All posts by Tony Kadavil

Easter V Sunday (May 7, 2023)

Easter V (May 7) Homily (1-page summary for an 8- minute homily) L/23

Introduction: Today’s readings tell us how the early Church accepted the challenge of keeping Jesus’ memory alive by remaining a dynamic Christian community, bearing witness to Christ by their unity, fidelity in worship and spirit of loving, humble service. Today’s Gospel introduces Jesus as the Way to God, the Truth to be accepted, and the Life to be shared and lived.

Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from Acts, shows us the early Church as a loving, serving, and worshipping community (Acts 6:1-7). Hence, it easily solved a problem of perceived discrimination by instituting the diaconate for the service of the community. In the second reading, St. Peter advises the early Christians to renew the memory of Jesus by allowing God to make of them ”living stones” and build them into a spiritual edifice, a community of believers, with Christ for its “Living Cornerstone” (I Pt 2:4-5). Peter praises Christians, both Gentile and Jewish, as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s own people.” In today’s Gospel, Jesus consoles his apostles (who are sad and disheartened at His announcement that He will be leaving them soon), by assuring them that he is going to prepare an everlasting accommodation for them in his Father’s House in Heaven. He gives them the assurance that he will come back to take them to their Heavenly abodes. It is then that Thomas says, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus answers Thomas’ question with, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” The basic doctrine of Judaism is that Yahweh is the Way the Truth and the Life. Hence, Jesus is making a revolutionary claim that he is equivalent to Yahweh. Jesus also declares that he, himself, is the safest and surest way to God, discrediting the notions that all religions are equally sure ways to reach God, and that no organized religion but only living a good life of sharing love is necessary to reach God. But Jesus is the Way which he calls narrow because it is the way of focused, loving, humble, sacrificial service. Jesus is the Truth who teaches revealed truths about God and God’s relation to man. Jesus also teaches moral truths and demonstrates them in his life. Jesus is the Life because, as God, he possesses the eternal life of God and shares his Divine life with his disciples through the Word of God and the Sacraments. In short, Jesus reveals the Father in the Way he lives, in the Truth of his word and in the new Life that he brings.

Life messages: We need to accept Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life: 1) We accept Jesus as the Way by walking his narrow way of loving, humble, sacrificial service. 2) We accept Jesus as the Truth by learning and practicing what he has taught us, as given in the Bible and in the teachings of the Church.

3) We accept Jesus as the Life by sharing in the Divine Life of God in His Church, making use of the means Jesus has established. 4) We do all of this a) by actively participating in the Eucharistic celebration and properly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion; b) by the worthy reception of the other Sacraments; c) by the meditative, daily reading of the Word of God; d) by allowing the Holy Spirit living in the Church and within us to guide and strengthen us; and e) by communicating with God the Source of Life, in personal and family prayers.

EASTER V [A] (May 7,/2023): Acts 6:1-7, 1Pt 2:4-9, Jn 14:1-12

Homily starter anecdotes: 1)” My Father’s house.  When St. John Chrysostom was summoned before the Roman Emperor Arcadius and threatened with banishment, he replied, “You cannot banish me, for the world is my Father’s house.”  “Then I will kill you,” exclaimed the Emperor angrily.  “No, you cannot,” retorted Chrysostom, “because my life is hidden with Christ in God.”  “Your treasures shall be confiscated,” the Emperor replied grimly. “Sir, you can’t do that because my treasures are in Heaven as my heart is there.”  “I will drive you from your people, and you shall have no friends left,” threatened the Emperor.  “That you cannot do either, Sir, for I have a Friend in Heaven Who has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’” — In today’s Gospel, Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, gives us the same assurance.  “In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (

#2) Surprises in Heaven: A few years ago, a minister of the United Methodist Church was forced out of his congregation and the ministry because he had the “audacity to preach heresy” during his Sunday sermon:  “I’m in a Church,” he said, “which acts as if God has a very small house, with only a few rooms and only one door.  But thanks be to God, God’s house, according to Jesus, has many rooms, many places to dwell.  If it were not so, he would have told us.”  To add fuel to the fire, he explained his theory with a story.  A good man died and was ushered into heaven, which appeared to be an enormous house.  An angel began to escort him down a long hallway past “many rooms”.  “What’s in that room?” the man asked, pointing to a very somber-looking group of people chanting a Gregorian Mass.  “That’s the Roman Catholic room,” said the angel.  “Very high church.”  “What’s in that noisy room?” the man asked, pointing to a group of white-clothed people dancing, clapping and singing and occasionally shrieking out loud.  “That’s the Pentecostal group,” said the angel.  “Very lively.”  “What’s in that room?” asked the man, pointing to a group of bald-headed people meditating to the sound of an enormous gong.”  That’s the Zen group,” said the angel.  “Very quiet.  You would hardly know they were here.”  Then the angel stopped the man, as they were about to round a corner.  “Now, when we get to the next room,” said the angel, “I would appreciate it if you would tiptoe past.  We mustn’t make any sound.”  “Why’s that?” asked the man.  “Because in that room there’s a bunch of very fundamentalist Christians; and they think they’re the only ones here.”  In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a true picture of his Father’s house. ( Introduction: Today’s readings tell us how the early Church accepted the challenge of keeping Jesus’ memory alive in the Christian community by fashioning it into a serving and worshipping community (Acts 6:1-7), allowing God to make of them ”living stones” and build them into a “spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus  Christ,”  with Jesus Christ as  the “Living Cornerstone.(I Pt 2:4-5), thus becoming the Father’s House (John 14:1-12). Linking the first two readings to each other and to the Gospel, the Refrain of today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 33) has us sing “Lord, let Your Mercy be on us, as we place our trust in You,” because His Divine Mercy is the Source  and binding power of our unity in Him here and hereafter. Today’s Gospel gives us the image of the Church as a Church in glory in the Father’s House.  It also reminds us of the great truth that Jesus is the Way to God, that Jesus  is the Truth of God and that Jesus is Life of God through Whom we receive God’s own Life. Today’s readings demand from us real Faith not only in God the Father but also in Jesus precisely because he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn. 14:6), and he instructs us,  “You have faith in God; have faith also in Me” (Jn. 14:1).

The first reading (Acts 6:1-7) explained:  This passage shows how and why the early Church developed social institutions and Church offices in keeping Jesus’ memory alive. This famous account of the selection of the first deacons in the Church tells us how the apostles and early Christians, as a Church community, prayerfully and amicably solved a community problem. The Greek-speaking widows had complained that the Aramaic-speaking food-ministers were short-changing them at meals in favor of the Aramaic-speaking widows.  The apostles solved the problem by convening a meeting of “the whole community of the disciples” and informing them that they should be the ones to work through their problem.  Their task: “Select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to the task” of distributing the food (6:3).  Note the names of the chosen seven: “Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolaus of Antioch.”  Every single one is a Greek!  Luke tells us that the Church believed that if the Greeks in the community had a problem, then the Greeks in the community were important and gifted enough to solve their problem.  The apostles ratified the choice of these community servants by praying over them and laying hands on them.  The apostles’ choice to solemnize the choosing by the ancient ritual of the imposition of hands on those chosen suggests something very interesting about service in the Church. The Apostles seem to be saying that the role of the community servant is worthy of what would become known as “ordination.”  That is, service is so important in the life of the Church, that we cannot be the Church of Christ Jesus if we’re without mutual service.  Word, and Sacrament, and Service, are the three constituents of the Church which Jesus founded, and the Holy Spirit brought to active life.

The second Reading (1 Peter 2:4-9) explained:  gives us a view of the Church as a spiritual edifice built from “living stones” upon the “Living Cornerstone of Christ” (I Pt 2:4-5).  Our Jewish ancestors in the Faith had once been slaves in Egypt, then nomads in Sinai, then settlers for a few generations, and then exiles in Babylon.  So the notion of a permanent home, one made (at least in part), of stone, held great appeal for them.  Thus, it was natural for Peter, while addressing the Jewish Christians, to use the stone metaphor to describe the place of Jesus in the plan of God, and to specify that the believing disciples were being made into “living stones” forming the “house” which was built, Peter says, on Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, quoting Psalm 118 about the stone rejected by the builders becoming the cornerstone. Peter contrasts those Jews who accept Jesus as their cornerstone with those who stumble on the stone. For all human beings, Jesus will either become a “cornerstone,” binding all together, or a “stone that will make them stumble and a rock that will make them fall.” Peter then addresses all Christians, both Jewish and Gentile, using the loftiest titles applied to Israel in the Old Testament: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His [God’s] own. Peter uses startling images like newborn babies, a living stone, holy priesthood, chosen race, royal people, God’s chosen, God’s own, and the like,  to promote in all Christians a sense of new identity within the community of Faith.   No one has ever expressed the dignity and importance of being a follower of Jesus more perfectly than Peter. We are, “a chosen race,” because we have received the seal of the Spirit of God at our Baptism; “a royal priesthood,” because we share in the priesthood of Christ himself, offering ourselves as living sacrifices by worshiping and serving God daily to help build his kingdom.; “a consecrated nation,” because now Christians are set apart to live the new and everlasting covenant, called to be light and salt for the world; and,  “God’s possession,” because we have been united with Him in Baptism, serve Him alone as our Master, and are  ready to proclaim the Good News of salvation, making it available to all who believe.

Gospel exegesis: The context: The disciples are gathered together with Jesus on the last Thursday night of his life in the Upper Room for the Last Supper. The departing Jesus instructs them about how they are to preserve his memory and carry on his mission. As his final hours on earth approach, Jesus prepares his disciples by explaining to them the full significance of what will happen.  He will return to his Father and send them the gift of the Holy Spirit.  And after dedicating their lives to leading others to the Faith through the power of that Holy Spirit, they will be reunited with him in his Father’s house.  “I am going to prepare a living space for you, a mansion, a place for you for all eternity…  I will come again and take you to that place.” The misinterpreted words of consolation: By reproducing the consoling words of Jesus, the apostle, John probably intended to bring a note of comfort to a group of early Judeo-Christians struggling to maintain their identity around the close of the first century.  John was attempting to give courage and hope to people who found themselves in the midst of a very nasty fight with their passionate and fanatical Jewish neighbors in the Synagogue.  They were frightened, vulnerable and defensive, and their survival as a community of Faith as well as their individual security and safety were in peril.  It is clear that Jesus’s aim was pastoral, an attempt to comfort those friends of his who were afraid and who needed assurance.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith also in Me…  “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  But some later Christians have used such a text of assurance and comfort, not to comfort one another as Jesus did. Instead, they have used it as a weapon against people who don’t believe in Jesus, or who don’t believe in Jesus the way they do, or who don’t read the Bible the way they do, or who don’t talk in public about their Faith and the way they feel about it as these folks do!  These combative Christians seem to interpret the text as: “There is only one way to Heaven and that is our way!”

The tremendous claim by Jesus.  Centuries before Christ, the sages of India prayed every morning the “Shanti Mantra” (“Mantra prayer of peace”) taken from Brihadaranyaka Upanishads (1.3.28), composed in 700 BCE, in the Sanskrit language: “From falsehood lead me to truth, from darkness lead me to light, from mortality lead me to immortality” (“Aasato Ma Sath Gamaya, Thamaso Ma Jyothir Gamaya, Mrtjyor Ma Amritham Gamaya”). Centuries later Jesus gave the answer to their prayer through his tremendous claim: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  In fact, Jesus took three of the great basic concepts of the Jewish religion and made the unique claim that in him all the three found their full realization.  This means that he alone is the surest way to God.  He alone, Son of God and Son of Man, can authoritatively and flawlessly teach us truths about God, and he alone can give God’s life to us. John’s central message is that Jesus is both the Revealer and the Revelation of God. If we wish to know who God is, what God thinks, and what God wants of us, we must attend to Jesus the Word of God.  “The Jesus of the Gospel does not only show us the way – his life of humble and generous servanthood is the way; he does not just philosophize about a concept of truth – he is the perfect Revelation of the truth about a God of enduring and unlimited love for his people; he is not just a preacher of futuristic promises – he has been raised up by God to a state of existence in God to which he invites all of us.  In embracing the Spirit of his Gospel and living the hope of his Word, we encounter, in Christ, God Himself.” (Connections).

Jesus is the Way.  We go to God the Father who is Truth and Life through Jesus, and Jesus calls Himself the “Way” because He, the Only-begotten Son of God, is also Son of Man,  the visible manifestation in human form of all that his Father is. To those who teach that all religions lead us to God or that religion used is immaterial provided man lead a good life, Jesus has the answer that he is the safest and surest Way to God because he came from God and he can lead us to his Heavenly Father.  The founders of other religions had either wrong ideas about the way to God or they were not sure guides.  Lao-Tse (604-531 BC), the founder of Taoism said: “Get rid of all desires, you will have a contented life on earth, but I am not sure about the next life.”  Buddha taught people to reach self-realization through total detachment and “nirvana,” but he was not sure if these would lead one to God.  Confucius confessed that he did not know of an eternal life or the way to attain it.  The founder of Islam, Mohammed Nabi, admitted that he had no hope of the future unless Allah should put His mantle of mercy on him.  However, Jesus claims that he is the only Way to God. When a Person is a Way for us to get to the Father and everlasting life, that Way is found only in our relationship with Him, that is, in our union with Him in mind and heart, in will and action. But Jesus’ sure Way to God is the narrow Way of the cross.  It is the least-traveled Way of humble, loving, self-giving, and committed service to others. To follow the Way of Jesus is to become a special kind of person, a person whose whole being reflects the Truth and the Life that Jesus is, and reveals to us.  It is to be a person of Truth and Life who is totally identified with the vision and the values of Jesus.  The medieval monk Thomas à Kempis, the author of Imitation of Christ, explains Jesus’ statement, “I am the Way,  and the Truth,  and the Life” thus: “Without the way, there is no going; without the truth, there is no knowing; and without the life, there is no living.”

Jesus is the Truth. Gandhi said, “God is truth.”  Jesus is the Truth because he is the only one who reveals to us the whole Truth about God.  He teaches us that God is a loving, merciful, providing and forgiving Father.  He also teaches us the Truth that our Triune God lives in each one of the believers.  Jesus is the Truth also because he has borne testimony to Truth, demonstrating through his Life and death the Love God is, and has for human beings. Truth, here, is that complete integrity and harmony which Jesus himself revealed, not only in what he said and did, but in the total manifestation of his life and person.  Jesus is the Truth, the Word of God. To seek the truth elsewhere is to stumble and fall, to deal in falsehood and lies. So, we pray in the 86th Psalm, “Teach me thy Way, O Lord, and I will walk in thy Truth.” For us to live the Truth in that Way is also to be fully alive, to be a “fully-functioning person,” responding totally to that abundance of life which Jesus has come to give us.

Jesus is the Life.  As God, Jesus  is Life because he has Eternal Life in himself.  In addition, he is the one who gives us his Life-giving Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the Life also in the sense that he allows us to share in God’s Life through the Sacraments. Christ rose from the dead for two reasons: first, to give us eternal life; second, to make us fully alive now. His Spirit animates every moment of our lives. To be fully alive is to be in God. Thomas a Kempis of The Imitation of Christ fame wrote, “Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living.”

Life messages: 1) We need to know Jesus the Truth and walk Jesus the Way: Jesus asked Philip: “Have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me?” He is asking us the same question: “Have I been with you all this time – in the Mass, in the Sacraments, in the Bible in the worshipping community – and you still do not know me?”  If we really believe that Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life, then we will find fresh and creative ways to keep alive his memory. Jesus asks us to keep alive his memory by reading and praying the Scriptures, by gathering in Jesus’ name and celebrating the Eucharist “in memory” of him, by handing on the great tradition of Christian Faith and by living according to his wise teachings.  Jesus says, “If you believe in me, you will do the work I do.” This is the work he’s talking about: creating safe, secure, happy places for one another in which the really important work of life — transformation and big-family building — can happen. We can help one another “get a life” in the same way Jesus did: by recognizing the powerful effect we have on one another, for good or ill, and by consciously deciding to make even our smallest choices add up to safe, secure, happy spaces where every member of our big family can grow whole.

2) We need to possess, and live out,  Jesus the Life.  We share the Divine life of God by making use of the means Jesus established in his Church: a) by actively participating in the Eucharistic celebration and properly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion;  b) by the worthy reception of the other Sacraments;  c) by the meditative and daily reading of the Word of God;  d) by following the guidance of the life-giving Spirit of God, living within us; and e) by communicating with God, the Source of Life, in personal and family prayers.

JOKES OF THE WEEK 1) “No thanks.”  Evangelist Billy Graham tells of a time during the early years of his preaching ministry when he was due to lead a crusade meeting in a town in South Carolina, and he needed to mail a letter.  He asked a little boy in the main street how he could get to the post office.  The boy gave him directions.  Billy said, “If you come to the Central Baptist Church tonight, I’ll tell you how to get to Heaven, God the Father’s house.” The boy replied, “No thanks.  You don’t even know how to get to the post office, and you are going to teach me how to go to Heaven?!”

2) To the Father’s House with two bags of currency: A stingy old lawyer who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness was determined to prove wrong the saying, “You can’t take it with you.”  After much thought and consideration, the old ambulance-chaser finally figured out how to take at least some of his money with him when he died.  He instructed his wife to go to the bank and withdraw enough paper currency to fill two pillowcases.  He then directed her to take the bags of money to the attic and leave them directly above his bed.  His plan was that when he passed away, he would reach out and grab the bags on his way to Heaven.  Several weeks after the funeral, the deceased lawyer’s wife, while cleaning the attic, came upon the two forgotten pillowcases stuffed with currency.  “Oh, that poor old soul,” she sighed in pity.  “How sad. Of all people, he should have known that money only spends  here!”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK: (The easiest method  to visit these websites is to copy and paste the web address or URL on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

6) Outlines of Bible books

7) New American Bible with notes

 23 Additional anecdotes:

1) “You have Faith in God; have Faith also in me” (John 14:1).  Dr. Robert Schuller, that legendary advocate of “Possibility Thinking,” says that there are two words that have killed more God-inspired dreams and hopes than anything else he can think of.  These two words are “Be realistic!”  If we Christians, Dr. Schuller says, were “realistic,” then nothing would be accomplished.  But if we have real, dynamic Faith in God and in Jesus His Son we can do anything.  He cites the example of Tom Dempsey–a young man who was born with half a right foot and a deformed right arm, but a ton of Faith.  Dempsey wanted to be a football player–in spite of his considerable handicaps.  And he did play football.  He became a kicker for his high school team.  But that wasn’t enough.  He wanted to play college ball.  And again, he became the kicker on his college team.  But when he graduated from college, his dream became even wilder and more fantastic.  He wanted to be a professional football player!  A professional football player with half a foot and a deformed right arm!   Impossible!  No coach would accept him.  They all shook their heads – all except one. And it is ironic and more than coincidental that Dempsey became a kicker for the professional football team, The New Orleans SAINTS!  The rest, as they say, is history.  In 1972, Dempsey kicked the longest field goal ever–63 yards!  All because he was not “realistic”! — All because, Schuller tells us, Tom Dempsey had Faith in Jesus Christ who gave him the strength to do what he dreamed. (

2) “Is anyone down there?” There is the story of a man who fell off a cliff.  On the way down he manages to grab a tree limb.  Peering into a deep canyon, he shudders, looks up, and calls out, “Help, please. Is anyone up there?” After an unbearable silence, a voice answers, “Yes, I am here.” “Who are you?” the man shouts. “It’s Me, the Lord!” Greatly relieved, the man says, “Thank you.  Have you come to rescue me?” “Yes,” says the Lord.  “Let go the rope.”   The man thinks for a second, and then asks, “Is there anyone else up there?”  —  Well, we can understand the man’s reluctance to let go, but, in reality, there is no one else up there.  Jesus says it quite plainly this Sunday, “I am the Way” (Jn 14:6).  He does not say a way, but the way. (

3) They think they are the only ones up here.” Bill O’Reilly of the O’Reilly Factor summed up this thinking perfectly in one of his “talking points” by telling a joke about a certain denomination and then making his point. He said, “Saint Peter was leading a group of new arrivals on their first tour of heaven. Suddenly he stopped and put his finger to his mouth. “Shhh,” he whispered. “We can’t make a sound when we walk by this room. Remember that.” When they passed out of hearing range one of the new souls asked, “Why?” Peter replied, “Because that room is full of Southern Baptists and they think they are the only ones up here.” (

4) “How many of you would like to go to Heaven?” A Sunday School teacher asked the children in her class: “How many of you would like to go to Heaven?” All of the children raised their hands except one little guy named Derrick. When the teacher asked him why he didn’t want to go to Heaven, he said, “I’m sorry Mrs. Smith, but my Mommy told me to come home right after the Sunday school class, and she was baking an apple pie for me.” — Well, like that little boy, Heaven is still a desire and a dream for most people. For example, 77% of Americans believe in Heaven, and 76% of Americans believe their chances of getting there are “good or excellent.” Now there are still some people who either don’t believe in Heaven or don’t care to go there even if there is one. The psychologist, Sigmund Freud, said, “Heaven was a human fantasy rooted in man’s instinct for self-preservation.” Harvard philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, once asked, “Can you imagine anything more appallingly idiotic than the Christian idea of Heaven?” It is not idiotic for those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and who believe in his promise of a heavenly abode as described in today’s Gospel.  (

5) “Who do you think is ‘very likely’ to go to Heaven?” U. S. News and World Report did a poll a few years ago of one thousand respondents, and they asked this question: “Who do you think is ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to go to Heaven?” They asked this question about thirteen prominent figures. You will be fascinated by the results. Of all of the celebrities, the biggest vote-getter was Mother Teresa at 79%. Who came in second? Oprah Winfrey at 66%. Third place went to Michael Jordan at 65%. Fourth place went to Colin Powell at 61%. Princess Diana scored an impressive 60%. But when it came to politicians, the figures began to plummet. Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton each scored 55%. Coming in next was President Bill Clinton at 52% (keep in mind this was before the later scandals). But then what is surprising is to find that even heavenly connections didn’t seem to help much in some cases. Only 47% thought that the popular televangelist Pat Robertson had an inside track to Heaven. The bottom figure was O. J. Simpson who gathered only 19% of the vote. But this is the amazing part. The biggest vote-getter of all was those who were surveyed, because more than 87% of Americans surveyed, believed that they themselves were “very likely” to go to Heaven. In today’s Gospel Jesus assures his disciples that he is leaving them to prepare Heavenly abodes for them. (

6) “Show us the Father.” Where is God when evil is more evident than good? “Show us the Father” when evil seems to have its way. The July, 1990, issue of Time magazine reported that at least 600,000 Americans are infected with the AIDS virus, more than 136,000 have become sick, and some 83,000 of those have died. Victims of the disease basically fall into two categories: people who have had sex with infected individuals and drug addicts who have acquired the virus from contaminated needles, which brings another monumental dilemma into the picture – drug abuse. What we really want to know is, “Where is God when evil has its way?” and the ache deep down in our souls causes us to cry out, “Show us the Father.” — Christian friend, it is all in knowing how to look. Many of you will remember that several years ago one of the Russian cosmonauts left his capsule and floated in space, remarking to the mission control that he did not “see” God anywhere. C. S. Lewis has said, “If a man never sees God on the earth, he will never see him in space; but if a man sees God here in the faces of men and women in his daily life, then when you hurl him into space, he will put his hand upon the face of God.” Lewis concludes, “The seeing eye is tremendously important.” The eye discerns such evidence as it is equipped to acknowledge.  (

7) True story: The phone rang at 1:00am in the home of Leo Winters, a brilliant Chicago surgeon. It was the hospital telling him that a young boy had been tragically mangled in a car accident. Dr. Winter’s hands were probably the only ones in the city skilled enough to save that boy’s life. He got on his clothes, jumped into his car and decided the quickest route to the hospital would be to drive through a dangerous neighborhood, but since time was critical, he decided to take the risk. He came to a stoplight and when he did, a man in a gray hat and a dirty flannel shirt, opened the door, pulled him out of his seat and screamed, “Give me your car!” The doctor tried to explain that he was on an emergency call, but the thief refused to listen. He threw the doctor out of the car, jumped in and sped off. This doctor wandered for more than 45 minutes looking for a phone so he could call a taxi. When he finally got to the hospital, more than an hour had passed. He ran through the hospital doors, up the stairs, to the nurse’s station. The nurse on duty looked at him and shook her head and said, “Doctor I am sorry, but you are too late. The boy died about 30 minutes ago. His father is in the chapel if you want to see him. He is awfully upset, because he couldn’t understand why you didn’t come to help.” Doctor Winters walked hurriedly down the hallway and entered into that chapel. Weeping at the altar was a man dressed in a dirty flannel shirt and gray hat, whose eyes were blinded by tears. The boy’s father looked up at the doctor in horror and realized his tragic mistake. He had foolishly pushed away the only man in that city who could have saved his son. (Kent Crockett, Making The Day Count For Eternity, pp. 27-28.) — There is only one person that can save your soul. When you exit this life, at the moment you die, you will enter into eternity. If you intend to go to Heaven, you had better make sure you take the one Way, which is the only Way and His name is Jesus Christ. (

8) “I am at home in my Father’s house: The great 18th century Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, anticipating that some would unduly mourn his passing, wrote these words of comfort and assurance: “Would you like to know where I am? I am at home in my Father’s House, in the mansions prepared for me here. I am where I want to be–no longer on the stormy sea, but in God’s safe, quiet harbor. My sowing time is done and I am reaping; my joy is as the joy of harvest. Would you like to know how it is with me? I am made perfect in holiness. Grace is swallowed up in glory. Would you like to know what I am doing? I see God, not as through a glass darkly, but face to face. I am engaged in the sweet enjoyment of my precious Redeemer. I am singing hallelujahs to Him who sits upon the throne, and I am constantly praising Him. Would you know what blessed company I keep? It is better than the best on earth. Here are the holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect…I am with many of my old acquaintances with whom I worked and prayed, and who have come here before me. Lastly, would you know how long this will continue? It is a dawn that never fades! After millions and millions of ages, it will be as fresh as it is now. Therefore, weep not for me!” (

9) “Do not be afraid”: I heard a story about a fella out in Los Angeles who had a strange phobia.  He was afraid to cross the street.  He felt perfectly at ease when he was in his car riding along the street, but when he was out walking and would come to an intersection, his face would begin to flow with perspiration, his heart would begin to palpitate and his blood pressure would soar up, and his knees would become Jello.  It was a very real problem.  There are times when you simply have to cross the street.  At last he thought he’d better seek out a psychiatrist to help him with the problem.  And he found one who told him that he could help him overcome that fear.  And the psychiatrist told him that the first thing he needed to do was to imagine himself, just to sit back and use his mind, and imagine himself going back and forth across street, and going back and forth across the street unharmed.  And then after he’d done that, he was to go out at a time when traffic would be least, and go ahead and begin to cross and re-cross intersections until he felt comfortable.  But how in the world in Los Angeles could you find a time of day when it would be least busy?  The psychiatrist told him to go on Sunday morning – on Sunday morning the Catholics would be at Mass, the Protestants would be on the golf course, and the Jews would be out at Palm Springs.  So, all week long, all week long, he practiced in his mind crossing the intersection – back and forth in his imagination. And then on Sunday morning, he went out and he walked across the first intersection he came to only to be struck down by a Seventh Day Adventist who was on his way to work! — Jesus’ word is clear.  We need not fear the future.  Death is not the end for Christians.  Death is the intersection between our earth life and our eternal life, and we need have no fear crossing that intersection.  Our doubts need not suppress the pull of our discontent. Heaven is ahead and Jesus is there.  He has prepared a place for us.  In Heaven we will be with him. (

10) “No, God has not revealed himself in any religion:” Karl Barth was lecturing to a group of students at Princeton. One student asked the German theologian “Sir, don’t you think that God has revealed himself in other religions and not only in Christianity?” Barth’s answer stunned the crowd. With a modest thunder he answered, “No, God has not revealed Himself in any religion, including Christianity. He has revealed Himself in His Son.”  —  In no uncertain terms let me say to you this morning that there are three great religions in the world today: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. But there is only one Son of God; only One through whom God has revealed Himself and only One whose teachings stand above all others. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life for all men and women. (

11) “He died and went to Heaven.” Did you know it’s politically incorrect to preach about Heaven? The cultural referees say it is escapist or hopelessly sentimental. Hollywood and the media generally teach that this world is all there is. According to their version, you better get all you can now, because your death is just like that of dogs and cats. I heard about a little four-year-old boy who was walking on the beach with his mother. They came upon a dead seagull. The little boy asked, “Mommy, what happened to him?” She said, “He died and went to Heaven.” The little boy pondered that a moment and then asked, “And did God just throw him back down?” (

12) “Birds sing after a storm,” she said, “Why shouldn’t we?” At age ninety-three, Rose Kennedy was being interviewed by a magazine reporter. By this time, four of her nine children had died violently. Another daughter, Rosemary, severely retarded all her life, would soon be gone. Mrs. Kennedy had outlived her husband long enough to have seen his rather profligate and unscrupulous life told and retold in the press. She was an old lady, hit by tragedies again and again. The reporter asked about all this and Rose Kennedy answered, slowly: “I have always believed that God never gives a cross to bear larger than we can carry. And I have always believed that, no matter what, God wants us to be happy. He doesn’t want us to be sad. Birds sing after a storm,” she said, “Why shouldn’t we?” (

13) “I see I am not your first visitor.” In his book The Transforming Friendship, Leslie Weatherhead passes on to us a lovely story of an old Scotsman who, when he was very ill, was visited by his minister. As the minister sat down on a chair by the bedside, he noticed on the other side of the bed another chair placed at such an angle as to suggest that a visitor had just left. “Well, Donald,” said the minister, glancing at the chair, “I see I am not your first visitor.” The old Scotsman looked up in surprise, so the minister pointed to the chair. “Ah,” said the sick man, “I’ll tell you about that chair. Years ago, I found it impossible to pray. I often fell asleep on my knees; I was so tired. And if I kept awake, I could not control my thoughts from wandering. One day I was so worried I spoke to the minister about it. He told me not to worry about kneeling down. “Just sit down,” he said, “and put a chair opposite you. Imagine that Jesus is in it and talk to Him as you would to a friend.” Then the Scotsman added, “And I have been doing that ever since.” A week later the daughter of the old man drove up to the minister’s house and knocked. She was shown into his study, and when the minister came, she said quietly, “Father died in the night. I had no idea the end was so near. I had just gone to lie down for an hour or two. He seemed to be sleeping so comfortably. When I discovered that he was gone, he hadn’t moved since I last saw him, EXCEPT THAT HIS HAND WAS OUT ON THE EMPTY CHAIR AT THE SIDE OF HIS BED.” — Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” And He, my friends, is a Man and God of His Word! Thanks be to God! (

14) “Do not be troubled”: During the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave some of the most stirring speeches of all times. After England had suffered a demoralizing defeat at Dunkirk, Churchill reminded the House of Commons about their commitment to ultimate victory. He said: “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival. We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas, we shall fight in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall never surrender.” With words like that, Churchill aroused the hearts of his people to remain undaunted, even though they were on the verge of destruction. He encouraged them not to lose faith, however fierce the fight became. — In today’s Gospel Jesus gives one of his own stirring speeches. The scene is the Last Supper, his disciples are present, and the time is the eve of his darkest hour, the day of his death. And yet, in spite of knowing that the worst is about to occur, Jesus tells his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have Faith in God and Faith in me.” (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

 15) “You can make a difference! On November 26, 1965, Time Magazine had a story that can give us all food for thought. An electrical fuse about the size of a breadbox failed, resulting in 80,000 square miles along the US-Canadian border being plunged in darkness. All the electrical power for that entire region passed through that single fuse. Without that fuse no power could reach any point in that vast region. — Like that fuse box each of us has a tremendous potential for good or evil, which can affect a multitude. Jesus promises us believers all His power and even more. All we have to do is walk the way he walked and be Jesus to a waiting world! (Anonymous; quoted by Fr.    Botelho). (

 16) He wanted to be a dropout: It was 1950. The old cardinal of Naples was in his office and seated before him was a young priest who was asking for permission to become a drop-out. He wanted to live on the streets of Naples with the alley boys. The old Cardinal could not take it in. He knew what life was in Naples: 200,000 out of work; young boys hanging on the streets because their parents were without work and could not feed them. They lived by stealing, peddling stolen goods, begging and black marketeering. They slept on the streets and were like wild cats and dodged the police. This young priest, Mario Borelli, wanted to help them, give them a roof over their heads, bread and a bit of human warmth. That the cardinal could understand. But why must the priest become a drop-out himself? Mario knew exactly why: “If I go to these boys as a priest they will spit in my face. They are fearfully distrustful.” The cardinal considered. “Give me ten days to think it over.” After ten days he approved. Mario went on the streets, an old cap back to front on his head, in ragged clothes, a cigarette end in the corner of his mouth. He begged, collected cigarette butts and became a vagrant. Gradually he won the hearts of those youngsters. Soon he was even the head of the gang. When he found a primitive shelter, his youth went with him. They weren’t able to do otherwise -they were drawn to him. Mario had something irresistible about him. They had no word for it because it was something they had never before experienced. How could they know that word was love? — Perhaps we can now better understand why God became man. He wanted to be one with us to show us the way and save us, “God-with-us,” that is Jesus, the Way to the Father. (Pierre Lefevre, quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

 17) St. Augustine’s discovery of God: Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved You! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for You. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which You created. You were with me, but I was not with You. Created things kept me from You; yet if they had not been in You, they would have not been at all. You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness. You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness. You breathed Your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for You. I have tasted You; now, I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.  (St. Augustine, The Confessions X, Chapter 27/Section 38; quoted by Fr. Kayala). (

 18) Showing the way: Like the shepherd, and like Jesus, a mother has a close and deep relationship to her flock or family. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to protect them from danger. And there’s nowhere she wouldn’t go to seek out the one who strays or gets lost. A mother’s love for her family functions even when she can no longer protect her children herself. There’s a beautiful story in the autobiography of Jimmy Cagney, the famous Hollywood actor. It takes place in Cagney’s youth when his mother is on her deathbed. Around the bed were the four Cagney boys and Jeannie, their only sister. Because of a stroke, Mrs. Cagney could no longer speak. After she had hugged each of her five children, she lifted her right arm, the only one that was still functioning. Jimmy describes what happened next: “Mom indicated Harry with the index finger of her useless hand, she indicated me with her second finger, she indicated Eddie with her third finger and with her fourth finger, she indicated Bill. Then she took the thumb, moved it to the middle of her palm, and clasped the thumb tightly under the four fingers. Then she patted this fist with her good hand.” — Jimmy says her gesture was beautiful. Everyone knew what it meant. The four brothers were to protect Jeannie after their mother was gone. It was gesture that no words could have duplicated in beauty and meaning. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

 19) Gandhi’s “Dandi March: The “Dandi March” initiated on March 12, 1930, was a landmark in India’s freedom struggle. Mahatma Gandhi walked with 78 hunger strikers (Satyagrahis) for 23 days from Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal town of Dandi about 380 kilometers away in defiance of the salt tax imposed by the British. In his book My Experiments with Truth, Gandhiji writes that he instructed people: ‘to make salt along the seashore wherever it was most convenient and comfortable.” The 75th anniversary of this event was commemorated in 2005 with Indian and foreign pilgrim-yatris retracing this historic “way.” Indeed, great leaders have imprinted wondrous “ways” on the sands of time. — You’ve probably read the “Footprints in the Sand” anecdote. When the man complains that he saw only one set of footprints in the sand during his trials and sufferings, the Lord replies, “Those footprints are Mine! It was then that I carried you!” We can joyfully sing that popular song, “We’re on Our Way to Heaven” not because we’ve discovered salvific ways to Life, but because Jesus – the Way and the Vehicle – carries us heavenward. (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

 20) They knit together with prayer: A group of women meet one or two evenings a week.  They light a candle and offer a prayer together, perhaps sing a hymn.  Then they begin their sacred work. The women are part of a ministry that has touched many lives in many churches and parishes.  They knit and crochet prayer shawls.  The shawls are given to individuals suffering through a time of transition, crisis, illness or need.  A wedding, the birth of a child, a broken bone, an illness, the death of a loved one — all are occasions for the “hug” in the shape of a shawl.  While stitching, the maker of the shawl holds that person in her thoughts, making the very act of knitting a prayer. Those who receive the shawls say that they feel loved, cared for and, most of all, surrounded by God’s love and compassion.  They are deeply moved to know that someone has cared enough to pray for them and to make a cozy, warm, comforting gift.  The mother of a young girl battling cancer told the knitters in her parish that her daughter said that when she felt bad, she wrapped herself up tightly in the shawl and it made her feel better.  Another woman refused to take her shawl off during her final months of life because it was her “scarf of love.”  Many who have known the solace of a prayer shawl in their last months ask to be buried with the shawl around their shoulders. But the knitters believe that they receive as much from making the shawls as do those who receive them.  Their simple knitting and gentle prayer become offerings and symbols of God’s compassion for others — and God is as present to them as they knit as He is to those who will wrap themselves up in the loving warmth of the shawl itself. [From “Knit Together with Prayer” by the Rev. Susan S. Izard, Spirituality & Health (November/December 2004.  For more on the prayer shawl ministry, visit the website] — To do the simplest work of compassion and charity in God’s spirit of love is to do the very work of Christ; the most hidden and unseen acts of kindness will be exalted by Christ as great in the Kingdom of his Father.  On the night before he died, Jesus asks his disciples to take up “the work that I do,” the work of humble servanthood that places the hurts and pain of others before our own, the work of charity that does not measure the cost, the work of love that transcends limits and conditions). (Connections).

