Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 1, 2017


Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 309

Reading 1HEB 4:1-5, 11
Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest,
just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath, 
"They shall not enter into my rest,"

and yet his works were accomplished
at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,
And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;
and again, in the previously mentioned place,
They shall not enter into my rest. 

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Responsorial PsalmPS 78:3 AND 4BC, 6C-7, 8
R. (see 7b) Do not forget the works of the Lord!
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
And not be like their fathers,
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

AlleluiaLK 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what 
they were thinking to themselves, 
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
–he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once, 
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

Meditation: "We never saw anything like this!"
Do you know the healing power of forgiveness and compassion? Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt.

Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God's redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well. The Lord is every ready to bring us healing of body, mind, and spirit. Is there any area in your life that cripples you from walking in the freedom of Christ's transforming love and forgiveness?
Bishop Ambrose of Milan (339-397 AD), an early church father, explains how the healing of the paralytic points not only to Christ's power to heal the whole person, but also to raise the body to everlasting life as well:
But the Lord, wanting to save sinners, shows himself to be God both by his knowledge of secrets and by the wonder of his actions. He adds, "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you'’ or to say, 'Rise and walk?'" In this passage he shows the full likeness of the resurrection. Alongside of healing the wounds of body and mind, he also forgives the sins of the spirit, removes the weakness of the flesh, and thus heals the whole person. It is a great thing to forgive people's sins - who can forgive sins, but God alone? For God also forgives through those to whom he has given the power of forgiveness. Yet it is far more divine to give resurrection to bodies, since the Lord himself is the resurrection. (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.12–13.5)
Do you believe in the healing transforming power of Christ's forgiveness and merciful love? Ask him to set you free and transform your mind and heart to be like his heart.
"Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life - my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offenses and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your love, truth, and righteousness."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersReverse your relation with sickness, by Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD)
"Take up your bed. Carry the very mat that once carried you. Change places, so that what was the proof of your sickness may now give testimony to your soundness. Your bed of pain becomes the sign of healing, its very weight the measure of the strength that has been restored to you." (excerpt from HOMILY 50.6)
[Peter Chrysologus was a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena in the 5th century] 


​(Hebrews 4:1-5, 11; Psalm 78)

KEY VERSE: "I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home" (v 11).
TO KNOW: Jesus returned to his mission base in Capernaum (probably Simon Peter's house). When the people learned that he was at home, they came in great numbers to listen to him preach the gospel. Four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus to heal him, but they could not get through the crowds. Undaunted, they carried the man up the outside staircase and opened a hole in the thatched roof. Then they lowered the man on a stretcher to the feet of Jesus below. When Jesus saw the faith of these men, he was moved with pity and healed the paralytic by telling him that his sins were forgiven (In ancient times disease or misfortune was thought to be the penalty for sin, Job 4:7-9). In saying this, Jesus touched off the first of a series of controversies with the religious leaders. The scribes murmured “blasphemy” (v. 7) as only God was capable of forgiving sins. To prove that “the Son of Man” (Jesus’ typical way of speaking of himself, Dan 7:13) had authority to "forgive sins on earth” (v 10) Jesus commanded the man to rise and walk, thus revealing his divine authority over physical and spiritual sickness. The people were astounded and gave glory to God for the healing, the true purpose of any miracle.
TO LOVE: What is the sin in my life that keeps me paralyzed?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to confess my sins so that I might receive spiritual health.

Optional Memorial of Saint Hilary, bishop and doctor of the Church

Hilary's early life was uneventful. He married and had children (including Saint Abra). As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith, and was converted by the time he finished the New Testament. Hilary lived the faith so well that he was made bishop of Poitiers from 353 to 368. Hilary opposed the emperor's attempt to run Church matters, and he was exiled. He used the time to write works explaining the faith. His teaching and writings converted many, and in an attempt to reduce his notoriety he was returned to the small town of Poitiers where his enemies hoped he would fade into obscurity. His writings continued to convert unbelievers. Hilary introduced Eastern theology to the Western Church, and fought Arianism with the help of Saint Viventius. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1851.

NOTE: Arianism taught that Christ was a creation of the Father, a creature, and not part of God. Athanasius formulated the doctrine of homoousianism, which said that Christ was "consubstantial with the Father,” as we pray in the Nicene Creed. 

Friday 13 January 2017

Fri 13th. St Hilary Day of penance. Hebrews 4:1-5, 11. Do not forget the works of the Lord!—Ps 77(78):3-4, 6-8. Mark 2:1-12.
'They came, bringing the paralytic to Jesus.'
So many people had gathered that they could not get in through the door, so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered the stretcher to the floor. Jesus saw their faith and said to the man, 'your sins are forgiven'.
In Jesus' time illness was seen as a curse but the scribes did not believe Jesus had the power to forgive sins. Their lack of faith is in direct contrast to that of the four friends. Jesus proves to those doubters that his authority is from God. Who would be the four who would carry me or you? What a great act of unselfish love is enacted in this story. Here we certainly see God's power but we also see the power of friends who support and pray for each other.


