Thứ Hai, 9 tháng 1, 2017


Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 306

Reading 1HEB 2:5-12
It was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,
of which we are speaking.
Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

What is man that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under his feet.

In "subjecting" all things to him,
he left nothing not "subject to him."
Yet at present we do not see "all things subject to him," 
but we do see Jesus "crowned with glory and honor"
because he suffered death,
he who "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels,"
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates
and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them "brothers" saying: 

I will proclaim your name to my brethren,
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (see 7) You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

Alleluia1 THES 2:13
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:21-28
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, 
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!" 
Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!"
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
"What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him."
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Meditation: Jesus taught with authority
Do you believe that God's word has power to set you free and to transform your life? When Jesus taught he spoke with authority. He spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it before. When the Rabbis taught they supported their statements with quotes from other authorities. The prophets spoke with delegated authority - "Thus says the Lord." When Jesus spoke he needed no authorities to back his statements. He was authority incarnate - the Word of God made flesh. When he spoke, God spoke. When he commanded even the demons obeyed.
Faith works through love and abounds in hope
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) remarked that "faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing. The devils confessed Christ, but lacking charity it availed nothing. They said, 'What have we to do with you' (Mark 1:24)? They confessed a sort of faith, but without love. Hence they were devils." 

Faith is powerful, but without love it profits nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Scripture tells us that true faith works through love (Galatians 5:6) and abounds in hope (Romans 15:13). Our faith is made perfect in love because love orients us to the supreme good which is God himself as well as the good of our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27). 
Hope anchors our faith in the promises of God and purifies our desires for the things which will last for eternity. That is why the word of Christ has power to set us free from all that would keep us bound up in sin, deception, and despair. Bede the venerable abbot of an English monastery (672-735) contrasted the power and authority of Jesus' word with the word of the devil:  "The devil, because he had deceived Eve with his tongue, is punished by the tongue, that he might not speak" [Homilies on the Gospels 1.8].
Faith must be nourished with the Word of God
Faith is both a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed. To live, grow, and persevere in the faith to the end, we must nourish it with the word of God. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds that we may grow in his truth and in the knowledge of his great love for each of us. If we approach God's word with trust and submission, and with an eagerness to do what the Lord desires for us, then we are in a much better position to learn what God wants to teach us through his word. Are you eager to be taught by the Lord and to conform your mind, heart, attitude, and intentions according to his word of truth, goodness, and love?

"Lord Jesus, your word is power and life. May I never doubt your love and mercy, and the power of your word that sets us free, and brings healing and restoration to body, mind, heart, and spirit."
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Knowing without loving, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Those words show clearly that the demons had much knowledge, but entirely lacked love. They dreaded receiving their punishment from him. They did not love the righteousness that was in him. He made himself known to them to the extent he willed; and he willed to be made known to the extent that was fitting. But he was not made known to them as he is known to the holy angels, who enjoy participation in his eternity, in that he is the Word of God. To the demons he is known as he had to be made known, by striking terror into them, for his purpose was to free from their tyrannical power all who were predestined for his kingdom and glory, which is eternally true and truly eternal. Therefore, he did not make himself known to the demons as the life eternal, and the unchangeable light which illuminates his true worshipers, whose hearts are purified by faith in him so that they see that light. He was known to the demons through certain temporal effects of his power, the signs of his hidden presence, which could be more evident to their senses, even those of malignant spirits, than to the weak perception of human beings. (excerpt from CITY OF GOD 9.21)


(Hebrews 2:5-12; Psalm 8)

KEY VERSE: "He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him" (v 27).
TO KNOW: The people were enthralled by the power of Jesus' words. When he was invited to teach in a synagogue in Capernaum, they marveled that he taught with the authority of the ancient prophets, not as the learned scribes whose message had no effect. Jesus not only spoke with authority — he acted with power! During the service a man who was possessed by an "unclean spirit" shouted defiantly at Jesus. The demons acknowledged Jesus' power over the forces of evil, and they attempted to gain control of him by invoking the divine name -- the "Holy One of God." Just as Jesus would calm the raging waters (Mk 4:39), he rebuked the demons and ordered them to be silent. The people were astonished by Jesus' works, but they still did not understand his true identity. Nonetheless, Jesus' fame spread throughout the region of Galilee.
TO LOVE: Do I speak against the powers of evil in the world?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, you are my teacher and my healer.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Tue 10th. Hebrews 2:5-12. You gave your Son authority over all your creation—Ps 8:2-5, 9. Mark 1:21-28.
'He taught them as one having authority.'
How did Jesus' teaching differ from that of the scribes, which the people were used to hearing? Instruction in the synagogue was based on the traditions of the elders in interpreting Jewish law. In teaching, the scribes would relate what others had taught before. In contrast when Jesus spoke the people sensed fresh revelation as the word of God cut straight to their hearts.
Jesus demonstrated his authority not only in word but in deed as well. He expelled the unclean spirit with a simple word based on his authority as the Son of God: 'Be silent and come out of him.'
Truly acknowledging Jesus' authority means knowing that Jesus is 'both Lord and Messiah' and that he sits at the right hand of God as ruler over all creation.


