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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday 2nd of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 6:1-7): As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said: «It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word».

The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
Responsorial Psalm: 32
R/. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting. Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.

Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full.

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
Versicle before the Gospel (): Christ is risen, who made all things; he has shown mercy on all people.
Gospel text (Jn 6,16-21): When evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing. They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and he was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but He said to them, «It is Me; don't be afraid». They wanted to take him into the boat, but immediately the boat was at the shore to which they were going.

«It is Me; don't be afraid»

Fr. Vicenç GUINOT i Gómez (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today, Jesus disconcerts us. We were used to a Redeemer who, attentive to all kinds of human destitution, would not doubt to have recourse to his divine power. In fact, this happens just after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed a large hungry crowd. But now, instead, He disconcerts us with a miracle —to walk over the waters— that looks very much like Jesus was just playing to the gallery. Certainly not! Jesus had already discarded using his divine power to look for personal sparkle or profit when, at the beginning of his mission, He refused to be tempted by the Evil one.

By walking over the waters, Jesus Christ is showing his mastery of all things created. We might, however, also see a dramatization of his dominion over the Evil one, represented by the dark and stormy sea.

«Don't be afraid» (Jn 6:20), Jesus told them on that occasion. «But take heart! I have overcome the world» (Jn 16:33), He will tell them after the Last Supper. Lastly, it is Jesus who, that Paschal morning, told the women after He rose from the tomb: «Don't be afraid». Through the testimony of the Apostles, we are aware of Jesus' victories over man's enemies, sin and death. This is why, today, his words resound in our heart with special strength, as they are the words of Someone who is alive.

The same words Jesus addressed Peter and the Apostles, were repeated by John Paul II, Peter's successor, at the beginning of his papacy: «Don't be afraid». It was a call to open our hearts, our own existence, to the Redeemer so that with him we are not afraid to face the attacks of Christ's enemies.

Before our personal frailness to successfully carry out the missions the Lord has asked us to do (a vocation, an apostolic project, a service...), we may console ourselves just knowing that the Virgin Mary —after all a creature like ourselves— also heard the same words from the angel before facing the mission which the Lord had entrusted her with. Let us learn from her to accept Jesus' invitation every day, in every circumstance.

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