21st  April

Lectionary Readings: Acts:4:8-12; Ps.118: 1.8-9.21-23.28-29; 1John :3:1-2; John 10:11-18

Theme: There is Salvation in the Name of Jesus Christ.

The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows that the Church, the first century believers, carried on the ministry of Jesus. Through the Gospels, we frequently encounter Jesus, Son of God moving from place to place, doing wonderful works and healing people in need. We know of his changing water into wine, healing the sick, and raising the dead. Here in the Acts of the Apostles, and the reading fortoday, we see Peter and John performing a miracle in the name of Jesus and by power of the Holy Spirit.

It is fascinating to see the lives of the first century believers working with the Apostles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to the Apostles before his Ascension,” It is good for me to go, but the Power from on High, the Holy Spirit will descend and will guide you. I will be with you forever through the Holy Spirit”. The first line of our First Reading “Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, said, ‘Leaders of the people and elders’. The main message of the Book of Acts relates to the Holy Spirit. Following that line of thinking, the Holy Spirit is still working in us today, here in our Parish, the Holy Name of Mary, or wherever we are ministering. Louis Lallemant sj (1588 – 1635) with Jesuit spirituality, said that whatever we do, and the way we think, should be guided by the Holy Spirit.

One of the outstanding features or values in the life of the early followers of Jesus, recorded in Acts 4 and 5 is described as follows: “There were no needy ones among them, because those who owned lands or houses would sell their property, bring the proceeds from the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:34-35). This is the meaning of the Second Reading 1 Jn3:1-2, we are children of God. Here in Australia, on the 21st March each year we celebrate Harmony Day. The event has officially expanded and been renamed  “Harmony Week”. I was invited to our local Primary School, and was asked to dress in my Tongan Traditional attire. Humbly but proudly, I was pleased to participate. It was a joyful and colorful day with-the children and teachers dressed up in their own national and cultural outfits, all Children of God, celebrating multiculturalism, enjoying and receiving recognition of their traditions and culture on this day.

Our Gospel reading speaks about Jesus saying: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and mine know me.” The readings for our  Masses are sometimes  short or very short, but they are powerful. It is the same with this Gospel: short but very powerful. One of the strong images on Good Friday, was the total obedience of Jesus to his Father. I think the same is conveyed here. Jesus as a lamb listened to the Voice of his Father, and as a lamb will obey and fulfill the will of his Father This Sunday, we see that Jesus is also a shepherd, with the authority of his Father and doing the will of his Father, with the witness of the Father at his baptism with John the Baptist and  at the transfiguration, the voice from Heaven, ”This is my son, Listen to him”

Our Christian Tradition teaches us, that we can speak to God and God is listening to us. “May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace in believing…” (Roman 15:13). The Bible says, “Ask and it be given to you” (Mt 7:7). For us children, at home, we hear the voice of our parents, at school the voice of our teachers and at Mass we hear the voice of God. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10), our spirit can communicate with God.

Our institution, Batk Kol, literally “daughter of a voice” means “heavenly or divine voice which proclaims God’s will or judgement”. We must find time to listen to that Voice.

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What does the faith life and the witnessing of the first century believers say to me? 2. The Acts of the Apostles, as some scholars say,  is the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Do you agree? 3. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in my life journey, and in my personal encounter with God? 4. We are children of God: any comment on Harmony Day as promoting Racial Harmony?

Bibliography: John C. Kersten, s.v.d. St. Joseph Sunday Missal (Korea 2011), Patricia Grogan, FCJ. Christian Community Bible. (Quezon City 2005).This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Aliki A Langi
, Tonga, Bat Kol Alumnus:2005, 2018


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