 21) Are you sure this is the way?” During the 2nd World War, in Malaya, a prisoner happened to escape from the prisoners’ camp. He was assisted by a native fellow who led him through a thick forest and from there to freedom and back home. The native fellow walked ahead, and the man followed him from behind. With great difficulty they were finding their way through thorns and bushes, and ups and downs, and twists and turns, and the man got very tired. He then asked the native fellow, “Are you sure this is the way?” The native fellow looked at him, and in broken English he said, “There is no way. I am the way. If you want to be free and go home, then you have to just follow me.”— In the same way, in the Gospel Reading of today Jesus says to us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” As we journey with him through our earthly life in the midst of our problems and difficulties, sufferings and pains, disappointments and discouragements, stress and strain, to the House of our Heavenly Father, all we have to do is to remember we are just following him.(Fr. Lakra). (

22) Many “dwelling places” in the Father’s house:  The following story gives insight into God’s mysterious ways and how we are led into “the many dwelling places” in the Father’s house (cf. Ginger Lloyd, “More than Coincidence” in Guideposts, April 2013, p. 49).  Ever since my husband, Ricardo, lost his job and we lost our home, I’d said the same prayer every day, “Lord, help us find an apartment. Lots of light, warm and homey, a new kitchen, a clean fully tiled roomOutdoor space, like a balcony would be nice, but asking way too much. A decent place would do.”  Ricardo didn’t believe in prayer. But he didn’t have any other answers. We were renting part of a rundown house in Rockford, Illinois, not ideal conditions to raise our eight-year-old son. It was dark and cramped, the floors cold and bare. The kitchen appliances were constantly breaking down and there was no storage for our things. The shared bathroom was filthy. But there was nothing else in the area that we could afford. Then I found mouse droppings and roaches. I’d had it. Walking back from doing errands one day, dreading returning to our squalid little space, I cried, “Lord, we can’t live like this! Where is the apartment I’ve been praying for?” Turn here and go up two blocks. The voice popped into my head so suddenly, so strongly, I didn’t question the thought. I turned and walked. At the end of the second block, the voice spoke again: Turn right and go up three more blocks. I obeyed. The house I came to was nothing special. But the urgent voice commanded me: Walk up to the door. Ask about the apartment. What apartment? I didn’t see a “For Rent” sign. But I’d come this far. I knocked and a young woman answered. “Do you know where I can find an apartment for rent?” I blurted. Her eyes widened. “How did you know? We didn’t even list it yet.” From inside, her husband asked who was at the door. “Someone about the apartment”, she said. The man appeared puzzled but offered to show it to me. Light cascaded through the windows and across the carpeted floor. Brand new appliances gleamed in the kitchen. There were plenty of closets. The tile in the bathroom sparkled. “How much is the rent?” I asked tentatively. “How much can you afford?” the man asked. I told him, “That’ll do.” Ricardo couldn’t believe it – “You found it how?”–  I told him about the voice, the commands, how the apartment had every detail I’d prayed for. With each thing I mentioned, the expression on his face shifted, from disbelief to a dawning belief – especially when I added, “Actually, it has more than I asked for. There’s even a balcony.” (Ginger Lloyd). (

 23) Believe because of the works I do.” When James W. Loucks, a bachelor and a veteran of the Civil War, died in 1934 at the Soldiers’ Home in Bath, New York, he bequeathed $2000 to St. John’s Orphanage in Utica, New York, and $1000 to the Sisters of St. Joseph at Little Falls, N.Y. His will also instructed the administrators of his estate, the Herkimer Co. Trust Co., to use the residue “for Masses for the repose of myself and my brother, Daniel.” Since the thrifty veteran had saved $10,000 from his humble employment as a farmer’s helper, road worker, and shoemaker, that meant that some $7,000 was to go for Mass offerings. Now, the president of the Herkimer Co. Trust Co. was puzzled about this last matter. He decided that the residue should be invested, and only the interest used for Masses. When this decision came to the attention of the bishop of Rochester, in whose diocese Mr. Loucks died, the bishop replied that Church law required that the whole sum should go for Masses. In fact, he felt obliged to take the case to court. Finally, three years later, the judge surrogate of Steuben County ruled that in this instance Church law took precedence over Civil law. As soon as the total residue was consigned to the bishop, he saw to it that, after this three-year wait, Masses finally began to be offered according to the old artilleryman’s intentions.

Who was James Loucks, whose dying wish was the celebration of several thousands of Masses? His religious history was most interesting, according to newsman James B. Hutchinson. Born to Protestant parents in 1844 at Manheim, Herkimer County N.Y., Jim enlisted in 1863 in Co. H. of the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery. He saw action in the Pennsylvania campaigns of the Civil War from Cold Harbor on. Up to that time, he had had little or no contact with Catholics. But one thing that impressed him deeply as the war continued was the great work the Sisters of Charity were doing with the victims of the battlefield. If they are so caring, he thought, then the Church they represent must be a loving church. Then came the battle of Gettysburg – vast, bloody, frightening. In the midst of it, Jim vowed “If the Almighty God spares me in this war, I will become a Catholic! ”God did spare him, and he kept his pledge. When mustered out of service, he went to work on a farm near Little Falls, N.Y., where he approached Father James Ludden of St. Mary’s Church, Little Falls. Eventually received into the Church, he became an active Catholic; deeply religious and much given to reading and study of the faith. Between 1877 and 1885 he served as sexton of St. Mary’s. At the age of 69, he retired to the Soldiers’ Home at Bath. — Our words of praise for the Catholic faith can often win others to join the Church. Even more persuasive than Catholic words, however, are Catholic deeds. It was the good deeds of the Sisters of Charity that moved Jim Loucks to become a Catholic. In today’s gospel, Our Lord makes much the same point: “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works I do. ”Does our daily Christian life impress others to think well of our Church?-Father Robert F. McNamara. L/23

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 30) by Fr. Tony:

Visit my website by clicking on for missed or previous Cycle C  & A homilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at Visit  of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

May 1-6 weekday homilies

May 1 Monday: Feast of St. Joseph the Worker: Mt 13:54-58: (alt=Jn 15:1-8): For a short account, click on:;

Introduction: Today we celebrate the liturgical feast of St. Joseph the Worker to honor St. Joseph, to highlight the dignity and importance of labor, and to honor the workers who are dignified by their labor and who bring Christ to their workplace. This is the second feast of St. Joseph; the first was the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and patron of the universal Church, which we celebrated on the 19th of March.

History: In response to the May Day Celebrations of workers in the Communist countries where workers were considered mere “cogs in the machine,” Pope Pius XII (declared Venerable December 19, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI; Wikipedia), instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 to Christianize the concept of labor, to acknowledge the dignity of labor and to give all workers a role-model and heavenly patron.

Theology of work: The Bible presents God as a worker (Gen 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”) Who is engaged in the work of creation and of providing for His creatures. God the Father assigns His Son Jesus the work of human redemption and gives the Holy Spirit the work of our sanctification. That is why Jesus said: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work (John 5:17). In Paradise, Adam and Eve tilled and kept the Garden in obedience to the Father, and after their Fall into disobedience, He command that man should continue to work outside the Garden where their work would become toil “to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow” (Gn 3:19). Jesus showed us the necessity and nobility of work by working in Joseph’s carpentry shop until he started his public life — a work of preaching and healing in his Messianic ministry. The workers are important and their work noble, not only because they obey God’s command to work, but also because they sustain and promote social welfare and the progress of societies.

Joseph as an exemplary worker: Joseph worked to support his family by helping his neighbors, using his skill in carpentry. He was a just worker, honest in his trade of buying wood, selling his finished products, and charging for his services. He was a working parent, laboring hard to support his family. He was a praying worker who prayed in all his needs, got answers from God in dreams on important occasions, and kept God’s presence in his workshop. He was an obedient worker who kept the Mosaic Law of Sabbath rest and spent the day of rest to take Jesus to the local synagogue and to teach Jesus God’s Law given through Moses.

Life messages: 1) Let us appreciate the dignity of all forms of work and all types of laborers as they glorify God and promote the welfare of society. 2) Let us be sincere and committed to our work as St. Joseph was, working in the constant awareness of the presence of God. 3) Let us love our work and convert it into prayer by offering it for God’s glory. L/23

For additional reflections, click on:;; or Copy and paste these web addresses on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

May 2 Tuesday: (St. Athanesius, Bishop, Doctor of the Church)For a short biography, click on: 10: 22-25 (Mt 10: 24-33): 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage comes from the end of Jesus’ instruction to the apostles, sending, them forth to carry on the mission of preaching and healing, and instructing them to live simple lives, expecting opposition and rejection. Predicting future opposition and persecution, Jesus encourages the apostles to stand firm, three times urging them, and us, “Do not fear!” “Do not be afraid!” Thus, we know that we, too, will be successful despite the opposition we encounter.

Have no fear. Jesus gives three reasons why the apostles, and we, should not be frightened. The first reason is that opponents will not be able to prevent their mission from succeeding because God will expose their evil plans and deeds: “Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered.” The Lord “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness” (1 Cor 4:5) and will vindicate the faithful. That God will not permit evil to win is the promise of v. 26. The second reason they, and we, should not be afraid is that the power of their, and our, opponents is limited. They can kill the body, which dies all too soon anyway, but have no power over the soul. The third reason they, and we, should not be afraid is that they, and we are always under the providential care and protection of their, and our, Heavenly Father Who cares for all His creatures. They, and we, are more important to God than sparrows “sold at two for a penny.” The God Who cares for a trivial bird like the sparrow also cares about our smallest problems – even counting the hairs on our heads. While this is an encouraging assurance, we may find it difficult to believe in the midst of persecution.

Life message: “Be not afraid!” We can suffer from many fears: (A) Fear of Loss: a) Loss of life by illness or accident; b) Loss of dear ones – spouse, children, parents; c) Loss of belongings and property or savings; d) Loss of a job; e) Loss of our good name and reputation by slanderers (B) Baseless fears due to mental illness. C) Global fears: of terrorist attacks, nuclear holocaust, plagues, like Corvid-19, war etc. When we are afraid let us remind ourselves that God cares – we are each a dear child of His and He cares for each of us. “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Fr. Tony) ( L/23

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May 3 Wednesday: (St. Philip sand St. James, Apostles) For a short biography, click on: 14: 6-14: 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 14

James, son of Alphaeus, called James the Lesser wrote the epistle that bears his name and became the bishop of Jerusalem. He is the brother of Jude, and they are cousins of Jesus because their mother Mary (who was married to Alphaeus or Clophas/Cleopas), is the sister or cousin of Jesus’ mother. [This James is different from James the
the son of Zebedee who was married to another sister or cousin of
Mary; hence, James and his brother John were
also cousins of Jesus.] James the Lesser is also known by the title of James the Just on account of his eminent sanctity. James and his brother Jude were called to the apostleship in the second year of Christ’s preaching, soon after the Pasch, probably in the year 31. James, son of Alphaeus, only appears four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles as number 9. In Christian art he is depicted holding a fuller’s club because he was believed to have been martyred, beaten to death with a fuller’s club, at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel.

Philip: John describes Philip as a fisherman from Bethsaida in Galilee, the same town as Andrew and Peter. It is possible that Philip was originally a follower or disciple of John the Baptist because John depicts Jesus calling Philip out of a crowd attending John’s baptisms. Immediately after his call as an apostle by Jesus, Philip introduced Jesus to his friend Nathaniel/Bartholomew as the “one about whom Moses wrote” (Jn 1:45). On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. Philip expressed his surprise declaring “two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enoughfor each of them to have a little bit” (Jn 6:7). It was in answer to Philip’s question, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (Jn 14:8) that Jesus answered, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Since Philip had a Greek name, some Greek Gentile proselytes once approached him with a request to introduce them to Jesus. Eusebius records that Polycrates, 2nd century Bishop of Ephesus, wrote that Philip was crucified in Phrygia and later buried in Hierapolis, in Turkey. Tradition has it that Philip’s death was around AD 54. We celebrate his feast day on May 3rd.

Life message: Let us ask the intercession of Sts. James and Philip so that we too may bear witness of Jesus by our lives to those around us. (Fr. Tony) ( 23.

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May 4 Thursday: Jn 13:16-20:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me.”

The context: Today’s Gospel is the second part of the explanation Jesus gave to his disciples after washing their feet before the Last Supper. He promised his disciples that that whoever listened to them would be listening to him as well, provided his preaching disciples became the humble servants of others. Gospel lessons: In the first part of today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the fact that the hallmark of his disciples must be their readiness and generosity in offering humble and sacrificial service to others, because that was the model Jesus had given them by his life and especially by washing their feet. It is by serving others that we become great before God. In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus shows his apostles how to treat people who are unfaithful and disloyal. Jesus hints at the betrayal of Judas by quoting Psalm 4:9: “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” Instead of distancing himself from Judas, Jesus offers him reconciliation, showing him more affection by washing his feet and by giving him a morsel of bread dipped in sauce with his own hand. In the third part, Jesus gives the basis for apostolic succession, stating that one who receives his apostles and messengers receives him, thereby receiving God the Father who sent Jesus.

Life messages: 1) Let us prove that we are true disciples of Jesus by rendering others humble and loving service today. 2) Let us learn to be reconciled with those who offend us by unconditionally pardoning them, by wishing them the very best, and by keeping them in our prayers. Fr. Tony ( 23

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May 5 Friday: Jn 14:1-6:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

The context: Jesus consoles his apostles who are sad and disheartened at the prospect of his arrest and crucifixion by assuring them that he is going to prepare an everlasting accommodation for them in his Father’s house in Heaven. He gives them the assurance that he will come back to take them to their Heavenly abodes. It is then that Thomas says to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus answers Thomas’ question with, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the Life: The basic doctrine of Judaism is that Yahweh is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Hence, Jesus is making the revolutionary claim that he is equivalent to Yahweh. Jesus declares that he is the safest and surest way to God, thus discrediting the notions that all religions are equally sure ways to reach God, and that no organized religion, but only living a good life of sharing love, is necessary to reach God. Jesus is the Way which he calls narrow, for it is the way of loving, sacrificial service. Jesus is the Truth who revealed truths about God and God’s relationship with man in his teaching. Jesus also taught moral truths by demonstrating them in his life. Jesus is the Life because he himself shares the Eternal Life of God, and because He shares his Divine Life with his disciples through the Word of God and the Sacraments.

Life messages: We should share the Divine Life of God by making use of the means Jesus established in his Church: a) by actively participating in the Eucharistic celebration and properly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion; b) by the worthy reception of the other Sacraments; c) by the meditative daily reading of the Word of God; d) by following the guidance of the life-giving Spirit of God, living in the Church and within us; e) by communicating with God the Source of Life, in personal and family prayers and f) by going to God to be reconciled with Him daily, repenting of our sins, and by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at a minimum, when we are in mortal sin (so that we can receive Him in the Eucharist), by forgiving others who offend us, and by asking God’s forgiveness of our own sins. Fr. Tony Fr. Tony ( 23

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May 6 Saturday: John 14:7-14: 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Scripture lesson: Answering Philip’s request at the Last Supper, Jesus explains, in today’s Gospel selection, the unity and oneness of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus clarifies the abiding presence of each Person of the Holy Trinity in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. Jesus identified Himself totally with the Father. At every moment he did what the Father asked him to do (Jn 5:30; 8:28-29.38). So, in order to see what God looks like, we have only to look at Jesus, and in order to hear how God speaks, we have only to listen to Jesus. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God Who cares intensely, and Who yearns for all men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus makes visible a God Who loves us unconditionally, unselfishly, and perfectly. If we put our trust in Jesus and believe in him, Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in Jesus’ Name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread … (Mt 6:9,11; Luke 11:2-3).

Life message: 1) We believe that God dwells within our souls in the form of His Holy Spirit, making us the temple of God where we have the indwelling presence of the Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit living. Hence, it is our duty to live always aware of the real presence of God within us and to adjust our life, accordingly, doing good to others and avoiding evil. Fr. Tony ( 23

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Easter IV Sunday homily

Easter IV [A] Sunday (April 30) 8-minute homily in one page (L/23)

Introduction: On this Good Shepherd Sundayand the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Church reminds us of our call to become good shepherds of God’s flock and good sheep of His parishes and invites us to pray for vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the consecrated life. Both the Old and New Testaments use the image of a Shepherd and His flock to describe the unique relationship of God with Israel and of the Christ with Christians. The first reading is taken from St. Peter’s first sermon, given on the day of Pentecost. He reminds his Jewish listeners that they have crucified their true Shepherd. Hence, they need to receive forgiveness for their sin by receiving Baptism in the name of Jesus and acknowledging the risen Jesus as their Lord and Savior, as Jesus had commanded. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 23), introduces Yahweh as the Good Shepherd of Israel Who cares for us, His sheep, providing for our needs. In the second reading, Peter encourages the suffering Christians to follow in the footsteps of their Good Shepherd, Jesus, the “suffering servant,” realizing the truth that Jesus’ suffering and death have enabled them to become more fully the children of God. In today’s Gospel, two brief parables show us Jesus, the first, as a selfless, caring “shepherd” who provides for his sheep protection and life itself, and the second, as our unique gateway (“sheep gate”), to eternal salvation. That is, besides guiding his flock to Eternal Life as the Good Shepherd, Jesus is himself the gateway to Eternal Life.

Life Messages: 1) We need to become good shepherds and good leaders: Everyone who is entrusted with the care of others is a shepherd. Hence, pastors, parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, government officials, and caregivers, among others, are all shepherds. We become good shepherds by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time, talents, and blessings for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers. Parents must be especially careful in fulfilling their duties toward their children, giving them good example and instruction and training them in Christian principles. 2) We need to become good sheep in the fold of Jesus, the Good Shepherd: Our local parish is our sheepfold, and our pastors are our shepherds. Jesus is the High Priest, the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, the pastors are their helpers, and the parishioners are the sheep. Hence, as the good sheep of the parish, parishioners are expected to a) Hear and follow the voice of our shepherds through their homilies, Bible classes, counseling, and advice. b) Receive the spiritual food given by our pastors through our regular participation in the Holy Mass, our frequenting of the Sacraments, and our participation in the prayer services, renewal programs, and missions they offer. c) Cooperate with our pastors by giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the parish, encouraging them in their duties, offering them loving, constructive advice when they are found misbehaving or failing in their duties, and always by praying for themd) Actively participate in the activities of various councils, ministries, and parish associations. 3) We need to pray for vocations.

EASTER IV (April 30): Acts 2:14, 36-41; 1Pt 2:20b-25; Jn 10:1-10 

Homily starter anecdotes: 1) Moses, the shepherd-leader: The Jews have a lovely legend to explain why God chose Moses to be the leader of His people. “When Moses was feeding the sheep of his father-in-law in the wilderness, a young lamb ran away.  Moses followed it until it reached a ravine, where it found a well to drink from.  When Moses got up to it, he said: `I did not know that you ran away because you were thirsty.  Now you must be weary.’  He took the lamb on his shoulders and carried it back.  Then God said: `Because you have shown pity in leading back one of a flock belonging to another man, you shall lead my flock Israel.'” (

2) Pope St. John Paul II, the good shepherd. The most beautiful and meaningful comment on the life and the legacy of our late Holy Father, Pope St. John Paul II, was made by the famous televangelist, Billy Graham.  In a TV interview, he said: “He lived like his Master, the Good Shepherd, and he died like his Master, the Good Shepherd.”  In today’s Gospel, Jesus claims that he is the Good Shepherd and explains what he does for his sheep. (

3) Showing the way: In San Salvador on March 24, 1980, an assassin killed Archbishop Oscar Romero with a single shot to the heart while he was saying Mass. Only a few minutes before, Archbishop Romero had finished a hope-filled homily in which he urged the people to serve one another. Since Archbishop Romero was demanding human rights for his people under oppression, he knew that his life was in danger. Still he persisted in speaking publicly against tyranny and for freedom. He once told newspapermen that even if his enemies killed him, he would rise again among his people. Today, good shepherds who lay down their lives include husbands and wives who can’t do enough for each other to demonstrate their commitment to each other; parents who make countless sacrifices for the good of their children; teachers who spend untold hours instructing the weak students; doctors and nurses who work untiringly, spending themselves to care for their patients; employers who share profits with their workers; politicians who unselfishly promote the common good of their voters, and parishioners who generously support their parish community (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds). Full movie: (parts i-iv) (

Introduction: Today is called Good Shepherd Sunday, and, appropriately, this day is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  Today, the Church calls us to reflect on the meaning of God’s call for each of us and to pray for generous respondents God’s personal  call (vocation), to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the consecrated life, because the entire Christian community shares the responsibility for fostering vocations. Both the Old and New Testaments use the image of a Shepherd and His flock to describe the unique relationship of God with Israel and Christ with Christians. The first reading is taken from St. Peter’s first sermon, given on Pentecost. Here, he exhorts his listeners, Jewish people gathered for the Feast of Weeks – the “Sabbath” of the seven weeks that have elapsed since Passover — to know beyond any doubt that the One they have allowed to be crucified is the true Shepherd, whom God has made both Lord and Messiah. Peter then proclaims that the proper response to the Good News about Jesus is to repent and be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ,” and thus to become members of the Good Shepherd’s flock. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, they will receive forgiveness for their sins. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 23), introduces Yahweh as the Good Shepherd of Israel and describes all of the things the Lord does for us, His sheep, in providing for our needs.  The second reading, taken from Peter’s First Letter to the Church, continues the “shepherd” imagery.  Peter encourages the suffering Christians to follow in footsteps of their shepherd (“the suffering servant”), and to remember that they have been claimed by him. Peter also explains how Jesus, the innocent sufferer, was a model of patience and trust in God, and he reminds us that it is Jesus’ suffering which has enabled us to become more fully children of God. In today’s Gospel, two brief parables about sheep reveal Jesus as our unique means to salvation. He is the selfless, caring “shepherd” who provides protection and life itself, and he is the “sheep gate,” the one gateway to eternal life.

 The first reading (Acts 2:14a, 36-41), explained: This text gives us a summary of the whole Gospel message, telling us Who Jesus is, how he saves us, and how we should respond.  Peter tells the people: “You crucified your God and Messiah, but he has risen from death and offers you forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  The conclusion of the sermon sums up the whole kerygma in a single Christological formula: “God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.”   The titles “Lord” and “Christ” have great significance.  “Lord” was a title reserved for God alone.  When early Christians realized that God had been made flesh in the person of Jesus, they dared to give him this Divine title.  “Christ” is the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” meaning the “anointed one,” or   “King.”  He is the long-awaited successor to King David, and the fulfillment of all the Chosen People’s  hopes based on David’s glorious reign.

The second reading: 1 Peter 2:20b-25 explained: The “shepherd” reference in the last verse of this reading from Peter’s epistle links it to the day’s Gospel. “He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd, the guardian of your souls” (vv. 24-25). Peter then makes three contrasts in this part of his epistle: a) between what Jesus suffered and his surprising responses: “…insulted, he returned no insult;” “when he suffered, he did not threaten”(v. 23); b) between Jesus and us: HE bore OUR sins; by HIS wounds WE are healed (v. 24); c) between our former lost condition and our graced present state.

Gospel exegesis: The context: Jesus was not talking to his followers. He was addressing the Pharisees. They were accusing him of being from the devil because he had healed a blind man on the Sabbath. His response was that he was the Good Shepherd.  He was not like the hired hands who collected their pay for watching the sheep but abandoned the sheep in their time of need because these hired men didn’t really care about the sheep. So, the Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus meant:  Jesus was claiming to be God! They also knew he was contrasting himself to them — the hired hands entrusted with the care of God’s people but caring only for themselves.

Yahweh, the Good Shepherd. For a long time, the Jewish people had used the Good Shepherd image for God. The usage goes all the way back to Genesis 49:24, which says that Joseph was saved “By the power of the mighty one of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, the God of your father …” Such imagery was used by Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Zechariah, and of course by David in his Psalms. The psalmist addresses Yahweh as his Shepherd.  Ps 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd; nothing shall I want.” (Compare also Ps 77:20, 79:13, 97:7).  “He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand (Ps 95:7).  Like a shepherd, He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care” (Is 40:11).  Ezekiel foretells what the Messiah will do as Good Shepherd.  I myself will tend My sheep …I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.  I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak” (Ez 34:15-16).  In short, God is the ultimate Shepherd of the people, providing guidance, sustenance, and protection (Ps 23), and He intends their Kings and other leaders to be their shepherds as well.

 The Good Shepherd image in the New Testament: In Palestine, the word “shepherd” was a synonym for selfless love, sincerity, commitment, and sacrificial service.  Hence, Jesus selects it as the most fitting term to denote his life and mission (Mt 2:6, 9:36, 18:12-14, 26:31; Mk 6:34, 14:27; Lk 12:32, 15:4; I Pt 2:25, 5:2-4; Heb 13:20). The prophets pointed out the main duties of the Good Shepherd: 1) The Good Shepherd leads the sheep to the pasture, provides them with food and water, and protects them.  In Palestine, the shepherd went in front and the sheep followed behind.  2) He guarded them, not allowing them to get lost in the desert or become victims of robbers and wild animals — preventive vigilance.  3) He went in search of the lost ones and healed their wounds —protective vigilance.  4) He was ready to surrender his life for his sheep — redemptive vigilance.

The first parable in today’s Gospel: The first part of today’s Gospel contrasts Jesus, the true Shepherd, with fake shepherds, thieves, and robbers. Jesus gives us warning against false shepherds and false teachers in his Church. Jesus’ love and concern for each of us must be accepted with trust and serenity because he alone is our Shepherd, and no one else deserves our undivided commitment. As a true Shepherd, he leads his sheep, giving them the food and protection only Jesus, the Good Shepherd, can provide, and, having redeemed us, he protects us and leads us to true happiness.

The second parable. During the time of Jesus in the land of Palestine, the shepherds would bring the sheep down from the hills in the evening to protect them at night when the wolves and mountain lions were hunting their prey.  At night, the shepherds would gather their sheep together and lead them into large pens or sheepfolds which had five-foot-high stone walls. The shepherds put the prickly briars along the top of the wall to prevent the mountain lions and wolves from jumping over it. Now, the doorway was about two feet wide, a narrow space in the front wall facing a fire of wood lit outside at night. The shepherd himself would sleep there in the small opening of the stone wall facing the burning fire with his club and staff. If any mountain lion came, the shepherd would fight it off with his weapons, his short stocky club or his long-pointed staff. Thus, literally and actually, the shepherd himself was the door.

In this parable Jesus compares himself to the Shepherd and to the Gate. The first title represents His ownership because Shepherd is the true owner of the sheep. The second title represents His leadership. Jesus is the Gate, the only Way in or out. He is the One Mediator between God and mankind. All must go through Him, into His Church, in order to arrive in Heaven. By identifying Himself with the sheep-gate, Jesus gives the assurance that whoever enters the pen through Him will be safe and well cared-for.  Jesus is the living Door to His Father’s house and Father’s family, the Door into the Father’s safety, and into the fullness of life. It is through Jesus, the Door, that we come into the sheepfold where we are protected from the wolves of life. There is safety and security in being a Christian. There is a spiritual, emotional, and psychological security and safety when we live within Jesus and his Church, within the protectiveness of Christ,  a Christian family,  and Christian friends.

Life Messages: 1) We need to be good shepherds and good leaders: Everyone who is entrusted with the care of others is a shepherd.  Hence, pastors, parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, government officials, and caregivers, among others, are all shepherds.  We become good shepherds by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time, talents, and blessings for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers.  Parents must be especially careful in carrying out their duties toward their children, giving them good example and sound religious instruction. Above all, parents should pray for their children and, by living according to sound Christian moral principles, show their children how to do the same.

2) We need to be good sheep in the fold of Jesus, the Good Shepherd: Our local parish is our sheepfold, and our pastors are our shepherds.   Jesus is the High Priest, the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, the pastors are their helpers and the parishioners are the sheep.  Hence, as the good sheep of the parish, parishioners are expected to a) Hear and follow the voice of our shepherds through their homilies, Bible classes, counseling, and advice.  b) Receive the spiritual food given by our pastors by regular participation in the Holy Mass, by frequenting the Sacraments and by participating in prayer services, renewal programs and missions as far as we are able to do so.   c) Cooperate with our pastors by giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the parish, encouraging them in their duties, and offering them loving, constructive counsel  when they are found misbehaving or failing in their duties and, always, by praying for them. d) Participate actively in the work of various councils, ministries, and parish associations.

3) We need to pray for good pastors and vocations.  The Church uses this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations to encourage in those who are being called by God (vocation)) to the ministerial priesthood, the diaconate and the consecrated life to make a prayerful positive response.  All Christians need to share in the responsibility of fostering these vocations: a) The faith community must continuously pray for vocations both in the Church and in their families. b) Since good priests, deacons, and people embracing the consecrated life come from good Christian families, all Christian parents need to live their faith in Christ on a daily basis, leading exemplary lives as parents and fostering good relationships with, and among, their children. c) Parents need to respect and encourage a child who shows an interest in becoming a priest or deacon or entering upon a consecrated life. Parents need to encourage their children, including their teenagers and young adults, to participate actively in the children’s and youth activities in the parish, like Sunday school, children’s clubs, and youth associations. They also need to encourage and actively support them in becoming altar servants, gift-bearers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharistministers of hospitality.  On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, let us begin, or continue, especially in these most stressful times in and for the Church, local and universal, to pray earnestly for continued conversion and perseverance in the Faith for our bishops, priests, deacons, those living a consecrated life, and all of the laity, for we are One Body and what one member suffers, all suffer.

