Thứ Sáu, 9 tháng 12, 2016

DECEMBER 10, 2016 : SATURDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK IN ADVENT

Saturday of the Second Week in Advent
Lectionary: 186

In those days,
like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses.
You were destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you 
and who falls asleep in your friendship.
R. (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
AlleluiaLK 3:4, 6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. 
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.


Meditation: "Elijah must first come"
God gives signs to show what he is about to do. John the Baptist is one such sign, who pointed to Jesus and prepared the way for his coming. John fulfilled the essential task of all the prophets: to be fingers pointing to Jesus Christ. John is the last and greatest prophet of the old kingdom, the old covenant. The Jews expected that when the Messiah would come, Elijah would appear to announce his presence. John fills the role of Elijah and prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ by preaching a baptism of repentance and renewal.
As watchful servants, we, too must prepare for the Lord's coming again by turning away from sin and from everything that would keep us from pursuing his will. Are you eager to do God's will and are you prepared to meet the Lord Jesus when he returns in glory?
"Lord Jesus, stir my zeal for your righteousness and for your kingdom. Free me from complacency and from compromising with the ways of sin and worldliness that I may be wholeheartedly devoted to you and to your kingdom."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersJohn fulfills Elijah's prophetic ministry, by John Chrysostom, 547-407 A.D.
"They did not know this from the Scriptures, but the scribes used to tell them, and this saying was reported among the ignorant crowd, as also about Christ. Therefore the Samaritan woman also said, 'The Messiah is coming; when he comes, he will show us all things' (John 4:25). And they themselves asked John, 'Are you Elijah or the prophet?' (John 1:21). For this opinion was strong, as I said, both the one about Christ and the one about Elijah, but they did not interpret it as it should have been. For the Scriptures speak of two comings of Christ, both this one that has taken place and the future one. Paul spoke of these when he said, 'For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world' (Titus 2:11-12).
"Behold the first advent, and listen to how he declares the coming advent: 'Awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ' (Titus 2:13). The prophets also mention both advents; of the one that is second they say that Elijah will be the forerunner; John was forerunner of the first, John whom Christ also called by the name Elijah, not because he was Elijah but because he was fulfilling Elijah's ministry. For just as Elijah will be the forerunner of the second advent, so John was of the first. But the scribes, confusing these things and perverting the people, mentioned that coming alone, the second one, to the people, and said, 'If this is the Christ, Elijah ought to have come first.' That is why the disciples also say, 'Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?'" (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 57.1)


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, MATTHEW 17:7-9a,10-13
Advent Weekday

(Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11; Psalm 80)

KEY VERSE: "Elijah will indeed come and restore all things" (v 11).
TO KNOW: In Matthew's account of the Transfiguration, Jesus summoned his disciples "to the mountain" to reveal himself as the one who had full authority "in heaven and on earth" (Mt 28:16-18). The mountain was a unique place of God's revelation. Moses had received the law on Mount Sinai (Ex 20:1-17), and Elijah, defended the supremacy of Gods' covenant against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kgs 18:19-39). On the Mount of the Transfiguration, both Elijah and Moses appeared alongside Jesus revealing that he was the new prophet and liberator. As Jesus came down the mountain after the vision, his disciples asked him about the belief that Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah (Mal 3:1, 23). Jesus answered that John the Baptist had already come in the prophetic tradition of Elijah. John's preaching against those who perverted the moral teaching of God had fulfilled the expectation of Elijah's return.
TO LOVE: What is the moral corruption in my community that I must oppose?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, turn my heart to the truth that you teach.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Sat 10th. Ecclesiasticus 48:1-4, 9-11. Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be savedPs 79(80):2-3, 15-16, 18-19. Matthew 17:10-13.
'Elijah has already come.'
Jesus helps the disciples understand that 'Elijah' has already come in the person of John the Baptist. There are many similarities between these two fiery prophets. They both loved God and wanted to do his will. Both lived simply. Both had a message of repentance. Both fearlessly confronted evil kings. Both felt all alone at times. And both got out of the way for someone greater to come.
Why does the Church draw our attention to these two figures during Advent? This season is full of shopping for gifts, festive gatherings and carols. There's nothing wrong with that. It helps us remember the preciousness of the gift that we are getting ready to receive at Christmas.
We would do well to emulate John and Elijah and spend some time focusing on the essential truths at the core of our Advent celebration.

ST. EULALIA OF MéRIDA

St. Eulalia descended from one of the most prominent families in Spain. She was educated in the Christian religion and was taught the sentiments of perfect piety. From her infancy she distinguished herself by an admirable sweetness of temper, modesty and devotion.

