Thứ Năm, 8 tháng 12, 2016

DECEMBER 09, 2016 : FRIDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT

Friday of the Second Week in Advent
Lectionary: 185

Reading 1IS 48:17-19
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.
Responsorial PsalmPS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6
R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord will come; go out to meet him!
He is the prince of peace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation? 
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ 
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’ 
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”


Meditation: The Lord will lead you in the way you should go
Do you seek God's way of peace and wisdom for your life? The prophets remind us that God’s kingdom is available to those who are teachable and receptive to the word of God. Through their obedience to God's word and commandments, they receive not only wisdom and peace for themselves, but they, in turn become a blessing to their children and their offspring as well. Jesus warns the generation of his day to heed God's word before it is too late. He compares proud teachers and vain scholars with stubborn playmates who refuse to follow wise counsel and instruction.
Jesus parable about a group of disappointed musicians and their stubborn friends who refuse to sing or dance at the appropriate occasion challenge us to examine whether we are selective to only hear and do what we want to hear. The young music players in Jesus' parable react with great dismay because they cannot get anyone to follow their instruction. They complain that if they play their music at weddings, no one will join in their festive song and dance; and if they play mournful tunes and songs at funerals, no one will join in at all. This parable echoes the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:4 - "there is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance." Are you in tune with the message of God's kingdom? And do you heed God's word of wisdom and truth as if your life depended on it?
Spiritual indifference and deaf ears can block God's word for us
Jesus' message of the kingdom of God is a proclamation of good news that produces great joy and hope for those who listen and obey - but it is also a warning of bad consequences and disaster for those who refuse to accept God's gracious invitation. Why did the message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus meet with resistance and deaf ears? It was out of jealously and spiritual blindness that the scribes and Pharisees attributed John the Baptist's austerities to the devil and they attributed Jesus' table fellowship as evidence for pretending to be the Messiah. They succeeded in frustrating God's plan for their lives because they had closed their hearts to the message of  John the Baptist and now they close their ears to Jesus, God's anointed Son sent to redeem us from bondage to sin and death.
What can make us spiritually dull and slow to hear God's voice? Like the generation of Jesus' time, our age is marked by indifference and contempt, especially in regards to the things of heaven. Indifference dulls our ears to God's voice and to the good news of the Gospel. Only the humble of heart can find joy and favor in God's sight. Is you life in tune with Jesus' message of hope and salvation? And do you know the joy and blessing of believing and obeying God's word?
"Lord Jesus, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe river of forgiveness washes us clean, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.
"This water is good, then. I mean here the grace of the Spirit. Who will give this Fountain to my heart? Let it spring up in me, let that which gives eternal life flow on me. Let that Fountain overflow on us and not flow away. For Wisdom says, 'Drink water out of your own vessels and from the fountains of your own wells, and let your waters flow abroad in your streets' (Proverbs 5:15-16). How shall I keep this water so that it does not seep out or glide away? How shall I preserve my vessel, lest any crack of sin penetrating it should let the water of eternal life exude? Teach us, Lord Jesus, teach us as you taught your apostles, saying, 'Lay not up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where rust and moth destroy and where thieves break through and steal (Matthew 6:19)...
    "If you seek Jesus, forsake the broken cisterns, for Christ did not make it his custom to sit by a pool but by a well. There that Samaritan woman (John 4:6) found him, she who believed, she who wished to draw water. Although you ought to have come in early morning, nevertheless if you come later, even at the sixth hour, you will find Jesus wearied with his journey. He is weary, but it is because of you, because he has long looked for you, your unbelief has long wearied him. Yet he is not offended if you only come now. He asks to drink who is about to give. But he drinks not the water of a stream flowing by, but your salvation. He drinks your good dispositions. He drinks the cup, that is, the passion that atoned for your sins, that you, drinking of his sacred blood, might quench the thirst of this world." 
(excerpt from ON THE HOLY SPIRIT 1.16.182–84) 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, MATTHEW 11:16-19
Advent Weekday

(Isaiah 48:17-19; Psalm 1)

KEY VERSE: "But wisdom is vindicated by her works" (v 19).
TO KNOW: Jesus was exasperated with those who opposed his work and the work of John the Baptist. Jesus compared these faithless ones to spoiled children who could not be satisfied. He recited a little verse that appeared in Aesop's fables (6th century before Christ): "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn." Those who opposed John did so because of his austere, ascetic life-style; yet, at the same time, they rejected Jesus because of his association with sinners and outcasts. John was thought to be "demon-possessed" and Jesus was said to be a "glutton and a drunkard" (v 19). Divine wisdom would vindicate the works of Jesus the Messiah and his herald John.
TO LOVE: Do I make rash judgments about those with whom I disagree?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to understand the other person's point of view.
Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego, hermit

Juan Diego was born an impoverished free-man in a strongly class-conscious society. He was a religious man and he became an adult convert to Christianity around age 50. Juan was a visionary to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Guadalupe on December 9, 1531, leaving on his rough cactus fiber cloak (tilma), the image known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. After the apparition, Juan lived out his life as a hermit, telling all who came to him of the wonderful vision of Our Lady. On 20 December 2001 a second miracle was attributed to Juan Diego's intervention and was approved by Pope John Paul II who canonized him on July 31, 2002 at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico.
"Listen, put it in your heart my dearest son, that the things that frighten you, the things that afflict you, are nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear sickness nor any hurtful thing. Am I not here, I , who am your Mother? Are you not under my shade and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, here in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?" Our Lady to Juan Diego, 9 December 1531

Friday 9 December 2016

Fri 9th. St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatotzm. Day of penance. Isaiah 48:17-19. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of lifePs 1:1-4, 6. Matthew 11:16-19.
Made for greatness.
Like the crowds that Jesus addressed, we often fail to listen to the word of God working in our lives, sometimes to the point of dramatic inconsistency. The songs of the children reflect the messages of John the Baptist and Jesus. Where John seeks to establish a period of repentance and mourning in preparation for the Lord, Jesus invites all to the joyful union of heaven and earth to be fulfilled at the end of time. And yet so many turn away, their comfort in their current way of life deafening them to God's call and filling their mouths with excuses.
We are not ourselves immune to such attitudes. Today, keep in mind the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; 'The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.'