Jokes of the Week: 2) “I guess you must be a sheep dog.” A pastor was teaching the 23rd Psalm in the Sunday school.  He told the children about sheep, that they weren’t smart and needed lots of guidance, and that a shepherd’s job was to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals and keep them from wandering off.  He pointed to the little children in the room and said that they were the sheep and needed lots of guidance.  Then the pastor put his hands out to the side, palms up in a dramatic gesture, and with raised eyebrows said to the children, “If you are the sheep, then who is the shepherd?”  He was pretty sure that all the kids would point out to him as the shepherd. A silence of a few seconds followed.  Then a young girl said, “Jesus! Jesus is the shepherd.”  The young pastor, obviously caught by surprise, said to the little girl, “Well then, who am I?”  The girl frowned thoughtfully and then said with a shrug, “I guess you must be a sheep dog.”

3) Pastor’s vacation: It’s been said that every pastor ought to have six weeks of vacation each year, because if he is a really good shepherd, he deserves it; and if he is not a very good shepherd, his congregation deserves it.

4) Modern shepherds: Four pastors, taking a short break from their heavy schedules, were on a park bench, chatting and enjoying an early spring day.  “You know, since all of us are such good friends,” said one, “this might be a good time to discuss personal problems.”  They all agreed.  “Well, I would like to share with you the fact that I drink to excess,” said one.  There was a gasp from the other three.  Then another spoke up.  “Since you were so honest, I’d like to say that my big problem is gambling. It’s terrible, I know, but I can’t quit.  I’ve even been tempted to take money from the tithing contribution.”  Another gasp was heard, and the third clergyman spoke up.  “I’m really troubled, brothers, because I’m growing fond of a woman in my church — a married woman.” More gasps.  But the fourth remained silent.  After a few minutes the others coaxed him to open up.  “The fact is,” he said, “I just don’t know how to tell you about my problem.”  “It’s all right, brother.  Your secret is safe with us,” said the others.  “Well, it’s this way,” he said.  “You see, I’m an incurable gossip monger —  and I especially love to gossip about  secrets!”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK: (The easiest method  to visit these websites is to copy and paste the web address or URL on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

28 Additional Anecdotes

1) “May I see your driver’s license, please?” Everyone, it seems, is interested in my numbers. I go to the grocery store to buy some groceries. After the checkout woman rings up my bill, I pull out my checkbook and write out the check. She takes it from me. She looks at the information. Numbers tell her where I live. Numbers tell her how to reach me on the telephone. “Is this information correct?” she asks. ” Yes, it is,” I reply. “May I see your driver’s license?” she asks. She looks at my driver’s license and writes some more numbers on my check. Finally, I am approved. The numbers are all there. I can eat for another week. One could wish it were a bit more human and personal. But the IRS knows me by my tax number. My state knows me by my driver’s license number. My bank knows me by my bank account number. My employer knows me by my social security number. On and on it goes for you, for me, for everybody. Everybody knows my numbers. I am not sure that anyone knows me! —  The numbers game that is played in our culture is one symptom of loneliness and alienation that surrounds us today. “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” That is a line from “Eleanor Rigby,” an early song by the Beatles. Loneliness. Isolation. Alienation. These are the realities of contemporary civilized life. “I am the Good Shepherd.” These are Jesus’ words in our reading from John’s Gospel text for this sermon. “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own and My own know Me …” Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus knows us personally, by name, and loves us. (

2) Moral evil and its consequences:   In 1891 the Irish wit, poet and dramatist, Oscar Wilde published The Picture of Dorian Gray, an intriguing fable about moral evil and its consequences. According to the story, an artist named Basil Hallward painted a portrait of the central character, Dorian Gray, and gave it to the young man as a gift. An excellent likeness, the painting captured the handsome youth and goodness of Gray, who did not exhibit the painting but locked it away in an upstairs room of his home. As time passed, it became clear that the painting was more than a work of art. Although Gray’s physical appearance did not age or change in any way with the passing years, the painting became a mirror, as it were, registering the progressive moral disintegration of his soul. Gray, who had squandered his life in unrepented evil, eventually showed the incredibly altered portrait to Hallward who recoiled in horror, remarking that “the rotting of a corpse in a watery grave” was “not so fearful a sight.” — When Peter and the other early disciples first preached the Good News of salvation, their message centered on the figure of the crucified Christ, who suffered, died for the sins of humankind, and  then was raised to glory. Like Dorian Gray, sinners are called to look upon the cross of Jesus as a self-portrait, to see therein a mirror of the effects of their own sinfulness and need, and a picture of the cost God paid for human complicity with evil. But the visage of the crucified Jesus is far more than a reproach; it is also a revelation of the love of God for us sinful people. It was this dual realization that caused Peter’s listeners to be “deeply shaken,” and moved  to ask,  “What are we to do?” (vs. 37). Duly convinced of their own sin and of God’s immeasurable love, they were open to accept the good news and to alter their lives accordingly. (Sanchez Archives). (

3) Jesus knows his sheep by name: There have always been people with a good memory for names: Napoleon, “who knew thousands of his soldiers by name . . .” or James A. Farley, “who claimed he knew 50,000 people by their first name . . .” or Charles Schwab, “who knew the names of all 8,000 of his employees at Homestead Mill . . .” or Charles W. Eliot, “who, during his forty years as president of Harvard, earned the reputation of knowing all the students by name each year . . .” or Harry Lorayne, “who used to amaze his audiences by being introduced to hundreds of people, one after another, then giving the name of any person who stood up and requested it.”– But can you imagine Christ knowing all his sheep by name? That’s millions and millions of people over 2,000 years. No wonder we call him Master, Lord, Savior – watching over his flock, calling each by name! (

4) “I only know them by name.” Tony Campolo loves to tell the story of a particular census taker who went to the home of a rather poor family in the mountains of West Virginia to gather information. He asked the mother how many dependents she had. She began, “Well, there is Rosie, and Billy, and Lewella, Susie, Harry, and Jeffrey. There’s Johnny, and Harvey, and our dog, Willie.” It was then that the census taker interrupted her aid said: “No, ma’am, that’s not necessary. I only need the humans.”                                                                                “Ah,” she said. “Well, there is Rosie, and Billy, and Lewella, Susie, Harry, and Jeffrey, Johnny, and Harvey, and….” But there once again, the census taker interrupted her. Slightly exasperated, he said, “No, ma’am, you don’t seem to understand. I don’t need their names, I just need the numbers.” To which the old woman replied, “But I don’t know them by numbers. I only know them by name!”  — In today’s Gospel, Jesus the Good Shepherd says that he knows all his sheep by name. (

5) “I’d like to preserve my integrity and credibility.” About 23 years ago, Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, offered WGN Chicago Radio sports-talk host David Kaplan $50,000 to change his name legally to “Dallas Maverick.” When Kaplan politely declined, Cuban sweetened the offer. Cuban would pay Kaplan $100,000 and donate $100,000 to Kaplan’s favorite charity if he took the name for one year. After some soul searching, and being bombarded by e-mails from listeners who said he was crazy to turn down the money, Kaplan held firm and told Cuban no. Kaplan explained: “I’d be saying I’d do anything for money, and that bothers me. My name is my birthright. I’d like to preserve my integrity and credibility.” [Skip Bayless, Chicago Tribune (1/10/01); from Leadership Summer, 2001.]  — The name “Christian” is our birthright. From the moment of our Baptism and our birth into the Kingdom of God, we are the sheep of the Good Shepherd Who promises to lead us to green pastures and beside the still waters. The Voice of the Shepherd protects us. (

5) His master’s voice: Have you ever seen the painting done in the 1930s of a dog, looking with a cocked head, at an old gramophone? The name of the painting is His Master’s Voice, and it’s a symbol of what Jesus is saying to us. “The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (

7) “I know the Psalm. The pastor knows the Shepherd.” A famous actor was the guest of honor at a social gathering. As people gathered around, they asked the actor to recite excerpts from various literary works. He obliged and did so brilliantly. Finally, an elderly pastor asked the actor to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor hesitated at first and then agreed on one condition, that the pastor would return the favor. The actor’s recitation was brilliant and eloquent. People responded to the actor with lengthy applause. The pastor’s rendition was feeble and frail. But when the pastor finished, there was not a dry eye in the house. Finally, the actor broke the silence with these words: “I know the Psalm. The pastor knows the Shepherd.” — “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Do you know the Shepherd? Have you found Him to be good? Have you discovered He is all you need? (

8) “Then we FLEECE them!” Two televangelists were talking. One was explaining how he was seeking to be the ideal shepherd to his television flock. “There are three ways I seek to do that,” he said. “What three ways do you mean?” asked the other evangelist. “Well” he explained, “First, we FIND them. Every year we find new stations to carry our ministry. Then we FEED them. I give them the plain unvarnished word of God.” “But what’s the third thing?” asked the second evangelist. “Well,” he answered, “Once we’ve found them and fed them, then we FLEECE them!” — Some TV evangelists have become quite proficient at fleecing their flock. I hope you understand that nothing could be farther from the example of Christ. Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep . . .” Fleecing the flock is a long way from laying down your life for them. (

9) “But I never jumped.” A paratrooper who had recently resigned from the military was asked how many times he had jumped out of an airplane. He said, “None.” A friend of his asked, “What do you mean, ‘none’? I thought you were a paratrooper!” He said, “I was, but I never jumped. I was pushed several times …  but I never jumped.” — The hired hand never jumps. He has to be pushed. Churches often have hired hands in them — not our Church, of course! But other Churches are full of people who have to be pushed to do what they know they ought to do. Jesus did not have to be pushed. Do we need to be pushed? (

10) “I give my life for my sheep”: We applaud when a man or woman gives his or her life for another. Such instances do come along from time to time. Murfreesboro, Tennessee. May 28, 1989: “Former NFL football player Jerry Anderson,” read the newspaper account, “died Saturday after pulling two young boys out of a rain-swollen river about 40 miles southeast of Nashville. Witnesses said Anderson saw two boys, thought to be 11 or 12 years old, attempting to cross a dam spanning the river. One or both boys fell into the water. According to Officer Bill Todd, ‘Mr. Anderson jumped in the water and managed to get the little boys out, but witnesses said he went under two or three times and about the fourth time, he didn’t come back up.’” He gave his life to rescue two small boys. (

11) You don’t have to be an American or a football player for such heroic actions. In a Middle school in the Ukrainian village of Ivanichi a young teacher died sometime back. He absorbed the blast of a hand grenade to protect his pupils. What was a grenade doing in a middle school? According to the London Times, the teacher, a graduate of the KGB border guard college, had been delivering the military instruction that is a compulsory part of the curriculum for Soviet children. He was teaching them how to handle what should have been an unarmed grenade. When he pulled the pin a wisp of smoke showed that a live grenade had become mixed in with demonstration grenades, and he gave his life. (

12) You don’t have to be a man to perform such heroics. Many years ago, a woman carrying a baby through the hills of South Wales, England, was overtaken by a blizzard. Searchers found her later frozen to death in the snow. Amazed that she had on no outer garments, they searched further and found her baby. She had wrapped them around the child, who was still alive and well. He grew up to be David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of Great Britain in World War I. (

13) Big Brother is watching us: Ever since 1984 hit the bookstores, people concerned about individual privacy and freedom have looked for signs that Big Brother is becoming a reality in our society. And it is true that more and more of our urban landscape is being observed by security cameras. But that is only one way our privacy is being invaded. There was a news report several years ago that Israeli scientists are now marketing a microchip that, implanted under the skin, will protect film stars and millionaires from kidnappers. The chip emits a signal detectable by satellite to help rescuers determine a victim’s approximate location. Originally the chip was developed to track Israeli secret-service agents abroad. The $5,000 chip doesn’t even require batteries. It runs solely on the neurophysiological energy generated within the human body. The firm which developed it, Gen-Etics, won’t reveal where the chip is inserted but said that, at that time, 43 people had had it implanted. Since this report was published there has been an explosion of interest in this technology. Farmers keep tabs on the health and safety of their cows and other livestock with such chips. But the use of such devices to monitor human beings is almost limitless. Already there is a monitoring bracelet for Alzheimer patients, so that families can use GPS systems to help find loved ones who have wandered off. Would it be inconceivable that loving parents might want to monitor the whereabouts of their children via satellite? Why not have a chip implanted? Pet owners are already using such technology. Some cynics have suggested that some wives might want to monitor their husbands. Soon we will see signs, “Big Brother is watching.”– Here’s what’s amusing to me. There are people who have no difficulty believing that one day the government will keep track of us all, but who cannot conceive that an all-knowing God can take a personal interest in each of His children, hear each of our prayers, and be responsive to each of our individual needs. (

14) Images are highly influential. They become emblazoned on the wall of our minds, and they evoke a wide range of responses. Millions of people will remember the fireman carrying the baby out of the ruins of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. World War II veterans, particularly the ones who served in the South Pacific, will always remember Mount Surabachi and the photo of the Marines who raised an American flag at its summit, as well as the image of General MacArthur returning to the Philippines. Neil Armstrong taking that first step on the moon in the early ’70s is frozen in many memories, too. If you were old enough to watch and understand television in l963, you probably remember young John F. Kennedy, Jr., at the casket of his father Jack. Much closer to our own time, many of us will long retain the image of students running out of Columbine High School with their hands over their heads. — Some images are immensely powerful and have a tenacity that is tireless and timeless. — If there is one image associated with the Christian Faith, which, more than any other, has found an enduring place within the collective life of the Christian Church, it is the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. (

15) Hannah and Her Sisters. A recent movie by Woody Allen was titled, Hannah and Her Sisters. The movie deals precisely with that theme. It is about Hannah and her sisters and how family life gives some sense of stability to life in a fractured world. The part played by Woody Allen in the movie is the part of a man who is constantly afraid that he will get some terrible disease. He is what we call a hypochondriac. As he comes into the movie, we see him on his way to the doctor. The doctor assures him that nothing seems to be terribly wrong, though some additional tests need to be made. Woody cannot calm himself over these additional tests. He is sure they will find something terrible. “What are you afraid of,” one of his friends asks him, “cancer?” “Don’t say that,” Woody responds with a look of terror. More tests are performed. A CAT scan is prescribed for his head. He is sure they will find a brain tumor. But his fears are unfounded. The doctor announces to him that all is well. In the next scene we see Woody coming out of the hospital, kicking up his heels, and running joyfully down the street. He is celebrating. But suddenly he stops. We know instinctively why he stops. He tells us in the next scene. “All this means,” he says, “is that I am all right this time. Next time it will probably be serious.” — Our lives are lived in constant danger. Woody Allen’s character overplays the danger. But the danger is there. There are all kinds of realities that imperil our lives nearly every day. Accidents happen. Natural disasters strike. Oppressive structures of life weigh us down. Disease stalks us and death awaits. That is the way life is. We live our lives in constant peril. Woody Allen may have exaggerated a bit, but he is right. Human life is an endangered species. Death calls a halt to every human life. But there is a cure for fear:  “I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus says. “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (

16) The Bismarck:  In the beginning of World War II, the Nazis commissioned a massive battleship named the Bismarck.  It was the biggest fighting vessel the world had seen up to that time.  With the Bismarck the Germans had the opportunity to dominate the seas.  Very soon after it was commissioned, the Bismarck sank tons of Allied shipping and allied aircraft.  Its massive armor plating resulted in the boast that the Bismarck was unsinkable.  But the Bismarck was sunk.  And it was sunk due to one lone torpedo.  A torpedo hit the Bismarck in the rudder.  As a result, the battleship zig-zagged through the sea, unable to reach harbor.  It was only a short while before the British navy was able to overtake and destroy it.  No matter how large the battleship may be, it is doomed without a rudder to direct it. — Floundering on the waters of chaos without a rudder, the Bismarck is a modern-day image of a world without the direction of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  Without the Lord, the world is headed toward chaos.  But with the Lord there is guidance, direction and purpose in life. (

17) Alexander, the shepherd of soldiers.  When  Emperor Alexander the Great was crossing the Makran Desert on his way to Persia, his army ran out of water.  The soldiers were dying of thirst as they advanced under the burning sun.  A couple of Alexander’s lieutenants managed to capture some water from a passing caravan. They brought some to him in a helmet.  He asked, “Is there enough for both me and my men?” “Only you, sir,” they replied.  Alexander then lifted up the helmet as the soldiers watched. — Instead of drinking, he tipped it over and poured the water on the ground. The men let up a great shout of admiration.  They knew their general would not allow them to suffer anything he was unwilling to suffer himself. (

18)  “It will kill you if you move.” A soldier dying on a Korean battlefield asked for a priest. The Medic could not find one. A wounded man lying nearby heard the request and said, “I am a priest.” The Medic turned to the speaker and saw his condition, which was as bad as that of the other. “It will kill you if you move,” he warned. —  But the wounded chaplain replied. “The life of a man’s soul is worth more than a few hours of my life.” He then crawled to the dying soldier, heard his confession, gave him absolution and the two died hand in hand. (

19)  The TV is my shepherd I shall not want,
It makes me to lie down on the sofa.
It leads me away from the Faith,
It destroys my soul.
It leads me to the path of sex and violence for the advertiser’s sake.
Even though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities,
There will be no interruption, for the TV is with me.
Its cable and remote control, they comfort me
It prepares a commercial for me in the midst of my worldliness
And anoints my head with secular humanism and consumerism.
My covetousness runs over;
Surely ignorance and laziness shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of wretchedness watching TV forever.

(I heard this parody on Psalm 23 in a homily broadcast on EWTN on March 18 2002, Fr. Tommy Lane) (

20) Follow My Voice: On September 11, 2001, the Pentagon was slammed by a hijacked airliner. People were trapped in the flaming building. A police officer ran inside and kept repeating in the darkness, ”Follow my voice.” Six people did. They owe their lives to that voice. We know the popular child’s game called, “Follow the Leader.” Do you remember when we were children and used to play “Simon says”? Whatever “Simon says” we do, because, Simon is the leader of that game. — At some point in our lives, we all pick out leaders to follow, some good, some bad. Depending on whom we choose, we are led well or astray. Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.” But hearing Jesus’ voice is very difficult in the current environment of our lives. Each day hundreds of other “shepherds” are calling our names for our attention. They offer formulas for health, wealth and happiness. They offer formulas for solving problems, getting along in relationships, raising children, avoiding [trouble], becoming popular and getting ahead. (John Pichappily in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

21) “I am the gate”: In his book The Holy Land, John Kellman describes a field pen. It consists of a circular stone wall about four feet high with an opening in it. Kellman says that one day a Holy land tourist saw a field pen near Hebron. He asked a shepherd sitting nearby, “Where’s the gate for your pen?” The shepherd said, “I am the gate.” The shepherd then told the tourist how he herded his flock into the pen each night and then lay down across the entrance. No sheep could leave the pen and no wild animal could enter it, without stepping over his body and awakening him. (John Kellman, The Holy Land; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

22) “She thinks I’m real!” There is a story of a grandmother, a mother, and a little boy, three generations, who went into a restaurant, and sat down to order. The waitress took the grandmother’s order, the mother’s order, and then turned to the little boy and said “What would you like?” The mother immediately said “Oh, I’ll order for him.” The waitress without being overly rude ignored the mother and again said to the little boy “What would you like?” Glancing over at his mother to see how she was reacting to this, the little boy said “Uh, uh, I’d like a hamburger.” “How would you like your hamburger? With mustard and pickles and the works?” asked the waitress. With his mouth dropping open in amazement now, he said “The works, the works.” The waitress went over to the hatch, and called out the grandmother’s order and the mother’s order. Then in a very loud voice she said, “And a hamburger with the works” The little boy turned to his mother in utter amazement and said “Mommy, mommy, she thinks I’m real!” — God treats each one of us as real people. He takes our needs and requests seriously! (Jack McArdle; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

23) Watching over You: Cheryl Cassiday was a  Registered Nurse.  One afternoon, she arrived at the Arts Center to pick her daughter Rachel from her dance lesson. She usually used to run another errand, getting the milk, before picking up her daughter. On that day as she turned that corner, she changed her mind and did not go to the milk booth. This decision saved her daughter’s life and eight other lives as well. Instead of waiting in the car as she usually did, that day, Mrs. Cassiday went into the dance studio. There she found her daughter along with eight others overcome by carbon-monoxide poisoning. With the help of the family across the street, she was able to pull out each one from the building and revive them. Later referring to the watchfulness of God, Cheryl very finely concluded: “Somebody was watching over these girls besides me!” — It was Jesus our Good Shepherd. (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho).  (

24)  I  Am the Door”: George Adam Smith, the 19th century biblical scholar, tells of traveling one day in the Holy Land and coming across a shepherd and his sheep. He fell into conversation with him and the man showed him the fold into which the sheep were led at night. It consisted of four walls, with a way in. Smith asked him, “This is where they go at night?” “Yes,” said the shepherd, “and when they are in there, they are perfectly safe.” “But there is no door,” said Smith. “I am the door,” said the shepherd. He was not a Christian man and wasn’t speaking in the language of the New Testament. He was speaking from an Arab shepherd’s viewpoint. Smith looked and him and asked, “What do you mean you are the door?” — “When the light has gone,” said the shepherd, “and all the sheep are inside, I lie in that open space, and no sheep ever goes out but across my body, and no wolf comes in unless he crosses my body; I am the door. (

25) Effective Leadership of a good shepherd: There is a funny story about an ecumenical crusade that was being held in a large city. Every imaginable denomination was in attendance for this unprecedented event. One afternoon the gathering was in session when all of a sudden a secretary rushed in shouting, “The building’s on fire! The building’s on fire!” Confusion reigned as each Church group came together and did what came naturally: The Methodists gathered in the corner to pray. The Baptists cried, “Where’s the water?” The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessings that fire brings. The Lutherans posted a notice on the door declaring that the fire was evil. The Roman Catholics passed a plate to cover the damages. The Unitarians reasoned that the fire would burn itself out if just given the chance. The Congregationalists shouted, “Every man for himself.” The Fundamentalists proclaimed, “It’s the vengeance of God.” The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out. The Christian Scientists concluded that there was no real fire. The Presbyterians appointed a chairperson to appoint a committee to look into the matter and make a written report. And the Church secretary grabbed a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. (Tom Lacey, Unleashing the Lord in Your Life. Reflection by: Sister Patricia Wormann, OP) (

26) Amazing grace given to a lost sheep:
John Newton was the son of an English Sea captain. When he was only ten his mother died and he went to sea with his father. At 17 he rebelled against his father, left his ship and began living a wildlife. Eventually John took a job on a cargo ship that carried slaves from Africa to America. He was promoted rapidly and soon became captain of the ship. Newton never worried whether slave trade was right or wrong. One night a violent storm blew up at sea and the waves grew to the size of mountains. They picked up Newton’s ship and threw it around like a toy. Everyone on board was filled with panic. Then Newton did something he had never done since leaving his father’s ship. He prayed. Shouting at the top of his voice he said, “God, if you will only save us, I promise to be your slave forever.” God heard his prayer and the ship survived. When Newton reached land, he kept his promise and quit the slave trade. Later he studied in the seminary and was ordained pastor of a small church in Olney, England. There he won fame as a preacher and composer of hymns. — One of the most moving hymns Newton wrote is the one that praised God for his conversion. He called it “Amazing Grace.” The hymn begins “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see….”
(Adapted from Al Rogers’ story of John Newton; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

27) Pregnant giraffe from New York State: I have been obsessed for the past month or so with April, the giraffe from New York State. Her pregnancy has been followed by thousands of people around the world on a webcam on Facebook. ( By the calf’s birth on Holy Saturday, I knew much more about giraffes then I could ever have  imagined. I think what touched me most was the loving relationship that April had with her caretaker, Alyssa. When Alyssa came in, it was obvious that she was special to April and April to Alyssa. Alyssa would pet her, kiss her belly and have her favorite treats. The giraffe would quickly approach and nuzzle near Alyssa as soon as she arrived. It reminded me too, of my 16+ years relationship with my cat, Theo. I know him very well and he knows me. We eat, sleep and spend time together. He actually models for me what it means to be contemplative. —  I give these examples because we might not be as familiar with sheep as were the people of Jesus’ day, but we do understand the image that Jesus invites us to see. Jesus invites us to intimacy with him and with those whom we encounter on our journey. (Sister Patricia Wormann, OP)   (

28) GKC parable: When you touch someone, unless that person actively rejects your love and forgiveness, he or she is relating to the Body of Christ. And this is true even beyond death: If someone close to you dies in a state which, externally at least, has him or her at odds with the visible Church, your love and forgiveness will continue to bind that person to the Body of Christ and will continue to offer forgiveness to that individual, even after death. GK Chesterton once expressed this in a parable: “A man who was entirely careless of spiritual affairs died and went to hell. And he was much missed on earth by his old friends. His business agent went down to the gates of hell to see if there was any chance of bringing him back. But though he pleaded for the gates to be opened, the iron bars never yielded. His priest also went and argued: ‘He was not really a bad fellow; given time he would have matured. Let him out, please!’ The gate remained stubbornly shut against all their voices. Finally, his mother came; she did not beg for his release. Quietly, and with a strange catch in her voice, she said to Satan: ‘Let me in.’ Immediately the great doors swung open upon their hinges. For love goes down through the gates of hell and there redeems the dead.” (Fr. Ron Rolheiser). (

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 29) by Fr. Tony:

Visit my website by clicking on for missed or previous Cycle C  & Cycle A homilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at Visit  of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

April 24-29 weekday homilies

April 24-29: Click on for missed homilies:

April 24 Monday: (St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest, Martyr):For a short biography, click on: Jn 6:22-29: 22 On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”)

The context: Today’s Gospel introduces Jesus’ famous discourse on the Holy Eucharist which emerged within a dialogue between Jesus and the Jews who had gone around the Lake and come to Capernaum searching for him. In answer to their question about his arrival, Jesus challenged them, saying that they were looking for him so they could get another free meal and that such meals would not satisfy them. He also instructed them to labor for food that would give them Eternal Life.

Naturally, the Jews asked Jesus what they should do to get such a food. Since the Jews believed that the Torah was the “bread of life,” many may have thought that Jesus was instructing them to keep the Torah to attain Eternal Life. So, Jesus clarified that they had to do the work of God to attain eternal life; he told them that the “work of God” was not to work miracles for their own sake but to believe in Him as the Son of God, sent to give Eternal Life to those who believed in him. While regular food helps us to stay alive in this world, spiritual food sustains and develops our supernatural life, which will last forever in Heaven. This food, which only God can give us, consists mainly in the gift of Faith in Jesus and in the grace God gives us to live according to Jesus’ teaching. Through God’s infinite love, we are given in the Blessed Eucharist the very Author of these gifts, Jesus Christ, as nourishment for our souls.

Life message: 1) Most of the time, we work for food which only nourishes the body. Jesus teaches that he is the Heavenly food, who nourishes the soul and gives us eternal life in union with God in Heaven. Hence, let us receive this Life-giving food both in the Holy Eucharist and in the Holy Scripture with proper preparation and reverence while repenting of our sins. Fr. Tony ( L/23

For additional reflections, click on:;;

April 25 Tuesday: (St. Mark, Evangelist):For a short biography, click on:

April 25 Tuesday: (St. Mark, Evangelist): For a short biography, click on:  On April 25, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist who is also referred to as John Mark. As an evangelist, he is writer of the earliest of the gospels and the author of the second gospel. According to a first century Father of the Church, known as John the Presbyter, Mark, as the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. St. Jerome tells us that Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell.  The symbol for Mark is a lion with wings. That is because his Gospel begins with the story of John the Baptist, a “voice crying in the wilderness” (Mark 1:3), like the roaring of a lion. Lions are called the kings of the jungle. Mark’s Gospel tells us about Jesus’ royalty as God’s Son, a kingship we share through our Baptism.

He played a vital role in spreading the Gospel as a missionary in the early church. He is usually identified with the Mark of Acts 12:12. After the martyrdom of James the son of Zebedee, the Jews caught Peter. But he was miraculously saved from the prison.  Acts 12:12 tells us that when Peter escaped from prison, he went to the home of Mark’s mother. Mark was also    a cousin of Barnabas. Hence Paul and Barnabas took him along on the first missionary journey as a companion. But Mark quit the company of Paul and Barnabas after a while (Acts 13:13) which displeased Paul.   So, later, Paul refused to take him with him on another missionary journey (Acts 15:37-40) while Mark kept the company of his cousin, Barnabas in his missionary journeys. But later Paul while he was in prison, got reconciled with Mark. In his letter to Philemon, Paul introduces Mark as a fellow-worker. Mark had become not only a valuable member of Paul’s circle but also someone personally close to Peter. Taking the gospel which he himself composed, he went to Egypt and first preaching Christ at Alexandria he formed a church so admirable in doctrine and continence of living that he attracted all followers of Christ to his example. He was later appointed the first bishop of Alexandria, in Egypt. He died there sometime between the years 68-74 AD as a martyr for his belief in Jesus.

Jn 16:16-20: 16 “A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 Some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, `because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said, “What does he mean by `a little while’? We do not know what he means.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.

The context: In the Last Supper discourse, Jesus tells the Apostles about leaving them in order to return to his Father and about coming again at the end of time to usher in the new age of God’s kingdom. When they start asking each other the meaning of these statements, Jesus explains to them the hardships they will have to face after his departure and the glorious reward waiting for them in his Second Coming. But as he had consoled them earlier, promising to send a Paraclete, now Jesus assures them that his absence is only temporary.

A little while: Jesus is speaking about a three-level disappearance and reappearance. The first level is Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The apostles will no longer see Jesus when he dies. But they will see Jesus again in three days as their risen Lord. The second level is the mystical level: They will lose sight of Jesus physically when he ascends to the glory of the Father. But they will see Jesus again in many ways by Faith when the Holy Spirit comes (e.g., in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in the praying community, and in people we meet). There is also a third level. Jesus is not now visible physically to the world but will manifest his glory to the whole world when he comes again in glory for the Last Judgment. In the light of eternity, a few thousand years are but an instant, a very short while.

Life messages: 1) Let us try to recognize the presence of the living Lord in our midst here and now. 2) Let us ask Him to help us adjust our daily lives accordingly, so that we, too, may inherit the eternal joy prepared for us. Fr. Tony ( L/23

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April 26 Wednesday: Jn 6:35-40: 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The context: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus repeats his claim that he is “the Bread of Life.” He means that, just as God sent manna from heaven to sustain the physical life of his people in the desert, so He has sent His Son Jesus to sustain the spiritual lives of His people. Spiritual life is actually Sanctifying Grace, our living relationship with God the Father, through His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus makes three claims: 1) He claims to be our spiritual Food and offers himself in order to produce God’s life within us. 2) He promises to those who believe in him unbroken friendship with God. 3) Jesus also promises to those who believe in him a share in his own Resurrection at the end of this world and share of Eternal Life with him in Heaven.

Life messages: 1) We need to live dynamic spiritual lives, sharing in God’s Life, Sanctifying Grace, through the Holy Eucharist. 2) We can keep the friendship of Jesus only by leading holy lives free from sin. 3) We can enjoy and share the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection only by realizing and appreciating his presence within us and all around us. Only God can satisfy our deepest needs. Fr. Tony: (

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April 27 Thursday: Jn 6:44-51: 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the continuation of Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life. Jesus declares that he has seen God his Father because he has come from Heaven. Jesus also states that we hear God the Father’s Voice through him and through the Holy Spirit because the Father draws us to Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus reminds the Jews that they cannot be his disciples unless God his Father draws them to him and teaches them. The Magisterium of the Church has repeated this teaching in Vatican II: "Before this Faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior help of the Holy Spirit, Who moves the heart and converts it to God, Who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth" (Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 5). Once they become his disciples, Jesus will feed their souls with the Bread from Heaven, and this Heavenly Bread is his own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Eternal Life is reserved for such disciples. This Eternal Life is a Life of love, fellowship, communion, and union with God.

Life message: 1) Holy Communion is the wonderful banquet at which Christ gives himself to us: “The Bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My Flesh.) Hence, let us receive the glorified Body and Blood of the Risen Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with a repentant heart, proper preparation, reverential fear, and grateful joy. Fr. Tony ( L/23

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April 28 Friday: Jn 6: 52-59: 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

The context: The Jewish audience for Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life were scandalized at his statement that he was going to give them his Flesh to eat, for it suggested to them cannibalism, forbidden in the Jewish Scriptures. Hence, they wanted to know how Jesus could give his Flesh to eat as a means to gain Eternal Life. Jesus asserted that it was a must for them to eat his Body and drink his Blood if they were to receive Divine Life, Eternal Life, and resurrection from the dead. There is no way to interpret Jesus’ words as “simply symbolic,” which would mean that receiving Communion is only a metaphor, and not really eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus stresses very forcefully that it is necessary for us to receive him in the Blessed Eucharist in order to share in Divine Life and to develop the life of grace we have received in Baptism. “We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion to nourish our souls and to give us an increase of grace and the gift of eternal life” (St. Pius X Catechism, # 289). “Really sharing in the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 7). Jesus adds that eating his Body and drinking his Blood are essential for abiding in him, which is, on this earth, the beginning of the Eternal Life of Heaven. Communion with Jesus enables us to start enjoying Eternal Life with God here on earth, while resurrection gives us eternal life with God forever. St. Thomas Aquinas gives this explanation: “The Word gives life to our souls, but the Word made Flesh nourishes our souls.” (“Commentary on St. John, in loc.”).

