Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter

John 10:22-30

Feast of the Dedication

A recurrent theme of Easter is the mission, proclamation of the good news to the whole world.

Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles narrates the start of the Church in Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria. At that time, historians claim that it was the third largest city of the Roman Empire, after Roma and Alexandria in Egypt.

The beginning of the Church in the city is again typically paschal, i.e., something living arising from dying. “Now, those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch…” Because of persecution of Christians were forced to flee to other places, bringing the faith with them. The paschal reality of life through death, of something positive coming from something negative has been verified so often in Church history. It is actually happening; because of our economic difficulties Filipinos have to find work in other countries, brining the Christian faith with them.

In God’s providence the Church at Antioch was necessary. It provided the needed openness to the non-Jewish Graeco-Roman world which was lacking in the mother-church of Jerusalem. A holy “rivalry” eventually arose between these two centers of Christianity.

Barnabas was sent by the mother-church of Jerusalem to check the community at Antioch. He came “and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced…” Seeing the large number of people turning to the Lord, Barnabas looked for Saul (St. Paul) in his city of Tarsus and brought him to Antioch. Paul felt at home at Antioch, not in Jerusalem.

An interesting note: “…it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Everyday we continually build and nourish relationship either with our families, relatives or friends. We make sure they remain deep and healthy. We cannot deny that trials threaten to erode relationships, however, these trials and difficulties could only strengthen the bonds of intimacy as long as we know to deal with them.

In the gospel today, Christ reveals His deep relationship with the Father. In v. 30 He claims that He and the Father are one. He knows the Father for He comes from the Father and it is only through Him that we can know the Father. By word and work, Jesus proclaimed His intimacy with God. And it is only those who listen to His voice and follow Him who will taste eternal life.

How enthusiastic are we in deepening our relationship with Christ? How do we experience Christ in our daily activities? Does Christ play an important role in our lives? The gospel today challenges us to make Christ the center of our lives so we may come to know the Father, who is compassionate and merciful? (Frt. Ruseenhor C. Necua, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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A group of botanists went on an expedition in the Alps searching for new varieties of flowers. One of them looked through his binoculars and saw a beautiful and rare species growing at the bottom of a deep ravine. The problem was to reach it and they needed someone to be lowered into that gorge. They noticed a local youngster standing nearby, so the man approached him if he would help them get the flower. The lad was told that a rope would be tied around his waist and the men would then lower him to the floor of the canyon. The boy was excited but apprehensive about the adventure. “Wait,” he said, “I’ll be back!” When he returned, he was accompanied by an older man. Approaching the head botanist, the boy said, “I’ll go over the cliff now and get the flower for you but this man must hold on to the rope. He’s my dad!”

It is human to put our trust into someone we know deeply. It is dangerous to entrust ourselves to strangers and individuals we are not acquainted with. It is similar with our attitude in trusting God. We could not fully give ourselves to His disposal if we do not know Him much.

In today’s gospel, Jesus manifested His authentic trust in God His Father. As Christians, we need also to possess this trust by listening to the voice of the Lord Jesus our Good Shepherd. He will never permit us to stray away from Him. He is always on our side to protect us from harm. He will not allow the forces of darkness to lead us into eternal destruction. We might be experiencing pain, suffering, sickness and death. But the Lord will lead us to ultimate victory and safety in his everlasting home. The Good Shepherd assures us that amidst sufferings we can find peace and security. We should remain confident in the Lord wherever he lead us. (Fr. Marlone Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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We used to have a santol tree right in front of our house. This tree was very special for three reasons: one, it produced fruit abundantly; second, it was a relatively short tree for easy climbing; and thirdly, it was the home of our 16 chickens at night.

After supper my mother with her flashlight would stand at the entrance and like a kindergarten teacher, would start making the roll call of the 16 chickens. There were times when the attendance was not complete, so she would first verify the names of those absent, like si Mahabang, Palong, si Pulang Pakpak or si Pilay. Having jotted down the names of those missing in her mind, she would take one of us to go around the neighborhood calling them with her kok-ko-ro-ko-kok. Interestingly, our lost chickens, hearing her voice would hasten to come down from other trees to follow her home. They knew her voice. She knew them.

There were reasons why my mother loved her chickens: they gave her eggs and ultimately they landed in the frying pan as fried chickens, on special occasions.

In John’s gospel we see an almost similar picture. Listen to Jesus: “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life,” (v. 29).

The early Christians knew and believed the word of Jesus, that is why Barnabas urged the Christians in Antioch “to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion,” (Acts 11:23).

