Thứ Hai, 12 tháng 12, 2016

DECEMBER 13, 2016 : MEMORIAL OF SAINT LUCY, VIRGIN AND MARTYR

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 188

Reading 1ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13
Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed 
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion? 
A man had two sons. 
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 
The man came to the other son and gave the same order. 
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 
Which of the two did his father’s will?” 
They answered, “The first.” 
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you. 
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did. 
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”


Meditation: Which son did the father's will?
What kind of future are you preparing for? Jesus encourages us to think - to think about the consequences of our choices, especially the choices and decisions that will count not just for now but for eternity as well. The choices we make now will affect and shape our future, both our future on earth as well as in the life of the age to come.  

Repaying a debt of gratitude and showing respect where it is due
Jesus tells a simple story of two imperfect sons to illustrate the way of God's kingdom. The father amply provided for his sons food, lodging, and everything they needed. Everything the father had belonged to them as well. The father also rewarded his sons with excellent work in his own vineyard.  He expected them to show him gratitude, loyalty, and honor by doing their fair share of the daily work. 

Converting both heart and will to do what is good and pleasing to God
The "rebellious" son told his father to his face that he would not work for him. But afterwards he changed his mind and did what his father commanded him. The "good" son said he would work for his father, but didn't follow through. He sought his own pleasure, contrary to his father's will. Now who was really the good son?  Both sons disobeyed their father - but one repented and then did what the father told him. Jesus makes his point clear - Good intentions are not enough.  And promises don't count unless they are performed. 

A transformed heart filled with gratitude and respect
God wants to change our hearts so that we will show by our speech and by our actions that we respect his will and do it. God offers each one of us the greatest treasure possible - indestructable peace, joy, and friendship with him in his everlasting kingdom. We can lose that treasure if we refuse the grace - the free gift of God's blessing and strength - which the Lord Jesus has won for us through his victory on the cross. The Lord Jesus fills us with the gift of the Holy Spirit who works in and through us for the glory of God. Do you seek to please God and respect his will and loving plan for your life? Allow the Holy Spirit to to fill your heart with the peace, joy, and righteousness of  God's kingdom (Romans 14:17).
"Lord Jesus, change my heart that I may only desire that which is pleasing to you. Help me to respect your will and give me the strength, joy and perseverance to carry it out wholeheartedly."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Father and his two sons, author unknown, from the 5th century A.D.
"Who is this if not the God who created all people and loves them with a fatherly affection, the God who preferred to be loved as a father rather than feared as a lord, even though he was Lord by nature? On this account, at the beginning of the commandments of the law, he did not say, 'You shall fear the Lord with all your heart' but 'you shall love the Lord with all your heart' (Deuteronomy 6:5). To elicit love is not characteristic of a lord but of a father. Of the two sons in this parable, the older one represents the Gentiles, since they come from their father Noah. The younger son represents the Jews, who come from Abraham. 'And approaching the first, he said, "Son, go and work today in my vineyard." 'Today' refers to this present age. How did he speak to his sons? He didn’t address them face to face like man, but he spoke to the heart, like God. Man only utters words to the ear, but God supplies understanding to the mind." (excerpt from an incomplete Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, HOMILY 40)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, MATTHEW 21:28-32
(Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13; Psalm 34)

KEY VERSE: "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you" (v 31).
TO KNOW: After Jesus expelled the money-changers from the Temple, he confronted the self-righteous religious authorities with a parable of two sons who were asked by their father to work in his vineyard. One gave lip-service to his father but did not go, and the other, although he refused to go, later repented of his disobedience and went to do his father's bidding. Likewise, the religious authorities claimed to be doing God's will but acted otherwise. They held the "tax collectors and prostitutes" of society in contempt because they did not obey God's law. Yet these outcasts heard John's call to repent and they reformed their lives. In contrast, the leaders of God's people stubbornly refused to believe John's way of righteousness, and did not change their lives. Because they rejected God's plan for salvation, they forfeited their place in the kingdom.
TO LOVE: Which son in the parable am I most like today?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to do your will every day.

Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr 

Lucy (whose name means "bearer of light") was a wealthy, young Christian who vowed her life to Christ. Her mother had arranged a marriage for her, and for three years Lucy refused. To change her mother's mind, Lucy prayed at the tomb of Saint Agatha, and her mother's hemorrhages were cured. Her mother agreed with Lucy's desire to live for God, and Lucy became known as a patron of those with similar illnesses. Lucy rejected the pagan bridegroom, Paschasius, and he denounced Lucy as a Christian. The governor planned to force her into prostitution, but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her. The governor ordered her killed instead. After torture that included having her eyes torn out, she was stabbed to death. Legend says her eyesight was restored before her death. This and the meaning of her name led to her connection with maladies of the eyes. In Sweden, it is a tradition to have the oldest girl in the family wear a white dress and a wreath crown with white lighted candles. At dawn she wakes up members of the family with steaming coffee and sweet rolls or bread.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Tue 13th. St Lucy.Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13. The Lord hears the cry of the poorPs 33(34):2-3, 6-7, 16, 18-19, 23. Matthew 21:28‑32.
'Prostitutes and tax collectors are making their way into the kingdom before you.'
In today's parable Jesus demonstrates that for him, nobody is an outsider. Like the prostitutes and tax collectors we may choose initially not to follow Jesus but then later come to believe in him and to know that he's always ready to welcome us.
The Pharisees however, who preach the law and proclaim their good deeds, are like the second son who said he'd work in the vineyard but did not go. They lack the active faith that Jesus calls for.
What about me? I celebrate the Eucharist but do I express my faith in my daily life? Am I saying 'yes' to Jesus but failing to reflect this in my behaviour?