Life message: 1) We need to receive Holy Communion with the full awareness that we are abiding in Jesus, carrying him wherever we go. Hence, we are expected to radiate to all around us the love, the mercy, the spirit of service, and the forgiveness of Jesus. Fr. Toy; ( 23

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April 29 Saturday: (St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church)For a short biography, click on: : Matthew 11: 25-30: 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; 26 yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. 27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The context: Jesus knew that ordinary people with large, sensitive hearts, rather than proud intellectuals, were able accept the “Good News.” Such people would inherit Heaven rather than the learned and the wise who prided themselves on their intellectual achievements. Hence, in the first part of today’s Gospel Jesus prays in thanksgiving to His Father, praising God for revealing Himself to the simple-hearted, and thus condemning intellectual pride. Jesus’ unique claim: that He Is God’s perfect reflection: No one really knows the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27). The claim that Jesus alone can reveal God to men forms the center of the Christian Faith. In another context, In John’s account of the Last Supper conversation, Jesus declares: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn.14:9). What Jesus says is this: “If you want to see what God is like, if you want to see the mind of God, the heart of God, the nature of God, if you want to see God’s whole attitude toward men–look at Me!”

Invitation to accept Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden: For the Orthodox Jew, religion was a matter of burdens: 613 Mosaic laws and thousands of oral interpretations, which dictated every aspect of life. Jesus invites us to take His yoke upon our shoulders. The yoke of Christ can be seen as the sum of our Christian responsibilities and duties. To take the yoke of Christ upon us is to put ourselves in a relationship with Christ as servants and subjects, and so to choose to conduct ourselves accordingly. By saying that His “yoke is easy” (Matthew 11: 30), Jesus means that whatever God sends us is made to fit our needs and our abilities exactly. The second part of Jesus’ claim, “My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30), does not mean that the burden is easy to carry, but that it is laid on us in love and is meant to be carried in love, and that love makes even the heaviest burden light.

Life message: We need to unload our burdens on the Lord. This is one of the functions of Divine Worship in the Church and the main purpose of our personal and family prayers. These are given to us by God as a time for rest and refreshment, when we let the overheated radiators of our hectic lives cool down before the Lord, unload the burdens of our sins and worries on the altar, and offer them and ourselves to God during the Holy Mass. Fr. Tony ( L/23

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Easter III Sunday homily

Easter III [A] (April 23) 8-minute homily in one page (L/23)

Introduction: Our Scripture lessons for today have one common, encouraging theme: No matter what happens in our lives, the risen Jesus is always with us. God is always near to those who seek Him and want to live in His presence, doing His will.
Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading, from Acts, taken from the beginning of Peter’s first public proclamation about Jesus, tells us how God raised Jesus from death, thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies about the promised descendant of David. The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 16), has us singing, “Lord, You will show us the path of Life.” In the second reading, Peter exhorts the early Christians to place their Faith and Hope in God Who has saved them through the precious Blood of His Son and Who has raised Jesus from the dead. The Emmaus incident described in today’s Gospel shows us a God who will not abandon us when we are hurt and disappointed. The message of today’s Scripture readings is that the followers of Jesus are to maintain contact with their Risen Lord through prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible. The readings also remind us that our belief in Jesus’ presence in the consecrated Bread and Wine should help us to understand better his presence in the Bible and in the believing and worshipping community. Putting the two appearances (to the Emmaus disciples and to Peter), together, it is clear that the risen Jesus wanted Peter to act as spokesman for him, and that the faithful who seek to follow Jesus should seek his company in prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible under the direction of Peter and his successors.

Life messages: 1) Jesus meets us on our Emmaus Road. The risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus, both in the ordinary experiences of our lives, and in the places to which we retreat when life is too much for us. We, too, have hopes and dreams about better health, healing, financial security and better family relationships. These often shatter. The story promises us, however, that Jesus will come to us in unfamiliar guises to support and strengthen us when we least expect the risen Lord. Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.

2) We meet Jesus on a daily basis in our life’s journey. The Church instructs us to hear Jesus on a daily basis through prayer, through the faithful reading of, and meditation on, the Bible, through our experience of Jesus as we participate in the Eucharistic celebration in which the risen Lord gives us Himself as our spiritual Food and Drink, through our personal and family prayers, and through our family meals. When we meet Jesus in the Eucharist and through the Word of God, we commune with him in prayer, and thus renew our relationship of mutual loving service. These meetings enable us to encounter the risen Jesus living in all the people we meet and, in them, to offer our Lord humble, loving, selfless service.

3) Do our hearts burn when we listen to the risen Lord in the Bible? Christ comes to us most clearly in the Word. Vatican II (Dei Verbum 21) tells us that Jesus is to be equally venerated in the Eucharist and in the Bible. Therefore, we need to study the Bible, learn the Bible, pray with the Bible, memorize the Bible, meditate on the word of God with burning zeal, and practice what the Bible teaches.

EASTER III [A] (April 23) Acts 2:14, 22-33 1 Pt 1:17-21, Lk 24:13-35

Homily starter anecdote: #1: “I give him a shave every morning. Len Sweet ( tells this story about Karl Barth, the famous Swiss theologian. It may be a true story or an evangelized version. Karl Barth was riding a streetcar in his home city of Basel, Switzerland. He took a seat next to a tourist, and the two men started chatting with one another. “Are you new to the city?” Barth inquired. “Yes,” said the tourist.” “Is there anything you would particularly like to see in the city?” asked Barth. “Yes,”replied the tourist, “I would like to meet the famous Swiss theologian, Karl Barth; do you know him?” Barth answered, “As a matter of fact, I do know him. I give him a shave every morning!“ The tourist got off the streetcar at the next stop, quite delighted with himself. He went back to his hotel and told everyone, “I met Karl Barth’s barber today!” — Len Sweet tells the story to make the point that we, like the disciples who were on the way to Emmaus, often fail to recognize Jesus when he is among us. It’s about recognition (or the lack of it). We meet people who know him, who love him and revel in his grace. We read their books and listen to their podcasts. Sometimes we even get to meet them. We are content to say, “I met your Evangelical Superhero here today!” The crazy irony is the missed opportunity for meeting Jesus living with us and within us. (

# 2: Bad news and good news: “I’ve got some good news and some bad news to tell you. Which would you like to hear first?” the farmer asked. “Why don’t you tell me the bad news first?” the banker replied. “Okay,” said the farmer, “With the bad drought and inflation and all, I won’t be able to pay anything on my mortgage this year, either on the principal or the interest.” “Well, that is pretty bad,” said the banker. “It gets worse,” said the farmer. “I also won’t be able to pay anything on the loan for all that machinery I bought, not on the principal or interest.” “Wow, is that ever bad!” the banker admitted. “It’s worse than that,” the farmer continued. “You remember I also borrowed to buy seed and fertilizer and other supplies. Well, I can’t pay anything on that, either principal or interest.” “That’s awful,” said the banker, “and that’s enough! What’s the good news?” “The good news,” replied the farmer with a smile, “is that I intend to keep on doing business with you.” [John C. Maxwell, “Developing the Leaders Around You” (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers), p. 71.] — I don’t know if that was good news for the banker or not. Two of the disciples of Jesus were on the road that leads to Emmaus. They were as low as that farmer because their Master had been crucified like a common thief. But now they have heard reports that their Master is not dead at all. Reliable sources have told them that He has appeared to some of their most trusted friends. Is he really alive? The disciples are troubled and afraid. Should they believe the good news or the bad?  — And that’s our dilemma, isn’t it? DO WE BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS OR THE BAD? The Good News is that Christ is alive. The bad news is how little impact that event is having in the world today. (

# 3) Broken dreams: Dr. J. Wallace Hamilton, in his book Horns and Halos in Human Nature, tells of one of the weirdest auctions in history. It was held in the city of Washington, D.C. It was an auction of designs, actually patent models of old inventions that did not make it in the marketplace. These 150,000 old inventions were declared obsolete and placed on the auction block for public auction.  Prospective buyers and on-lookers chuckled as item after item was put up for bid, such as a bed-bug buster or an illuminated cat that was designed to scare away mice. Then there was a device to prevent snoring. It consisted of a trumpet that reached from the mouth to the ear and was designed to awaken the snorer and not the neighbors. One person designed a tube to reach from his mouth to his feet so that his breath would keep his feet warm as he slept. There was an adjustable pulpit which could be raised or lowered. You could hit a button and make the pulpit descend or ascend to illustrate a point dramatically. Obviously, at one time somebody had high hopes for each of those designs which did not make it. Some died in poverty, having spent all of their money trying to sell their dream. They represented a mountain of disappointments. One hundred fifty thousand broken dreams! Is there anything sadder? — Today’s Gospel describes the shattered dreams of two of Jesus’ disciples at the tragic and unexpected death of their Master whom they trusted as their promised Messiah. (

Introduction: Our Scripture lessons for today have one common, encouraging theme: No matter what happens in our lives, the risen Jesus is always with us.  God is near to those who seek Him and who want to live in His presence, doing His will.  The Emmaus incident is the story of a God who will not abandon us when we are hurt and disappointed. As Francis Thompson put it, He is “The Hound of Heaven” Who relentlessly follows us when we try to escape from His love.   The message of today’s Scripture readings is that the followers of Jesus are to maintain contact with their risen Lord through prayer, the Eucharist, and the Bible.  The readings also remind us that our belief in Jesus’ presence in the consecrated Bread and Wine should help us to understand better his presence in the Bible and in the believing and worshipping community.  Putting the two appearances (to the Emmaus disciples and to Peter), together, it is clear that the risen Jesus wants Peter to act as spokesman for him, and that the faithful who seek to follow Jesus should seek his company in the Eucharist, in prayer, in the praying community, and in the Bible under the direction of Peter and his successors.

   The first reading (Acts 2:14, 22-33) explained: Today we hear the beginning of Peter’s first public proclamation of the Good News about Jesus, telling the gathered people that God raised Jesus from death, thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies about the promised descendant of David.  The reading is taken from the first and the longest of Peter’s five discourses preserved in the Acts of the Apostles.  During his speech, Peter refers to Israel’s beloved King David, quoting Psalm 16 (ascribed to David), and asserting that David, “foresaw and spoke of the Resurrection of the Christ.” Today’s reading tries to describe a time before the earliest Christians realized that God was calling them to embrace all people. At this stage, they were the first few Jews to have caught on to the Messianic identity of Jesus, and their goal was to convince other Jews of what they had realized.

 The second reading (1 Peter 1:17-21) explained: Peter exhorts the early Church, made up of Hebrew and pagan converts, to place their Faith and Hope in God Who has saved them through the precious Blood of His Son, and Who has raised Jesus from the dead.  Peter repeats the assertion made in Acts, that Jesus’ death and Resurrection was part of God’s plan from all eternity.  Hence, Jesus’ sufferings and subsequent glorification by God should serve to center the Christian’s Faith and Hope in God Who has accepted those sufferings as an act of Redemption for all mankind. From this reassuring truth, Christians should sense God’s providence, both in their own current situations and in the whole of their lives, and they should understand the place of their present struggles in a wider context.  The root of our Faith must be the Resurrection of Jesus, and Peter argues that it is essential for everyone in the Christian community to experience the risen Jesus alive and present in everyday life.

Gospel exegesis: Luke’s Emmaus Gospel is a beautiful, theological dramatization of one of the encounters of the disciples with their risen Lord during those wonder-filled days after the discovery of the empty tomb (Mk 16:12-13). It is the story of how on Easter Sunday two disciples of Jesus, discouraged and devastated, set out on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus — a distance of about seven miles — and were overtaken by a stranger going along the same road.  They began to speak to him about all that had occurred in the Holy City during the previous week.  Most probably, Cleopas and his companion were husband and wife, residents of Emmaus and disciples of Jesus who had witnessed His crucifixion and burial.

Cleophas and companion:  “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.”(John 19:25). From the Gospels we also learn that this wife of Clophas/Cleophas  was also the mother of James the Less and Joses, and that she had been a follower, as well as a helper, of Jesus and his immediate disciples (Mark 15:40, 41: cf. Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10).  Mark 16:1 tells us that “Mary the mother of James brought spices to prepare the body of Jesus.” Then, in Luke 24:10The women [who went to the tomb, and to whom Jesus appeared] were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James.” This may explain why, after his appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden early in the morning (and not counting an otherwise unrecorded appearance to Peter),  Jesus was next seen by Cleopas and his wife, Mary (and this was before he appeared had appeared to any of the “regular” disciples!), who had chosen to leave Jerusalem on the afternoon of the third day after the death of Jesus – the very day they had received news that the tomb was empty.  They were “prevented” from recognizing the Stranger, Jesus, perhaps partly by their preoccupation with their own disappointment and problems. As they journeyed on with him, Jesus showed them how the Scriptures had foretold all that he had done and suffered, including his death and its purpose.  His coming to them and walking alongside of them illustrates the truth that the road to Emmaus is a road of companionship with Jesus who desires to walk with each of us: “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20). The incident illustrates that Jesus is with us even when we do not recognize him.

Encounters with God:  The Old Testament describes how the Chosen People encountered God in unexpected ways.  Gn 18:1-15 describes how Abraham, at Mamre, entertained three “angels” (interpreted as a first hint that God is TriUne) unaware. Running from his troubles, Jacob laid his head on a stone while he slept and saw a stairway to Heaven.   He is presented as wrestling all night with a manifestation of God in the flesh.  Moses turned aside from his flock of sheep to see why a bush would burn and not be consumed and heard the Voice of God speaking from that bush. Isaiah reports, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a Throne, high,  and lifted up”; and His train filled the Temple” being adored by Seraphin chanting, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His Glory” (Is 6:1-6), a prelude to his own cleansing and consecration as a Prophet of the Lord God.    Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and Jesus got Saul’s attention by knocking him to the ground and striking him blind.  God’s Self-disclosure to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus was unexpected, but in a radically different way from the encounters mentioned above.

Invitation accepted: The Jewish custom required that Cleopas and his companion invite Jesus to dinner.  Hence, they invited Jesus for a night’s rest in their house – and Jesus accepted the invitation.  During the meal, when Jesus broke the bread and gave it to them, the disciples realized that this stranger was Jesus, the risen Christ, and Jesus immediately vanished.  Later they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us when he opened up the Scriptures to us?”  Since they could not keep the Good News to themselves, the Emmaus disciples immediately got up and walked back seven miles to Jerusalem to share their story with the other disciples.  The Fathers of the Church note how well the details of this Emmaus episode match our process of coming to Faith in Jesus Christ.  First, there are questions and a search for answers.  Then comes a moment of discovery when our eyes are opened and our hearts within begin to burn with longing.  Finally, there is the desire to tell the story to all who will listen.

Liturgical setting: Luke’s Gospel, written toward the end of the first century, was mainly meant for Christians who had not witnessed Christ in the flesh.  Luke tells us that we can meet and experience the risen Lord through the reading and interpretation of Scripture (v. 27), and the “Breaking of the Bread,” as the Lord’s Supper (vv. 30-31) was known then.  The story of the encounter on the Emmaus Road is presented in a liturgical fashion using liturgical language such as the commentary: “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (v 30); “the Lord has risen indeed” (v. 34).  Thus, the risen Christ is revealed through the telling of the story, the interpretation of Scripture, and the Breaking of the Bread.  Jesus began revealing himself through the Scriptures (vv. 25-27) and completed the revelation through the Eucharist (vv. 30-31).  This means that Christ still reveals himself to us through Word and Sacrament.  The word “companion” derives from two Latin words, “cum” meaning “together with,” and “panis” which means “bread,” implying that companionship is the result especially of eating together, breaking bread together, something which is at the heart of the Eucharist.

Lessons from Emmaus:  Luke’s Emmaus story teaches us that (1) Jesus’ death and Resurrection fit God’s purpose as revealed in the Scriptures; (2) the risen Jesus is present in the Word of God and especially in the Breaking of the Bread; 3) suffering was necessary for the Messiah “to enter into his glory”; and 4) we have a risen Savior, One Who personally walks with us in our daily paths, talks with us through His Word and with Whom we can talk through prayer.  He is the One Who opens our minds to understand and respond to His Word.  (The bishops at the Second Vatican Council recorded these compelling words which are still deeply relevant to the Church today: ‘The Church has always venerated the Divine Scriptures just as it venerates the Body of the Lord, since from the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of Christ it unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the Bread of Life. It has always regarded the Scriptures together with sacred tradition as the supreme rule of Faith and will ever do so” (Dei Verbum 21). Jesus is with us, is concerned about us, and provides for us regardless of what life may bring. Further, the Father, at Jesus’ request, has given us the Holy Spirit so that we may teach others about Him.  Let us, therefore, with the perception of His presence, walk with Jesus, talk with Him, depend on Him, worship Him, and tell others about Him.

Life messages: 1) Jesus meets us on our Emmaus Road.  The risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmaus, both in the ordinary experiences of our lives, and in the places to which we retreat when life is too much for us.  We, too, have hopes and dreams about better health, healing, financial security and family relationships.  These hopes and dreams often shatter. The story promises us, however, that Jesus will come to us in unfamiliar guises to support and strengthen us when we least expect our risen Lord.  Emmaus moments come to us when we meet the risen Christ on our life’s journey through rough times.

2) The road to Emmaus is a road of companionship. Jesus, now freed from the space-time limits of his earthly life, is present in our midst and wants to be our Friend.  The risen Lord desires that we walk with Him and with one another: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Is 43:2-3).    He wants to join us in our travels of life: “I am a Companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts” (Ps 119:63).  “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20).  3) We meet Jesus daily in our life’s journey. The Church instructs us to hear Jesus on a daily basis through our faithful reading of, and meditation on, the Bible;  through our participation in the Eucharistic celebration at which we receive Jesus as our spiritual Food and Drink ; through our personal and family prayers; and through our family meals.  When we meet our risen Lord through the Word of God, we commune with him.  We renew our relationship with Jesus through prayer. All these meetings prepare and enable us to encounter the risen Jesus living in all the people we meet and to do Him humble, loving and selfless service in each of them. 4) Do our hearts burn when we listen to the Risen Lord? Sacred Tradition teaches us that the reading of the Scriptures, the study of the Scriptures and the proclamation of the message of the Scriptures are the primary ways in which we meet God.  Vatican II (Dei Verbum 21) tells us that Jesus is to be equally venerated in the Eucharist and in the Bible.  Therefore, we need to study the Bible, learn the Bible, memorize the Bible and meditate on the word of God.  We know that Christ lives in the Bible, and so we need to spend time in the Bible to have a deep, intimate, loving, caring, long-term relationship with Jesus Christ.  We know we are to brush our teeth every day.  Likewise, we are to read the Bible every day, making it habitual, because people either read the Bible daily or almost never. When we read the Scriptures daily we meet and converse with Jesus Christ! Abraham Lincoln, whom many consider the best President of the United States, said: “The greatest gift that God gave to human beings is the Bible.”  Another President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, said that it was a principle of his to read the Bible through each and every year.  Yet another great President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”  Goethe, the great German philosopher, said that the beauty of the Bible grows as we grow in our understanding of it.

5)  We need to find Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread.  In the Gospel story for today, we learn that we find Christ is in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  When we approach the altar to receive the Sacrament, we see and receive Christ.  In John 6:51, Jesus says, “Whoever eats My Body and drinks My Blood shall live with me eternally.”  The Eucharist is true “soul food,” the Bread of life for eternity.  It feeds us and fulfills our spiritual needs.  It is a pity that often we don’t realize what is happening during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the sacred banquet of all believers.  In this meal, we are in communion, not only with Jesus, but also with our family and friends who have preceded us in death.  The Eucharist is not simply Bread and Wine for today – it is  a banquet for all eternity.

Jokes of the week

1) Risen Lord in the train.  On her first train trip, a little girl was put into an upper berth by her mother.   The mother then assured her that Jesus would watch over her during the night.  As the lights were switched off the girl became alarmed and called out softly: “Mom, are you there?”  “Yes dear,” her mother replied.  A little later the child called in a louder voice: “Daddy, are you also there?” “Yes”, was the reply.  After this had been repeated several times, one of the passengers lost patience and shouted: “We’re all here. Your father, your mother, your brothers and sisters and cousins, your uncles and aunts – all are here.  Now go to sleep!”  There was silence for a while.  Then, in a hushed voice the child asked:  “Mom, was that risen Jesus traveling with us?”

2) The Risen Lord is watching: Up at the head table in the cafeteria, one of the nuns had placed a big bowl of bright red, fresh, juicy apples.  Beside the bowl, she placed a note which read, “Take only one.  Remember, Jesus is watching.” At the other end of the table was a bowl full of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven.  Beside the bowl was a little note scrawled in a child’s handwriting which read, “Take all you want.  Jesus is watching the apples!”

3) Where is God?A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their neighborhood, their sons were probably involved. The boys’ mother heard that a priest in the downtown parish had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The pastor agreed but asked to see them individually. So, the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, and fixed the appointment of the older boy with the priest in the afternoon. The priest, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?” a basic Baltimore Catechism question. The boy’s mouth dropped open and he made no response. So, the priest repeated the question in an even sterner tone, “Where is God!!?” Again, the boy made no attempt to answer. So, the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face and bellowed, “WHERE IS GOD!?” The boy screamed and ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, “What happened?” The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, “We are in BIG trouble this time, Dave. God is missing – and they think WE did it!”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK: (The easiest method  to visit these websites is to copy and paste the web address or URL on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

8) Focus On the Family:

9)The  Catholic Internet Directory: One of the most complete sources of Catholic information available on the Internet. A must visit!

Videos & movie

1) – Jesus at Emmaus video-1

2) – Jesus at Emmaus video-2

3) – Road to Emmaus Movie and Story Full HD

 26- Additional anecdotes:

# 1: The risen Lord with the most beautiful smile. A young boy was walking home through the park after attending a Sunday school class.  Somehow, he couldn’t stop thinking about the lesson for that day about Jesus’ teaching on the Last Judgment. What impressed him most was what the teacher said, “When you give something to another person, you’re really giving it to Jesus, and you will find the risen Jesus in everyone you meet.” As he continued through the park, he noticed an old woman sitting on a bench.  She looked lonely and hungry.  So he sat down next to her, took a chocolate bar he had saved and offered some to her. She accepted it with a beautiful smile, and he watched her smiles as she chewed the chocolate.  Then they sat together in silence, just smiling at each other. Finally, the boy got up to leave.  As he began to walk away, he turned, ran back to the bench, and gave the woman a big hug.  When he arrived home, his mother saw a big smile on his face and asked, “What made you so happy today?”  He said, “I shared my chocolate bar with Jesus.”  Before his mother could ask more questions, he added, “You know, she has the most beautiful smile in the world.” Meanwhile, the old woman returned to her little apartment where she lived with her sister.  “You’re all smiles,” said her sister.  “What made you so happy today?”  She replied, “I was sitting in the park, eating a chocolate bar with Jesus.  And, you know, he looks a lot younger than I expected.”  — Today’s Gospel tells us that we will meet and experience the risen Jesus in unexpected places and persons. (

# 2: Euryclea’s moment of recognition: In Homer’s 8th century B.C.  Greek epic poem, The Odyssey, we read the tale of Odysseus, the ruler of the Island country, Ithaca.  Odysseus was the valiant warrior who fought bravely in the Trojan War. But according to legend, his homeward journey after that war was interrupted for many years as Poseidon, (the god of the sea, angered by Odysseus’ blinding of Poseidon’s son, Polyphemos the one-eyed Cyclops), and Helios, (god of the sun, enraged by the slaughter of his cattle by Odysseus’ men), worked against the best efforts of Odysseus’ patron, Athena (the goddess of wisdom), and Zeus (Father of the Gods), to bring Odysseus home at the end of the time prescribed by his destiny.  Odysseus’ journeys carried him far and wide as he encountered mythic beasts, powers and lands, many of which have passed into common parlance: the Cyclops, the Procrustean bed, Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens’ voices. Meanwhile back at his home, Odysseus’ wife Penelope and family feared him dead. Finally, however, the day came when the gods released Odysseus and he arrived home at last. In his 20-year absence, as Athena had told him, his young son had grown up, and Penelope, his faithful wife had been, for the past three years, besieged by suitors. Athena had commanded Odysseus to destroy these men, restore his kingdom and rule there in peace with his son Telemachus to succeed him. Then Odysseus, disguised by Athena as a poor stranger in need of temporary lodging, made his way to the faithful keeper of the pigs and thence to the housekeeper, Euryclea. She welcomed the apparent traveler and washed his feet as was usual for a guest, telling him about her long-lost master, Odysseus, whom she had served as a nurse when he was young, remarking that the child had been gored by a wild boar, and had a nasty scar on his leg from the tusk. As Euryclea finished washing the stranger’s feet, her hand brushed against that old scar. Instantly her eyes were opened and she recognized, with great joy, her beloved friend and master! — Today’s Gospel describes how the Emmaus travelers recognized their fellow traveler’s identity as the risen Lord at the breaking of the bread. (Scott Hoeze). (

# 3: I met some guy in here last week who looks just like you!” A man wrote to Reader’s Digest to tell about his father-in-law, whose name is Eugene. Eugene was in a restaurant with some business associates when a distinguished-looking gentleman rushed up to his table. Hardly able to contain his enthusiasm, the man began to pump Eugene’s hand vigorously, all the while addressing him as Joe, fondly recalling the great times they had together in the Army. Eugene, who had served in the Merchant Marines, gently told the man that he was mistaken, and had evidently confused him with someone else. The stranger, obviously embarrassed, apologized profusely and left. A week later, while leaving the same restaurant, Eugene bumped into the stranger again. This time, the stranger hugged him, and repeated to all within earshot the poignant story of two Army buddies who had not seen each other in years. Finally, before Eugene could speak a word, he said, “You know, you’re never going to believe this, but I met some guy in here last week who looks just like you!” —  We could understand that happening. He hadn’t seen his old Army buddy in many years. We can even understand about the man in the hospital thinking another woman was his wife. But how do you explain Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb not recognizing the Risen Christ? And how do you explain the two disciples on the road to Emmaus walking and talking with Christ for seven miles that same day, and they, too, did not recognize him? Today’s Gospel tells that story! (

# 4: “Are you Jesus? Several years ago, a group of computer salesmen from Milwaukee went to a regional sales convention in Chicago.  They had assured their wives that they would be home in time for dinner.  But the meeting ran overtime, and the men had to race to the railway station, tickets in hand.  As they barged through the terminal, one man inadvertently kicked over a table supporting a basket of apples.  Without stopping, all the men reached the train and boarded it with sighs of relief.  But one of them paused, feeling a twinge of compunction for the boy whose apple stand had been overturned.  He waved goodbye to his companions and returned to the boy.  He was glad he had because the ten-year-old boy was blind. The salesman gathered up the apples and noticed that several of them were bruised.  He reached into his wallet and said to the boy, “Here, please take this ten-dollar bill for the damage we did.  I hope it won’t spoil your day.”  As he started to walk away, the bewildered boy called after him, “Are you Jesus?” — Jesus comes to us in various disguises. (

# 5: The story of “Wrong Way Riegels” is a familiar one, but it bears repeating. On New Year’s Day, l929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for UCLA. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his sense of direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, ran him down and tackled him just before he reached the end zone. The Bruins were forced to punt. Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, demoralizing the UCLA team. The strange play came in the first half. At halftime the UCLA players filed off the field and into the dressing room. They sat around on benches and the floor. But Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands. A football coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time, Coach Price looked at the team and said, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He didn’t budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Riegels didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the university’s reputation. I’ve ruined myself. I can’t face that crowd out there.” Coach Price reached out, put his hands on Riegels’ shoulder, and said, “Roy, get up and go on back. The game is only half over.” [“To Illustrate,” Leadership (Spring 1992), p. 49.] — No appearance of Christ after the Resurrection is more vivid or beautiful than the episode that takes place on the Road to Emmaus because it is a story of singular grace and charm. The two disciples, like Roy Riegels, were traveling in the wrong direction. They had “fumbled” and were running away from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They thought the game of life was over. Imagine their surprise when Jesus told them that the same team of disciples who had fled from the cross was going to start the second half of the game. He was telling them there would be a tomorrow. (

# 6: Jesus on a Maple tree? There is an 80-foot tall maple tree in Milford, Connecticut that hasn’t changed much over the years. There are new leaves every spring, of course, and the leaves fall off every autumn. And there is the spot where a limb came off when Hurricane Gloria blew through in 1985.The spot where the limb was blown off caused quite a stir in the neighborhood sometime back. One of the residents, Claudia Voight, looked at the tree one day and saw what looked like the face of Jesus. “It took my breath away,” she recalls. “I told my friend to come over and pretty soon we had the entire neighborhood here looking.” Word spread quickly throughout the area and before anyone realized it the maple tree became a popular attraction as car after car drove by to see the face of Christ on the tree. Drivers slowed down as they passed by, while others parked and walked through yards to see firsthand this strange apparition. Eve Mizera, another Hawley Avenue neighbor, brought her 17-year-old son over to touch the tree in the hope it would cure him of the seizures that he suffers. “You never know,” Eve says. Another resident, Cathy Cornwall, says she brought her three children over to see the tree. “We have a lot of single mothers in the neighborhood,” she explains, “and teenagers who have to make tough decisions in these times.” Cathy also sees the face in the tree as a message of hope. She says it’s “like a message to have faith in ourselves and to have hope for the world.” [“Face of Jesus seen in a maple tree,” The Morning Call (Allentown, PA, July 25, 1992), p. B-25.] — This brings us to our question for the day. Where in the world do we find Jesus? Today’s Gospel gives us the answer that Jesus meets us on our life’s Emmaus road. (

# 7: It takes the signal nine hours to get to earth. In 1972, NASA launched an exploratory space probe called Pioneer 10. The mission of Pioneer 10 was to fly to Jupiter, take pictures of the planet and moons and send back data about the atmosphere, magnetic field, and radiation belts. Many scientists did not think this would be possible, because they feared that the probe would be destroyed in the asteroid belt, and up to this point, no probe had made it past Mars. But, Pioneer 10 completed its mission in November of 1973, and continued to travel into space. By 1997, the probe had traveled six billion miles from the sun. In spite of the great distance, scientists are still able to pick up radio signals from the probe that they can decipher. What is more remarkable is that these signals are sent by an 8‑watt transmitter, which is only as powerful as a night light, and it takes the signal nine hours to get to earth. (Rev. Matt Sapp, –It is always amazing to me that a generation that takes for granted the wonders of science is so quick to dismiss the power and the purpose of the Creator who set it all in motion in the first place. God is alive. God is personal. God cares about us and God desires to reveal Himself to us just as Christ revealed himself to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus. (

# 8: “But I’ve got this problem, I can’t sleep at night.” Dr. Tony Campolo, in his film series, You Can Make a Difference, tells the story of a Christian colleague with a PhD. in English Literature who quit his job and became a mailman because Christ opened up a new tomorrow in his life. Tony went to the man’s apartment to try to persuade him to change his mind. Here is how Tony describes that encounter: Tony says, “I couldn’t change his mind, so I came back with the old Protestant work ethic thing. I said, ‘Charlie, if you’re gonna be a mailman, be the best mailman you can be.’ He looked at me with a silly grin and said, ‘I’m a lousy mailman.’ I asked, ‘What do you mean, you’re a lousy mailman?’ He answered, ‘Everybody else gets the mail delivered by one o’clock; I never get back until about five thirty or six.’ ‘What takes so long?’ I wanted to know. He said, ‘I visit! That’s why it takes so long. You wouldn’t believe how many people on my route never got visited until I became the mailman. But I’ve got this problem, I can’t sleep at night.’ I asked, ‘Why can’t you sleep?’ He said, ‘Who can sleep after drinking twenty cups of coffee?’  I began to get the image of this mailman on the job. He was no ordinary mailman. I could picture him going from door to door and at each home giving more than the mail. I could see him visiting solitary widows, counseling troubled teenagers, joking with lonely old men. I could see him delivering the mail in a way that was extra-ordinary for the people on his route. He’s the only mailman I know that on his birthday the people on his route get together, hire out a gym, and throw a party for him. They love him because he’s a mailman who expresses the love of Jesus everywhere, he goes. In his own subtle way, my friend Charles is changing his world, changing the lives of people, touching them where they are, making a difference in their lives. It may not sound like much, but that man who is delivering mail like Jesus would deliver mail, is an agent of God who is changing the world.” [Tony Campolo, You Can Make a Difference, (Word, Inc., l984), pp. 54-55.] —  We can return to our “Jerusalem” and wait for the energizing power of the Holy Spirit to help us to travel like the PhD mailman, in a new direction doing the work that we feel Christ has called us to do. (

# 9: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want a chance to change the world? On March 20, 1983, John Sculley, President of Pepsi Cola and one of America’s fastest rising corporate stars, stepped off the elevator and into the penthouse suite of the San Remo apartment building in New York. He was there to give Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, an answer to his offer. For months, Jobs and his staff, badly in need of a brilliant leader to manage their rapid growth, had been trying to lure Sculley away from Pepsi. Sculley had discouraged their efforts. He had no interest in leaving Pepsi and he knew almost nothing about computers. Besides, he was slotted for the top spot at Pepsi and his salary, stock options and perks were beyond anything Jobs could hope to match. Still, Jobs persisted. Their conversation unfolded like this, according to Sculley: “We were on the balcony’s west side, facing the Hudson River and he finally asked me directly: ‘Are you going to come to Apple?’ ‘Steve,’ I said, ‘I really love what you’re doing. I’m excited by it. How could anyone not be captivated? But it doesn’t make sense. I’d love to be an advisor to you, to help you in any way. Anytime you’re in New York, I’d love to spend time with you. But I don’t think I can come to Apple.’ Steve’s head dropped as he stared at the pavement. After a weighty, uncomfortable pause, he issued a challenge that would haunt me for days: ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want a chance to change the world?'” (Youth Worker, Spring, 1993.) — When the two disciples recognized it was the Lord Jesus who shared dinner with them even though they had failed and forsaken him, they never felt more loved. Their hearts burned with His love. Jesus declared to them that the game of life was only half over. They were to turn around and get back to Jerusalem and await further instructions and a new assignment. The schedule would go on as planned. Jesus was giving them a chance to change the world. That brings us to a question that we should often ask ourselves as we travel on our own Emmaus Road. Are we affecting the world–or is the world infecting us? (