What about us? Whom do we follow in our lives? Who is our master in life? Whose voice do we listen to? Remember, there are two alternatives: “frying pan” or eternal life! (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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“if you are the Christ, tell us plainly,” (v. 24). Jesus answered that He is the Christ, the One anointed by Yahweh. He told them, in the preceding verses, that He is the good Shepherd, “I know my own and my own know me. Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father,” (vv. 14-15). But in spite of His testimony, the Jews refused to change their old beliefs and to accept a new understanding about God: “I have told you but you do not believe,” (v. 25).

The Jews refused to believe Jesus and they put the blame on Him for their lack of faith. They claimed that they do not believe Him because He failed to disclose Himself clearly. “You do not tell us clearly if you are the messiah.” Wow! What the way of finding a scapegoat!

How about us, is our mind open to discover the truth and our heart willing to accept the light of faith? or are we closed-minded like the Jews at the time of Jesus? Do we gloat and feel secure as we assure ourselves that we have the complete truth and that is it?

The Incarnate Divine Word is the Revelation of God. Let us listen to Him. Let us liberate ourselves from a myopic view and free ourselves from the arrogant attitude that we have already the full truth. What we know is but a drop in the ocean of knowledge. Let us humbly and lovingly go to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. “Lord, help us in our unbelief.” (Fr. Ernie Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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April 19, 2016 Tuesday

To understand God is truly a very challenging task. How can a finite brain grasp the infinite God? How much more baffling that would be when someone identifies himself with God?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus proclaimed: “The Father and I are one.” Jesus meant it literally, that He and the Father are One. But the people couldn’t accept it. For them, Jesus blasphemed! Jesus’ creativity came out when, instead of arguing with the Jews to prove that He and God are One, he took a little detour. Jesus wanted to challenge the Jews. Instead of proving that he is God, Jesus threw the issue to them – they, too, are “gods”!

In John 10:34, Jesus said: “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’” Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6 which says, “I said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.’” Jesus was asserting the true nature of human beings – we are all children of God, the Most High!

If we follow the argument to its logical conclusion, we dare say that anyone who is son or daughter of God, must also be “god”! If the Jews could not understand or accept that, then, they could not probably understand or accept that Jesus and God are One.

For me as a human person, to say that I’m a son of God has a great impact on my life. I know that I’m finite and imperfect but to believe that I came from an Infinite Being – the Most High – is a noble assurance. Only with an eye of faith that one can accept this truth.

If Jesus proclaimed that He and God are One in John 10:30, St. Paul, in Galatians 2:20, declared, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” In effect, St. Paul is saying: “Jesus and I are One.” St. Paul personally experienced this “Oneness” on his way to Damascus to persecute Jesus’ followers. In Acts 9:4ff , Jesus said: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul asked, “Who are You,Lord?” Jesus answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…” With St. Paul, we say: “Jesus and I are One.” (Fr. Glenn Paul Gomez, SVD DWC, San Jose, Occ. Mindoro Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/599-april-19-2016-tuesday

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 My Reflection for Tuesday May 13, Fourth Week of Easter; John 10:22-30 – Reflection: How can we make others believe in Jesus as our Messiah/Savior? We have to live our faith in Jesus we have to become the mirror image of Jesus. For example, if  we say that we follow Jesus what comes after that is an honest to goodness self-examination about ourselves. Are we humble? Are we forgiving? Are we simple?

In our gospel for this Tuesday, the Jews gathered around Jesus and they said to HIM, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly (John 10:24).” They’re obviously unbelievers/non-followers, yes they know Jesus but they don’t believe in Jesus.

From the time of Jesus let us fast forward today our present technology driven times. Many are still unbelievers today, yes they know Jesus but it ends there. There’s no personal relationship with Jesus and there’s no living faith in Jesus. What are we going to do about this?

The challenge before us all is so plain and so simple, we have to live our faith and we have become the mirror image of Jesus. Last but certainly not the least we also have to creatively share Jesus. So that those who don’t believe may now believe. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-reflection-for-tuesday-may-13-fourth.html

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LISTENING AND HEEDING: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27

Have you ever watched a baby’s reaction when he hears his mother speak? As a mom, I see this firsthand each day. When my son was a baby and I’d speak, he’d turn to me with happy eyes, soothed by the sound of my voice. Studies say that babies respond this way because the mother’s voice is the voice that they’ve lived with from the womb, and it connotes safety, comfort and other positive qualities.

This familiarity and comfort surrounding the voice is what Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel. As our Shepherd, He knows that we recognize His voice when He speaks to us. Yet we do not always want to listen. Many times, temptation, even sin, sounds better to us. Jesus, though, wants us to hear His voice.        How does His voice make us feel? If we are familiar with our Shepherd, His voice will comfort us. It will nurture us, even speak mercy to us. Martine De Luna (the.dainty.mom@gmail.com)

Reflection: Today, if you find Jesus speaking to you, respond to Him as your Shepherd. Often, He speaks comfort, mercy, even direction for our lives. Have you been listening?

