus is, the one sent by God?

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Third Sunday of Easter

“Were not our hearts burning within us?” rings loudly to us all.

So, the question is how do I get my own heart burning for the Lord? We have just gone through another desert of Lent, Holy Week and Easter. My own memories of this liturgical cycle stretch back many decades and over time with prayer, scripture, and study of my faith, I have reached the point that my heart does burn with desire-at least on most days. The fact that the fire is not there all the time should not bother me.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples at first thought that that were seeing a ghost, not the risen Christ. This comes from some of the disciples, who actually saw the empty tomb. For us, at times to have a lack of fire is only natural. This is understandable since the witnesses themselves were lacking an abundance of faith.  I do not have the luxury of firsthand knowledge, yet my faith continues to grow, and the flame is stronger.

God bless – He is Risen!

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Saturday of the Second Week of Easter

I find today’s Gospel interesting in the ways that it is different from the other Gospels. In the Gospel according to Mark and in the Gospel according to Matthew, the apostles are saved from drowning in the rough seas by Jesus who walks on the water and puts an end to the stormy weather. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is in the boat with the apostles and is seemingly unconcerned about the storm; He eventually yields to their concerns and calms the waters. In today’s account of Jesus walking on the water in John’s Gospel, He sees that the apostles get safely to the other side, but he does not calm the sea. Somehow John’s version brings to mind my experience of the world in the last 12 months, a turbulent ride from which (perhaps) we are finally emerging safely on the other side.

It is interesting that in addition to a safe arrival, there is another common aspect of the 4 account. Each contains a warning to the apostles concerning their lack of faith, their hardness of heart. If I imagine myself in that boat, I find that I would have experienced the same terror as the apostles. I am not even sure that I would have expected Jesus to save us. I see my own doubts are manifest in the previous paragraph where I felt the need to include the word “perhaps.” Still, if I reflect back on the number of imprudent situations in which I found my myself in this life, I realize that I may not have had faith, but I had hope. My sense is that is what the apostles were experiencing. This is still falling short of the potential which Jesus saw in these men (and in me). My consolation is that I emerged from these precarious situations feeling blessed rather than lucky. My guess is that the apostles were in need of the Pentecost experience. I think that I can say the same thing for myself.

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Friday of the Second Week of Easter

The crowds in today’s Gospel reading are hungering to know God and to learn how to be his not just in terms of a Law – which seemed formal, external, and not really life-giving in their experience. 

The bread and fish which Jesus provides for them is only symbolic of the life that he gives them with his words. 

And as simple as a meal like that is, there is an inexplicable abundance left over once they have temporarily been filled: there is far more than they even began with.  We may think that we have only crusts to offer those who hunger, but if we give generously in God’s name (and consciously so) God will see that it nourishes them – and that we ourselves are blessed in our giving (Luke 6:38). 

More profoundly, I have come to believe that our deepest hunger can be resumed as a cry to “see me, know me, love me.”  The problem is that people do not really love themselves, and so I believe that anyone who claims to love me just doesn’t know the real me or, alternatively, that anyone who actually does really know me cannot possibly love me... 

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Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

In reflecting upon the reading for today, my mind drifts to those moments when the easier path might be to find comfort in the structure and solace that authority can provide.  By leaning into authority, it is all too easy to excuse ourselves from discerning God’s plan for us.  The results can be tragic. 

In more contemporary times, it is readily apparent how the manipulation and corruption of authority can lead to great evil. 

What is the true source of authority?  We only need to read on to today’s gospel passage to learn the answer.  But the one who comes from heaven is above all (John 3:31).  Jesus helps us to understand true authority’s wellspring.  And with this in mind, I pray that today’s scripture readings inspire in all of us the courage to remain strong in our convictions… even when it means summoning the strength to challenge authority when it is most appropriate, instead of standing idly by when our voice is needed most.

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

For whom are you willing to give up everything to protect, heal, or free?  Whom do you love so deeply and completely that your lives are intertwined powerfully and mysteriously?  We are intertwined with God, and a part of God manifested in this world died so we may live---so we may be free---so we may know love. 

Oh….what reckless love!  What relentless love!  Such infinite love! 

Are we living our lives today in gratitude for God’s love?  When we are spiritually weak or have some dark moments, how long does it take us to remember what God sacrificed on our behalf?  How long does it take after Easter Sunday for us to remember the sacrifice which had to be made so we may live with meaning and purpose?  In our weak moments, what does it take to remember this ever so persistent love of God?