# 10: “What exciting thing is going to happen today?” In A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, Pooh and Piglet take an evening walk. For a long time, they walk in silence. Silence like only best friends can share. Finally, Piglet breaks the silence and asks, “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh, what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for breakfast?” answers Pooh, and then asks, “And what do you say, Piglet?” Piglet says, “I say, ‘I wonder what exciting thing is going to happen today!’”[Robert D. Dale, To Dream Again, (Broadman Press, Nashville, 1981).] — You and I can’t really plan to meet the risen Christ because we never really know when or where He’s going to show up. But you can be sure of this: He will show up. (

# 11: “And the light in his eyes does not go out“:  Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn demonstrated the power of the Word of God in his book, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a book based on his own prison experiences. Ivan notices that one of his fellow prisoners in the Gulag Archipelago is not broken, and the light in his eyes does not go out, as it seems to in all the other convicts. This is because each night in his bunk before the glimmering bulb is turned off, this man reverently unfolds some wrinkled pieces of paper that have somehow escaped the censor. On them are copied passages from the Gospels. The Book of Life was the secret of this man’s strength and endurance deep in the darkest corner behind the Iron Curtain. [Earl C. Davis in Sermons and Services for Special Days, Jack Galledge, ed. (Nashville Convention Press, 1979).] — That is one way we encounter the risen Christ – in the “Breaking of the Bread of Life” which is the Word. (

# 12: For Helen Keller it was a gigantic breakthrough:  Young Helen Keller was imprisoned by her circumstances. She could neither see nor hear. She could feel with her hands, but without sight or hearing, how could she know what it was she was feeling? One day her teacher Ann Sullivan took Helen down a familiar path to the well house. Someone was drawing water there. Ann let the water run over one of Helen’s hands and in sign language spelled into the other, WATER. Suddenly something happened within Helen. Something dramatic. Something life changing. It was only a five-letter word, but for Helen Keller it was a gigantic breakthrough. She now had a name for a familiar part of her life, water. If this substance had a name, other familiar objects and sensations must have names as well. It was as if she had suddenly burst forth from a closely guarded prison. Now she could be a whole person, experiencing the world as a real human being in spite of her handicaps. —  Such a breakthrough is always exciting. Such a breakthrough came to two of the disciples of Jesus on their Emmaus journey described in today’s Gospel. (

# 13: “Don’t worry, Miss, I’ve got you.”  Our tendency is to look for Christ in the extraordinary, the spectacular, the breathtaking. Remember in Superman: The Movie when Superman first reveals his superpowers to the world? Lois Lane is dangling from a cable, high atop the Daily Planet building, screaming at the top of her lungs. Just as she begins her long fall to earth, Superman changes into his flashy red, yellow, and blue outfit and swoops up to catch her in midair. “Don’t worry, Miss,” he assures her, “I’ve got you.” “You’ve got me!” she exclaims. “Who’s got you?” Just then the helicopter that has been perched on the edge of the building begins to fall straight toward them and the crowd below. But Superman merely grabs it with his one free arm and gently sets both it and Lois safely back on the landing pad. When he turns to leave, an astonished Lois stammers out the words, “Who ARE you?” “A friend,” Superman replies warmly, and as he flies straight up into the air with a sort of half twist, Lois faints in a heap. [Jack Kuhatschek, The Superman Syndrome (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), p. 133.] — That’s the way we would like to have Christ to come to us. And that is why we miss Him. Christ reveals Himself as He has always revealed Himself, “through the Word and through the Sacraments,” that is, through the study of Scripture and the Breaking of the Bread. That is why, when we need encouragement, we go to our Bibles or we go to our Church because there Christ is revealed in all his glory. (

# 14: “We pursue him in order to show him the way.” There is a gripping story of a traveler who was walking along the road one day when a man on horseback rushed by. There was an evil look in his eyes and blood on his hands. Minutes later a crowd of riders drew up and wanted to know if the traveler had seen someone with blood on his hands go by. They were in hot pursuit of him. “Who is he?” the traveler asked. “An evil-doer,” said the leader of the crowd. “And you pursue him in order to bring him to justice?” asked the traveler. “No,” said the leader, “we pursue him in order to show him the way.” [Fr. Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990), p. 65.] — The picture we have in the New Testament is of a God who pursues us so that He may show us the way. Christ comes to the two disciples. They do not recognize him, but it is Jesus who takes the initiative. He walks with them and interprets Scripture for them. (

# 15: The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches. There is a story of a British soldier in the First World War who lost heart for the battle and deserted. Trying to reach the coast for a boat to England that night, he ended up wandering in the pitch-black night, hopelessly lost. In the darkness, he came across what he thought was a signpost. It was so dark that he began to climb the post so that he could read it. As he reached the top of the pole, he struck a match to see and found himself looking squarely into the face of Jesus Christ. He realized that, rather than running into a signpost, he had climbed a roadside crucifix. Then he remembered the One who had died for him . . . who had endured . . . who had never turned back. The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches. [“To Illustrate,” Preaching Magazine, (Jan-Feb 1989).] — Maybe that’s what you and I need to do in the moments of our distress and darkness – strike a match in the darkness and look on the face of Jesus Christ. For Christ is here. He comes to us just as he came to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, even though we may not recognize him. He takes the initiative. He knocks on the door. (

# 16: Healing of the grandfather: The grandfather of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber was lame. Once day they asked him to tell a story about his teacher, and he related how his master used to hop and dance while he prayed. The old man rose as he spoke and was so swept away by his story that he himself began to hop and dance to show how his master did it. From that moment he was cured of his lameness. — When we tell the story of Christ, we achieve two things. We enable others to experience Him, and we ourselves experience his power even more. We can see that happening in today’s Gospel.

17) “We are winning!” A young boy was playing left field in a Little League game when a man yelled over the fence, “Hey son, who’s winning?” The little boy replied, “We are!” “What’s the score?” “They have 23 — We have 0.” “They have you 23 to 0?” The man was confused. “I thought you said you were winning.” “Oh, we are,” explained the little boy. “You see, we ain’t come to bat yet!” — It was easy for the disciples to quit. The One in Whom they had placed their hopes was dead. It was 23 to nothing in their life that Easter morning. (

18) Karl Barth’s barber:  Karl Barth, one of the twentieth century’s most famous Protestant theologians, was on a streetcar one day in Basel, Switzerland where he lived and lectured. A tourist to the city climbed on the streetcar and sat down next to Barth. The two men started chatting with each other. “Are you new to the city?” Barth inquired. “Yes,” said the tourist. “Is there anything you would particularly like to see in this city?” asked Barth. “Yes,” he said, “I’d love to meet the famous theologian Karl Barth. Do you know him?” Barth replied, “Well as a matter of fact, I do. I give him a shave every morning.” The tourist got off the streetcar quite delighted. He went back to his hotel saying to himself, “I met Karl Barth’s barber today.” — That amuses me. That tourist was in the presence of the very person he most wanted to meet, but even with the most obvious clue, he never realized that the man with whom he was talking was the great man himself.  It reminds me of Mary’s reaction on Easter morning. In her grief, she thinks the man she is speaking to is the gardener. It is not, of course, but it is not  Until he calls her by name, that she realizes that she is already speaking with the risen Christ. And, of course, it reminds me of that scene on the road to Emmaus, when later that same Easter day, two of the disciples walk for a while with the resurrected Jesus, and they, too, have no idea with whom they are conversing. (Rev. King Duncan, Collected Sermons, Quoted by Fr. Tony  Kayala) (

19) And it opened my eyes: (from the Confessions of St. Augustine). Augustine made a life in Rome and Milan between the 4th and 5th centuries, and, after his conversion to Christianity, he returned to Hippo, in Africa as its Bishop. After Rome fell and faded into dust, Augustine’s writings were what largely that kept Christianity alive and made it the most influential movement the world has ever known. It is remarkable that between the 8th and 12th centuries Augustine’s writings were more widely read than any other. And that was 400 to 700 years after his death.  But he was not always a saint. Before he was converted at age 29, he lived to fulfill every lust and pleasure. But Augustine had one great asset  that saved his pitiful life – a praying mother! She never gave up on him, and then one day he stopped long enough to listen to the voices around him. Augustine had just heard a sermon by Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. We are told in public speaking and preaching classes not to read long quotes but I’m going to do it anyway and read something that Augustine wrote. art. Here’s the quote:  “One day, under deep conviction: I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out…So was I weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting and oft repeating, “Take up and read; Take up and read.” Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like.  So, checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find… Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius (his friend) was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: ‘Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh…’ No further would I read; nor did I need to, for instantly at the end of this sentence, as if before a peaceful light streaming into my heart, all the dark shadows of doubt vanished away. — These two paragraphs have shaped the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people throughout history. Augustine is looking back on his conversion to Christianity and the convictions of his heart. [Adapted from John K. Ryan, trans., The Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 8, Chapter 12, Section 29 (New York: Doubleday Image, 1960), p. 202; quoted by Fr. Kayala.] (

20)  Schindler’s List: In the 1993 Academy Award winning movie, Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler is a selfish businessman who, halfway through World War II, turned his profitable factory into a very unprofitable cover operation to save Jews from the gas chambers. At the end of the movie, as the war ends, Schindler is standing with the people he has saved. He looks around at their faces and then he starts to break down. He holds up his watch and says that if he had sold that he could have saved another five people. He does the same with his cuff links. Then he starts to list all the ways he could have saved more people if he had been just less lazy and less self-centered just a little bit sooner. He had discovered his mission, but he regretted that he hadn’t discovered it sooner. — We too have a mission. We are on a meaningful journey, a pilgrimage, our Emmaus journey.  Christ doesn’t want us to have any regrets, and so he reminds us of this again today. (E-Priest). (

21) Pulling Carts and Building Cathedrals: Centuries ago, when our fellow Christians were building the astonishing Gothic Cathedrals of Europe, the whole town or city would contribute to the work. Sometimes they would do so directly. They would quarry the stone from somewhere outside the city, and every townsperson would put their own stones onto carts. Some of the carts and wagons became so heavy that they would require hundreds of people to pull them to the building site. Yes, the people themselves would pull those carts. They would harness themselves to the carts with ropes, or just grab onto ropes attached to the carts full of stone for the rising cathedral. And all together they would pull the cart along. Sometimes they would sing hymns as they pulled. Most of the time they would pull in silence, each one praying to the Lord in the quiet of his heart, thinking about how much Christ had sacrificed himself on the cross to be able to offer them salvation, and offering him prayers and their own sacrifice in thanksgiving, and in penance for their sins. They had no iPods to listen to as they worked, and no paycheck to look forward to. — What gave them the strength to carry on that backbreaking work, week after week, month after month, decade after decade? It was prayer. They pulled those carts loaded with stone, and while they pulled, they prayed. We too are pulling our carts through life, loaded with the stones of suffering, frustration, and hardship.  And if we become men and women of prayer, we will not only find the strength to keep on pulling, but the Holy Spirit, the master architect, will even build those stones of suffering into beautiful cathedrals, glorifying God and filling hearts with joy for all eternity. The same should be our aim while we are on our life’s journey to Emmaus. (E-priest). (

22) “You are my sunshine!”: Like all good parents, when Karen and her husband found that another baby was on the way, they did what they could to help their three-year old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. When they found the baby was going to be a girl, they would gather Michael in their arms and he would sing to his sister in Mummy’s tummy the only song he knows, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” The pregnancy progressed normally, then the labour pains, but complications arise during delivery. Finally, Michael’s sister is born but she is in serious conditions. The days inch by but the little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, “There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.” Michael keeps begging to see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he pleads. But children are not allowed in the ICU. Finally, Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael to the hospital whether they like it or not, figuring that if he doesn’t see his sister now, he may never see her alive. She dresses him and marches him to the ICU, but the head nurse bellows, “Get that kid out of here now!” Karen glares into the nurse’s face, her lips a firm line, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!” Michael gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live, and begins to sing in the pure hearted voice of a three-year-old: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are grey…” Instantly, the baby responds. Her pulse rate becomes calm and steady. Keep on singing Michael! “You never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” The baby’s ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten’s purr. Michael’s little sister relaxes at rest. Healing rest seems to sweep over her. Keep on singing Michael! Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows. Funeral plans are scrapped. The next day -the very next day- the little girl is well enough to go home!  — In an article about the incident, Woman’s Day magazine called it “the miracle of a brother’s song.” Karen called it a miracle of God’s love. The medical staff simply called it a miracle. We call it the Lazarus story all over again. Love is stronger than death. The awareness of the real presence of the risen Lord works such miracles in our lives too. (William Bausch in The Word In and Out of Season; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

23) “The Church of the Second Chance.”  In the book titled Saint Maybe, the main character has done something horrible. As he is aimlessly walking around he happens to see a Church named “The Church of the Second Chance.” He wanders in and sits down. During the service his mind is opened to the possibility of making amends for his sin, a ”do-over.“ — Today’s Gospel is a good example of the truth that God does not expect us to be perfect. But He wants us to recognize His presence with us and seek His help. St. Luke, the evangelist and  writer of Acts, seems almost to get a kick out of the clueless and sad couple Cleopas and his wife, finally recognizing the Risen Lord, “the God of second chances,” at the “Breaking of the Bread.” Here as they are running away from the Lord of the Second Chance, He welcomes them, and they run back seven miles to Jerusalem to convey the Good News of the Lord’s resurrection to the fellow apostles. (Fr. Steve Humphrey). (

24) The Dismissal is most important: A teacher was once speaking to her students about the Eucharist. She asked the students which was, in their opinion, the most important part of the Mass. Without batting an eyelid, one student replied, “The Dismissal- Go, the Mass is ended!” Initially the teacher thought the student was joking, but he was absolutely serious and meant just what he said. So the teacher asked him to explain, and this is his answer: “The whole purpose of the Mass is to nourish us spiritually -first, with God’s Word in the Liturgy of the Word, and second, with God’s Life in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, culminating in the Holy Communion. And God nourishes us so that we can go forth and bear witness to Him by our lives, our words and our actions.” The teacher was impressed and urged the student to continue. And so he added, “The Eucharist does not end with the Dismissal Rite. On the contrary, it begins there. Like the two disciples at Emmaus, we must go forth and tell others what the Lord Jesus means to us.” (James Valladares in Your Words, O Lord, Are Spirit, and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho).  (

 25) Valmiki and St. Francis Xavier:. Meeting Jesus was a life-changing experience for the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. In history, we see many people whose lives have been changed by unexpected events. The Uttara Khanda (the seventh and last book of what we call the Valmiki Ramayana)  tells the story of Valmiki’s early life  as a highway robber named Valya Koli, who used to rob people after killing them. Once, the robber tried to rob the divine sage Narada for the benefit of his family. Narada asked him if his family would share the sin he was incurring due to the robbery. The robber replied positively, but Narada told him to confirm this with his family. The robber asked his family, but none agreed to bear the burden of sin. Dejected, the robber finally understood the truth of life and asked for Nerada’s forgiveness, and meditated for many years, so much so that ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a divine voice declared his penance successful, bestowing him with the name “Valmiki”: “one born out of ant-hills.” According to the legend, one unexpected question shook his life, and transformed a robber into a sage.

The ambitious dreams  of Francis Xavier to shine in the world over as one of its most intellectual luminaries were thwarted by the famous words of Jesus, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he loses his own soul?” St. Ignatius de Loyola dinned this reminder into Xavier’s ears, and it proved a life-changing experience, for Francis Xavier who,  representing the Jesuits, landed in Goa, and spent his days nursing the sick and teaching them Christian doctrine.  — “Build a Man a Fire, and He’ll Be Warm for a Day. Set a Man on Fire, and He’ll Be Warm for the Rest of His Life,” says the proverb.  That is what Ignatius de Loyola did for Francis Xavier. That is what Jesus did to the disciples who were on their way to Emmaus. (Fr. Bobby Jose). (

26) Go to Mass every Sunday… work in a soup kitchen!Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee said in an interview in the magazine The Critic: “If younger people are having an identity problem as Catholics, I tell them to do two things: Go to Mass every Sunday, and work in a soup kitchen. If one does those two things over a period of time, then something will happen to give one a truly Catholic identity. The altar and the marketplace-these two must be related to each other; when they are, one works better, and prays better.” (Quoted by Fr. Botelho). ( LP/23

 “Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 28) by Fr. Tony:

Visit my website by clicking on for missed or previous Cycle C  & Ahomilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at  of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

April 17-22 weekday homilies

April 17-22: Click on for missed homilies. (L-23)

April 17 Monday: John 3:1-8: 1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.’ 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the night visit Nicodemus made to Jesus. Nicodemus was a rich Jewish rabbi and one of the seventy members of Sanhedrin. Later in his Gospel, John shows us how Nicodemus argued for a fair trial for Jesus (7:51) and how he cooperated with Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus (19:38). Nicodemus came to Jesus convinced that obeying the Mosaic Law and offering the prescribed sacrifices were enough for one’s eternal salvation.

Hence, Jesus plainly tells him that in order to be saved he has to be born again of water and the Holy Spirit (through Baptism). Jesus further explains that his disciples have two lives, namely natural and supernatural, and two births, namely a physical birth from one’s mother as her son or daughter, and a supernatural birth from God through Baptism as God’s child, a member of His family in the Church and an heir of Heaven. The supernatural birth is possible only when one is baptized into Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Life message: 1) We need to remember that rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit is a continuous process for Christians. For that process of rebirth to take place, we need, every day, to repent of our sins, try, with His grace, to renew our lives through prayer and our sacramental life, do meditative reading of the Bible, accompanied by corporal and spiritual works of mercy and ask for God’s guidance. Fr. Tony( L/23

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April 18 Tuesday: Jn 3: 7-15: 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.’ 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can this be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

The context: Today’s Gospel is the continuation of the night visit of Nicodemus with Jesus. Nicodemus was a rich Jewish rabbi and one of the seventy members of Sanhedrin. He wanted to clarify whether the obeying of the Mosaic Law and the offering of prescribed sacrifices were enough for one’s eternal salvation. But Jesus used the occasion as a teachable moment, showing Nicodemus the necessity for a spiritual rebirth through the action of the Holy Spirit by means of the water of Baptism as an essential condition for one’s salvation.

Jesus teaches Nicodemus the effects the Holy Spirit produces in the souls of the baptized. We know the presence, force, and direction of wind by its effects. It is so with the Holy Spirit, the Divine "Breath" (pneuma), given us in Baptism. In Hebrew and Aramaic, the scholars tell us, the same word pneuma means “spirit,” “breath,” and “wind.” We do not know how the Holy Spirit comes to penetrate one’s heart. But He makes His presence felt by the change in the conduct of one who receives Him. Jesus further explains that he himself comes from Heaven, and, hence, his teaching is credible. Then, by comparing how God saved the snake-bitten Israelites through the symbol of the bronze serpent, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “the Son of Man” is going to save mankind by his death on the cross. 

Life message: We need to adjust our lives, recognizing and making full use of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives: 1) We need to begin every day by asking for His Divine strength and guidance and end every day by asking His pardon and forgiveness for our sins. 2) We need, as well, to pray for His daily anointing and for His gifts, fruits, and charisms so that we may live as children of God. 3) We also need to throw open the shutters and let the Spirit enter the narrow caves in which we bury ourselves. Fr. Tony((

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April 19 Wednesday: John 3: 16-21: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

The context: Jesus explained God’s plan of salvation to Nicodemus by declaring that the story of Moses and the brazen serpent was a sign pointing to the Good News that God would show His love for mankind by subjecting His own Son to suffering and death in order to save them all: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). This is the summary of the Gospel message of salvation through Christ Jesus. This is the Good News in the Gospels.

Today’s Gospel passage teaches us that our salvation is the free gift of a merciful God, given to us through Jesus, His Son. It explains that Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, became the agent of God’s salvation, not just for one sinful nation, but for the sins of the whole world from the beginning through the end. Through Jn 3:16, the Gospel teaches us that God has expressed His love, mercy, and compassion for us by giving His only Son for our Salvation. This tells us that the initiative in all Salvation is God’s love for man. St. Augustine of Hippo describes a dream message received by his mother, Monica, who prayed and wept unceasingly, fearing Augustine would be damned because of the life he was leading. This message convinced her that she had to live with him, not cut him off as she had been doing, for God still loved him even in his present condition. Augustine’s example also explains to us the universality of the love of God. God’s motive is Love and God’s objective is Salvation. Those who actually receive eternal life must believe in the Son and express that love in deeds.

Life message: 1) We need to respond to God’s love for us by loving and serving Him in others in whom He dwells. God’s love for us is unconditional, universal, forgiving, and merciful. Let us make an earnest attempt to include these qualities in sharing our love with others during this Easter season. “In the evening of life you will be examined on love,” said St. John of the Cross [Dichos, 64, note 595, CCC
1022; Sayings of Light and Love, #57
in The Collected Works of St. John
of the Cross
, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh OCD and Otilio Rodrigues, OCD
Institute of Carmelite Studies, (Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1979,  p,672).] — What St. John of the Cross means by “love” is love expressed in deeds. Fr. Tony((

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April 20 Thursday: Jn 3:31-36: 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony; 33 he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; 35 the Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him

The context: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains his Divinity to Nicodemus and his relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. It is Jesus’ Divinity which gives authority and veracity to his teachings and credibility to his promise of eternal life for his followers.
Jesus’ claims: 1) Jesus claims that, as Son of God, he “comes from Heaven.” Hence, he can speak of God and Heaven from his own experience, just as the native of a town can speak authoritatively and reliably about his town. 2) While the Jews believed that prophets were given only a small share in God’s Spirit, Jesus, as God’s only Son, shares the fullness of God’s Spirit and, hence, all his teachings and promises are always reliable. 3) Further, Jesus gives eternal life to his followers: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him” (Jn 3:36).
Life messages: 1) We need to seek the daily guidance and strengthening of the Holy Spirit living within us because it is He Who reveals Divine truths to us and Who gives us a better and clearer understanding of Scriptural truths taught by the Church. 2) Since our destiny depends on our own free daily choices, we need to choose Christ and his teachings and stand for Christ’s ideas and ideals. 3) We need to choose Jesus in order to choose Life. Before his death, Moses challenged Israel: "See I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil…. Therefore, choose life that you may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice, and cleaving to him" (Dt 30:15-20). Joshua repeated the challenge in Jos 24:14-15. We face that challenge every day. Fr. Tony((

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April 21 Friday: (St. Anselm, Bishop) For a short biography, click on: 6:1-15: 1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" 6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 …15:

The context:Today’s Gospel describes one occasion when Jesus tried in vain to withdraw from the crowds at Capernaum. He traveled by boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to a remote village called Bethsaida Julius, where there was a small grassy plain. But when Jesus stepped ashore, He was faced with a large crowd of people. This was the scene of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand as described in today’s Gospel. This is the only miracle, other than the Resurrection, that is told in all four Gospels, a fact that speaks of its importance to the early Church.Today’s Gospel passage invites us to become humble instruments in God’s hands by sharing our blessings with our brothers and sisters. We may regard the incident in which Jesus multiplied loaves and fish in order to feed his hungry listeners, both as a miracle of Divine Providence and as a Messianic sign. The lesson for every Christian is that, no matter how impossible one’s assignment may seem, with Divine help it can be done: "For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Lk 1:37). Jesus used as his starting point for the miraculous meal a young boy’s generous gift of all the food he had, perhaps to remind us that love is the prime requirement for salvation, and selfishness blocks the life-giving action of the grace of God in us. The early Christian community especially cherished this story because they saw this event as anticipating the Eucharist.

Life message: 1) As Christians we need to commit ourselves to share all we have and are, and to work with God in communicating His compassion to all. God is a caring Father, but He wants our co-operation. That’s what the early Christians did, generously sharing what they had with the needy. 2) We, and others in our time, need to ask for the courage to share, even when we think we have nothing to offer. Whatever we offer through Jesus will have a life-giving effect in those who receive it. 3) We are shown two attitudes in the Gospel story: that of Philip and that of Andrew (Jn 6:7-9). Philip said, in effect: "The situation is hopeless; nothing can be done." But Andrew’s attitude was: "I’ll see what I can do; and I will trust Jesus to do the rest." We need to have Andrew’s attitude. (

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April 22 Saturday: Jn 6:16-21: 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, 20 but he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

The context: The event presented by today’s Gospel is the scene immediately following Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand with five small loaves of bread and two fish. Sensing the danger of having the people seize him and make him leader of a revolt, Jesus promptly instructed the apostles to leave the place by boat and, after dispersing the crowd, went by himself to the mountain to pray.

A double miracle in the sea: When the apostles in the boat were three to four miles away from the shore, they faced an unexpected storm, caused by the hot wind of the desert rushing into the Sea of Galilee through the gaps in the Golan Heights. Recognizing the danger, Jesus went to the boat, walking on the stormy sea. Jesus calmed the frightened disciples as he approached the boat, and as soon as he got into the boat it “reached land they were heading for.”

Life messages: 1) We need to approach Jesus with strong Faith in his ability and availability to calm the storms in our lives and in the life of the Church. Church history shows us how Jesus saved his Church from the storms of persecution in the first three centuries, from the storms of heresies in the 5th and 6th centuries, from the storms of moral degradation and the Protestant reformation movement in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the storms of ongoing Clerical sex abuse scandals, particularly those beginning in the twentieth century. 2) We need to ask Jesus to protect us when we face storms of strong temptations, storms of doubts about our religious beliefs, and storms of fear, anxiety, and worries in our personal lives. 3) Experiencing Jesus’ presence in our lives, we need to confess our Faith in him and call out for his help and protection. (

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Easter II Sunday

EASTER II [A] (April 16) Divine Mercy Sunday

Introduction: The readings for this Sunday show us our need for God’s Divine Mercy, offered to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the forgiveness of our sins, and through each celebration of the Sacraments (all instituted to sanctify us), when we receive them in trusting Faith.

The opening prayer addresses the Father as “God of everlasting Mercy.” In first section of the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 118), we repeat three times, “His mercy endures forever!” God revealed His mercy, first and foremost, by sending His only begotten Son to become our Savior and Lord by His suffering, death and Resurrection.

Scripture lessons: The first reading (Acts 2:42-47) tells us how the early Church grew every day because of the acts of mercy — sharing, sacrificial agápe love — practiced by the early Christians. In the second reading (1 Pt 1:3-9), St. Peter glorifies God, the Father of Jesus Christ, for showing us His mercy by granting His Son Jesus Resurrection from the dead and a glorious Ascension into Heaven, thus giving us the assurance of our own resurrection.Today’s Gospel vividly reminds us of how Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a sacrament of Divine Mercy. The risen Lord gave his Apostles the power to forgive sins with the words, “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:19-23). Presenting the doubting Thomas’ famous profession of Faith, “My Lord and my God,” the Gospel illustrates how Jesus showed his mercy to the doubting apostle and emphasizes the importance of Faith for everyone.

Life messages: 1) We need to accept God’s invitation to celebrate and practice mercy in our Christian lives: One way the Church celebrates God’s mercy throughout the year is through the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finding time for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is another good way to receive and give thanks for Divine Mercy. But it is mainly through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy that we practice the Mercy we have received, in our daily lives and become eligible for God’s merciful judgment.

2) Let us ask God for the Faith that culminates in self-surrender to God and that leads us to serve those we encounter with agape love. Living Faith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives us the willingness to render to each other our loving service. The spiritual Fathers prescribe the following traditional means to grow in the living, dynamic Faith of St. Thomas the Apostle: a) First, we must come to know Jesus personally and intimately by our daily and meditative reading of the Bible. b) Next, we must strengthen our Faith through our personal and communal prayer. c) Third, we must share in the Divine Life of Jesus by frequenting the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) presents it this way: “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve. Only then we put our love of God into action.”

EASTER II [A] (April 16) (Full text) Acts 2:42-47, I Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31

Homily starter anecdote #1: # 3: St. Faustina Kowalska and the Image of Divine MercySt. Faustina of Poland is the well-known apostle of Divine Mercy.  On the 30th of April, 2000, at 10:00 AM on the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday, the Feast requested by Jesus in His communications with St. Faustina), His Holiness Pope St. John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist in Saint Peter’s Square and proceeded to the canonization of Blessed Sister Faustina Kowalska. [John Paul himself would be canonized on this same Feast Day – April 27 in 2014 – by Pope Francis.] Saint Faustina invites us by the witness of her life to keep our Faith and Hope fixed on God the Father, rich in mercy, Who saved us by the precious Blood of His Son.  During her short life, the Lord Jesus assigned to St. Faustina three basic tasks: 1. to pray for souls, entrusting them to God’s incomprehensible Mercy; 2. to tell the world about God’s generous Mercy; 3. to start a new movement in the Church focusing on God’s Mercy.  At the canonization of St. Faustina, Pope St. John Paul II said: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks, and never ceases to speak, of God the Father, Who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man. … Believing in this love means believing in mercy.”  “The Lord of Divine Mercy,” a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina Kowalska, shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with  His left hand on his heart from which gush forth two rays, one red and one white.  The picture contains the message, “Jesus, I trust in You!” (JezuufamTobie).  The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the Blood of Jesus, which is the life of souls and white for the water of Baptism which justifies souls.  The whole image is symbolic of the mercy, forgiveness and love of God. (

 # 2: Divine Mercy in action: A TIME magazine issue in 1984 presented a startling cover. It pictured a prison cell where two men sat on metal folding chairs. The young man wore a black turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and white running shoes. The older man was dressed in a white robe and had a white skullcap on his head. They sat facing one another, up-close and personal. They spoke quietly so as to keep others from hearing the conversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin (he shot and wounded the Pope on May 13, 1981); the other man was Pope St. John Paul II, the intended victim. The Pope held the hand that had held the gun whose bullet tore into the Pope’s body. This was a living icon of mercy. John Paul’s forgiveness was deeply Christian. His deed with Ali Agca spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the end of their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the Pope’s hand to his forehead as a sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the Pope left the cell he said, “What we talked about must remain a secret between us. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.” This is an example of God’s Divine Mercy, the same Divine Mercy whose message St. Faustina witnessed.( (   Mercy during tragedy: The news is filled with illustrations of mercy—or the need for mercy—in our world. One of the most moving stories came to us on October 6, 2006, when an armed man entered an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He chased out the little boys and lined up the 10 little girls in front of the blackboard. He shot all of them and then killed himself. Five of the girls died. After the medics and police left, the families of the fallen came and carried their slain children home. They removed their bloody clothes and washed the bodies. They sat for a time and mourned their beloved children. After a while they walked to the home of the man who killed their children. They told his widow they forgave her husband for what he had done, and they consoled her for the loss of her spouse. They buried their anger before they buried their children. Amish Christians teach us that forgiveness is central. They believe in a real sense that God’s forgiveness of themselves depends on their extending forgiveness to other people. That’s what the mercy of God is all about. That mercy is why we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. (Rev. Alfred McBride, O.Praem: Catholic Update – March 2008).

ANd9GcQiIakdkklIJ0LvX8hbypnnpomFdmHunacmYxmR1RkUmFA-VOZR # 3: Edith Zierer the Jewish holocaust survivor: “The Pope saved me from death:” Edith Zierer, a Holocaust survivor now living in Israel, recalls how Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, carried her to safety after she fled a Nazi concentration camp when she was 13 years old. Polish-born Zierer was 13 when she ran away from the Nazi camp at Czestochowa in Poland after the Soviet army liberated it in January 1945, five months before World War II ended in Europe. She was heading towards her hometown in Poland to find her parents, who, she would later learn, had died in the Holocaust. Exhausted, she reached a train station and sat there for two days without food or water while people ignored her. “Suddenly, there he was,” Zierer said, referring to Wojtyla, the seminarian, in his priestly robe. “He brought me some tea and two pieces of bread with cheese and then carried me to a train carriage. He sat with me and put his cloak on me because it was freezing. We came to Krakow and then I ran away because people started to ask why a priest was walking with a Jewish girl.”  After spending, a few years in orphanages in Poland and France, Zierer emigrated from Europe to British-mandated Palestine, where she later married and bore a son and daughter in what became Israel. She now has five grandchildren. She wrote to Wojtyla after he became Pope in 1979, saying she was the little girl he had saved at the train station in Poland decades ago. After a correspondence ensued, the Pontiff invited her to the Vatican in 1998. She last met him in 2000, when he visited Israel on a millennium pilgrimage and met several survivors at the Vad Vashem Holocaust museum. She said she and the Pope kept up their correspondence, writing mostly during Christmas and before birthdays. “I received a letter from him last year and I knew it was the last,” she said. “He included a picture from his private collection and his handwriting was very shaky. I wrote to thank him for the memory that never left.” Edith Zierer, 84, mourned the death of her former savior, and remembered the warm look in the seminarian Karol Wojtyla’s eyes in the railway station years ago and God’s mercy expressed in his actions. “He was a kindred spirit in the greatest sense — a man who could save a girl in such a state, freezing, starving, and full of lice, and carry her to safety,” she told Reuters. “I would not have survived had it not been for him.” (,7340,L-3067156,00.html). — Pope John Paul made mercy the core of his priesthood. He saw mercy as a light against darkness. And has the world known darker times than when the Nazis and Communists oppressed millions of people? On April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, were officially recognized as Saints. It is no accident that Pope St. John Paul II who was instrumental in spreading the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday was canonized on that Feast. 