Gregory of Nyssa was born into a deeply religious family. His mother, Emmelia, was the daughter of a martyr, and two of his brothers, Basil of Cæsarea and Peter of Sebaste, became bishops like himself. His eldest sister, Macrina, became a model of piety and is also honored as a saint. It would seem that the young Gregory married at some point: there exists a letter addressed to him by Gregory of Nazianzus condoling him on the loss of a woman named Theosebeia, who must have been his wife.
According to Gregory of Nazianzus, it was his brother Basil who performed the episcopal consecration of Gregory around 371.
On arriving in his see, Gregory had to face great difficulties. Demosthenes, Governor of Pontus, ordered the Bishop of Nyssa to be seized and brought before him.  A Synod of Nyssa (376) deposed him, and he was reduced to wander from town to town, until the death of Emperor Valens in 378. The new emperor, Gratian, published an edict of tolerance, and Gregory was able to return to his see, where he was received with joy.  In 379 he assisted at the Council of Antioch, which had been summoned because of the Meletian schism.  He also asserted the faith of Nicea, and tried to put an end to Aryanism and Pneumatism in the East.
It is very probable that Gregory was present at another council, the Council of Constantinople in 383. Between 385 and 386 he disappears from history, but not without leaving a significant number of  theological writings.

Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
Father of love, hear our prayers.
Help us to know your will
and to do it with courage and faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 1,21-28
They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the Sabbath he went into the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
And at once in their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit, and he shouted, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.' But Jesus rebuked it saying, 'Be quiet! Come out of him!'
And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking one another what it all meant, saying, 'Here is a teaching that is new, and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.'
And his reputation at once spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
3) Reflection
• Sequence of the Gospels of the days of this week. Yesterday’s Gospel informed us concerning the first activity of Jesus: he called four persons to form the community with them (Mk 1, 16-10). Today’s Gospel describes the admiration of people before the teaching of Jesus (Mt 1, 21-22) and the first miracle when he expels the devil (Mk 1, 23-28). The Gospel of tomorrow narrates the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1, 29-31), the healing of many sick persons (Mk 1, 32-34) and the prayer of Jesus in an isolated place (Mk 1, 35-39). Mark gathers all these episodes which had been transmitted orally in the communities and he joins them together like bricks of one only wall. In the years 70’s, the year in which he writes, the Communities needed orientation. By describing how Jesus began his activity, Mark indicates what they should do and how, to announce the Good News. Mark gives them a catechesis, by telling the Communities the events of the life of Jesus.
• Jesus teaches with authority, differently from the way the Scribes do it. The first thing that the people perceive is the diverse way in which Jesus teaches. It is not so much the content, but rather the way in which he teaches that impresses the people. For this reason, by his different way, Jesus creates a critical conscience in people concerning the religious authority of that time. The people perceive, they compare and says: He teaches with authority, in a way different from the way the Scribes do it. The Scribes of that time taught quoting the authority. Jesus does not quote any authority, but he speaks beginning with his experience of God and of his life. His word is rooted in the heart.
• You have come to destroy us! In Mark, the first miracle is the expulsion of the devil. Jesus struggles and expels the power of evil which takes possession of persons and alienated them from themselves. The man possessed by the devil shouts: “I know who you are: You are the Holy One of God!” The man repeated the official teaching which presented the Messiah as the “Holy One of God”, that is as a High Priest, or like a King, Judge, Doctor or General. Even today also, many people live alienated from themselves, deceived by the power of mass media, means of communication, by propaganda of business. They repeat what they hear others say. They live as slaves of consumerism, oppressed by the power of money, threatened by debtors. Many think that their life is not as it should be if they cannot buy what the propaganda announces and recommends.
• Jesus rebuked the evil spirit: “Be quiet! Come out of him!” The spirit threw the man into convulsions, and with a loud cry went out of him. Jesus restores the person to himself. He gives him back his conscience and his liberty. He makes the person recover his complete judgment (cf. Mk 5, 15). Then it was not easy, it was not easy yesterday, it is not easy today to do in such a way that a person begins to think and to act in a way diverse from the official ideology.
• A new teaching! He commands even the evil spirits. The first two signs of the Good News are these: his different way of teaching the things of God, and his power over evil spirits. Jesus opens a new road in order that people can attain purity. At that time, a person who was declared impure could not present himself/herself before God to pray and to receive the blessing promised by God to Abraham. He/she should first purify himself/herself. These and many other laws and norms made the life of people very difficult and marginalized many persons who were considered impure, far from God. Now, purified by the contact with Jesus, persons could present themselves before God. This was for them a great Good News!
4) Personal questions
• Could I really say: “I am fully free, master of myself? If I cannot say it of myself, then something in me is possessed by other powers. What do I do to expel this strange power?
• Today many people do not live, but are lived. Do not think, but they are thought by the means of communication, by mass media. Do not have a critical mind or way of thinking. They are not masters of themselves. How can this “devil” be expelled?
5) Concluding prayer
Yahweh our Lord,
how majestic is your name throughout the world!
What are human beings that you spare a thought for them,
or the child of Adam that you care for him? (Ps 8,1.4)