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Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

Today's first reading from Acts and the Gospel of John complement one another. Acts recounts a community where all was held in common and no person was in need for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles. Is it possible to detach oneself from pursuit of things? If we know things will never make us happy (even if that larger house is sure nice to have) how do we navigate this world and, as Jesus puts it to Nicodemus, be born from above?

A source of helpful and centering reflection for me of late has been a contemporary interpretation of the first principle and foundation from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius by David Fleming, SJ. It reads, in part:

The goal of our life is to live with God forever... We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. 

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Monday of the Second Week of Easter

Our first reading picks up after Peter and John were released from custody following Peter’s healing of a lame man. Peter and John report how they were instructed not to teach in the name of Jesus. The fulfilment of Psalm 2:1-2 occurs not only with Jesus’ crucifixion, but also with the opposition his disciples face. This sober reminder of the consequences of being a disciple of Christ is tempered by God’s answer to their prayer: “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

In the Gospel, Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night in the cover of darkness. As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus probably didn’t want any of his fellow Pharisees to know of his clandestine visit with Jesus. We’re immediately alerted to the dangers associated with following Christ. The darkness also recalls the womb of our birth. However, these reminders are tempered by Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus. Jesus calls us to be born again in water and Spirit. Our rebirth with baptism brings us out of darkness, out of sin and death, and into new life.

In this Easter season, we rejoice in the resurrection of Christ and the promise of new life. But we are also reminded of the risks entailed in following Christ and, at the same time, the assistance we have from the Holy Spirit.

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Second Sunday of Easter , Sunday of Divine Mercy

“Peace be with you.”  I’m always amazed how certain words or phrases or images immediately capture my attention when I read Scripture.  I often feel like God knows just what I need to hear and when.  The readings today are about belief and faith.  Indeed, in John’s Gospel for today, Jesus says to “doubting” Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  Yet, it was Jesus’ multiple greetings of “Peace be with you” that washed over me in today’s Gospel.  I don’t know about you, but I’m yearning for more peace during this Easter season. 

In this year of pandemic, loss, and uncertainty around the world, and racial hate and unrest, incivility, and political vitriol throughout the United States, faith in many of our institutions and leaders has been shaken or lost. 

This Easter season invites us to bear witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and to receive his Divine Mercy during this threshold time.  As we bear witness in our own way, may Jesus’ peace be with us.  

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Weekly Guide


Third Week of Easter

This can be a very good week to grow in a sense of and practice with the notion of being a "contemplative in the midst of action." We have practically a whole week of gospels about Jesus' gift of himself to us as the "Bread of Life." This gives us the opportunity to let that mystery be in the background of our consciousness every day this week, as we go about our everyday tasks. What makes it "contemplative” is that we will be asking for graces each morning, and we will let our desires and our activities interact.

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Third Week of Easter

For the Fourth Sunday of Easter we reflect on the Paschal Mystery more deeply. Psalm 118 says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Peter quotes this psalm in preaching that the crippled man was healed, “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.” In John's Gospel, Jesus tells us, “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

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Third Week of Easter

The gospel for this week is from Chapter 6 of John's Gospel on Jesus as the “Bread of Life.” Like so many stories in this gospel, Jesus teaches from one layer of understanding to another, taking us deeper into understanding his gift of himself to us in the Eucharist. Jesus says, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” “The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” “Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him.” This marvelous dialogue ends with this exchange with his disciples: “Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.'”

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Third Week of Easter

On the Third Sunday of Easter, Luke's Gospel has the very human story of Jesus' appearing to the disciples after the Resurrection, inviting them to touch his hands and feet to see that he is real. He ate with them and “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

In our first readings from Acts of the Apostles this week, we read of one of the earliest martyrs, Stephen and of Philip converting an Ethiopian slave along the road. Also this week is the story of Saul, persecutor of Christians being blinded and then healed by Ananias in the name of Jesus. The week ends with Peter traveling the region and healing.

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Second Week of Easter

For the remaining five weeks of the Easter season, our readings will be from the Acts of the Apostles and from John's Gospel, which offers stories of Jesus' ministry not heard during the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year.

The weekday readings begin with the frightened Pharisee, Nicodemus, coming at night to speak to Jesus, asking how anyone can be “born again.” Jesus says we must be born of water and Spirit. The gospel offers a poetic look at light and darkness, good and evil: “the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light...But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. John writes, “For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.” Jesus feeds the 5,000 people. Alone in a storm, the disciples are afraid -- but more fearful when Jesus walks across the water toward them. “It is I. Do not be afraid,” Jesus tells them.