Introduction: The readings for this Sunday are about God’s Divine Mercy, the necessity for trusting Faith, and our need for God’s forgiveness of sins.  The opening prayer addresses the Father as “God of Mercy.” The Response for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 118), is “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His Love [mercy] is everlasting!”In the first section of that Psalm,we repeat three times, “His mercy endures forever.”  God revealed His mercy to the world, first and foremost, by sending His only begotten Son to become our Savior and Lord by His suffering, death, and Resurrection.  Divine Mercy is offered to us in the Holy Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of each of the Sacraments.  The first reading (Acts 2:42-47), shows us how the early Church grew every day because of the acts of mercy and sharing, sacrificial agápe love, practiced by the early Christians. They expressed their love and mercy by sharing what they had with everyone in need.In the second reading (1 Pt 1:3-9), St. Peter glorifies God, the Father of Jesus Christ, for showing us His mercy by granting Resurrection from the dead to His Son, Jesus, followed  forty days later  by a glorious Ascension into Heaven, thus offering us the assurance of our own resurrection, entry into Heaven, and “imperishable and unfading” Heavenly bliss. In today’s Gospel, as we recall Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles on that first Easter evening, we are vividly reminded of the Sacrament of Reconciliation – the power to forgive sins which Our Lord gave to His Apostles, saying, “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:23).  Today’s Gospel also emphasizes the importance of Faith in the all-pervading presence of the risen Lord of Mercy.  To “believe without having seen” is every later Christian’s experience.  We are invited to receive liberation from doubts and hesitation by surrendering our lives to the risen Lord of Mercy.  Let us ask God our Father to open our hearts so that we may receive His Mercy in the form of the Holy Spirit. (

The first reading (Acts 2:42-47) explained: Here we see how the early Church grew every day because of the acts of mercy — sharing, sacrificial, agápe love — practiced by the early Christians. They expressed their love and mercy by sharing what they had with everyone in need. Some of them even sold their property and entrusted the money to the Church so that the poor might be helped and supported. We are told that they got the inspiration and good will for the practice of love and mercy because of their sense of being one believing community, living a common life in Jesus. They were strengthened by their punctual and active participation in the “Breaking of the Bread”– the Eucharistic Liturgy.  They became single-minded and merciful because of what they learned from the apostles and because of their fellowship and shared prayer life.

The second reading (1 Peter 1:3-9) explained: St. Peter glorifies God, the Father of Jesus Christ, for showing us His mercy by granting His Son, Jesus Resurrection from the dead and a glorious Ascension into Heaven.Jesus’ Resurrection, in turn, offers us a guarantee for our own resurrection, entry into Heaven, and “imperishable and unfading” Heavenly bliss. St. Peter encourages the early Christians by assuring them that their sufferings under the Roman emperor, the Jewish authorities, and their own pagan family members will be amply compensated by the Heavenly reward waiting for them.

Gospel exegesis: Today’s Gospel: The first part of today’s Gospel (verses 19-23), describes how Jesus entrusted to the apostles His mission of preaching the “Good News” of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation.  This portion of the reading teaches us that Jesus uses the Church as the earthly means of continuing His mission.  It also teaches us that the Church needs Jesus as its source of power and authority, and that it becomes Christ’s true messenger only when it perfectly loves and obeys Him.  The risen Lord gives the apostles the authority to forgive sins in His Name, together with the power of imparting God’s mercy to the sinner, through the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy.   In the liturgy, the Church has proclaimed the mercy of God for centuries through the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.  The Gospel text also reminds us that the clearest way of expressing our belief in the presence of the risen Jesus among us is through our own forgiveness of others.  We can’t form a lasting Christian community without such forgiveness.  Unless we forgive others, our celebration of the Eucharist is just an exercise in liturgical rubrics.

The second part of the Gospel (verses 24-29), presents the fearless apostle St. Thomas, in his uncompromising honesty, demanding a personal vision of, and physical contact with, the risen Jesus as a condition for his belief.  Thomas had not been with the Apostles when Jesus first appeared to them.  As a result, he refused to believe.  This should serve as a warning to us.  It is difficult for us to believe when we do not strengthen ourselves with the fellowship of other believers.  When the Lord appeared to Thomas a week later, He said: “Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.”  Thomas was able to overcome his doubts by seeing the risen Jesus.  Modern Christians, who are no longer able to “see” Jesus with their eyes, must believe what they hear.  That is why Paul reminds us that “Faith comes from hearing” (Rom 10:17). 

The unique profession of Faith: Thomas, the “doubting” apostle, makes the great profession of Faith: “My Lord and my God.”  Here, the most outrageous doubter of the Resurrection of Jesus utters the greatest confession of belief in the Lord Who rose from the dead.  This declaration by the “doubting” Thomas in today’s Gospel is very significant for two reasons.  1) It is the foundation of our Christian Faith.  Our Faith is based on the Divinity of Jesus as demonstrated in His miracles, especially by the supreme miracle of His Resurrection from the dead.  Thomas’ profession of Faith is the strongest evidence we have of the Resurrection of Jesus.  2) Thomas’ faith culminated in his self-surrender to Jesus, his heroic missionary expedition to India in A.D. 52, his fearless preaching, and the powerful testimony given by his martyrdom in A.D. 72.  

Life messages: 1) We need to accept God’s invitation to celebrate and practice mercy. One way the Church celebrates God’s mercy throughout the year is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” So, we see that all of us are to be reconcilers and mediators, becoming channel to one another of the Risen Lord’s peace and forgiveness.  Finding time for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is another good way to receive Divine Mercy.  The Gospel command, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” requires that we show mercy to our fellow human beings always and everywhere.  We radiate God’s mercy to others by our corporal and spiritual works of mercy, by our kind and supportive words, and by our prayers for all our brothers and sisters.

2)  We need to ask God for the Faith that culminates in self-surrender to Him and leads us to serve those we encounter with love.   Living Faith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives us the willingness to render to each one our loving service.  It was this Faith in the Lord and obedience to His missionary command that prompted St. Thomas to travel to India to preach the Gospel among the Hindus, to establish seven Christian communities (known later as “St. Thomas Christians”), and eventually to suffer martyrdom.  The Fathers of the Church prescribe the following traditional means to grow in the living, dynamic Faith of St. Thomas the Apostle.  a) We must come to know Jesus personally and intimately by our daily, meditative reading of the Bible.  b) We must strengthen our Faith by the power of the Holy Spirit through our personal and communal prayer.  c) We must share in the Divine life of Jesus by frequenting the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.  St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) presents it this way: “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve. Only then we put our love of God into action.”  

3) We need to meet the challenge for a transparent Christian life — “I will not believe unless I see.”   This “seeing” is what others demand of us.  They ask that we reflect Jesus, the risen Lord in our lives by our selfless love, unconditional forgiveness, and humble service.  The integrity of our lives bears a fundamental witness to others who want to see the risen Lord alive and active, working in us.  Christ’s mercy shines forth from us whenever we reach out to the poor, the needy and the marginalized, as St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) did.  His mercy shines forth when we remain open to those who struggle in Faith, as did the Apostle Thomas in today’s Gospel.  We should be able to appreciate the presence of Jesus, crucified and raised, in our own suffering and in the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, thus recognizing those same now-glorified wounds of the risen Lord in the suffering of those around us.  

4) Like St. Thomas, let us use our skepticism to help us grow in Faith.  It is our genuine doubts about the doctrines of our religion that encourage us to study these doctrines more closely and thus to grow in our Faith.  This will naturally lead us to a personal encounter with Jesus through our prayer, study of the Word of God, and frequenting of the Sacraments.  However, we must never forget the fact that our Faith is not our own doing but is a gift from God.  Hence, we need to augment our Faith every day by prayer so that we may join St. Thomas in his proclamation: “My Lord and my God.” 

5) Let us have the courage of our Christian convictions to share our Faith as St. Thomas did, and to recognize the “nail marks.”  We are not to keep the gift of Faith locked in our hearts, but to share it with our children, our families and our neighbors, always remembering the words,: “Every believer in this world must become a spark of Christ’s light,” spoken by Pope St. John XXIII. “We all have scars from our own Good Fridays that remain, long after our own experiences of resurrection.  Our ‘nail marks’ remind us that all pain and grief, all ridicule and suffering, are transformed into healing and peace in the love of God that we receive  from, and extend to. others. The “nail marks” of Jesus are all around us in the lives of those living out their own Calvarys.  Jesus calls us to be willing to place ourselves in the pain and struggle of others and bring the joy and peace of Easter into hearts, entombed in winter cold and darkness.” (Connections).   

JOKE OF THE WEEK: 1) Traffic cop’s mercy:  A priest was forced by a police officer to pull over for speeding.  As the officer was about to write the ticket, the priest said to him, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  The police officer handed the priest the ticket, and said, “Go, and sin no more.”

2) Photographer’s mercy: The story is told of a politician who, after receiving the proofs of a picture, was very angry with the photographer.  He stormed back to the man’s studio and screamed at him: “This picture does not do me justice!”  The photographer replied, “Sir, with a face like yours, what you need is mercy, not justice!”

3) “Law v Mercy” In Reader’s Digest, Jim Williams of Montana, writes: “I was driving too fast late one night when I saw the flashing lights of a police car in my rearview mirror. As I pulled over and rolled down my window of my station wagon, I tried to dream up an excuse for my haste. But when the patrolman reached the car, he said nothing. Instead, he merely shined his flashlight in my face, then on my seven-month-old in his car seat, then on our three other children, who were asleep, and lastly on the two dogs in the very back of the car. Returning the beam of light to my face, he then uttered the only words of the encounter. ‘Son,’ he said, ‘you can’t afford a ticket. Slow down.’ And with that, he returned to his car and drove away.” — Sometimes mercy triumphs over law. So it is for sinners who call out to Jesus.” (Sent by Fr. on March 1, 2013)L/23


1) Official website: 1)                   






7)  (Fr. Ray Kelly surprised a bride and groom by singing a custom-made cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at their wedding, demonstrating divine mercy).

8)  (Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC: The Divine Mercy Devotion)

9) (The Divine Mercy of St. Faustina – 8 Essential Points.)

10) Eucharistic Holy Hour for Divine Mercy Sunday (USCCB):  

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK: (The easiest method  to visit these websites is to copy and paste the web address or URL on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

  1. Fr. Nick’s collection of Sunday homilies from 65 priests & weekday homilies:  
  2.  Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button)
  3.  Fr. Geoffrey Plant’s beautiful & scholarly video classes on Sunday gospel, Bible & RCIA topics
  4. Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle A Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: basis of Catholic doctrines:
  5. Agape Catholic Bible Lessons:

21 Additional anecdotes: 1: /https:\\images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSUJ90ewqs-_M9dQM0kNcuvCWV1TcwKDmXgzy6bEqofjsx3S-898A Law vs Mercy In Reader’s Digest, Jim Williams of Montana, writes: “I was driving too fast late one night when I saw the flashing lights of a police car in my rearview mirror. As I pulled over and rolled down my window of my station wagon, I tried to dream up an excuse for my haste. But when the patrolman reached the car, he said nothing. Instead, he merely shined his flashlight in my face, then on my seven-month-old in his car seat, then on our three other children, who were asleep, and lastly on the two dogs in the very back of the car. Returning the beam of light to my face, he then uttered the only words of the encounter. “’Son,’ he said, ‘you can’t afford a ticket. Slow down.’” And with that, he returned to his car and drove away.” — Sometimes mercy triumphs over law. So it is for sinners who call out to Jesus.” (Sent by Fr. on March 1, 2013). (

2) Baseball player experiences Divine Mercy: During Babe Ruth’s baseball career, he drifted away from his Faith. One night he was very ill in a New York hospital, and a friend suggested he makes his peace with God. As a result, Babe Ruth asked to see a priest. After celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation, Babe Ruth wrote:

“As I lay in bed that evening, I thought to myself – what a comfortable feeling to be free from fear and worries. I could simply turn them over to God.” — Wow! What an expression of Trust in God’s Love and Mercy. (

3) “Everybody is somebody” because of Divine Mercy: On 11th April 2009, the woman ruling the British Empire wasn’t Queen Elizabeth. It was a 47-year-old unemployed spinster named Susan Boyle. A lot of you probably know her story. Susan grew up in a small town in Scotland, a devout Catholic, the youngest of nine children. She had learning difficulties when she was a child, and the other children often made fun of her. She lived at home all her life, never married — “never been kissed,” as she puts it – and she spent her time caring for her mother and father and attending Mass every day. She also liked to sing in her church choir. As she grew up, and grew older, she put up with taunts from local school children, who made fun of her eccentric ways and her frizzy hair and frumpy clothes. But Susan’s mother knew that her daughter had something special to give. Susan had a powerful singing voice, and her mother always encouraged her to do something with it. After her mother died, Susan grieved for almost two years, before finally summoning the courage to do what her mother had always wanted her to do. Susan won a slot on a British TV talent show. Last Saturday night, the night before Easter, millions of Britons watched as she shuffled awkwardly onto the stage — this middle-aged out-of-work woman with uncombed hair and an unglamorous face. The audience laughed and some rolled their eyes. 

But then she opened her mouth to sing. “I Dreamed A Dream,” she sang. Watch her performance: ( And she did it in a voice that was powerful, and clear, and even thrilling. After the first few bars, the audience was on its feet, cheering. It was, literally, the performance of a lifetime. Susan Boyle became an overnight sensation. In just one week, the video of her appearance has been viewed nearly 20 million times around the world on YouTube. She’s appeared on talk shows, been interviewed by papers and magazines. Oprah has invited her on to be a guest. “I did this,“ Susan told a reporter, “for my late mother. I wanted to show her I could do something with my life.” — I thought of Susan Boyle on Wednesday, when Archbishop Timothy Dolan climbed the pulpit at St. Patrick’s at his installation Mass and declared in his first homily: “Everybody is somebody.” Susan Boyle certainly proved that. No matter what others may think, the beautiful truth is that everyone carries the spark of the Divine. Every life has meaning and dignity. Everybody is somebody. (

4) Divine Mercy experience of Rev. Fr. James Alberione. The founder of the religious congregation to which I belong is Rev. Fr. James Alberione. A holy man with a prophetic vision, he harnessed the pastoral potentiality of the modern means of communication at the service of evangelization. The Holy Father [Pope St.  John Paul II] will beatify him today – April 27, 2003 – in Rome. Fr. Alberione founded five religious congregations, four aggregated Institutes, and the Association of Pauline Cooperators, all of which comprise the “Pauline Family.” In 1923, he was struck down with a serious illness that led him into a kind of crisis about the future of the religious family launched just a few years earlier. He needed some kind of assurance in the midst of uncertainties. He looked for confirmation in the most difficult moment of his life. The Divine Master kindheartedly obliged by appearing to him in a dream, assuring him of His Divine assistance and presence. Here is Fr. Alberione’s personal account of that awesome experience. In a particularly difficult moment, reexamining all his ways of doing things to see if there might perhaps be impediments to the action of grace on his part, it seems that the Divine Master may have wanted to reassure the Institute that had only gotten underway a few years before. In a subsequent dream, he had what seemed to him to be a reply. Jesus, the Master, in fact, said to him: “Fear not. I am with you. From here I will enlighten. Have a contrite heart.” The “from here” came forth from the tabernacle; and with power, such as to make one understand that from Him, the Master, must one receive all enlightenment. Alberione spoke of this with his spiritual director, noting in what light the figure of the Master had been enveloped. His reply to me was: “Be at peace; dream or otherwise, what was said is holy; make it a practical program of life and of light for yourself and for all members.” From that point on he became more and more oriented to, and received all from, the tabernacle.  (Cf. Abundantes Divitiae, n. 151-155).   —    Indeed, the experience of Blessed James Alberione, a “true missionary of the Church” and a modern apostle for our times, is similar to that of the apostle Thomas, who experienced the special, loving compassion of his saving and merciful Lord and Master.   (

5) /http:\\2014\04\18\5359354\1397773991246.jpg-620x349.jpg Iranian mother saves son’s killer from hanging, with a slap of mercy and forgiveness: Tehran: An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The dramatic climax followed a rare public campaign to save the life of Balal, who at 19 killed another young man, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, in a street fight with a knife in 2007. Shargh newspaper said police officers led Balal to a public execution site in the northern city of Nowshahr as a large crowd gathered on Tuesday morning. Samereh Alinejad, mother of the victim, who had lost another son in a motorbike accident four years ago, asked the onlookers whether they knew “how difficult it is to live in an empty house”. Advertisement

Balal, black-hooded and standing on a chair before a makeshift gallows, had the noose around his neck when Ms Alinejad approached. She slapped him in the face and removed the rope from his neck, assisted by her husband, Abdolghani Hosseinzadeh, a former professional footballer. “I am a believer. I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place … After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer,” Ms Alinejad told Shargh. “The murderer was crying, asking for forgiveness. I slapped him in the face. That slap helped to calm me down. Now that I’ve forgiven him, I feel relieved.” Balal said the “slap was the space between revenge and forgiveness. I’ve asked my friends not to carry knives … I wish someone had slapped me in the face when I wanted to carry one,” he said. A high-profile campaign was launched by public figures – including popular football commentator and TV show host Adel Ferdosipour and former international footballer Ali Daei – appealing for the victim’s family to forgive the killer. See the video    commentary below:

6) “Well, then, I will have mercy.”  Emperor Napoleon was moved by a mother’s plea for pardon for her soldier son.  However, the Emperor said that since it was the man’s second major offense, justice demanded death.  “I do not ask for justice,” implored the mother, “I plead for mercy.”  “But,” said the Emperor, “he does not deserve mercy.”  “Sir,” cried the mother, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.”  The compassion and clarity of the mother’s logic prompted Napoleon to respond, “Well, then, I will have mercy.” — The Second Sunday of the Easter season invites us to reflect on God’s infinite love and mercy for His people, as detailed in the Bible and as lived and taught by Jesus, and to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. (

7) Divine Mercy and Zacharias Moussaoui. Zacharias Moussaoui was sentenced for a role in the devastating 9/11 tragedy. The Frederick News Post (Apr 14: Good Friday) reported it with the headline: “Suspect wishes pain for victims.” Wow. “‘So you would be happy to see 9/11 again,’ the prosecutor asked. Moussaoui said: ‘Every day until we get you.’ He told jurors that he has ‘no regret, no remorse,’ and was disgusted by the heart-rending testimony of victims and relatives and only wished they have suffered more.” Have you read any more tragic thoughts and wishes? When this Chaplain describes the words and actions as objectively “evil,” he means that, objectively, wanting to murder people, and to plague them with more harm and rub it into their lives is an evil thing. Subjectively, perhaps Zacharias Moussaoui is mentally deranged and not totally culpable for his words and actions. We don’t and can’t know this as a literal matter of fact. The question was raised by both defense and prosecution in his sentencing. — Point: Mercy is just for such people – the free offer of God, to even the harshest of offenders, like Zacharias Moussaoui, of forgiveness and reconciliation if he chooses to accept it. We need to pray for Moussaoui that he may ask for and receive God’s pardon and love. This man and his sentiments are just one more reason why Jesus came to Earth-to save souls, even the most overtly plagued ones. (Fr. John J. Lombardi) (

8) Mayor’s mercy: One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of New York City, showed up at Night Court in the poorest ward of the city.  He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench.  One case involved an elderly woman who was caught stealing bread to feed her grandchildren.  La Guardia said, “I’ve got to punish you.  Ten dollars or ten days in jail.” As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat.  He then fined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city “where an old woman had to steal bread so that her grandchildren should not starve.”  –The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50.  (

9) Mary Duray, Connecticut: Mary and her husband suffered the tragic loss of their son, and it was her understanding of Divine Mercy that helped her and her family forgive those that took his life during a robbery.– Mary tells us how her attendance at a Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM) Divine Mercy Program helped her overcome great obstacles and allowed her to forgive and even to pray for them. Knowing that as long as there is life, there is hope, the family did not seek the death penalty for his murderers. How differently does the person filled with God’s mercy see and react to the world. ( ). (

10) “What I don’t know is where I am going.” The story is told about Albert Einstein, the brilliant physicist of Princeton University in the early 20th century. Einstein was traveling from Princeton on a train, and when the conductor came down the aisle to punch the passengers’ tickets, Einstein couldn’t find his. He looked in his vest pocket, he looked in his pants pocket, he looked in his briefcase, but there was no ticket. The conductor was gracious; “Not to worry, Dr. Einstein, I know who you are, we all know who you are, and I’m sure you bought a ticket.” As the conductor moved down the aisle, he looked back and noticed Einstein on his hands and knees, searching under the seat for his ticket. The conductor returned to Einstein; “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry. I know who you are. You don’t need a ticket, I’m sure you bought one.” Einstein arose and said, “Young man, I, too, know who I am; what I don’t know is where I am going.” — And that is the Good News of Easter; that we know where we are going. We have been told by the Savior that his life and death has promised us life eternal. (Steven Molin, Elated….Deflated. Quoted by Fr. Kyala) (

11) Ask for Mercy: In order to receive mercy we must ask for it and be ready to accept it. If we do not accept it sincerely we will not change our attitude towards our past life. We read in history that in 1829 George Wilson was condemned to death for robbing the mail and killing the policeman who was on the way to arrest him. President Andrew Jackson granted him a pardon but George Wilson refused to accept it. The judge said “Pardon is a pardon only when one accepts it. George must die.”– Mercy is mercy only when we accept it. We read in the life of Voltaire that he wanted to live six weeks to repent for his sins. The doctor told him he would not live six days. He died unrepentant. Having mercy at his door he apparently refused to accept it. (Elias Dias in Divine Stories for Families; quotedby Fr. Botelho). (

12)/http:\\includes\image.php?n=rescuegrab.jpg&w=450 The miracle over Hudson River:” A banker on a business trip in New York City, Fred Berretta had just checked into his hotel room. He had about 20 minutes downtime before he had to meet his colleagues. For some reason he decided to clean out his briefcase, something he hadn’t done in a long time. As he emptied it out, he came across a booklet he had stuffed into a pocket years ago on praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. He recalls having prayed it a few times years ago. Only two weeks prior, Fred had made a New Year’s resolution to try to get into better spiritual shape. Here in this hotel room was an opportunity to fulfill it. So he followed along in the booklet and prayed the chaplet, a prayer our Lord gave to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, during a series of revelations that has sparked the modern Divine Mercy movement. He would be among the 155 people to board a jet airliner at LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte, N.C., his hometown. Ninety seconds after takeoff, the jet would apparently hit a flock of geese, the engines would explode, and the plane would lose power at 3,200 feet. The aircraft would be out of reach from any airfield. It would lose thrust and altitude. Everything would become eerily quiet. Fred would cinch his seatbelt. His left hand would clutch the armrest, his heart would race, his face would be flushed. “Prepare for impact,” the pilot would say over the PA system. As the ground surged into view, Fred would look at his watch. It would be 3:30, the Hour of Great Mercy! “I prayed with every fiber of emotion and sincerity I could muster, ‘God, please be merciful to us,'” Fred would recall two weeks later. — You’ve probably heard about the crash landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009. No one was seriously injured. Then, there were the news images of a US Airways Airbus floating gently down the frigid Hudson, like some sort of breaching, people-friendly, aquatic creature. The passengers stood on its wings, calmly awaiting rescue. (

13) Seven Secrets of the Eucharist: We might never have learned Fred Berretta’s story if it weren’t for Vinny Flynn. Following the crash, Fred felt compelled to send an email of thanks to Vinny, the former executive editor at the Marian Helpers Center, in Stockbridge, Mass. Fred had never heard of Vinny until about two hours before he boarded Flight 1549. Following morning meetings on Jan. 15, Fred had found himself in the unusual position of having some free time on a business trip. It was noon. He had stepped inside Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He had stayed for the 12 p.m. Mass. Afterwards, he had gone into St. Patrick’s gift shop. A book had caught his eye — Vinny’s Seven Secrets of the Eucharist (Mercy Song, Ignatius Press, 2006) — which, with citations from St. Faustina’s Diary, gives a greater understanding of the mystery of the Eucharist. Fred also purchased a St. Michael’s scapular. In an interview with this week, Fred explained what happened next: “I got into a cab and went to the airport [LaGuardia],” he said. “My flight was delayed about 15 minutes, so I sat there and started reading Vinny’s book. I was really taken by it. I boarded the plane and continued to read. Just as we were rolling out for takeoff, I put the book away and closed my eyes and began to reflect on what I had been reading. “Some of us looked at each other,” he said. “There was nothing to be said. I knew that the only thing I could do was pray.” Which is exactly what Fred did when he suddenly realized it was the Hour of Great Mercy and he would probably be dead in a matter of seconds. He trusted, truly, for the first time. All these fragments of thought seemed to piece themselves into place. The plane was going down, yet everything was making sense. He admits he was in shock. But he also felt at peace, a deep peace. God had allowed him to find the Divine Mercy booklet in his briefcase. God had steered him to Vinny’s book. God did all this, he thought, to prepare him for death. He hunched over in his seat to brace for impact. He prayed for God’s mercy. Then he prayed two Hail Marys and one Our Father. He made it halfway though a prayer to St. Michael, the archangel, when the plane hit the water, came to a stop, and bobbed up and down like a toy in a kiddy pool. ( (

14) “Sir, that is what I am afraid of.” There is a story about a soldier brought before General Robert E. Lee. Accused of misconduct, the soldier was trembling. The general said to him, “Do not be afraid, son. Here you will receive justice.” The soldier looked at the general and said, “Sir that is what I am afraid of.” — Like that soldier, the Apostle Peter would have had reason to tremble. Peter had boasted about his bravery, how he would always stand by Jesus. Yet when Jesus needed him most, he nodded off. Perhaps one could forgive him for falling asleep, but later – when he was wide-awake – he denied Jesus. “I do not know the man.” Some rock! In strict justice, Peter should have been punished – at the very least, removed as head of the Church. In Christ’s passion, however, a deeper justice is at work. That is what we will discover this Divine Mercy Sunday. God’s justice has a name – it is called the Divine Mercy. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, the Triduum we have just experienced, are the three great days of grace – of Divine Mercy. Now we need to live out the mercies we have received by passing them on to everyone else. (

15) Macbeth never had peace in his life: One of the famous tragedies of William Shakespeare is Macbeth.  When Macbeth was returning after a victory, he was met by three witches. The first witch greeted him, “Thane of Glamis”.  The second witch greeted him “Thane of Cawdor”, and the third witch greeted him, “King hereafter”. As they disappeared messengers reached with the good news that he was appointed as the Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth went home and shared this strange experience with his wife. She enkindled his hopes, and persuaded him to murder Duncan, the king, who came to his house as his guest. As Macbeth thrust the dagger into the heart of Duncan he heard a voice, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep…” (II, 2:35-36). Thereafter Macbeth never had peace in his life. His life became miserable. In his frantic attempt to get peace he committed murder again and again. When Macbeth sinned against the king he lost his peace. — Jesus was aware that sins destroy the peace of man. So when he wished them “peace” he also granted them the power to  destroy sin. To destroy a powerful enemy we need a powerful weapon. Jesus put this weapon in the hands of the Church when communicating to his Apostles the power to forgive sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus said to the apostles: “Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. Those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” (Fr. Bobby Jose). (

16) Uplifting One Another: Have you ever watched geese fly in V-formation? While a thing of beauty to watch, the formation is essential to the geese for survival. If you listen, you can hear the beat of their wings whistling through the air in unison. And that is the secret of their strength: the lead goose cuts a swath through the air resistance, which creates a helping uplift for the birds behind it. In turn their flapping makes it easier for the birds behind them, and so on. Each bird takes its turn at being leader. The tired ones fan out to the edges of the V for a breather, and the rested ones surge towards the point of the V to drive the flock onward. If a goose becomes too exhausted or ill and has to drop out of the flock, it is never abandoned. A stronger member of the flock will follow the failing, weak one to its resting place and wait till the bird is well enough to fly again. Together, cooperating as a flock, geese can fly at 71% longer range, with up to 60% less work. (YouTube: “What geese can teach us about teamwork”; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

17) Cure for Sorrow: There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?” Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.” The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.” They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them. The woman said to herself, “Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?” She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. — She became so involved in ministering to other people’s grief that ultimately she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had, in fact, driven the sorrow out of her life. (Brian Cavanaugh, The Sower’s Seeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

18) Hope for the Flowers: A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then, it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could. So the man decided to help, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. — What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly! So God, in His mercy, challenges us giving obstacles in life. (Anonymous; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

19) “Don’t be crying! It’s OK! He is alive!  I remember one occasion when I led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. One of the young men in the group was quite mentally limited, although his grasp of God, of Jesus, and the events of the Gospel was uncanny. We arrived at the tomb of the basilica, and we joined the long line, waiting our turn to enter. One lady came out of the tomb, and was obviously deeply touched by the experience of her visit to such a sacred spot. She sat down outside the entrance, took out a tissue, and began wiping her tears. My friend, who was back in the line, spotted what was happening, and responded instantly. He ran straight up to her, put his hand on her shoulder and said, “Don’t be crying, it’s OK. He’s alive; don’t you know that?” — The whole thing was so spontaneous and genuine that the woman stood up, and gave him a warm hug. The simple fact was that he could not understand how anybody could be crying at this tomb, of all the tombs in the world. —Jesus thanked the Father for giving a message that was so simple and straightforward that the intellectual and the worldly-wise would fail to grasp it, and yet it could be fully accepted by someone with the mind of a child. Happy are they who have not seen yet believe. (Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

20) President’s mercy: Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet — which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! — declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.) [Today in the Word (October 8, 1992); quoted by Fr. Kayala.] (

21) The story of Oshea Israel and Mary Johnson: One of the stories of the “Forgiveness Project” that caught my attention was the story of Oshea Israel and Mary Johnson.  Oshea had shot and killed Mary’s son – a boy Oshea didn’t even know.  There was no way Oshea could pay Mary back for what he had taken from her.  And Mary owed him nothing.  It’s not an easy story.  As Mary said, “I hated everyone for a while.”  But over time Mary came to forgive Oshea.  She visited him in prison.  She helped him when he was released.  In the process they both changed. Mary gave Oshea the one gift he needed to begin his healing: total forgiveness. — Mercy doesn’t undercut justice but surprises it!  It is the linchpin that supports forgiveness and compassion. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope. We might think of mercy as the grace for conversion.  (Stories Seldom Heard; quoted by Sr. Patricia). (

22) “Peace be with you.” Years ago, Rabbi Joshua Liebman wrote a best-selling book titled Peace of Mind. After the publication of this book, Rabbi Liebman was swamped with letters from people seeking peace. His mail was heavy; his telephone rang constantly; many people came to see him. He was a young, kind-hearted rabbi, only 38 years old. He tried to help everyone who contacted him. He died just three years later at the age of 41. He just could not stand up to the burden. But before he died, he said, “I am appalled at the multitude of people who have never learned to empty their minds.” (God’s Seven Wonders For You by Charles L. Allen, Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1987.) — The first word that Jesus spoke to his disciples gathered together after his resurrection was the word, “Peace.” We read in our lesson from the Gospel: “When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you . ”  (

23)Weeping Madonna.” On May 7, 1985, an Eastern Orthodox monk named Father Pangratios was cleaning the chapel of the Christ of the Hills Monastery in Blanco, Texas. At first Father Pangratios thought nothing of it when he discovered that one of the icons of the virgin Mary had moisture on it. When he wiped the moisture off, however, he smelled the familiar fragrance of myrrh. He was curious, but thought it a one-time occurrence, and saying a quick prayer, he left for other duties. Returning a few hours later, he found that this same icon of Mary appeared to be “weeping.” The tears continued, and after a full investigation by church officials, the Russian Orthodox church declared the “weeping Mary” to be a miraculous event. It was not to be the cause of celebration, however. They declared it “a call to repentance.” —  Father Pangratios observed, “God is saddened by our sins. He wants us to change our lives to fasting and prayer, love of God and neighbor.” The tears of the weeping Mary reportedly resulted in miraculous healings for some. Blind twins had their sight restored after an anointing. A woman with cancer spontaneously recovered. A man due brain surgery found it unnecessary. And cases of mental illness and depression disappeared. Even today, as thousands of people visit Christ of the Hills monastery, the icon still weeps its fragrant oil. (Gurvis, Sandra, Way Station to Heaven; New York, NY, Simon and Schuster MacMillan, Inc., 1996, pp. 177-179. From a sermon “Number One in the Nation” by Don Emmitte). (

24) Hi! What’s the good word?” A student from Korea was complaining about how difficult it is to learn the English language. He felt that American idioms were particularly difficult to comprehend. He said that he had studied English for nine years in preparation for attending the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. On his first day at the school, as he was walking across the campus, an American student casually greeted him with, “Hi! What’s the good word?” The Korean boy stopped dead in his tracks. He thought to himself: “I don’t know the good word! You would have thought that after nine years of studying English, someone would have told me what ‘the good word’ was!”
Later, trying to solve this puzzle, he decided to turn the tables and ask an American, “What’s the good word?” and listen to his reply. So, approaching a fellow student, he repeated, “Hi! What’s the good word?” The quick response was, “Oh, not much. How about you?” —  It was obvious that neither of these students knew what the good word was. It’s a rather plastic greeting. But I can tell you the good word for today: Christ the Lord is risen. (Do’s and Taboos of Humor Around the World by Roger E. Axtell, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999, p. 13. )  That’s the real thing. And because it is the real thing, imagine what that says about our lives. (

25) The Last Supper: When Leonardo da Vinci was painting his masterpiece, “The Last Supper,” we are told that he had a quarrel with one of his companions. In revenge for the wrong he had received, he painted his companion’s portrait as Judas in his great picture. After he had done this, his work was complete except for the face of our blessed Lord. It was da Vinci’s ambition to paint the noblest and most perfect portrait of Christ that had ever been put on canvas; but try as he did, he could not succeed. In the meantime, his conscience was working, and at last he took his brush and painted out his companion’s portrait and forgave him his wrong. That night in his dreams da Vinci saw a splendorous vision of Christ which thousands have gazed at in wonder ever since. — It is no exaggeration to say that something like this happens each time you, as a Christian, forgive someone who has especially wronged you. For, whenever you blot out the sin and evil others have committed against you, you are making it possible for them to see a living portrait of Christ – namely yourself, in whom he lives. (

Visit my website by clicking on for missed or previous Cycle C  & Ahomilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at Visit  of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

9 Things You Need to Know About Divine Mercy Sunday

(Jimmy Akin, apologist at EWTN & Catholic Answers (Editor’s Note: This blog was originally posted April 4, 2013)

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Divine Mercy Sunday is a recent addition to the Church’s calendar, and it has links to both private revelation and the Bible.

