THURSDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
(St Catherine of Siena, Virgin & Doctor)
Reading 1: Acts 13: 13-25 In the synagogue at Antioch, Paul gives his hearers a lesson in Hebrew history, all leading up to the coming of Jesus, the Son of God.
Gospel: Jn 13: 16-20 At the Last Supper Jesus washes his disciples feet and claims to fulfill the prophecies by claiming to be God: I AM.
BLESSED THROUGH CHRIST
In the first reading, we find Paul and Barnabas preaching the word of God in Antioch. On the Sabbath, they went to the synagogue, and were invited by the presidents to preach to the congregation. Paul preached to the Jews gathered there, that Jesus was promised by God through Abraham and then through David.
God blessed Abraham and made him a blessing so that whenever he blessed anyone, God assured a blessing on them as well. God sent through his lineage a saviour to bless all the families of the earth (cf. Gen 12: 2-3). We find a reference to this teaching in Paul’s letter to the Galatians as well, where he says that the blessing of Abraham, which was ‘to bless all the families of the earth’, was fulfilled in Jesus (cf. Gal 3:14).
As promised to Abraham, God had given Jesus as a blessing to humanity so that all the families of the world may be blessed in him. Jesus, by dining with the tax collectors and sinners, became a blessing to these who had been denied all ritual blessings until then, by the religious authorities. At the Ascension, we find that Jesus, “lifting up his hands, blessed them” (c.f. Lk 24:50), a beautiful manifestation of the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham. Jesus brought new hope and new life to all who believed in him.
But the people of Israel did not receive him as the blessing given by God to save them from the sins; they rejected him saying that he came from Beelzebul, the prince of demons. Jesus always blessed everyone who came to him: the blind were blessed with sight, the lame with mobility, the deaf with hearing, the sick with good health and the dead with life. Just as God blessed Abraham, and blessed others through him, so also Jesus blesses us and desires to bless others through us. Experiencing the blessing of Jesus in our life” is a call to be a blessing in the lives of others as well.
Resp. Psalm: Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27 I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord.
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