Over and over this week, we are invited to place our trust in God. The ever-human disciples didn't always put aside their fears, and neither do we. We can imagine the terrified followers of Jesus hiding behind locked doors until he appears in their midst, inviting them not to be afraid.

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Second Week of Easter

Dear Lord, it feels impossible to believe that my life can change, that I can move out of this rut I am in. I know I don't always live my life feeling your love and being my best self. Help me to trust in you, to drop my defenses and to feel how deeply I am loved and forgiven by you. Give me the courage to feel it in my heart when you say, “Don't be afraid” and “Peace be with you.” I so long for that peace in my life but it feels so far away sometimes. Help me to believe in you, to drive away the doubts and unbelief that harden my heart.

I know my life can change, if only I can say with all my heart, “I trust in you, Lord. I believe in your mercy and I know that with your help, my life can be healed.”

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Second Week of Easter

This might be a good week to spend time with Jesus looking at the fears in our own lives which keep us locked up away from others. We can ask Jesus for the courage to trust in him. What would it cost us to let go of the fears that smother our lives? What would it mean for our lives and for the relationships in our lives if we were willing to let go of “the way we have always done things” and to beg Jesus for help? Our lives can change. We have a standing offer from our Lord to fall into his forgiving embrace.

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Second Week of Easter

Over and over this week, we are invited to place our trust in God. The ever-human disciples didn't always put aside their fears, and neither do we. We can imagine the terrified followers of Jesus hiding behind locked doors until he appears in their midst, inviting them not to be afraid.

This might be a good week to spend time with Jesus looking at the fears in our own lives which keep us locked up away from others. We can ask Jesus for the courage to trust in him. What would it cost us to let go of the fears that smother our lives? What would it mean for our lives and for the relationships in our lives if we were willing to let go of “the way we have always done things” and to beg Jesus for help? Our lives can change. We have a standing offer from our Lord to fall into his forgiving embrace.

Read the Weekly Guide

 

 





Second Week of Easter

On the Third Sunday of Easter, Luke's Gospel has the very human story of Jesus' appearing to the disciples after the Resurrection, inviting them to touch his hands and feet to see that he is real. He ate with them and “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

This is a wonderful week to pray in joy at God's merciful love for us, and for the unending forgiveness we are offered. We know we have done nothing to deserve that forgiveness and that we cannot earn it, and yet it is ours, if only we can accept it.

Read the Weekly Guide

 

 

 




Second Week of Easter

For the remaining five weeks of the Easter season, our readings will be from the Acts of the Apostles and from John's Gospel, which offers stories of Jesus' ministry not heard during the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year.

The weekday readings begin with the frightened Pharisee, Nicodemus, coming at night to speak to Jesus, asking how anyone can be “born again.” Jesus says we must be born of water and Spirit. The gospel offers a poetic look at light and darkness, good and evil: “the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light...But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. John writes, “For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.” Jesus feeds the 5,000 people. Alone in a storm, the disciples are afraid -- but more fearful when Jesus walks across the water toward them. “It is I. Do not be afraid,” Jesus tells them.

Read the Weekly Guide

 

 

 




Second Week of Easter

On the Second Sunday of Easter, as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, we get a picture into how the early community lived their life of faith by sharing everything in common. In John's Gospel, Jesus appears to the Apostles, hiding in fear, and gives them the gift of his Spirit, calling them to forgive sins. We are reminded that the gospel is written, that we might come to believe in our Lord and have life in his name.

The Acts of the Apostles all this week offers us the challenges the apostles faced from the earliest communities and from the Jewish authorities.

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Pope Francis


'Fratelli tutti' strengthens unity of humanity

"While we have witnessed commendable examples of solidarity among states at the beginning of this crisis, we can now see how the uncertainty, inequalities and divisions have become more and more visible to the detriment of the most vulnerable," says Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva.

"'Fraternity', obviously, because of the encyclical letter of the Holy Father; 'Multilateralism', because its always necessary to underscore the necessity of international collaboration, which seems from time to time not very efficient but is absolutely indispensable; and the third thing is 'Peace'".

Peace, Archbishop Jurkovic notes, is extremely important when speaking of Geneva, because the city is "the place of negotiation on disarmament". There are over 40 permanent representatives and ambassadors working solely on this issue, he notes.  

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Multilateralism, fraternity needed on path toward better society

Cardinal Parolin highlighted that to fully understand the concept of fraternity and its place in the Holy See’s multilateral diplomatic action, it is important to recall that fraternity was the first theme Pope Francis referred to on the day of his election as Pope, eight years ago. On that day in fact, Pope Francis said: “Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity.”