Millions of people look forward to and are profoundly moved by this day.

What is it, and why is it so important to them?

Here are 9 things you need to know. 

1. What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter. It is based on the private revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska, which recommended a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy.

It also has links to the Bible and the readings of this day.

To learn more about St. Faustina, you can CLICK HERE. 

2. When was it made part of the Church’s calendar?

In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and, during the ceremony, he declared:

4.”It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’

“In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings” [Homily, April 30, 2000]. 

3. If this is based on private revelation, why is it on the Church’s calendar?

In his theological commentary in The Message of Fatima, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: “We might add that private revelations often spring from popular piety and leave their stamp on it, giving it a new impulse and opening the way for new forms of it. Nor does this exclude that they will have an effect even on the liturgy, as we see for instance in the feasts of Corpus Christi and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From one point of view, the relationship between Revelation and private revelations appears in the relationship between the liturgy and popular piety: The liturgy is the criterion; it is the living form of the Church as a whole, fed directly by the Gospel. Popular piety is a sign that the Faith is spreading its roots into the heart of a people in such a way that it reaches into daily life. Popular religiosity is the first and fundamental mode of “inculturation” of the Faith. While it must always take its lead and direction from the liturgy, it in turn enriches the Faith by involving the heart. 

4. What does the Church do to encourage the celebration of devotion to the Divine Mercy on this day?

Among other things, it offers a plenary indulgence:

To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff [Pope St. John Paul II] himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbour, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters. . . .

a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any Church or Chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”).

(For more information about the plenary indulgence, CLICK HERE.(  

5. What is the Divine Mercy image?

The Divine Mercy image is a depiction of Jesus based on a vision that St. Faustina had in 1931. There have been a number of paintings made of this image. The original, though not the most popular one today, is shown above.

A basic explanation of the image is: Jesus is shown in most versions as raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white (translucent). The depictions often contains the message “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (which is the Life of Souls), and pale for the water (which justify souls) (from Diary – 299). The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the “Fountain of Mercy.” According to the diary of St Faustina, the image is based on her 1931 vision of Jesus [source]. 

6. What is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a set of prayers used as part of the Divine Mercy devotion. They are usually said using a standard set of Rosary beads, often at 3 p.m. (the time of Jesus’ death), but with a different set of prayers than those used in the Marian Rosary.  

7. How is the Divine Mercy devotion linked to the Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Easter?

The Divine Mercy image depicts Jesus at the moment he appears to the disciples in the Upper Room, after the Resurrection, when he empowers them to forgive or retain sins. This moment is recorded in John 20:19-31, which is the Gospel reading for this Sunday in all three yearly Sunday liturgical cycles (A, B, and C). This reading is placed on this day because it includes the appearance of Jesus to the Apostle Thomas (in which Jesus invites him to touch his wounds). This event occurred on the eighth day after the Resurrection (John 20:26), and so it is used on the liturgy eight days after Easter. (It also, however, includes the appearance of Jesus to the disciples on Easter evening, a week earlier, in which he empowered them to forgive or retain sins.) 

8. How did Jesus empower the apostles to forgive or retain sins?

That part of the text reads: [21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
[22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
[23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

He thus gave them a special empowerment with the Holy Spirit to forgive or retain sins. 

9. How does this relate to the sacrament of confession?

It relates directly to it. Jesus empowered the apostles (and their successors in ministry) with the Holy Spirit to either forgive or retain (not forgive) sins. Because they are empowered with God’s Spirit to do this, their administration of forgiveness is efficacious–it really removes sin rather than just being a symbol of forgiveness a person is thought to have obtained already. Because they are instructed to forgive or retain, they must discern which they are to do. This means that they need to know about the sin and whether we are truly repentant of it. As a result, we must tell them about the sin and our sorrow for it. Hence: confession. And the Church Fathers understood Christ’s ministers as having this power.

Easter Sunday homily (April 9, 2023)

Easter Sunday(April 9) Eight-minute homily in two pages (L-23)

Introduction: Significance of Easter: “Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.” Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church for four reasons:

1) The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith. It is the greatest of the miracles, for it proves that Jesus is God. That is why St. Paul writes:If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in vain” (I Cor 15:14). “Jesus is Lord, He is risen” (Rom 10:9), was the central theme of the kerygma (or “preaching”), of the Apostles

2) Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will live even though he dies…” (Jn 11:25-26).

3) Easter is a feast which gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows and tears. It reminds us that life is worth living. It also gives us strength to fight against temptations and freedom from unnecessary worries and fears.

4) Easter gives meaning to our prayers: It supports our belief in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus in and around us, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament, and in Heaven, hearing our prayers, and so gives meaning to our personal as well as our communal prayers.

Reasons why we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus(1) Jesus himself testified to his Resurrection from the dead, giving it as a sign of his divinity. (Mk 8:31; Mt 17:22; Lk 9:22).Tear down this temple and in three days I will build it again”(Jn 2: 19).

(2) The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday (Lk 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Mt 28:13), that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it would have beens impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to steal the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by an armed, 16-member Roman Guard detachment.

(3) The initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in Jesus’ Resurrection, in spite of His repeated apparitions, serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. Their initial disbelief explains why the Apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

(4) The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: Jesus’ Resurrection and the anointing of the Holy Spirit transformed men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Lk 24:21, Jn 20:19), into men who now were confident, bold witnesses to the Resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2),powerfully preaching the Risen Lord.

(5) Neither the Jews nor the Romans could disprove Jesus’ Resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus.

(6) The Apostles and early Christians would not have fearlessly preached Christ as Savior and faced martyrdom if they were not absolutely sure of Jesus’ Resurrection.

(7) The Apostle Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a zealous preacherof Jesus supports the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection (Gal 1:11-17, Acts 9:1, Acts 9:24-25, Acts 26:15-18).

(8) The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian Church, bravely facing and surviving three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the Resurrection claim.

(9) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. The Apostles and the early Christians were absolutely sure about the Resurrection of Jesus.

Life Messages:1) Let us live the lives of Resurrection people: We are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins, evil habits, dangerous addictions, despair, discouragement or doubts. Instead, we are expected to live joyful and peaceful lives, constantly experiencing the living presence of the Risen Lord Who loves us in all the events of our lives and amid the boredom, suffering, pain, and tensions of our day-to-day life.

2) The conviction of the real presence of the Risen Lord with us, within us, and all around us, enables us to lead disciplined Christian lives. This conviction of Faith will help us to control our thoughts, desires, words, behavior and actions.

3) The salutary awareness of the presence of the Risen Lord within us will inspire us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure, and free from evil habits and addictions. Our conviction that the loving presence of the Risen Lord dwells in our neighbors and in all those we encounter, should encourage us to respect them and to render them loving, humble and selfless service.

4) We need to become transparent Christians, radiating the Risen Lord around us in the form of selfless and sacrificial agape love, mercy, compassion, and the spirit of humble service. Each time we try to practice Christian charity, mercy, and forgiveness, and each time we fight against temptations, we share in the Resurrection of Jesus. (L/23)

Saturday Evening (April 8, 2023) & EASTER SUNDAY:

Vigil Mass: Rom 6: 3-11; Mt 28:1-10; Easter Sunday Mass: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9 or Mt 28: 1-10 

 Homily starter anecdotes: # 1:  “He is not here.” The Egyptian pyramids are world-famous as one of the “seven Wonders” of the ancient world. But they are actually gigantic tombs containing the mummified bodies of Egyptian Pharaohs. Westminster Abbey is famous, and thousands visit it, because the dead bodies of famous writers, philosophers, and politicians are entombed there. But there is a Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and pilgrims from all over the world visit a tomb there which is empty with a note at its entrance which says, “He is not here.” It is famous because Jesus Christ, Who was once buried there, rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, as He had told his disciples he would. Thus, Jesus worked the most important miracle in His life, defying the laws of nature and proving that He is God.  We rejoice at this great and unique event by celebrating Easter. (Fr. J P) (

# 2:   The phoenix:  The late Catholic Archbishop of Hartford, John Whealon, (d. August 2, 1991), had undergone cancer surgery resulting in a permanent colostomy when he wrote these very personal words in one of his last Easter messages: “I am now a member of an association of people who have been wounded by cancer.  That association has as its symbol the phoenix, a bird of Egyptian mythology. The Greek poet Hesiod, who lived eight centuries before Jesus was born, wrote about this legendary bird in his poetry.  When the bird felt its death was near (every 500 to 1,461 years), it would fly off to Phoenicia, build a nest of aromatic wood and set itself on fire.  When the bird was consumed by the flames, a new phoenix sprang forth from the ashes.

“Thus, the phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death.  It sums up the Easter message perfectly.  Jesus gave up His life, and from the grave He was raised to Life again on the third day.  New life rises from the ashes of death.  Today, we are celebrating Christ’s victory over the grave, the gift of eternal life for all who believe in Jesus.  That is why the phoenix was one of the earliest symbols of the Risen Christ.  The phoenix also symbolizes our daily rising to new life.  Every day, like the phoenix, we rise from the ashes of sin and guilt and are refreshed and renewed by our living Lord and Savior with His forgiveness and the assurance that He still loves us and will continue to give us the strength we need.” —  Archbishop John Whealon could have lived in a gloomy tomb of self-pity, hopeless defeat, and chronic sadness, but his Faith in the Risen Lord opened his eyes to new visions of life. (

# 3: The greatest comebacks in history:   In its November 12, 2001 issue, Sports Illustrated ranked the 10 greatest comebacks in world history.  Among those making the list, the following names are to be specially noted.

  1. Michael Jordan, 1995. Made his first triumphant basketball comeback after having quit basketball in 1993.5. Muhammad Ali, 1974. Seven years after being stripped of his title and his boxing license, defeated George Foreman in Zaire to win back the belt.

    8. Japan and Germany, 1950s. They were the former Axis Powers which rose from the ashes of World War II to become industrial superpowers.

    10. Jesus Christ, 33 A.D. Defied Jewish critics and stunned the Romans with his Resurrection. It was the greatest comeback of all time. And He’s been specializing in comebacks ever since.  (

Introduction: Significance of Easter: Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church. It marks the birthday of our eternal hope.  “Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.”  We celebrate it with pride and jubilation for three reasons:

1) The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith, for it proves that Jesus is God.  That is why St. Paul writes: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in vain…  And if Christ has not been raised, then your Faith is a delusion, and you are still lost in your sins…  But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor 15:14, 17, 20). In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our Faith in Christ, a Faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross…” (CCC # 638). If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then the Church is a fraud and Faith is a sham. But if Jesus really did rise from the dead, his message is true! Without the Resurrection, Jesus would have remained forever a good person who had met a tragic end.  People would remember some of his teachings, and a handful of people might try to live according to them. All the basic doctrines of Christianity are founded on the truth of the Resurrection.  “Jesus is Lord; He is risen!” (Rom 10:9) was the central theme of the kerygma (or “preaching”), of the apostles.     There is a story of two women who stood before Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. One asked, “Why can’t we build structures like this anymore?” Her friend answered, “The people who built this had Faith. Today we have only opinions. And you can’t build a cathedral with opinions.”

2) Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection.  Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in Me will live even though he die (Jn 11:25-26).  Christ will raise us up on the last day, but it is also true, in a sense, that we have already risen with Christ.  By virtue of the Holy Spirit, our Christian life is already a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ (CCC #1002, #1003).

3) Easter is a feast which gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows, and tears.  Easter reminds us that life is worth living.  It is our belief in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus — in our souls, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament,  and in Heaven — that gives meaning to our personal as well as to our common prayers.   Our trust in the all-pervading presence of the Risen Lord gives us strength to fight against temptations and freedom from unnecessary worries and fears.  The prayer of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, reads: “Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ within me, never to part.”

4) Reasons why we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus: (a) Jesus himself testified to his Resurrection from the dead (Mark 8:31; Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). (b) The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday (Luke 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Matthew 28:13) that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it was impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to have stolen the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by a 16-member team of armed Roman soldiers. (c) The initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in his Resurrection, in spite of his repeated apparitions.  This serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. It explains why the apostles started preaching the resurrected Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. (d)  The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: The disciples of Jesus were almost immediately transformed from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19) into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the Resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2). (e) The Jews and the Romans could not disprove Jesus’ Resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus. f) The apostles and early Christians would not have faced martyrdom if they were not absolutely sure of Jesus’ Resurrection. (g)  The Apostle Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians into a zealous apostle, preaching the Good News of Jesus throughout much of the Gentile world, supports the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection (Galatians 1:11-17, Acts 9:1Acts 9:24-25,  Acts 26:15-18). (h) The sheer existence of a thriving, Empire-conquering early Christian Church, bravely facing three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the Resurrection claim. (i) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. (j)The apostles and the early Christians were absolutely sure about the Resurrection of Jesus.

Exegesis: The Resurrection of Jesus had certain special features. First, Jesus prophesied it as a sign of His Divinity: “Destroy  this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”(Jn 2:19).  Second, the founder of no other religion has an empty tomb as Jesus does.  We see the fulfillment of Christ’s promise on the empty cross and in the empty tomb. The angel said to the women at Jesus’ tomb: “Why are you looking among the dead for One Who is alive?  He is not here but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). The real proof, however, is not the empty tomb but the lives of believers filled with His Spirit today! The third special feature is the initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in his Resurrection, in spite of his repeated apparitions.  This serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. It explains why the apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  Proclamation and witness-bearing are the main themes of today’s readings. In the first reading for the vigil Mass (Acts 10:34a, 37-43), St. Peter shares his own experience of Christ’s Resurrection and its joy with the members of the pagan Cornelius’ family, all of whom received the Holy Spirit as Peter spoke and then were baptized. In the second vigil Mass reading (Col 3:1-4), St. Paul, bearing witness to his conversion experience and Faith in the risen Lord, reminds the Colossians, “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God! When Christ your Life, appears, then you, too, will appear with Him in glory.” Today’s Gospel (Jn 20: 1-9) explains the empty-tomb Resurrection experiences of Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John. Mary Magdalene proclaims her personal experience: “I have seen the Lord(Jn 20:18).

Life messages: 1) We are to be Resurrection people:  Easter, the feast of the Resurrection, gives us the joyful message that we are a “Resurrection people.”  This means that we are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins, evil habits, and dangerous addictions.  It gives us the Good News that no tombs can hold us down any longer – not the tombs of despair, discouragement, doubt, or death itself.  Instead, we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the real Presence of the Risen Lord in all the events of our lives.  “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad” (Ps 118:24). 

2) We need to seek our peace and joy in the Risen Jesus:  The living presence of the Risen Lord gives us lasting peace and celestial joy in the face of the boredom, suffering, pain, and tensions of our day-to-day life.  “Peace be with you!(Jn 20:19), was Jesus’ salutation to his disciples at all post-Resurrection appearances.  For the true Christian, every day must be  an Easter Day, lived joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord.

3) We are to be transparent Christians: We are called to be transparent Christians, showing others, through our lives of love, mercy, compassion, and self-sacrificing service, that the Risen Jesus is living in our hearts.

4) We need to live new, disciplined lives in the Risen Jesus:  Our awareness of the all-pervading presence of the Risen Lord in and around us, and the strong conviction of our own coming resurrection, help us control our thoughts, desires, words, and behaviors.  This salutary thought inspires us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure and free from evil habits and addictions. Our conviction about the presence of the Risen Lord in our neighbors, and in all those with whom we come into contact, should encourage us to respect them, and to render them loving, humble, selfless service.

5) We need to remember Easter in our Good Fridays:  Easter reminds us that every Good Friday in our lives will have an Easter Sunday, and that Jesus will let us share the power of his Resurrection.  Each time we display our love of others, we share in the Resurrection.  Each time we face a betrayal of trust and, with God’s grace, forgive the betrayer and forget the offense, we share in the Resurrection of Jesus.  Each time we fail in our attempts to ward off temptations – but keep on trying to overcome them – we share in the Resurrection.  Each time we continue to hope – even when our hope seems unanswered – we share in the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.  In short, the message of Easter is that nothing can destroy us – not pain, sin, rejection, betrayal, or death. Because Christ has conquered all these, we, too, can conquer them — if we put our Faith and trust in Him.

6) We are to be bearers of the Good News of Resurrection power. Resurrection is Good News, but at the same time, it’s sometimes painful because it involves death. Before the power of the Resurrection can take hold in our own lives, we’re called to die to sin, to die to self. We may even have to die to our own dreams, so that God can do what He wants to do with our lives. Resurrection is about seeing our world in a new way. Early that Easter morning, Mary Magdalene  did not find what she was looking for, the dead body of Jesus. But she found something better than she could have imagined: the Risen Jesus. Sometimes, the things we think we need most are not granted to us.  What we get instead is an experience of God’s new ways of working in the world. That’s the power of the Resurrection. When those moments come, we must spread the news–just as Mary Magdalene did: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18)

7) Pope Francis: The first Easter message that I would offer you: it is always possible to begin anew, because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures. The second message of Easter: faith is not an album of past memories; Jesus is not outdated.  He is alive here and now. The third message of Easter: Jesus, the Risen Lord, loves us without limits and is there at every moment of our lives.”

JOKES OF THE WEEK (The reason for these jokes according to an ancient Russian Orthodox tradition, is that the day before Easter was devoted to telling jokes. The reason behind this tradition was to reflect the joke God pulled on the devil in the Resurrection. Satan thought he had won on Friday, but God had the last laugh on Easter Sunday)

1) “TA-DA!”A Sunday school teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing the opening. Then, wanting to share the excitement of the Resurrection, she asked: “And what do you think were Jesus’ first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?” A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. Attached to it was the arm of a little girl. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly “I know, I know!” “Good” said the teacher, “Tell us, what were Jesus first words?” And extending her arms high into the air she said: “TA-DA!” Another little boy offered, “Please stop staring and pass me the fish sandwiches —  it’s been three days and I’m starving!” The teacher asked a second question: “Why did Jesus appear to women first after the Resurrection?” A girl answered, “He wanted to be sure the news spread quickly!”

2) Mother-in-law in Jerusalem: George went on a vacation to the Middle East with most of his family including his mother-in-law. During their vacation and while they were visiting Jerusalem, George’s mother-in-law died. With the death certificate in hand, George went to the American Consulate to make arrangements to send the body back to the States for proper burial. The Consul, after hearing of the death of the mother-in-law, told George that the sending of a body back to the States for burial is very, very expensive. It could cost as much as $5,000. The Consul continued, “In most cases the person responsible for the remains normally decides to bury the body here. This would only cost $150.” George thought for some time and answered, “I don’t care how much it will cost to send the body back; that’s what I want to do.”
The Consul, after hearing this, said, “You must have loved your mother-in-law very much, considering the difference in price.” “No, it’s not that!” said George. “You see, I know of a case many years ago of a man who died and was buried here in Jerusalem. On the third day he arose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance!”

3) See what happens.  One lady wrote into a question-and-answer forum: Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.
Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his side…put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens. Sincerely, Charles.”   

4) Loaned for a weekend: Joseph of Arimathaea was a very wealthy Pharisee, a member of the Council, and a secret follower of Jesus. It was Joseph who went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion. And it was Joseph who supplied the tomb for Jesus’ burial. I wonder if someone pulled him aside and said, “Joseph that was such beautiful, costly, hand-hewn tomb. Why on earth did you give it to someone to be buried in?”  “Why not?” Joseph may have answered.  “He only needed it for the weekend.”

5) Resurrection in election: Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was once asked if he believed in the Resurrection. “Of course, I do,” said Huckabee. “Dead people vote in every election we have in Arkansas. Resurrection is very real to us!”

USEFUL WEBSITES OF THE WEEK (For homilies & Bible study groups) (The easiest method  to visit these websites is to copy and paste the web address or URL on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

1) Fr. Nick’s collection of Sunday homilies from 65 priests & weekday homilies:

2) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button)

 3) Fr. Geoffrey Plant’s beautiful & scholarly video classes on Sunday gospel, Bible & RCIA topics

4) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle  A  Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: basis of Catholic doctrines:

5) Agape Catholic Bible Lessons:

Easter links:





5)  Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

6) A scientist’s arguments for resurrection of Christ:

Easter videos:

Easter Sunday movie clips: (1)   2)  3)

Easter Sunday songs: 1)  2) 3)

28– Additional anecdotes:

1)   “The Godfather of Fitness.” You may recall years ago when fitness legend Jack LaLanne celebrated his seventieth birthday by towing 70 boats containing 70 people for a mile across Long Beach Harbor. Amazing! But wait. He did it by holding the rope in his teeth. Why? Well, he was handcuffed and wearing leg shackles! Unbelievable! LaLanne was still going strong in his nineties. —  But friends, this “The Godfather of Fitness” and “First Fitness Superhero” died of pneumonia, on January 24, 2011, proving that this world is not our final destination. It is but a prelude to a grander production. This world is a preparatory school. Without the Resurrection, it is simply impossible to explain a world in which people suffer and die. But the Resurrection is real. Christ rose from the dead. Christ is still alive and He is available in our world today. Fr. Tony ( 2023.

2)  Bright light in the “black holes” of life: Have you ever heard of a “black hole”? If you have ever watched movies or TV programs about travelling in outer space, like the TV series Star Trek, you will know what a black hole is. Roughly speaking, it is a spot in the vastness of space, which astronomers believe is like a giant vacuum or whirlpool sucking everything around it into the hole. Using Newton’s laws, scientists first theorized black holes in the 1790s but it wasn’t until 1994 that the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a massive supersized black hole – fortunately a long way from our own galaxy. There is also a black hole in our galaxy, the Milky Way. What if scientists said that it was not beyond the realms of possibility that one day our sun and everything around it would be sucked into this “black hole,” and everything would be gone? — “Black holes” are symbols of hopelessness, but the message of Easter tells us that there is something beyond those “black holes.” Maybe our personal   “black hole” includes grief for a loved one, anxiety over a work situation or what is happening in our family. Maybe it is a “black hole” of depression and stress, and we feel there is nothing we can do to change what is happening. Maybe it’s the “black hole” of sickness and pain. Maybe it’s the “black hole” of guilt and failure. Whether those “black holes” are right here and now or show up at some time in the future, Easter tells us there is hope, there is a living Saviour and Friend who will help us when we feel as if we have been sucked into the deepest darkness. Easter tells us that there is nothing to fear. We have a Risen Saviour who promises never to leave us, to love us always, always to brighten our darkest paths, and to guide us from death to eternal life in Heaven. Even when we are in the middle of something deep and dark, our Risen Saviour is, and will always be, there — with us. “I am the Living One! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead” (Rv 1:8).     (

3) “We believe you.” There is a beautiful story told recently about a woman named Rosemary who works in the Alzheimer’s Unit of a nursing home. Rosemary and a colleague named Arlene brought the residents of the home together one Good Friday afternoon to view Franco Zeffirelli’s acclaimed production, Jesus of Nazareth. They wondered whether these elderly Alzheimer’s patients would even know what was going on, but they thought it might be worth the effort. When they finally succeeded in getting everyone into position, they started the video. Rosemary was pleasantly surprised at the quiet attention being paid to the screen. At last came the scene where Mary Magdalene comes upon the empty tomb and sees that Jesus’ body is not there. An unknown man, in reality the Risen Christ, asks Mary why she is looking for the living among the dead. Mary runs as fast as she can back to the disciples and tells Peter and the rest with breathless excitement, “He’s alive! I saw Him, I tell you! He’s alive.” The doubt in their eyes causes Mary to pull back. “You don’t believe me . . . You don’t believe me!” From somewhere in the crowd of Alzheimer’s patients came the clear, resolute voice of Esther, one of the patients. “WE BELIEVE YOU,” she said, “WE BELIEVE YOU!” [Rosemary Kadrmas in Jeff Cavins,, Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart (West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, LLC, 2003), pp. 211-212.] (

4) The killers asked her if there was anyone [in the classroom] who had faith in Christ.  A day after the terrible tragedy at Columbine High, CNN journalist Larry King did a live interview with a teenage girl named Mickie Cain, a student who had witnessed the massacre. Mickie was having a difficult time maintaining her composure and was able to blurt out only a few words before lapsing into uncontrollable sobs. Larry King was patient and gave her plenty of time to regain her composure. Mickie recounted the chilling story: “Let me tell you about my friend Cassie,” she said. “[Cassie] was amazing . . . She completely stood up for God when the killers asked her if there was anyone [in the classroom] who had faith in Christ. She spoke up [and said she did] and they shot her for it.” [Franklin Graham, The Name (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2002), pp. 14-15].  —  Such a testimony as Cassie made that day makes our witness look pretty pathetic, doesn’t it? The critical question is, would you make such a sacrifice for something that you knew was patently untrue? Of course not. And neither would those early disciples of Christ. They had met Christ, risen from the grave, and they would not testify otherwise, even while being tortured. The witnesses are so credible, the change in their lives so dramatic, that their testimony cannot be disregarded. (

5) Cape of Good Hope: You may remember a geography lesson from elementary school in which you learned that the southernmost point of Africa is a point which for centuries has experienced tremendous storms. For many years no one knew what lay beyond that cape, for no ship attempting to round that point had ever returned to tell the tale. Among the ancients it was known as the “Cape of Storms,” and for good reason. But then a Portuguese explorer in the sixteenth century, Vasco De Gama, successfully sailed East around that very point and found beyond the wild raging storms, a great calm sea, and beyond that, the shores of India. The name of that cape was changed from the Cape of Storms to the Cape of Good Hope. Until Jesus Christ rose from the dead, death had been the “cape of storms” on which all hopes of life beyond death had been wrecked. No one knew what lay beyond that point until, on Easter morning, Jesus arose.   The ancient visions of Isaiah were really foretelling the victory of Jesus over our last great enemy. — Like those sixteenth century explorers, we can see beyond human death to the hope of Heaven and eternal life with the Father. More than that, we dare to believe that we shall experience in our own human lives exactly what the Son of God experienced in His, for the Risen Christ says to us, “Because I live, you shall live also.” This is the heart of our Faith. (

6) “I choose death….by old age.” Long ago, there was an exceedingly clever court jester at the court of the Caliph of Baghdad. For years he’d never failed to amuse the court whenever they called him. But one day, in a split second of carelessness, he offended the caliph who ordered him put to death. “However,” said the caliph, “in consideration of your many years of fine and faithful service, I’ll let you choose how you wish to die.” “Oh, mighty Caliph,” replied the jester. “I thank you for your great kindness. I choose death….by old age.” — Wouldn’t we all! But that just delays the big question: Then what? What comes after you finally die at the age of 110 on the tennis court? Only Jesus has the answer. He says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, even though he die, will live with Me forever”(Jn 11:25). (Msgr. D. Clarke) (

7) He always whistled:  Have you heard the story of the man whose hobby was growing roses? When he worked in his rose garden, he always whistled. It seemed to everyone that he was whistling much louder than was needed for his own enjoyment. One day a neighbor asked him why it was that he always whistled so loudly. The man then took the neighbor into his home to meet his wife. The woman was not only an invalid but was completely blind as well. The man, you see, was whistling, not for his benefit, but rather for the benefit of his wife. He wanted his blind wife to know that he was nearby, and that she was not alone. — That story is a wonderful illustration of the significance of Easter Day. The affirmation, “Christ is risen!” reminds us that God is near, and the experiencing of His presence strengthens us in our weakness. (Donald William Dotterer, Living the Easter Faith,). (

8) And so, the Iron Lady wept.   On October 12, 1984, at a Conservative Party Conference held at the Grand Brighton Hotel in Brighton England, a long-delay time-bomb, planted in the conference room where many of the government meetings were held, exploded.  The intention of the terrorists was to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet.  Mrs. Thatcher survived this blast, but some of her cabinet members were killed. The following Sunday, Margaret Thatcher went to Church as she always did. But that particular Sunday seemed different. As Margaret Thatcher sang the hymns, listened to the message, saw the candles upon the altar and the sunshine streaming through the stained-glass windows, she began to weep. She wept because everything around her had been changed by the loss of her friends. The familiar had now become strange. The goodness and beauty of the world around her seemed almost too much to bear. She knew she would not only miss her friends, but also the wonderful times they had had together. And so, the Iron Lady wept. — If we can relate to Maggie Thatcher’s grief, maybe we can relate to the grief of Jesus’ disciples and friends on that first Easter morning. (

9) “I want to see your Resurrection!” Father Basil Pennington, a Catholic monk, tells of an encounter he once had with a teacher of Zen. Pennington was at a retreat. As part of the retreat, each person met privately with this Zen teacher. Pennington says that at his meeting the Zen teacher sat there before him smiling from ear to ear and rocking gleefully back and forth. Finally, the teacher said: “I like Christianity. But I would not like Christianity without the Resurrection. I want to see your Resurrection!” Pennington notes that, “With his directness, the teacher was saying what everyone else implicitly says to Christians: “You are a Christian. You are risen with Christ. Show me (what this means for you in your life) and I will believe.” [( 06.rtf.) Marilyn Omernick.] — That is how people know if the Resurrection is true or not? Does it affect how we live? (

10) “Do you mean like Elvis?” A father was explaining to his five-year-old son how Jesus died and then, on the third day, rose from the dead. “That’s what we believe,” the father said. “That’s how we know Jesus is the Son of God, because He came back from the dead just as He said He would.” “Do you mean like Elvis?” the boy replied. —  Well, no. Not exactly like Elvis. This is a new world. People nowadays believe just about everything, except that which is most true. We have to work a little bit harder in this new world to help people (

11) From the empty tomb: It was a hot summer afternoon. The famous Hollywood film director Cecil B. DeMille was drifting in a canoe on a lake in Maine, reading a book. He looked away from the book momentarily, down to the lake. There a bunch of water beetles were at play. Suddenly one of the beetles began to crawl up the side of the canoe. When it got halfway up, it attached the talons of its legs to the wooden side of the canoe and died. DeMille watched for a minute; then he turned back to his book. About three hours later, DeMille looked down at the dead beetle again. What he saw amazed him. The beetle had dried up, and its back was starting to crack open. As he watched, something began to emerge from the opening: first a moist head, then wings. It was a beautiful dragonfly. DeMille sat there in awe. Then the dragonfly began to move its wings. It hovered gracefully over the water where the other beetles were at play. But they didn’t recognize the dragonfly. They didn’t realize that it was the same beetle they had played with three hours earlier. DeMille took his finger and nudged the dried-out shell of the beetle. It was like an empty tomb (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies) (

12) Easter: surprising or amazing? There is an old story about Noah Webster, who wrote the famous dictionary that bears his name. As you can imagine, he was a stickler for the precise use of language. He was also something of a womanizer. One day he was in the pantry kissing the maid when Mrs. Webster walked in on them. Mrs. Webster said, “Why, Noah, I’m surprised.” Noah said, “No, my dear. We’re surprised. You’re amazed.” [Mark Trotter, “Do You Amaze Anybody?” (May 22, 1988).] — I think the story is apocryphal. I’m sure Mr. Webster was a stickler for the right word, but when you look in his own Webster’s Dictionary, he says surprise is a synonym for amaze. Amaze is the stronger word. — Easter is both surprising and amazing. Here is God’s ultimate act of love and power. It is an act of love that has gone to its limit in Jesus’ gift of himself on the cross. It is an act of power that burst the tomb and announced to the world that Love is stronger than hate, Good prevails over evil, and Life is triumphant over death. (

13)“Suppose he isn’t in there!” Two famous Broadway producers were pallbearers at the funeral of the great escape artist, Harry Houdini. As they lifted the beautiful, heavy casket to their shoulders, one of them turned and whispered to the other, “Suppose he isn’t in there!” — He was, of course. Only one man in human history has conquered the grave, and it is He whom we call Lord. “Christ has been raised from the dead,” writes St. Paul, “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor 15:20). What deliriously Good News that is! No wonder our Church is full on Easter Sunday! That is news that turns the world upside down: Jesus Christ is risen! (

