19th May 2022

Remain in My Love: Obey!" — John 15:9-10 (What Jesus Did!)


THURSDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 15: 7-21;                         Ps 96: 1-3, 10;                        Jn 15: 9-11


 

TAKE AWAY LOVE, AND OUR EARTH IS A TOMB

 

Everyone desires to experience joy and to feel loved. Jesus tells us that he loves us as deeply as his Father loves him. Think about that for a moment. Who are the people we love most deeply: our spouse, children, parents, a very good friend? How much do we love Jesus in comparison?

 

Truly, love is the greatest gift one can give another. Yet, sadly, love is something that we often take for granted. Saint Paul talking about love in his first letter to the Corinthians says: “The greatest among these… is love.” Can we imagine our life without it? What a horrendous life that would be, having no one who loves and cares for us! This is because we human beings are created with a great capacity to love along with a need to be loved.

 

That need for love, can only be fulfilled by the love of God, just as the capacity to love can only be exercised in full in loving God. Thus the deepest and most beautiful relationship a human being can build is with God. Jesus, being both human and divine, desires to be that bridge that unites God and man in a bond of love. “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love.” Jesus not only loves us with all his heart, he desires that we also love others deeply. He invites us to think about the people we love and who love us. Do they know how much we love and appreciate them and their presence in our life?

 

Today may be a good time to let them know how much they mean to us. They are a gift. And we are blessed because of them. But let us not confine our love to those from whom we receive love. Rather, like the Lord, who opened his heart to the whole world, let us to allow our love to flow out unrestrained towards anyone who needs it most. Let’s spread love with haste and without reserve.

 


Response: Tell among all the peoples the wonders of the Lord.


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18th May 2022

I AM the True Vine and you are the Branches - Insight of the King


WEDNESDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 15: 1-6;               Ps 122: 1-5;                Jn 15: 1-8


 

JESUS, THE TRUE VINE

 

The image of the vine was a rich one for the Jews since the land of Israel was covered with numerous vineyards, and had religious connotations to them well. Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel as “the vineyard of the Lord” (5:7). Jeremiah said that God had planted Israel “as his choice vine” (2:21). While the vine became a symbol of Israel as a nation, it was also used in the scriptures as a sign of degeneration. IIsrael was a vineyard that “yielded wild grapes” (Is 5:1-7) and had become a “degenerate and wild vine” (Jer 2:21). When Jesus calls himself the true vine he makes clear that no one can claim their spiritual inheritance through association with a particular people or bloodline. Rather, only through Jesus Christ that one can become grafted into the true “vineyard of the Lord”.

 

Jesus offers true life – the abundant life which comes from God and which results in great fruitfulness. How does the vine become fruitful? The vine dresser must carefully prune it before it can bear good fruit. Vines characteristically have two kinds of branches – those which bear fruit and those which don’t. The non-bearing branches must be carefully pruned for the vine to conserve its strength for bearing good fruit. Jesus used this image to describe the kind of life he produces in those who are united with him – the fruit of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). Jesus says there can be no fruits in our lives apart from him. The fruits he speaks of here are the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

 

There is a simple truth here: We are either fruit-bearing or non-fruit-bearing. There is no in-between. But the bearing of healthy fruit requires drastic pruning. The Lord promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him and allow him to purify us. Do you trust in the Lord’s abiding presence with you?

 


Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.


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17th May 2022

John 14:27 - Bible verse - DailyVerses.net

TUESDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 14: 19-28;                       Ps 145: 10-13, 21;                  Jn 14: 27-31


THE PEACE THAT COMES FROM HIS PRESENCE

Today, the liturgy of the word invites us to have a true and real experience of the peace that comes from the presence of Jesus in our lives. The human person is a weak being and this weakness is manifested in various ways. However, we can all share in Saint Paul’s experience of weakness – “when I am weak, then, I am strong” – by learning to live in peace born of constant awareness of the presence and help of the Risen Lord.

Jesus knew that his absence would make a significant change in the lives of his disciples. Therefore, he promises the peace of his presence. This peace is not a passive and passing experience but an experience that causes one to rejoice and fills one with zeal for the Lord’s work. Jesus highlights his relationship with his Father as well as that with his disciples. He desires that just as he and the Father are one, so also his disciples remain one with him. This is the foundation of the peace that he promises – being united with him. This peace is seen in the life of Paul in the first reading, which narrates how he was being persecuted by the Jews. There is no fear, only greater fervour. He did not let the ‘stones’ of persecution, opposition and rejection, crush his peace or his zeal, but “stood up and went” on to carry the gospel to more yearning hearts.