On January 13, Catholics celebrate St. Hilary of Poitiers, a fourth-century philosopher whose studies made him a champion of orthodox Trinitarian theology during one of the most difficult periods of Church history. He protected the Church and its members by brilliantly defending the sacred humanity of Jesus while also defeating aranism which denied Christ's divinity.  St. Hilary was a gentle and courteous man, devoted to writing some of the greatest theology on the Trinity, and was like his Master in being labeled a "disturber of the peace." In a very troubled period in the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship and controversy.
Little is known about St. Hilary's life before he became a bishop. Fittingly, what historians do know about him derives mostly from personal details contained within his extensive theological works. Those remarks indicate that Hilary was born to a pagan family in present-day France, most likely around 310 – three years before the Roman Empire declared its official toleration of Christianity.
Hilary himself grew up apparently without any significant Christian influence, but received an otherwise comprehensive education in the Latin and Greek classics. Not unusual for his era, he rigorously studied both Greek philosophy and the Bible. Like many other early Church Fathers, he came to accept the truth of the Bible by recognizing its compatibility with philosophy and the sciences.
This was a gradual process for him, however, and it was not until 345 – by which time he was already married, and had a daughter– that Hilary committed himself to full membership in the Catholic Church by receiving baptism with the rest of his family. His rise within the Church, however, was not gradual at all: around 353, the people of Poitiers called for him to be made their bishop.
By its nature, the position involved tremendous responsibility, as well as significant personal sacrifice. While the early church permitted some married men to become bishops, they were traditionally required to practice celibacy within marriage, and many adopted a radically simplified lifestyle akin to monasticism. There are indications that Hilary followed this ascetical path, once ordained.
Moreover, Hilary's election as the Bishop of Poitiers coincided with the second wave of the Church's first great doctrinal controversy, in which he would play a significant role. Although the Council of Nicaea in 325 had confirmed the Church’s rejection of Arianism – which claimed Jesus was only human, not divine – powerful forces within both the Church and the empire clung to the heresy.
Only a few years after his assumption of episcopal rank, Hilary found himself virtually alone in defending Jesus’ deity before a hostile crowd of bishops in the southern French region of Gaul. The bishops appealed to Emperor Constantius II, who favored a modified version of Arianism and declared Hilary’s exile from Gaul.
Constantius II did not likely suspect that by banishing Hilary to Phrygia he would inspire the bishop to mount an even greater defense of orthodox theology. There, he wrote his most important work, “On the Trinity,” showing the Bible’s consistent witness to the central mystery of Christian faith.
Remarkably, this staunchly orthodox bishop also showed great charity toward those he believed were honestly mistaken. He worked closely with groups of clergy and faithful whose formulations of dogma he perceived to be merely imperfect or imprecise, but not intentionally heretical, to support what was correct in their understanding and lead them into full adherence with tradition.
Hilary even traveled to Constantinople during his exile, to explain to the city’s bishops why their emperor was not orthodox. After the death of Constantius II in 361, Hilary was able to return to his diocese at Poitiers. Once exiled for opposing Arianism in Gaul, he lived to see it squarely condemned in the local church after his return.
Although deeply committed to the leadership of his own diocese, Hilary took steps late in his life to support orthodox teaching in other regions. Most significantly, he denounced Auxentius, the Arian bishop of Milan. Subsequent opposition to Auxentius led to his succession by St. Ambrose of Milan, who, in turn, greatly influenced the conversion of St. Augustine.
St. Hilary died at Poitiers in 367, after having passed on his teachings and way of life to a number of students, including St. Martin of Tours.
Long regarded and celebrated as a saint within the Church, St. Hilary was also declared a Doctor of the Church in 1851.

Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, January 13, 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 2,1-12
When he returned to Capernaum, some time later word went round that he was in the house; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as they could not get the man to him through the crowd, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, 'My child, your sins are forgiven.'
Now some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, 'How can this man talk like that? He is being blasphemous. Who but God can forgive sins?'
And at once, Jesus, inwardly aware that this is what they were thinking, said to them, 'Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven" or to say, "Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk"? But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority to forgive sins on earth' - he said to the paralytic -'I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.'
And the man got up, and at once picked up his stretcher and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astonished and praised God saying, 'We have never seen anything like this.'