14) Resurrection Bay:  In the movie The Hunt for Red October, the opening scene was filmed in Resurrection Bay, Alaska. This dramatic setting received its name in 1792 when the Russian trader and explorer Alexandr Baranov was forced to find refuge there during a vicious storm on Easter Sunday. Resurrection Bay has the distinction of remaining ice-free even in the dead of winter. Even in squalls and storms, it provides safe harbor. —  As Christians, we anchor our souls in Resurrection Bay. The world may be caught in a thousand tempests, and storms may arise from all directions. But the empty tomb assures us of tranquility and a passageway to Heaven that will never ice over. Jesus died and rose again to give us peace with God and the peace of God — life both eternal and abundant. We anchor our souls in the haven of rest. (Turning Point)  (

15) Many infallible proofs: Albert L. Roper was a prominent Virginia attorney, a graduate of the University of Virginia and its law school, who eventually became mayor of the city of Norfolk. He once began a thorough legal investigation into the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ, asking himself the question: “Can any intelligent person accept the Resurrection story?” After examining the evidence at length, he came away asking a different question: “Can any intelligent person deny the weight of this evidence?” — Even those who traveled for three years with Jesus experienced disbelief over His Resurrection, but Jesus showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs. We don’t base our Faith on legends, myths, or fairy tales. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is well-documented, and many critics have been silenced (and even converted) when they’ve carefully investigated the evidence [Albert L. Roper, Did Jesus Rise From the Dead (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965), foreword.] We have a Risen Savior! He offers Himself to us today with many infallible proofs. (Turning Point- 3/29/13) (

16) Joke Saturday:  According to an ancient Russian Orthodox tradition, the day before Easter was devoted to telling jokes. Priests would join the people in telling their best jokes to one another (presumably “clean” jokes!!) The reason was to reflect the joke God pulled on the devil in the Resurrection. Satan thought he had won on Friday, but God had the last laugh on Easter Sunday. (

17) “He is risen indeed!”: You probably do not remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin. Many years ago, he was one of the most powerful men on earth. A Russian Communist leader, he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. He was the editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read today. There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly of Communists.  The subject was atheism. Addressing the crowd, he attacked Christianity, hurling insults and arguments against it. When he had finished, he looked out at the audience. “Are there any questions?” he demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium, but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern.   After surveying the crowd, he shouted the ancient greeting of the Russian Orthodox Church: “CHRIST IS RISEN!”   The crowd stood up and shouted in a thundering voice:   “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”  —  Amazed and dejected, Bukharin left the stage in silence.  Perhaps he had learned the lesson that Faith in Christ’s Resurrection was deeply rooted in his Russian Orthodox Communist followers! (

18) He is no longer in the grave:  In 1887, twenty-two years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, his coffin was dug up and opened because there were constant rumors that his body was not in the grave. So, they dug it up and the body was there. The rumors continued so 14 years later they had to dig it up again. Both times witnesses were present who testified that Lincoln was still in the grave. — Three days after the death of Jesus Christ, similar rumors began to spread throughout the land of Israel. Only this time there were no witnesses who could say that they had seen His body. In fact, to the contrary, many witnesses claimed to have seen him out of His grave and even talked with Him after the Resurrection. As great a man as Lincoln was, there were witnesses to prove he was still in the grave. If one of our Presidents or another leader in our government were to cry out today to Lincoln for help, there would be no response. If a scientist were to cry out to Einstein for help today there would only be empty silence. If someone were to call out to Mohammed or Buddha or Gandhi today there would be no help. But if you and I call out to Jesus Christ there is instant power available to us… power to change lives …why? Because He lives! (Rev. David Henderson). (

19) The parable of the butterfly: As a butterfly soared overhead, one caterpillar said to the other, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things!” Yet for every caterpillar the time comes when the urge to eat and grow subsides and he instinctively begins to form a chrysalis around himself. The chrysalis hardens and you’d think for all the world that the caterpillar was dead. But one spring morning the life inside the chrysalis will begin to writhe, the top will crack open, and a beautifully formed butterfly will emerge. For hours it will stand stretching and drying its wings, moving them slowly up and down, up and down. And then, before you know it, the butterfly will glide aloft, effortlessly riding the currents of the air, alighting on flower after gorgeous flower, as if to show off its vivid colors to the bright blossoms. — Somehow, the miracle of the butterfly never loses its fascination for us. Perhaps that is because the butterfly is a living parable of the promise of Resurrection. On Easter morning, the disciples saw Jesus’ graveclothes on the cold slab, empty, but still lying in the wrapped folds that had gone around and round the corpse. Only the corpse was gone, the grave clothes left behind, much like an empty chrysalis deserted by a butterfly which has left it to soar free. “He is risen as He said,” (Mt 28:6) an angel told the women who had come to the tomb to anoint His dead Body. (

20) “Which one would you ask which way to go?’”  Dr. Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. “Some of his friends asked him, ‘Why have you become a Christian?’ He answered, ‘Well, it’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive–which one would you ask which way to go?'” (

21) A real Easter egg: A small chick begins the long journey to birth.  The not-yet-a-bird weighs little more than air; its beak and claws are barely pin pricks.  The bird-to-be is in its own little world: protected by the rigid shell, warmed by the mother hen’s body, nourished by the nutrients within the egg’s membrane. But then the chick begins the work of life.  Over several days the chick keeps picking and picking until it can break out from its narrow world — and into an incomparably wider one. But for this to happen, the egg has to go to pieces.  New life demands shattering the old. — That is the real Easter egg.  Not a complete egg dyed and painted with so many designs and colors.  Not an egg that has been hardboiled, impossible to shatter.  Not an egg made of chocolate. The real Easter egg is shattered and destroyed.  The real Easter egg exists in broken pieces.  The real Easter egg is cracked and opened, yielding new life that has moved out to live in the open. For centuries, the world has marked the Resurrection of the Lord with eggs.  But the Easter meaning of the egg is found in the struggle of the chick to free itself from its confines so as to move into much bigger world beyond it. We struggle to break out of a world that we perceive is going to pieces; we pick away at an existence that leaves us dissatisfied and unfulfilled.  The promise of the Easter Christ is that we can break out of our self-contained little worlds and move into a world where peace and justice reign, a world illuminated by hope and warmed by love, a world that extends beyond time and place into the forever of God’s dwelling place.   [From a meditation by Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B.]. (

22) Yes, There Is Hope (Rev. Bill Self):  In the early part of World War II, a Navy submarine was stuck on the bottom of the harbor in New York City. It seemed that all was lost. There was no electricity and the oxygen was quickly running out. In one last attempt to rescue the sailors from the steel coffin, the U.S. Navy sent a ship equipped with Navy divers to the spot on the surface, directly above the wounded submarine. A Navy diver went over the side of the ship to the dangerous depths in one last rescue attempt. The trapped sailors heard the metal boots of the diver land on the exterior surface, and they moved to where they thought the rescuer would be. In the darkness they tapped in Morse code, “Is there any hope?” The diver on the outside, recognizing the message, signaled by tapping on the exterior of the sub, “Yes, there is hope.” —  This is the picture of our dilemma as we worship this glad Easter Day. Humankind is trapped in a dreadful situation. All around we are running low on hope, and we look for a word from beyond offering it to us. This world in which we live is plagued with war and famine, mounting debt and continual destruction. The more we try to rescue ourselves the more we seem to fall behind. We wonder. (

23) Hold My Body Down: The all-black musical, Your Arms Too Short To Box With God ( is Vinnette Carroll’s vibrant version of what the Gospel of Matthew would have been like, if it had been written with a little bit more of that old-time religion. With buoyant Negro spirituals and exciting choreography, Your Arms Too Short To Box With God celebrates the life, death and Resurrection of Christ. In the final scene of the first act, Jesus has just arisen from the tomb and is standing high at the back of the stage in a glow of yellow celestial light. With a thunderous voice the risen Lord sings a song entitled, “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down.” That song sums up the joyous news of Easter. We hear an angel sing it for Jesus as he greets Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the tomb: “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down.” You can almost sense its rhythm keeping pace with the two women as they hurry to tell the good news about Jesus to his disciples: “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down.” — The good news of Christ’s Resurrection is symbolized by the Easter lilies that decorate our homes and Churches. With the spring these lilies come alive, break through the ground and bloom. No ground can hold these lilies down. No ground can contain their new living blossoms. If we have Faith, no ground can hold our spirits down! (His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (

24) Easter gives us an eternal warranty for our Faith: When we buy a product we want to make sure that we can count on it and trust it to work the way it is supposed to work. When you go and buy a car you are looking for reliability, a car that you know will carry you and your family safely for years to come. The car company tries to earn your trust by giving you a warranty. The warranty tells you how long and to what extent you can trust them and their product. Some are three years 36,000 miles, while others are 5- year 50,000 mile, some are 10-year 100,000 mile warranties. But the problem with these warranties is they eventually run out. You can trust them but only for a period of time. Our relationship with others is the same way. When we are looking for a husband or wife we look for someone who is trustworthy, someone we can trust, someone we know is going to be faithful to us over the course of a life time. But even in the best relationships people fail us and let us down. —  I believe that it is in the heart of every person and is every person’s deepest longing to be able to completely trust Someone —  Someone who won’t lie to you, Someone who won’t let you down. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then we cannot trust him with our lives and we certainly cannot trust him with our eternity.* But fortunately for us, Jesus did rise from the dead. Easter does exist, it’s real not fake, it’s true, not a lie! We can trust Him with our lives and live for Him. (Rev. Jim Perdue). (

25) “The Case for Christ:” In 1998, Lee Strobel, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a graduate of Yale Law School, published “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus.” Strobel had formerly been an atheist and was compelled by his wife’s conversion to evangelical Christianity to refute the key Christian claims about Jesus. Paramount among these was the historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection, but other claims included the belief in Jesus as the literal Son of God, and the accuracy of the New Testament writings. Strobel, however, was unable to refute these claims to his satisfaction, and he then converted to Christianity as well. His book became one of the bestselling works of Christian apologetics, (that is, a defense of the reasonableness and accuracy of Christianity) of all time. Later, a motion picture adaptation of “The Case for Christ” was released. The movie attempts to make a compelling case for historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection. As one character says to Strobel early in the movie, “If the resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, it’s [i.e., the Christian Faith] a house of cards.” (

26) “…and so it begins.” Several years ago, the Italian film maker, Franco Zeffirelli (born 1923) offered the public his cinematic version of the good news of Jesus of Nazareth. In the film, after the crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary and his hasty burial, a member of the Sanhedrin was informed that certain followers of the itinerant teacher and healer were claiming that his tomb had been found empty. Others were spreading the news that they had experienced his risen presence. At that, the Jewish official moaned softly and sighed almost inaudibly, “. . . and so it begins.” —  And so indeed, the resurrection of Jesus marked the beginning of a new way of life centered in Christ Jesus, who died but now lives forever. By virtue of Jesus’ victory over sin and death, believers are offered a new perspective. Jesus’ cross and resurrection changed forever the way we look at death; it changed the way we look at life, at this world and at one another  (Sanchez Files). (

27) “Do you believe that he is dead?” In John Masefield’s play, The Trial of Christ, Procula, Pilate’s wife, is deeply disturbed by the crucifixion of Jesus. Finally, a Roman centurion, Longinus, comes to her with a message that he has found Christ’s tomb empty. Procula asked him: “Do you believe that he is dead?” “No, my lady.” “Then where is he?” “Loose upon the world, my lady, where neither Jew nor Roman nor Greek nor anyone else can stop his Truth and his Life.” — That’s where the Risen Christ is now: loose in the world! Yes, in many places, his presence causes conflict, but in every place, his presence means hope. I know, through the Risen Christ, that my world and my life in it are real and worthwhile. I know, through Christ, that my life is of value to God. I am God’s son, as you are God’s child. Because Christ lives, I shall live. I know that my beloved dead are not lost. In my Father’s eternal care, how could they possibly be lost? OH, HAPPY DAY! CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA! (

28) “Jesus is alive, pass it on” Chris Moretz decided to ride out Hurricane Katrina alone at home. After the worst of the storm had passed, his house was flooded and destroyed. Chris needed to let his family know that he was still alive. But they were in Tucson, Arizona, and there was no way for him to contact them. So Chris painted the message on the roof of his home: “C. MORETZ IS ALIVE. PASS IT ON.” Also included was the phone number of Chris’s brother, Gerard. Gerard said, “Going 36 hours not knowing if he was OK puts things in perspective. As those hours passed, I certainly saw many images on the news that were very disturbing. Unfortunately, you tend to imagine scenarios that don’t have a happy ending. You’re trying to balance that with being hopeful.” Some hours passed, but then Chris’ rooftop message was shown on TV and posted on some web sites. Chris’ family began getting phone calls from all over the country telling them Chris was alive. ( We live in a Good Friday World but we are the Easter People. We look at the world Cross Eyed with Triumph in our eyes. Through the Cross of Christ we see a world which is illuminated by the light shining forth from the Empty Tomb. For the early church the message was simple, “JESUS IS ALIVE. PASS IT ON.” For us the message is the same, “JESUS IS ALIVE. PASS IT ON.” Live your “Cross”-Eyed Faith. Live the “Cross”-Eyed Triumph of this day. Wrap yourself in the weightlessness of your forgiveness and the hope of resurrection. Wrap yourself in the Grace and Love of God. Be the Easter People. “JESUS IS ALIVE. PASS IT ON.” (L-23):

Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 26) by Fr. Tony:

Visit my website by clicking on for missed or previous Cycle C  & A homilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at Visit  of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website:  (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604

FOR EASTER PICTURES, Type Easter under Google images.

 15 Logical Reasons to Believe in the Resurrection

by Mark Hart

Many people will tell you that “based on human logic” the Resurrection makes no sense. The first thing we need to remember is that “human logic” is not omnipotence. God makes it very clear that “(His) ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

What is illogical is to think that “man” is the center of the universe. The truth is that Christianity is far more logical than many people give it credit for, certainly more logical than atheism or agnosticism.

The second thing we should remind people of is that any conversation about God is going to necessitate a degree of Faith. If people are not willing to humbly admit that they don’t have all the answers, then the conversation will go nowhere. God’s Truth and human pride do not co-exist in the same space; that is the nature of sin. Humility and grace go hand-in-hand, as do pride and sin. So, let’s remember that any conversation about the existence of God or the truth about Christ’s resurrection necessitates a humble admission that “it is possible that God exists” and that “we are not God.”

When it comes to Easter Sunday, however, and the glorious truth about the Resurrection, to say that there is no logical truth to this belief, is not only ignorant, it is absurd. Here are 15 very quick facts that point to the truth of the Resurrection. These are not exhaustive or highly detailed; they are quick points that further strengthen what humble-hearted believers take on Faith:

1. There was an empty Tomb

The founders of other “faiths” are buried in tombs or had their ashes sprinkled over foreign lands. Not Jesus. Modern scholars and directors can claim what they want on their cable specials . . .  the truth is that the tomb was empty.

2. The Tomb had a Roman seal

Clay was affixed to a rope (stretched across a rock) and to the tomb, itself. The Roman seal was pressed into the clay. Break the seal, you break the law; break the law – you die.

3. The Tomb had a Roman guard stationed there

The “guard” was at least four men, possibly more, of highly trained soldiers. These soldiers were experts in torture and in combat, not easily frightened off by a band of fishermen and tax collectors. Had they fallen asleep or left their post they would have violated the law, resulting in their own execution.

4. The Tomb had a stone in front of it

Most scholars put the weight of the stone at about 2 tons (4000 pounds), probably at least seven or eight feet high. This was definitely a “team lift” or “team roll,” not movable by just one or two men.

5. There were post-resurrection appearances, to hundreds

Over a span of six weeks, He appeared to a variety of groups of various sizes in different locations. He appeared to over 500 at one point – a huge number to be an outright fabrication. Not to mention, the people whom He appeared to didn’t just see Him, but ate with Him, walked with Him, touched Him. Jesus even made breakfast (John 21:9) at one point.

6. The martyrdom of witnesses offers proof

Would people leave their businesses, careers, homes and families, go to the ends of the earth, die horribly gruesome and painful deaths and forsake their previous religious beliefs about salvation all to protect a lie? Not one of them, while being beheaded, fed to lions, boiled in oil, crucified upside down or burned alive changed their story. Instead, they sang hymns of trust and praise, knowing that the Lord who defeated death would raise them up, too.

7. There is still a Church

If the Resurrection were a lie it would have died off centuries ago. The Christian Church is the largest institution of any kind in the history of humanity. This Church began with the apostles following Pentecost, the year Christ rose. It has conquered empires, withstood attacks (inside and out) and grown in spite of the sinfulness of its members, because it was founded by Christ, Himself, and is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit. The Church, like Christ, is both human and divine.

8. Jesus prophesied that it was going to happen

Jesus told people that it was going to happen. It didn’t take Him by surprise. And He didn’t just say “I’m going to be killed” (which others might have seen coming) but also that “I’m going to rise on the third day.” Those details aren’t ironic, coincidental or fortune-telling — they’re called prophecy and true prophecy comes from God, Himself.

9. It was prophesied in the Old Testament

It was foretold centuries before Christ Himself was born or lived it out. Hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah, what He would say, do, live like and how He would die… were offered centuries apart by people God selected (most of whom never met one another, by the way). Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Hosea, and Micah (just to name a few) all pointed to Christ’s death and Resurrection hundreds of years before these occurred.

10. The day of worship changed

Following the Resurrection, tens of thousands of Jews (almost overnight) abandoned the centuries old tradition of celebrating the Sabbath on the last day of the week and began worshipping on the first day of the week the day on which the Lord, the Christ, beat death sealing the new and final covenant with God.

11. The practices of sacrifice changed

Jews were always taught (and taught their children… Deuteronomy 6) that they needed to offer an animal sacrifice once a year, to atone for their sins. After the Resurrection, the Jewish converts of the time, throngs of them, stopped offering animal sacrifices to God.

12. It is unique among other world religions

No other religious leader of any consequence ever actually claimed to be God, except Jesus. No other religious leader ever did the things Christ did. No other religious leader ever backed up his “religious voice” with Resurrection. Confucius died. Lao-tse died. Buddha died. Mohammed died. Joseph Smith died.  Christ rose from the dead.

13. The message is self-authenticating

This proof goes back to the original point, namely, that a humble heart is enlightened and illuminated by far more than logic or reason. A true believer doesn’t need all the facts to believe in the Resurrection, because the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us, intimately and powerfully. St. Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 4. Blind and hardened hearts will never see God, not until they acknowledge that they are not God.

14. The miraculous ending fits a miraculous life

You want logic? Christ healed the blind, the deaf and the dumb. He fed the masses, cured the lepers, and forgave the sinners. He made the lame walk and brought others back to life. He multiplied food, walked on water, calmed storms, and exorcised demons with His mere voice. The miracle of Good Friday is that He didn’t call on a miracle. He died. The miracle of Easter Sunday is that He rose from the dead – a miraculous “end” to a miraculous life. What else should we expect?

15. (and the only answer we really need) . . .  Jesus is still the answer

The world cannot offer any cure for suffering. The world can ignore it, berate it, debate it, bomb it, and medicate it . . .  but there is no cure or point to suffering separated from Jesus Christ. In Christ, our suffering has a point and it has worth. Apart from Christ, suffering is pointless and fruitless. There is no fountain of youth. There is no miracle drug. There is no cure for death except Jesus Christ. What is illogical is to think that the God of life would not want us to live eternally.

The only reason to think the Resurrection is illogical is if you believe this life is your only one. This blog is not intended to begin debates or tear people apart. This is a very quick reminder to all of us Christians who might get too “logical” from time to time (myself included), that the Resurrection is not illogical. That being said, all of us who do tend to be too logical might want to take a deep breath in contemplative prayer this weekend and really lean back in to the beautiful truth and reality of the crucifixion and Resurrection.

” How can some among you say there is no Resurrection? If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your Faith; if Christ has not been raised than your Faith is in vain; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-18)

Brothers and Sisters, because of what happened in that Upper Room, on that cross, and in that tomb 2000 years ago, we know God the Father intimately, we walk with Christ daily, and we are guided by the Holy Spirit eternally. That’s the truth, and what a beautiful truth it is. (John 8:32)

Holy Week- Monday to Saturday homilies

Weekday Homilies for HOLY WEEK (April 3-8, 2023)L-23

(Detailed homilies on Holy Thursday & Good Friday are given separately)

April 3-8 (Holy Week) Click on for missed homilies.

April 3 Monday: Jn 12:1-11: 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” 9 …10

The context: The scene depicted in today’s Gospel reading took place exactly one week before the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus was anointed on two different occasions — first, at the start of his public ministry, in Galilee, as recounted by St. Luke (7:36-50: Jesus was anointed by a repentant sinful woman in the house of a Pharisee), and, second, towards the end of his life, in Bethany, as reported here by St. John. Instead of brooding over the sufferings and death waiting for him, Jesus, along with his Apostles, enjoyed a party given for his friend, Lazarus by his family and friends. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified. Probably he halted in Bethany, both because Jerusalem was overcrowded, and because Jesus wanted to spend time in with his closest friends.

The Gospel summarizes two attitudes: Mary’s and Judas.’ Mary expressed her love for Jesus and her gratitude to God by an extravagant action. Before all the Apostles, she anointed Jesus’ feet with nard (a very costly perfume worth (said Judas criticaly), the wages of a laborer for 300 days), then wiped them with her hair. Her lovely deed shows the extravagance of love. Judas on the other hand criticized Mary for spending so much on perfume, suggesting that the money could have been used to help the poor. Mary’s action was extravagant, but her motive justified it. However, Judas’ motive in suggesting the good action of helping the poor was selfish and impure, spoiling the action.

Life messages: 1) We need to express our love and gratitude to Jesus during this Holy Week for what he did for us centuries ago and for what he continues to do for us now: a) He poured out his Blood for us and for our salvation. b) He anointed us with his Holy Spirit and made us the Temple of his Spirit. c) He continues to nourish us with his Body and Blood through the Holy Eucharist. 2. We can express our love and gratitude to our Savior Jesus during Holy Week a) by spending more time in prayer and adoration, especially by participating in the liturgical celebrations b) by doing acts of penance for our past sins and c) by actively engaging in acts of loving and humble service. (Fr. Tony) ( L/23

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April 4 Tuesday: Jn 13:21-33, 36-38 21 When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; 24 so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” 25 So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 … 38.

The context: In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ loving appeal to two of his chosen Apostles, Judas and Peter, who represent hard-heartedness and repentance respectively. Judas was a perfect actor and an accomplished hypocrite who could hide his motives from all except Jesus. He deliberately betrayed Jesus for money. Peter on the other hand was simple at heart, a deeply emotional disciple who really loved Jesus.

(A) Judas – a model of hard-heartedness: Jesus showed his last act of love for Judas: a) by allowing him to sit at His left so that Jesus could rest His head on his chest during the Last Supper; b) by giving him a piece of bread dipped in sauce, from Jesus’ plate, as a sign of honor; c) by making Judas the treasurer of the group and the keeper of money received as an offering to the rabbi from the people, thus giving everyone a sign of his trust and confidence in Judas. But Jesus could not save Judas from his hard-heartedness and greed for money. Judas probably expected the triumphant Messiah in Jesus and hoped to rule Israel with him as his finance minister. If so, he must have been totally disillusioned when Jesus predicted his suffering and shameful death. This might have prompted him to betray Jesus. We, too, can become hard-hearted like Judas when we have become addicted to evil habits, and we can refuse Jesus’ call for repentance and conversion even during Holy Week.

(B) Peter – a model of true repentance: Peter showed good will and generosity in repenting of his sin – denying Jesus out of weakness – by weeping bitterly and finally by suffering a martyr’s death for his Faith in Jesus.

Life messages: 1) Let us imitate Peter by repenting of our choices against Jesus and his ideals in our day-to-day lives. 2) Let us also ask God to liberate us from our evil habits and addictions before they make us hard-hearted. 3) Just as Jesus considered death on the cross as his glory, let us consider humble, committed and sacrificial service for others as our glory and learn to love others as Jesus loves us. (Fr. Tony) ( L/23

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April 5 Wednesday: Mt 26: 14-25: 14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. 17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; 21 and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. 24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

The context: Today is traditionally known as “Spy Wednesday,” and was called by Christians as early as AD 250 the “the day of betrayal.” Today’s Gospel describes how Judas secretly planned to betray Jesus for thirty silver pieces (the price of a slave), and how he was seeking an opportunity to betray his master. We also learn how Jesus had his plans for celebrating his last Passover supper with his disciples carried out in a house prearranged by him. In Jesus’ time, the Passover supper was celebrated on the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread. During the meal, Jesus dramatically declared that one of the disciples was planning to betray Him and hinted that it was Judas.

Bible scholars suggest three reasons why Judas betrayed Jesus. The primary reason seems to have been his greed for money — John tells us that Judas used to steal from the common fund. Bitter hatred due to disillusionment might have been a second reason. As a zealot who hated the Romans, Judas might have expected that his master would overthrow the Romans using his Divine power. Instead, Jesus preached love and peace. A third reason may have been that Judas supposed that his betrayal would give Jesus an occasion to fight back and conquer the Romans. That may be the reason why he committed suicide when he saw Jesus arrested without any resistance from Him.

Life messages: 1) We, too, can betray Jesus and his ideals for money, for power and influence, or for selfish pleasure. Let us examine our conscience when we wrongly think that our God disappoints us by promoting chastity, poverty, justice, and righteousness in the Holy Bible, by not answering our prayers as and when we want, by allowing suffering and premature death in our families and communities, and by not punishing the wicked right here, right now. Let us be on our guard not to betray Jesus as Judas did.

2) Holy Week is the time to assess our life, examine our conscience, do penance for our infidelity, and make practical resolutions to reform our lives with God’s help.

3) We are little Judases—we fall to small temptations we can’t seem to overcome. These little things can have a negative impact on our spiritual life over time. Fr. Tony L/23

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April 6: Holy Thursday: Introduction: We celebrate three anniversaries on Holy Thursday: 1) the anniversary of the first Holy Mass; 2) the anniversary of the institution of ministerial priesthood in order to perpetuate the Holy Mass, to convey God’s forgiveness to repentant sinners, and to preach the Good News of salvation; 3) the anniversary of Jesus’ promulgation of his new commandment of love: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).

First, we remember how Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover into the New Testament Passover. The Jewish Passover was, in fact, a joint celebration of two ancient thanksgiving celebrations. The descendants of Abel, who were shepherds, used to lead their sheep from the winter pastures to the summer pastures after the sacrificial offering of a lamb to God. They called this celebration the “Pass over.” The descendants of Cain, who were farmers, held a harvest festival called the Massoth in which they offered unleavened bread to God as an act of thanksgiving. The Passover feast of the Israelites (Ex 12:26-37) harmoniously combined these two feasts in a ritual meal instituted by God, to be celebrated yearly, thanking Him for His miraculous liberation of their ancestors from Egyptian slavery, their exodus from Egypt, and their final arrival in the Promised Land. (A homily starter anecdote may be given)

Scripture lessons summarized: In the first reading, God gives the Hebrews two instructions: prepare for the moment of liberation by a ritual meal, and make a symbolic mark on your homes to exempt yourselves from the coming slaughter. In the second reading, Paul teaches that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper was an unbroken tradition from the very beginning of the Church, by which Christians reminded themselves of the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover into the Eucharistic celebration. After washing the feet of his apostles and commanding them to do humble service for each other, Jesus concluded the Seder meal with its roasted Paschal lamb by giving his apostles his own body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine as spiritual food and drink.

Life Messages: 1) A challenge for humble service. Our celebration of the Eucharist requires that we wash one another’s feet, i.e., serve one another, and revere Christ’s presence in other persons. In practical terms, that means we are to consider others’ needs to be as important as our own and to serve their needs, without expecting any reward.

2) A loving invitation for sacrificial sharing and self-giving love. Let us imitate the self-giving model of Jesus who shares with us his own Body and Blood and who enriches us with his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. It is by sharing our blessings – our talents, time, health, and wealth – with others, that we become true disciples of Christ and obey his new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

3) An invitation to become Christ-bearers and Christ-conveyers: “Go forth, the Mass is ended,” really means, “Go in peace to love and serve one another.’’ We are to carry Jesus to our homes, our places of work, our schools, and our communities, conveying to others around us the love, mercy, forgiveness, and spirit of humble service of Christ whom we carry with us.

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April 7: Good Friday: The challenge to carry our crosses:

(A)The cross and the crucifix are meaningful symbols, as the dove symbolizes peace and the heart symbolizes love. The crucifix and the cross are the symbols of the loving and sacrificial offering of self for others. First, it is only in the cross that we see the face of God’s love. There is no greater love than that of a person who is willing to die for another, and the cross tells this love story. Second, the cross is the symbol of the remission of our sins: The Bible says that when Jesus died he took all our sins to himself on the cross, and so he conquered sin and the devil’s power forever. Whenever we see the cross we should realize that Jesus was bruised, crushed and died for our iniquities. “But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” (Is 53:5). Third, the cross is the symbol of humble self-emptying for others. It is the symbol of the cross-bearing Christ leading us in our life’s journey of pain and suffering, carrying his heavier cross and still encouraging us, strengthening us and supporting us. Fourth, the cross is the symbol of the risen Christ who promises us a crown of glory as a reward for our patient bearing of our daily crosses.

B) The Cross always means pain. But the pain I suffer for myself is not Christ’s cross. The true cross of Christ is the pain I suffer for others. It is the sanctifying pain involved in sharing our blessings sacrificially with others. It is the pain involved in controlling our evil tendencies in an attempt to attain a higher degree of holiness. It is the pain involved in standing with Jesus his ideas and ideals and gladly following him even if that means scorn and humiliation from the rest of the world.

(C) We have our crosses mainly from four sources. Some of our crosses like diseases, natural disasters, death aregiven by Mother Nature. We face some other crosses when we do our duties faithfully. Our friends and enemies supply a few of our crosses. Finally we ourselves create many of our crosses by careless living and evil addictions.

(D) On Good Friday we should ask the question: why should we carry our crosses? First, cross-bearing is a condition for Christian discipleship. Jesus said: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Second, it is by carrying our crosses that we make reparation for our sins and for the sins of others related to us. That is why St. Paul said that he was suffering in his body what is “lacking” in Christ’s suffering. Third, it is by carrying our crosses that we become imitators of Christ in his suffering for us. St. Paul explains it thus: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2: 19-20).

Life messages: (1)We should carry our crosses with the right motives:It means that we should not carry our crosses bycursing our fate as does the donkey carrying its load. Nor should we protest as do the bulls or horses pulling their carts. Our motive should not be reward by God as the hired workers work for their wages. We should carry our crosses like a loving wife who nurses her paralyzed husband or sick child, with sacrificial love and dedicated commitment. The carrying of our crosses becomes easier when we compare our light crosses with the heavy crosses of terminally-ill patients or patients in emergency wards. We need to draw strength and inspiration from Jesus Who walks ahead of us carrying his heavier cross while supporting us in carrying our crosses.

(2) We should plant the cross of Christ in our daily lives: We have to begin every day with a sign of the cross, asking the blessing and protection of the crucified Lord in our lives that day. Our repeated promise of sharing the crucified Lord’s love with others around us at home and at our place of work, will enable us to live dynamic Christian lives. A loving, prayerful touch on the cross we wear on our body will encourage us to serve others selflessly with real commitment. Such prayer will also open our hearts to receive immunity from a lot of temptations and an increase of divine strength to fight and defeat stronger temptations. At the end of the day, we can make an examination of conscience by reviewing how much or how little we have stayed upon the foundation of Christ’s cross.

(3)We should heal our inner wounds through the cross of Christ. The good news is that the cross of Christ can heal and undo even these early wounds to our character because every moment of our life is present to God and hence He can heal the wounds in our past.

April 8: HOLY SATURDAY (Mt 28. 1-10) or see the Easter homily

I- A day to remember the burial of Jesus. (The early Church commemorated the death of Jesus on Good Friday, the burial of Jesus on Holy Saturday and the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday)

II- Good Friday and Holy Saturday were days of full fasting in the early Church.

III- A day for baptism. After A.D. 313 when the Church got freedom of religious practice from Emperor Constantine, Holy Saturday was the day to receive the catechumens to the Church, after three years of preparation. It was considered as a ceremony reminding them that they become dead to their former gentile life by immersing themselves in water and that they emerge in to a new life in Jesus Christ by rising up from the water.

IV- A day for blessing baptismal water. The catechumens return the Book of Creed (catechism book) to the bishop in a morning ceremony. In the evening the bishop blesses the baptismal water.

V- A day of lighting the Easter candle. The bishop re-ignites the fire extinguished on Holy Thursday and lights the Easter candle to represent Jesus as the “light of the world”. Imitating the Jewish custom of the ceremonial lighting of Sabbath lamps on Friday evenings, the early Christians lighted and displayed lamps on Saturday evenings to honor Jesus as the “light of the world”.

VI- A day to read I Peter 2:9 reminding the people of their worth and dignity – as “the “chosen people of God”, sanctified, appropriated by God and honored with the royal priesthood.

VII- A day of renewing the baptismal promises. The people were asked to repeat their baptismal promises by rejecting Satan and his empty promises, by accepting Jesus as the Lord and savior and revesting with the “new man” after removing the vestments of the “old man.”

Messages: 1) Message of expectation, change of heart and new life.

2) Lead a new life with the Risen Lord by dying to sinful life.

3) Live a new life recognizing the nobility of Christians as children of God,

brothers and sisters of Jesus and members of the mystical body of Jesus