We live in a world where people may be more technologically connected than ever before, yet find themselves troubled and lonely. The world is in search of the peace that comes from the constant sense of the presence of the Lord. Especially we who believe, are called to be its bearers to others. But how can we share something if we do not possess it yet? Let us sincerely ask ourselves therefore: Am I filled with the peace of knowing that Christ is with me, that he is in me?


Response: Your friends make known, O Lord, the glory of your reign.


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16th May 2022

God lives in our heart Archives - Heed the Spirit

MONDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER (St Simon Stock)

 

Acts 14: 5-18;                         Ps 115: 1-4, 15-16;                 Jn 14: 21-26


GOD DWELLS IN OUR HEART

 

Throughout our lives, we build many relationships of varying degrees with different people. Some of these relationships are intimate while others are superficial; some are long-lasting while others passing. Often, the quality of our relationships with others defines us. A genuine and complete experience of being human can only be derived from relating with others. And the guiding principle of any relationship is love, represented most commonly by a heart.

Today Jesus speaks of the heart being the place where God dwells. He tells the disciples that God dwells in the hearts of those who love him. For Jesus, loving God means living by his word. Anyone who loves God is privileged to receive divine revelation in the person of Jesus Christ. God loves us more than anything that we can ever imagine. The cross is the greatest sign of his love for us.

As part of the initial faith formation, parents normally teach their children that God lives in their heart and they too must love him through living a good life pleasing to God. If someone asked them to explain how that is possible they would nonetheless be confused and fail to explain their belief. Yet, the children certainly believe what they are taught, because they trust their parents’ words.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite saint, firmly believed that the Most Holy Trinity lives in our heart, and, like a spiritual parent, teaches us the doctrine of the ‘indwelling of the Trinity’. Even though we find it hard to explain, we must believe it. God’s presence within us is real; there is no denying this fact. Our relationship with him too, is real, like any other relationship we nurture. God desires that we build an intimate and deep relationship with him. Such a relationship liberates us from all our frailties and fears, making us more loving, understanding and charitable towards others.


Response: Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

15th May 2022

A New Commandment – John 13:31-35 – Pastor Mandi


SUNDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 14:21-27;                        Ps 145:8-13;               Rv 21:1-5;                  Jn 13:31-35


 

REMAINING IN JESUS’ LOVE

 

We will be saved not by our works, but by the grace of God: this is the conviction of faith in today’s liturgy. It is God who can make all things new; we are his collaborators, not substitutes for him! In the first reading, on these Sundays after Easter, we read from the Acts of the Apostles, where we see how the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel is spread. A radical transformative force is taking place in the world after the resurrection of Christ. But transformation is never easy. It always encounters resistance; thus, Paul and Barnabas tell the disciples, “we all have to experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.” What does it mean to “enter the kingdom of God”? It means going towards a Kingdom in which death is overcome, tears dry up and love will be the law of everything. We must keep this Christian horizon before our eyes. But to get there, it is necessary to go through the ‘narrow way’ of hardship. Paul and Barnabas are at the end of the first journey and recommend fidelity.

 

There is also something new within the communities. They appoint elders (presbyters) as leaders of each community, who will have to consolidate the work done by them. These leaders will have to revive, exhort, encourage and calmly face trials. The dominant concern is not organization, even if necessary, but life. The structure is in view of life and cannot replace it, much less suffocate it. Then, “they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had come to believe.” All are entrusted to the Lord: guides and simple members of the community, indicating that he is the only guide. He alone gives confidence. It is by the grace of the Supreme Shepherd that the community is safe and can face the future with hope. Today more than ever it is necessary to cultivate and protect this unity in the Church, between the leaders and the faithful, and among the various ministries and the services, under the guidance of the one Good Shepherd, that all ‘Christians’ may be ‘one in Christ.’

 

What is the distinctive characteristic of us Christians? What will they recognize us by? Jesus says: “By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” What kind of love is this? “I give you a new commandment ..” Jesus says just after washing his disciples’ feet, “that you love one another as I have loved you”. Thus, it is a love that refers to concrete service. There is no love if it is not expressed in concrete service. Why is it new? When Jesus gives this new commandment of love, Judas has just come out to betray him. The Lord desires to tell the betrayer’s colleagues and companions that he loves Judas and every man, whether he is a sinner or not. The traitor is, like every person, an image of God; he is therefore infinitely lovable and loved by God. The man Jesus, about to be betrayed, continued to love Judas in the very moment in which he betrayed him. Here is the new love, the love towards those who hurt you, but to whom you continue to love, because despite everything; you believe that this person is good, even if for now he thinks he will find his little good by hurting you.