ST. JUAN DIEGO

On Dec. 9, Roman Catholics celebrate St. Juan Diego, the indigenous Mexican Catholic convert whose encounter with the Virgin Mary began the Church's devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In 1474, 50 years before receiving the name Juan Diego at his baptism, a boy named Cuauhtlatoatzin -- “singing eagle” -- was born in the Anahuac Valley of present-day Mexico. Though raised according to the Aztec pagan religion and culture, he showed an unusual and mystical sense of life even before hearing the Gospel from Franciscan missionaries.
In 1524, Cuauhtlatoatzin and his wife converted and entered the Catholic Church. The farmer now known as Juan Diego was committed to his faith, often walking long distances to receive religious instruction. In 1531, he would be the recipient of a world-changing miracle.
On Dec. 9, Juan Diego was hurrying to Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But the woman he was heading to church to celebrate, came to him instead.
In the native Aztec dialect, the radiant woman announced herself as the “ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God.”
“I am your compassionate Mother, yours and that of all the people that live together in this land,” she continued, “and also of all the other various lineages of men.”
She asked Juan Diego to make a request of the local bishop. “I want very much that they build my sacred little house here” -- a house dedicated to her son Jesus Christ, on the site of a former pagan temple, that would “show him” to all Mexicans and “exalt him” throughout the world.
She was asking a great deal of a native farmer. Not surprisingly, his bold request met with skepticism from Bishop Juan de Zumárraga. But Juan Diego said he would produce proof of the apparition, after he finished tending to his uncle whose death seemed imminent.
Making his way to church on Dec. 12, to summon a priest for his uncle, Juan Diego again encountered the Blessed Virgin. She promised to cure his uncle and give him a sign to display for the bishop. On the hill where they had first met he would find roses and other flowers, though it was winter.
Doing as she asked, he found the flowers and brought them back to her. The Virgin Mary then placed the flowers inside his tilma, the traditional garment he had been wearing. She told him not to unwrap the tilma containing the flowers, until he had reached the bishop.
When he did, Bishop Zumárraga had his own encounter with Our Lady of Guadalupe – through the image of her that he found miraculously imprinted on the flower-filled tilma. The Mexico City basilica that now houses the tilma has become, by some estimates, the world's most-visited Catholic shrine.
The miracle that brought the Gospel to millions of Mexicans also served to deepen Juan Diego's own spiritual life. For many years after the experience, he lived a solitary life of prayer and work in a hermitage near the church where the image was first displayed. Pilgrims had already begun flocking to the site by the time he died on Dec. 9, 1548, the anniversary of the first apparition.
Blessed John Paul II beatified St. Juan Diego in 1990, and canonized him in 2002.

LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 11,16-19
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, December 9, 2016
2nd Week of Advent

1)      Opening prayer
Lord our God,
too often we are deaf to your voice
and to the presence of your Son
among us, his people.
Inspire us by your prophets and your Spirit
that now is the right moment to change
and to commit ourselves
to the kind of life and to the justice
demanded by the kingdom.
Help us to make people see
that your Son is alive among us
and that he is our Lord for ever.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 11, 16-19
'What comparison can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance;
we sang dirges, and you wouldn't be mourners.
'For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He is possessed."
The Son of man came, eating and drinking, and they say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."
Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.'

3) Reflection
• The leaders, the wise, are not always pleased when someone criticizes or challenges them. That happened in the time of Jesus and happens today also, both in society and in the Church. John the Baptist, saw, criticized, and was not accepted. They said: “He is possessed by the devil!” Jesus, saw, criticized and was not accepted. They said: “He has lost his head!”, “Crazy!” (Mk 3, 21). “He is possessed by the devil!” (Mk 3, 22), “He is a Samaritan!” (Jn 8, 48), “He is not from God!” (Jn 9, 16). The same thing happens today. There are some persons who hold on to what has always been taught and they do not accept another way of explaining or of living faith. Then they invent reasons and pretexts so as not to adhere: “It is Marxism!”, “It is against God’s Law!”, “It is disobedience to tradition and to the teaching of the Church” and they complain for the lack of coherence of the people. They always invent some pretext so as not to accept the message of God which Jesus announced. In fact, it is relatively easy to find arguments and pretexts to refute those who think in a way different from ours.
• Jesus reacts and renders public their incoherence. They considered themselves wise, but they were like children who wish to amuse the people on the square and they rebel when people do not move according to the music that they play. Or those who consider themselves wise without really having anything truly wise. They only accepted those who had the same ideas as they had. And thus, they themselves, because of their incoherent attitude, condemned themselves.

4) Personal questions
• Up to what point am I coherent with my faith?
• Do I have a critical conscience regarding the social and ecclesiastical system which, some times, invents reasons and pretexts to legitimize the situation and to prevent any change?

5) Concluding Prayer
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the Lord
and meditates on his law day and night. (Ps 1)