In line with efforts towards achieving fraternity, Cardinal Parolin went on to propose some reflections on access to healthcare, refugees, work, international humanitarian law and disarmament.

“Attention to the neediest and those in vulnerable situations, especially refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons, is not only a testimony of fraternity, but a recognition of a concern for the real needs of our sisters and brothers,” the Vatican Secretary of State affirmed.

Another group significantly impacted by global pandemic containment strategies is workers, including informal workers, small business owners and traders, “who have seen an erosion of their savings and have often faced systematic barriers to accessing basic health care,” Cardinal Parolin pointed out.

“The desire for peace, security and stability is in fact one of the deepest desires of the human heart, since it is rooted in the Creator, who makes all peoples members of the human family,” Cardinal Parolin said.

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Prayer made St Teresa of Ávila an exceptional woman

The Pope said that St Teresa was outstanding in many ways. However, he underlined, “it should not be forgotten that her recognized relevance in these dimensions is nothing more than the consequence of what was important to her: her encounter with the Lord, her ‘determined determination,’ as she says, to persevere in her union with Him through prayer, her firm intention to carry out the mission entrusted to her by the Lord, to whom she offered herself with simplicity.”

The Pope stressed that “St. Teresa teaches us that the path of prayer that made her an exceptional woman, and a person of reference through the centuries, is open to all who humbly open themselves to the action of the Spirit in their lives.”

Such a path, he said, “is not open to those who consider themselves pure and perfect, the Cathars of all centuries, but to those who are aware of their sins.”

“Prayer made St. Teresa an exceptional woman, a creative and innovative woman,” emphasized Pope Francis.

“From prayer she discovered the ideal of fraternity that she wanted to make a reality in the convents she founded.”

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Christianity is relationship, care and joy

The Pope reflected on the Gospel according to Luke (Lk 24) ... The Pope explained that three very tangible verbs characterize this Gospel passage: they are looking, touching and eating.

He said these are all verbs that reflect our individual and community life and describe actions that “can give joy to a true encounter with the living Jesus.”

Jesus, the Pope continued, says “See my hands and my feet” and this tells us that “looking is not only seeing, it is more; it also involves intention, will.”

Touching is also a verb of love, in fact the Pope explained, love calls for closeness, contact, the sharing of life. He said that “by inviting the disciples to touch him, to verify that he is not a spirit, Jesus indicates to them and to us that the relationship with him and with our brothers and sisters cannot remain “at a distance”, at the level of a gaze.”

The third verb, to eat, the Pope said, “clearly expresses our humanity in its most natural indigence, that is, our need to nourish ourselves in order to live.”

“Being Christian is not first of all a doctrine or a moral ideal; it is the living relationship with Him, with the Risen Lord: we look at him, we touch him, we are nourished by Him and, transformed by his Love, we look at, touch and nourish others as brothers and sisters.”

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Pope Francis

So let us be renewed by the peace, forgiveness and wounds of the merciful Jesus. Only in this way will our faith be alive. Only in this way will we proclaim the Gospel of God, which is the Gospel of mercy.

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Mercy is made tangible, it becomes closeness, service, care for those in difficulty. I hope you will always feel you have been granted mercy, so as to be merciful to others in turn.

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Jesus is the Risen One, the Lord who passed through death in order to lead us to safety. Even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us. He lifts us back up after our falls. He helps us grow in faith

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In the midst of the contradictions and perplexities we must confront each day, the din of so many words and opinions, there is the quiet voice of the Risen Lord who keeps saying to us: “Peace be with you!”

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The breath of faith is #prayer: we grow in faith inasmuch as we learn to pray.

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Church is the house and school of prayer

The Pope explained, "This is also why communities and groups dedicated to prayer flourish in the Church. Monasteries, convents, hermitages often become centres of spiritual light, small oases in which intense prayer is shared and fraternal communion is constructed day by day." The Pope said, “They are cells that are vital not only for the ecclesial fabric, but that of society itself.” In this regard, he recalled the role of monasticism in the birth and growth of European civilization as well as other cultures. “Praying and working in community keeps the world going. It is a motor.”