ST. LUCY

St. Lucy is a virgin and martyr of Syracuse in Sicily, whose feast is celebrated on December 13th. According to tradition, Saint Lucy was born to rich and noble parents in the year 283. Her father was of Roman origin, but his early death left her dependent upon her mother, whose name, Eutychia, seems to indicate that she was of Greek heritage.

Like so many of the early martyrs, Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped to devote all her worldly goods to the service of the poor.

Her mother, Eutychia, arranged a marriage for her, but for three years she managed to postpone the marriage. Lucy prayed at the tomb of Saint Agatha to change her mother’s mind about her faith. As a result, her mother's long haemorrhagic illness was cured, and she consented to Lucy's desire to live for God.

Saint Lucy’s rejected bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian. The governor planned to force her into prostitution, but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her to be killed instead.

After a gruesome torture which included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire, but the fire quickly died out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was then executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger.

Legend says her eyesight was restored before her death. This and the meaning of her name led to her patronage with eyes; the blind, eye trouble, and other eye ailments.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 21,28-32
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, December 13, 2016
3rd Week of Advent


1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you are close to the poor and the repentant.
Do not allow us to be proud,
that we may not trust in ourselves
but teach us to be humble and lowly,
that we may recognize our limitations
and be open to you and to your coming
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

2) Gospel reading - Matthew 21,28-32
Jesus asked to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 'What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, "My boy, go and work in the vineyard today." He answered, "I will not go," but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, "Certainly, sir," but did not go. Which of the two did the father's will?' They said, 'The first.' Jesus said to them, 'In truth I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, showing the way of uprightness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.

3) Reflection
• The Gospel today presents a parable. Like always, Jesus tells a story taken from the daily life of the family; a common story which speaks for itself and does not need much explanation. Immediately, by means of a very simple question, Jesus tries to involve those who are listening and to communicate a message. He involves them in the story without, at the first moment, explaining the objective which Jesus has in mind. After they answer the question, Jesus applies the story to the listeners and these become aware that alone they condemned themselves.
• Matthew 21, 28-30: The story of the two sons. Jesus asks an initial question: “What is your opinion?” He does this to call the attention of the persons in order that they are attentive to the story which follows. And this is the story: “A man had two sons; he went and said to the first one: My son, go and work in the vineyard today. He answered: I will not go, but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, ‘Certainly, sir, but he did not go.” It is a question of a story of the life of a family in daily life. The persons who listen to Jesus understand what he is speaking about, because they have lived this same thing many times in their own house. But as yet we do not understand what Jesus is thinking. Which is the objective that he wants to attain with this story?
• Matthew 21, 31ª: The involvement of authority in the story of the two sons. Jesus tells the story in the form of a question. At the beginning he says: “What is your opinion?” And at the end he asks: “Which of the two did the father’s will?” Those who listen are parents and respond according to what has happened several times with their own sons: The chief priests and the elders will answer: “the first one”. This is the response that Jesus wanted to hear from them and from where he takes the evidence to communicate his message.
• Matthew 21, 31b-32: The conclusion drawn by Jesus. “And Jesus says to them: In truth I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the Kingdom of God before you. John came to you, showing the way of uprightness but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. Even after seeing that you refused to think better of it and believe in him”.
The conclusion of Jesus is evident and very hard. According to the opinion of the priests and the elders, the tax collectors and the prostitutes were sinners and unclean who did not do the will of the Father. According to the opinion of Jesus, the tax collectors and the prostitutes in fact, said, “I do not want to”, but ended by doing the will of the Father, because they repent in listening to the preaching of John the Baptist. While they, the priests and the publicans who officially always say “Yes, Sir, I will go”, ended by not observing the will of the Father, because they did not want to believe in John the Baptist.

4) Personal questions
• With which of these two sons do I identify myself?
• Today, who are the prostitutes and the publicans who say: “I do not want to”, but who end by doing the will of the Father?

5) Concluding prayer
I will praise Yahweh from my heart;
let the humble hear and rejoice.
Proclaim with me the greatness of Yahweh,
let us acclaim his name together. (Sal 34,2-3)