Dear Shepherd of my soul, I know that other voices in this life may clamor for my attention. But You cause me to hear Your voice. You know me, and I follow You.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-13

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1ST READING: The persecution of the Early Church caused the believers to scatter far and wide. This becomes a blessing in disguise because it means that the Gospel is carried to more and more cities and peoples. The work of the Holy Spirit becomes an imperative, that is, His role of preparing people to receive the Gospel becomes important as more and more areas are opened up to the preaching of the Apostles and their followers. Acts 11:19-26

GOSPEL: Jesus has already told them that He is the Christ, through His deeds. Similarly, we should not see the proclamation of the Gospel simply in terms of spreading the Good News of salvation, but in our living it as well. In fact, the lived proclamation of the Gospel speaks louder than words as it is so much easier to say something than to live it. Let us pray for the grace to live the Gospel we proclaim on a daily basis. John 10:22-30

think: Let us pray for the grace to live the Gospel we proclaim on a daily basis.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-13

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GOD BRINGS GOOD OUT OF SUFFERING:

Nothing is impossible for God. He can even bring good out of suffering. Apart from the obvious example of the death of Jesus, we read in today’s First Reading that the persecution of the Church, and in particular the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, led to the Church being scattered from Jerusalem. In retrospect, we see how this enabled the Church to bring the Gospel to new places and people. Persecution has become the cause of the Gospel spreading out from its origins in Jerusalem. Those who heard the Gospel from the mouths of the Apostles are now returning home with a message that will be offered to the people there.

We should never lose heart or hope no matter how difficult a situation may be. Even in the midst of terrible suffering, and martyrdom has to be classified as such, there is still an upside. The witness of the martyrs becomes an example of proving the veracity of faith and, thus, this motivates those still living. In being driven forth from Jerusalem, Christians discover new opportunities for giving witness to the Gospel and take up these challenges with new vigor and belief.

The Church constantly reminds us of its heroes in the lives of the martyrs and saints. We should reflect upon them often so as to draw strength and courage from them. The saints are there for precisely this purpose — they are examples for us to follow; they are inspirations that should motivate how we live and proclaim the faith; they are the steadfast ones who demonstrate that nothing is more important than being obedient to God’s call for us. If we do not look up to the saints for inspiration, then who or what are we looking to for inspiration?

Let us never lose heart, no matter how difficult life becomes. Let us draw our hope from the men and women who have gone before us and left the witness of their lives as an inspiration for those who follow them. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How strong is your faith? Can it stand the testing of martyrdom? What can you do to strengthen your faith?

Holy Spirit, help me to set aside time to read the lives of the saints and martyrs so that my faith will be strengthened and inspired by them.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-13

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VINCIBLE AND INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE – Moralists will talk about the difference between vincible and invincibleignorance. The first one we are responsible for, morally speaking, and it becomes a sin when we do nothing about our ignorance. To the second, one less blame is attributed as it is not fully our fault that we are ignorant. An example is when we have done the best we could to know the teachings of the Church on a particular matter but have not acquired a definitive explanation on the topic and consequently have come to a wrong conclusion.

It is difficult for a third party to apportion blame in a matter such as this, so it is only the individual and God who can fully know whether or not a reasonable effort has been made to apprise one’s self of the teachings of the Church.

Jesus faced a number of leading Jews who demanded that He reveal His true identity. He replied that He has done so on numerous occasions, but when He spoke they ignored what they have heard.

Unfortunately, there are many people like them in the Church today. They are those who make a charade of their faith, seeking positions of power and prestige rather than truly giving their lives in the service of the Gospel. This is virtually an oxymoron.

Jesus tells us that He comes to serve the lost. We should do the same at every opportunity we get. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you more interested in honor than service, prestige than hard work? If so, it is time to change. The meek and humble of heart, and not those seeking power and prestige, will inherit the Kingdom of God.

Father, Your heart goes out to the poor and the lost. You have a special place in Your heart for the humble of spirit. May I always cultivate the grace of humility and live it. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-19

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Reflection for April 28, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter; John 10:22-30 Reflection: How could we have an encounter with Jesus? We simply have to abide with what Jesus tells us in the scriptures. If He tells us that He and the Father are one we have to believe it without any doubt. Because all of Jesus pronouncements are not empty, it is solidly supported by other passages in the bible.

What separates those who believe and those who don’t? Those who believe receive the full graces of the power that emanates from Jesus. For example, their lives are changed, their faiths are strengthened. And they themselves become an agent of positive change in their own respective environments.

Those who do not believe Jesus are left-out in terms of spiritual graces, their individual faith life ia not strengthened. They are more vulnerable to the many forces of evil and they don’t have the spiritual strength that believers normally have.