 

Since Jesus allowed the Father’s love to continue to burn in him for Judas, everyone can recognize even in the enemy a person to love. The only remedy for evil is love because all evil is a lack of love. It is as if for the Christian, peace were at hand in all circumstances because every enemy becomes a friend to be healed from his illness with love. Whoever hurts me is entrusted to me so that I love him as God loves him. Then everyone will know that the love that pulsed in the heart of the Nazarene is present today in his friends. However, we must never forget that this commandment is above all a gift and not something we can achieve by ourselves. Jesus said: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Remain in my love.” This is the secret to learning to love like him: remaining in his love, that is, being conscious of how much he loves us, and living in the experience of being loved by him. It is his love that gives us strength to love like him. The less we remind ourselves of his love, the less we love, and the less ‘Christian’ we are

 


Response: I well bless your name forever, my king and my God.


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

14th May 2022

St. Matthias, Apostle


SATURDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

(Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle)

 

Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26;             Ps 113: 1-8;                Jn 15: 9-17


 

WE ARE CALLED TO BE APOSTLES

 

Today is the feast of Saint Mathias who took the place of Judas among the Twelve. In the first reading, we hear how he comes to be chosen as an apostle. In response to Peter’s invitation, the Christian community proposed Mathias’ name along with that of Barsabbas as a replacement to Judas. The only criteria was that he must be one who accompanied them the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among them and who became a witness to his resurrection.

 

The final choice was left in the hands of the Lord. This means that Mathias was one of those who had seen Jesus, heard him and witnessed his miracles. He was one among those who followed Jesus till the end. Furthermore, he was with them when Jesus revealed himself after his resurrection. The lot fell on him and he was chosen to be an apostle and to proclaim Jesus to the world. Jesus tells us plainly that we have not chosen him; he has chosen us because he loves us, not as servants but as friends. And as his friends, he has made known to us all that he learned from his Father. Besides, he laid down his life for us, his friends, manifesting the measure of his love on the cross.

 

Like Saint Matthias, we too are chosen by the Lord to be his friends, and to manifest his love to the world through our words and works. Matthias, though not chosen as one of the twelve apostles right at the beginning but later, embraced the choice of the Lord wholeheartedly and stood firm in his calling to be a witness to the resurrection even unto death. Do we realize that by our baptism we are called and chosen to be apostles? Are we faithful too, to this choice of the Lord for us, determined to be witnesses to his love? Let us ask Saint Matthias to intercede for us that we may be hardworking labourers in the vineyard of the Risen Lord.

 


Response: The Lord set them with the princes of his people


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

13th May 2022

Our Lady of FatimaFeast day: May 13

FRIDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima

 

Acts 13: 26-33;                       Ps 2: 6-11;                  Jn 14: 1-6


HIS TRUTH NEVER CHANGES

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord is speaking in anticipation of his ascension. He is telling his disciples not to be troubled even if he goes away and that they no longer see him on earth in his physical form. He goes ahead to pave the way for them. And they do not have to warry about finding the way to him, because he is the way. The one who knows him, knows the way.

The modern world presents us with too many options, too many ways. We find ourselves not knowing what to believe anymore. Some say that the truth depends upon how we perceive it; what is true for you may not be true for someone else. However, ‘truth’, by definition itself, is something that cannot be contradicted. Jesus is that truth that never changes.

Today we also remember Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to the three little Portuguese shepherds in 1917. She warned of a world advancing on a godless path. However, hers was not a message of despair, but of hope. Every time when we find ourselves in trouble, heaven intervenes. While she was in the hospital, Saint Jacinta Marto, one of the shepherds, said, “Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who serve God should not follow them. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same. The sins of the world are very great. If men knew what eternity is, they would do everything to change their lives.”

Our Lady came to point to the way we must get back on, to the truth we must commit to – her Son. Let us not be troubled by all that is going on in the world. When we find ourselves in a confusing situation, we only have to look to the Gospel and to the Church for strength and hope. Let us hold on to the promise of the Lord: “The gates of hell will not prevail” (Mt 16:18).


Response: You are my son. It is I who have begotten you this day.


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

12th May 2022

Guiada pela mão de Deus! : Quinta-Feira Santa . Lava pés.

THURSDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 13: 13-25;                       Ps 89: 2-3,21-22,25,27;                      Jn 13: 16-20


 

NO SERVANT IS GREATER THAN HIS MASTER

On the night before Jesus died, at his last meal, Jesus gave a long discourse to his apostles on true discipleship. The word ‘disciple’ means ‘follower’. Our discipleship begins with a desire to follow with sincerity of heart, doing as he did, loving as he loved, choosing what he chose. However, one cannot become a disciple of Christ with his or her own capacity and initiative; it is the work of the Holy Spirit within the Christian community that forms a person into a disciple of Christ.