“Everything in the Church,” the Pope continued, “originates in prayer and everything grows thanks to prayer." He pointed out that certain groups while carrying out reforms and changes in the Church, put great effort in terms of organization and the media but prayer is sometimes missing. “Prayer,” the Pope said, “is what opens the door to the Holy Spirit, which is what inspires us to go forward.” He continued, “Changes in the Church without prayer are not Church changes, they are group changes. And when the Enemy wants to fight the Church, he does so, first of all, by trying to dry up its sources, by preventing it from praying, and [inducing it to] make these other proposals.” When prayer ceases,  he said, "the Church realizes it has become like an empty shell, lost its bearings and no longer has its source of warmth and love.”

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St Teresa of Ávila shows importance of women in Church and society

Saint Teresa was born in 1515 and died in 1582. Pope Francis wrote in his message that even now, nearly half a millenium since her death, wrote that "the flame that Jesus lit in Teresa continues to shine in this world, always in need of courageous witnesses, capable of breaking down any wall, whether physical, existential or cultural." 

He also cited her intelligence and tenacity, which she joined to "a sensitivity to beauty and a spiritual motherhood toward all those who approached her work."

The Pope added that she was an example of the "extraordinary role that women have played throughout history in the Church and in society."

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The sharing of goods and the social function of private property

The Acts of the Apostles tells us that “no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” This “is not communism; it is Christianity in its pure state.” With these words, Pope Francis, in the Mass celebrated on Divine Mercy Sunday, commented on the sharing of goods realized in the first Christian community.

Often, and even very recently, the current Bishop of Rome has been criticized for questioning the untouchability of the right to private property, and his words have been linked to Marxism and communism. Last November 30, in a Message on the occasion of the opening of work of the International Conference of member judges of the Committee for Social Rights of Africa and America, Pope Francis said, “We build social justice on the basis of the fact that the Christian tradition has never recognized the right of private property as absolute and untouchable, and has always emphasized the social function of any of its forms. The right of ownership is a secondary natural right, derived from the right held by all, arising from the universal destination of created goods. There is no social justice capable of addressing inequity that presupposes the concentration of wealth.”

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Pope greets faithful at Regina Coeli

The Holy Father also offered special greetings to those present in the Church, including the regular faithful, nurses, inmates, people with disabilities, refugees and migrants, civil protection volunteers, and Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy.

“You represent some of the situations in which mercy is made tangible,” the Pope said. “It becomes closeness, service, care for those in difficulty.”

Returning to a theme introduced in his homily during the Mass, Pope Francis said, “I hope that you will always feel you have been granted mercy so as to be merciful to other in turn.” He concluded his brief remarks with the prayer, “May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, obtain this grace for us all.

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Cardinal Ouellet highlights importance of theological reflection on priesthood

“The major theme is the relationship between the priesthood of the baptized and the priesthood of the ordained,” explained Cardinal Marc Ouellet in an interview with Vatican News' Christopher Wells.

“The Second Vatican Council has enhanced the value of the priesthood of the baptized,” notes the Cardinal. “But along the way in the Church, we have not reflected enough on this question from deeper ecclesiology.”

Amid the difficult times caused by ongoing Covid-19 health emergency, and the accompanying “tensions” it brings, Cardinal Ouellet stressed that we need a deeper theological reflection to understand the Church as communion.

“If we want to overcome tensions that are more at a superficial level, we need to deepen our understanding of the mystery of the Church, and the presence of the Holy Trinity of the Church," he said. We also need to examine “how it works with the concrete services and ministries, and the fact of the community of the baptized.”

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Having recieved mercy, let us now become merciful

“Peace be with you!” The Pope said Jesus “does not bring a peace that removes the problems without, but one that infuses trust within. It is no outward peace, but peace of heart.” He explained, “The peace of Jesus made them pass from remorse to mission.” The peace of Jesus that awakens mission, the Pope continued, “entails not ease and comfort, but the challenge to break out of ourselves,” from the self-absorption that paralyzes, and from the bonds that keep the heart imprisoned. The disciples realized that God did not condemn or demean them, but instead believed in them; as St. John Henry Newman put it, “He loves us better than we love ourselves.”

The second way Jesus shows mercy, the Pope said, is by bestowing the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. By ourselves, he said, we cannot remove sin and its guilt. “Only God takes it away, only He by His mercy can make us emerge from the depths of our misery.” Hence, “we need to let ourselves be forgiven.”

“Forgiveness in the Holy Spirit is the Easter gift that enables our interior resurrection,” the Pope said, urging Christians to ask for the grace to “embrace the Sacrament of forgiveness.” “Confession,” he said, “is not about ourselves and our sins, but about God and His mercy.” “Confession is the Sacrament of resurrection, pure mercy,” the Pope said, urging all those who hear confessions to convey the sweetness of mercy.

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