3) Reflection
• In Mark 1, 1-15, Mark shows how the Good News of God should be prepared and spread. In Mark 1, 16-45, he indicates which is the objective of the Good News and which is the mission of the community. Now, in Mk 2, 1 to 3, 6 there is the effect of the proclamation of the Good News. A community faithful to the Gospel lives values which are in contrast with the interests of the society which surrounds it. This is why one of the effects of the proclamation of the Good News, is the conflict with those who defend the interests of society. Mark gathers together five conflicts which the proclamation of the Good News brought to Jesus.
• In the year 70, the time when he wrote his Gospel, there were many conflicts in the life of the communities, but they did not always know how to behave before the accusations which they received from the Roman authorities and from the Jewish leaders. This series of five conflicts found in Mk 2, 1 to 3, 6 served as a guide to orientate the communities, those of the past as well as those of today. Because the conflict is not an incident of the road, even if it forms part of the journey.
• The following is the outline of the five conflicts which Mark presents in his Gospel:
      Texts conflict:
      1st conflict: Mk 2,1-12
      2nd conflict: Mk 2,13-17
      3rd conflict: Mk 2,18-22
      4th conflict: Mk 2,23-28
      5th conflict: Mk 3,1-6
            Adversaries of Jesus:
            The Scribes of the Pharisees
            The disciples of John and the Pharisees
            The Pharisees
            The Pharisees and the Herodians
                        Cause of the conflict:
                        Forgiveness of sins
                        To eat with sinners
                        The practice of fasting
                        Observance of Saturday
                        To cure on Saturday
• The solidarity of the friends obtains for the paralytic the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is returning to Capernaum. Many people gather before the door of the house. He accepts everybody and begins to teach them. To teach, to speak of God, was what Jesus did the most. A paralytic, carried by four persons, arrived. Jesus is their only hope. They do not doubt to go up and make an opening in the roof over the place where Jesus was. It must have been a poor house, the roof, mud covered with leaves. They lowered the stretcher with the man, before Jesus. Jesus, seeing their faith, says to the paralytic: seeing their faith, says to the paralytic: your sins are forgiven you. At that time people thought that physical defects (paralytic) were a punishment from God for any sin that had been committed. The Doctors of the Law taught that the person remained impure and therefore, incapable of getting close to God. For this reason, the sick, the poor, the paralytics, felt that they were rejected by God! But Jesus did not think this way. Such a great faith, was an evident sign of the fact that the paralytic was accepted by God. And for this reason, he declares: “Your sins are forgiven you!” With this affirmation Jesus denies that the paralysis was a punishment due to the sin of the man.
• Jesus is accused of blasphemy by those who held power. The affirmation of Jesus was contrary to the catechism of the time. It was not in accordance with the idea that they had of God. And because of this they react against and accuse Jesus: he blasphemes! According to them only God could forgive sins. And only the priest could declare someone forgiven and purified. How could it be that Jesus, a man without studies, a lay person, a simple carpenter, could declare persons forgiven and purified of their sins? And there was also another reason which pushed them to criticize Jesus. They had thought: “If it is true what Jesus says, we will lose our power! We will lose our source of income”.
• By curing, Jesus shows that he also has the power to forgive sins. Jesus perceives the criticism. This is why he asks: “Which of these is easier to say to the paralytic: Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk!? It is easier to say: “Your sins are forgiven you”. Because nobody can verify if truly the sins have been forgiven or not. But if I tell him: “Get up and walk!”, there, all can see if I have or not the power to heal. And in order to show that he had the power to forgive sins, in the name of God, Jesus says to the paralytic: Get up, take up your stretcher and go off home! He cures the man! And thus, through a miracle he taught that the paralysis of the man was not a punishment from God, and he showed that the faith of the poor is a proof that God accepts them in his love.
• The message of the miracle and the reaction of people. The paralytic gets up, he takes his stretcher, and begins to walk, and all say: “We have never seen anything like this!” This miracle reveals three very important things: a) The sicknesses of persons are not a punishment for sins. b) Jesus opens a new way to reach God. What the system called impurity was no more an obstacle for persons to get close to God. c) The face of God revealed through the attitude of Jesus was different from the severe face of God revealed by the attitude of the Doctors.
• This reminds us of what a drug addict said once he had recovered and who is now a member of a community in Curitiba, Brazil: “I grew up in the Catholic religion. I abandoned it. My parents were good practicing Catholics and wanted us, their children to be like them. People were obliged always to go to Church, every Sunday and every feast day. And when one did not go, they would say: “God will punish you”. I went because this was imposed upon me, and when I became an adult, I no longer went to Mass. I did not like the God of my parents. I could not understand that God, the Creator of the world, could extend over me, a small child, threatening me with the punishment of hell. I liked much more the God of my uncle who never went to Church, but who every day, and I repeat, every day, bought twice as much bread than what he ate, in order to give to the poor!”.

4) Personal questions
• Do you like the God of the uncle or the God of the parents of the ex drug addict?
• Which is the face of God that others discover in my behaviour?

5) Concluding prayer
What we have heard and know,
what our ancestors have told us
we shall not conceal from their descendants,
but will tell to a generation still to come:
the praises of Yahweh, his power,
the wonderful deeds he has done. (Ps 78,3-4)