She showed a great love of the holy state of virginity, and by her seriousness and her contempt of dress, ornaments diversions and worldly company, she gave early signs of her sincere desire to lead a heavenly life on earth. Her heart was raised above the world before she was thought capable of knowing it, so that its amusements, which usually fill the minds of youth, had no charms for her, and every day of her life she continued to grow in virtue.

She was just twelve years old when the bloody edicts of the Emporer Diocletian were issued, by which it was ordered that all persons, without exception of age, sex, or profession, should be compelled to offer sacrifice to the gods of the empire.

Eulalia, although young, took the publication of this order as a sign of battle, but her mother, observing her impatient ardor for martyrdom, carried her into the country. However, the young saint quickly found a means to make her escape by night, and after much fatigue, arrived at Merida before daybreak.

That same morning, as soon as the court convined, she presented herself before the cruel judge, whose name was Dacian, and reproached him with impiety in attempting to destroy souls by compelling them to renounce the only true God.
The governor then commanded her to be seized. First, employing caresses, Dacian presented to her the advantages which her birth, youth and fortune gave her in the world, and the grief which her disobedience would bring to her parents. Seeing that these temptations had no effect, he began to threaten her, placing the most cruel instruments of torture before her eyes, saying to her, "All this you shall escape if you will but touch a little salt and frankincense with the tip of your finger."

Provoked at these seducing flatteries, she threw down the idol, trampled upon the cake which was laid for the sacrifice and spat at the judge -- an action only to be excused by her youth and inattention under the influence of a warm zeal, and fear of the snares which were laid before her.

Upon the judge's order, two executioners began to tear her tender sides with iron hooks, so as to leave the very bones bare. While this was happening, she called the strokes the trophies of Christ. Next, lighted torches were applied to her breasts and sides: under which torment, instead of groans, nothing was heard from her mouth but thanksgivings. The fire at length catching her hair, surrounded her head and face, and the saint was stifled by the smoke and flame.

History says that a white dove seemed to come out of her mouth, and to wing its way upward when the holy martyr expired: at which prodigy the executioners were so much terrified that they fled and left the body.

Her relics are kept with great veneration at Oviedo, where she is honored as patroness. The Roman Martyrology mentions her name on December 10.


Source: Butler's Lives of the Saints

LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 17,10-13
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, December 10, 2016
2nd Week of Advent

1)      Opening prayer
Lord our God,
let us never become indifferent
to the ardent message
which your Son speaks to us in the gospel
When we have become inattentive and uninvolved,
send us again prophets to wake us up
and to make us attentive again
to make your kingdom among us a reality
of love of you and of people,
of justice and serving love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 17, 10-13
And the disciples put this question to him, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?'
He replied, 'Elijah is indeed coming, and he will set everything right again; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of man will suffer similarly at their hands.'
Then the disciples understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist.

3) Reflection
• The disciples have just seen Moses and Elijah before Jesus in the Transfiguration on the mountain (Mt 17, 3). In general, people believed that Elijah had to return to prepare the coming of the Kingdom. Prophet Malachi said: “Look, I shall send you the prophet Elijah before the great and awesome Day of Yahweh comes. He will reconcile parents to their children and children to their parents, to forestall my putting the country under the curse of destruction!” (Mal 3, 23-24; cf. Eccl. 48, 10). The disciples want to know: What does the teaching of the Doctors of the Law mean, when they say that Elijah has to come before?” Because Jesus, the Messiah, was already there, had already arrived, and Elijah had not come as yet. Which is the value of this teaching of the return of Elijah?
• Jesus answers: “Elijah has already come and they have not recognized him; rather, they have treated him as they have wanted. In the same way, they will also make the Son of Man suffer”. Then the Disciples understood that Jesus was speaking of John the Baptist.
• In that situation of Roman domination which disintegrated the clan and the familiar living together, people expected that Elijah would return to reconstruct the community: to reconcile the parents to their children and the children to their parents. This was the great hope of the people. Today also, the neo-liberal system of communism disintegrates the families and promotes the masses which destroy life.
• To reconstruct and remake the social fabric and the community living of the families is dangerous because it undermines the basis of the system of domination. This is why John the Baptist was killed. He had a project to reform human living together (cf. Lk 3, 7-14). He carried out the mission of Elijah (Lk 1, 17). This is why he was killed.
• Jesus continues the same mission of John: to reconstruct the life in community. Because God is Father, we are all brothers and sisters. Jesus joins together two loves: love toward God and love toward neighbour and makes them visible in the form of living together. This is why, like John, he was put to death. This is why Jesus, the Son of Man, will be condemned to death.

4) Personal questions
• Placing myself in the position of the disciples: does the ideology of consumerism have power over me?
•  Placing myself in the position of Jesus: Do I have the force to react and to create a new human way of living together?

5) Concluding Prayer
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name. (Ps 80)