What is the secret for us to believe? We have to humble ourselves before Jesus. We have to accept with faith every word that He tells us in the bible. And once we do, this would be the beginning of our new journey with Jesus.

Do we always believe and follow the words of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/04/reflection-for-april-28-tuesday-of.html

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 Nobody Can Steal From Jesus

April 28, 2015 (readings)

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

John 10: 22-30

The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I believe you are who you say you are. Thank you for granting me this gift of faith. You came so that we, the lost sheep, may be found. Thank you. You brought us knowledge of who we are and what we are worth.

Petition: Lord, help me to hear your voice when you are calling in the night.

  1. Kept in Suspense:Suspense is a state or a character of being undecided or doubtful. How many times have we been in suspense, waiting for Christ to do amazing things in our lives, doubting that he could save such lowly sinners like ourselves? Are we undecided in believing in Christ? He has already told us and shown us through his works who and what he is. We are to be his sheep and await him; sheep know their shepherd’s voice, and they follow their shepherd. Then we can await eternal life. Suspense also means “to have a pleasant excitement as to a decision or an outcome.” What is the outcome of life? It is true salvation, and it is eternity with the heavenly Father. Today, as in every day, we should have a “pleasant excitement” in waiting for our outcome. As we go to bed at night we should look at Christ and say, “Another day closer to heaven.”
  2. Spiritually Blind:Christ is always standing right beside us. What in our lives is blinding us from seeing him? In human terms, seeing comes through the senses. However, we need a spiritual connection with our Lord in order to see him: The spirit replaces human sight. Once that connection is made, we see God everywhere: in people, in charitable actions, in the beauty of nature. Then, we see him in ourselves. When we see Christ in us, we begin to have peace and assurance that we may yield abundantly.
  3. Yield Harvest:Christ’s peace flows in us when we are open and begin to see the path to salvation. Think about how the water of spring rain brings forth life that yields a good harvest. We believe in living water. This living water provides us peace and harmony in Christ. It fills us and brings forth in us work accomplished in peace. Believing and abiding in Christ yield great successes, rich harvests. Let us be watered by trust and bear much fruit in the name of Christ. Come, Lord Jesus.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you have called me many times. Many times I have turned a deaf ear to you, not believing that you could carry my burdens. Help me today, Lord, to believe in you; help me to testify to you, Lord; help me to be amongst your sheep that I may follow you. When I think it is too hard, help me to seek you in prayer and see what you have told me to believe, so that I may have eternal life in you and through you.

Resolution: Today I will speak to at least one person about God’s infinite love and mercy.

epriest.com/reflections/view/372

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TUESDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – BUHAT 11:19-26. UNSA MAY HAGIT SA ATONG PAGKA KRISTOHANON? Ang pagbasa nagsaysay nga ang mga tinun-an gitawag nga mga Kristohanon sa unang higayon didto sa Antioquia. Niadtong higayona, ang pagka Kristohanon usa ka dakong peligro tungod kay gipanglutos man ang mga sumusunod ni Kristo. Bisan pa niana, ang mga tinun-an nagmaisogon sa pagsangyaw kang Kristo ngadto sa mga tawo. Nagmatinumanon ug nagmatinud-anon sila sa Ginoo. Ug daghang mga tawo ang ilang nakabig ngadto sa Dios. Ang pagka Kristohanon karon dili na peligro kondili pribilihiyo. Gawasnon na kitang magsangyaw sa atong pagtoo. Hinaot nga aduna kitay kadasig sa pagkabig og mga tawo ngadto sa Dios pinaagi sa atong mga maayong ehemplo. Sakto ang nag-ingon: “Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God.”Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/04/tuesday-of-4th-week-of-easter-year-b.html

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April 19, 2016 

REFLECTION: Childhood habits and beliefs die hard. Furthermore, we always tend to privilege the group we happen to belong to—to the point sometimes of rejecting completely all “outsiders.” This was the situation in the Catholic Church 60 or 70 years ago. A lot of Catholics were convinced that all non-Catholics were of bad faith and therefore could never be saved. Fortunately, then came Council Vatican II which declared that all persons sincerely following their conscience could be saved. However, to this day there are still conservative Catholics who view Protestants as more or less destined to Hell. Childhood habits and beliefs die hard…

This explains what we observe in the Book of Acts concerning the resistance of converted Jews to accept the idea that pagans, too, could become Christians. All their lives they had been told that everything in the Law of Moses was indispensable for salvation. And now they were seeing the Holy Spirit fall on pagans—to their utter bewilderment. It is interesting to notice in today’s first reading that the first Jews who were open to receiving pagans into the church were “natives of Cyprus and Cyrene.” Because these had grown up outside Palestine, they knew that a lot of non-Jews were worthy of becoming Christians.

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3508-april-19-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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