Today’s gospel reveals an essential feature of being a disciple. No servant is greater than his Master. Jesus said this after a very personal act of service – he washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus’ whole life was an example of service towards fallen humanity, fulfilling his Father’s will to the point of dying on the cross. It was an act of great humility by the incarnate son of God. The master became a slave. God served men. We can only bow in humble adoration knowing that our all-powerful God came to earth to serve us. Here, our Lord promises us that if we imitate him, our Teacher, in selfless service – which always implies sacrifice – we will find true happiness that no one can wrest from us.

This is the essence of Christianity – to live a life of humble service with all people, especially with those we find it most difficult to serve and to love wholeheartedly. Jesus’ service, as he already told his disciples, consists in giving his life “as a ransom for many”. In order to serve and love like Jesus, every disciple is required to make efforts to learn how to listen to God just as Jesus our Lord and Master was always listening to the Father. For this, we need to set aside any ambition, any selfish desire to dominate; and we will find peace and joy reigning within and around us.


Response: Their sound goes forth through all the earth


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

11th May 2022

John 5:31-47: Why do We harden our Hearts? Thursday 4th Week of Lent

WEDNESDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 12:24 – 13:5;                  Ps 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8;                   Jn 12: 44-50


 

CALLED TO EVANGELIZE

God desires that we be part of his mission of salvation, through the work of evangelization. Each one of us who believes is “set apart” for this work in his or her own specific life situation. How do we sincerely respond to this call? The first reading reminds us that it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are enlightened, directed and guided. And in the gospel, Jesus says “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”

Jesus wants all of us to be the children of light. Once the light of Christ is enkindled within, we will be able to better evangelize because he will work in and through us. It is the Spirit that enkindles in us this divine light. Thus, an essential part of our daily prayer should be seeking the guidance of the Spirit and the grace to recognize and be open to it. Through faith and obedience, we will become better listeners of the Spirit and consequently, more fruitful evangelizers.

However, some may justify that their ‘busy’ life keeps them too occupied to commit themselves to this call of God to the work of evangelization. We are ‘busy’ when we think that everything depends on us; that, without our constant attention, our life and that of all those who ‘depend’ on us will crumble. Isn’t this a lack of faith and trust in the power of God’s providence?

Today, we are reminded of God’s love for us. And because he loves us, he understands us. Thus, after knowing every detail of our life, every necessity, every responsibility, he calls us to this mission. Finding ourselves too busy would be not recognizing his love for us, or worse, refusing to trust in it. Let us thank God for the love he bestows upon us each day. And, let us set aside our personal preoccupations, to respond wholeheartedly to the divine call to evangelize.


Response: Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!.


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

10th May 2022

REFLECTION FOR FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY) - Fr.  Chinaka's Media


TUESDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

 

Acts 11: 19-26;                       Ps 87: 1-7;                  Jn 10: 22-30


 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND HIS GOOD SHEEP

 

I read a story about a man from Australia, charged with stealing a sheep from another man’s field. The case made it to court, and the judge decided to take it up. He ordered the plaintiff to step outside and call to the sheep. The sheep raised its head, looked around, and went right back to eating the grass kept before it. Then the judge told the shepherd to call the sheep. He did so, and the sheep ran through the door. “The sheep knows him,” said the judge, “Case dismissed.”

 

Jesus describes for us today four characteristics of his sheep:

  • They hear his voice: This means that when the Gospel is proclaimed they respond positively because they are his sheep by his gracious choice. The verb tense used here points to ‘hearing his voice’ as a way of life.
  • They are known by him: In the Ancient Near East each shepherd had a specific call by which he gathered his sheep out from among other sheep when several shepherds were using the same sheepfold or pasture. But Jesus, the Good Shepherd calls us by name, implying that he knows us intimately. The God of the universe not only knows our name but he calls us by name as well.
  • They follow him: They obey him. The verb tense here also means ‘following and obeying’ as a way of life.
  • They are secure: The God who calls us by name and gives us eternal life, provides security in two ways. Firstly, we will never perish or never fall under God’s wrath and condemnation. Secondly, no one can snatch us out of his hand, meaning that no one can take eternal life from us nor will Jesus ever let us be lost without coming to look for us and urge us to return. Belonging to Jesus, being known by Jesus, removes any threat or possibility of perishing or being taken away from him.

 


Response: O praise the Lord, all you nations.


Copyright ©2022 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in