Thứ Sáu, 13 tháng 1, 2017


Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 310

Reading 1HEB 4:12-16
The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 15
R. (see John 6:63c) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

AlleluiaLK 4:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:13-17
Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
"Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 
Jesus heard this and said to them,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Meditation: "Many sinners were sitting with Jesus"
What draws us to the throne of God's mercy and grace? Mark tells us that many people were drawn to Jesus, including the unwanted and the unlovable, such as the lame, the blind, and the lepers, as well as the homeless such as widows and orphans. But public sinners, like the town prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors, were also drawn to Jesus. In calling Levi, who was also named Matthew (see Matthew 9:9) to be one of his disciples, Jesus picked one of the unlikeliest of men - a tax collector who by profession was despised by the people.
Why did the religious leaders find fault with Jesus for making friends with sinners and tax collectors like Levi? The orthodox Jews had a habit of dividing everyone into two groups - those who rigidly kept the law of Moses and its minute regulations and those who did not. They latter were treated like second class citizens. The orthodox scrupulously avoided their company, refused to do business with them, refused to give or receive anything from them, refused to intermarry, and avoided any form of entertainment with them, including table fellowship. Jesus' association with sinners shocked the sensibilities of these orthodox Jews.
When the Pharisees challenged his unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus' defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn't need to visit healthy people; instead he goes to those who are sick.  Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life.The orthodox Jews were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed care. Their religion was selfish because they didn't want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. 
Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came  not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Lord fills us with his grace and mercy. And he wants us, in turn,  to seek the good of our neighbors, including the unlikeable and the trouble-maker by showing them the same kindness and mercy which we have received. Do you thank the Lord for the great kindness and mercy he has shown to you?
"Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself." (Prayer of Augustine, 4th century)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersNo physician can avoid the arena of sickness, by Gregory of Nazianzus (330 - 390 AD)
"When Jesus is attacked for mixing with sinners, and taking as his disciple a despised tax collector, one might ask: What could he possibly gain by doing so? (Luke 15:2) Only the salvation of sinners. To blame Jesus for mingling with sinners would be like blaming a physician for stooping down over suffering and putting up with vile smells in order to heal the sick." (excerpt from ORATION 45, ON HOLY EASTER 26)


(Hebrews 4:12-16; Psalm 19)

KEY VERSE: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do" (v 17).
TO KNOW: As Jesus walked along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw a man named Levi sitting at his custom post ("Matthew" in Mt 9:9). Tax-collectors (Publicans) were despised by their fellow Jews because many of them charged exorbitant profits on the collection of duties owed on goods. Furthermore, their work was viewed as collaboration with the Roman government, which occupied Israel. Nevertheless, Jesus invited Levi to follow him as a disciple, and he responded immediately. Levi in turn invited Jesus and his disciples to a banquet at his home. Some Pharisaical scribes were outraged at such an association since it was believed that table-fellowship with sinners brought about ritual impurity. Jesus declared that he had not come for the self-righteous who thought they had no sin, but for those who recognized their need for salvation. It was these humble ones that most often responded to Jesus' invitation to change their lives.
TO LOVE: Do I look down on any group in my community?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to answer your call with contrition and repentance.​

Optional Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Chapter V of the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, issued by the Holy See in December 2001, describes the Church's traditional dedication of Saturday to the Virgin Mary. "Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (218). The chapter also describes the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in Catholic devotional life, in the Liturgy, and reflections on popular devotions to Mary, her feast days, and the Rosary. 

Saturday 14 January 2017

Sat 14th. Hebrews 4:12-16. Your words, Lord, are spirit and life—Ps 18(19):8-10, 15. Mark 2:13-17.
Called from attachment.
In Caravaggio's famous painting, The Call of Matthew, the painter's masterful use of light and shadow lends great drama to the scene of Matthew sitting at the tax booth. He is depicted bent covetously over his silver pieces and wedged in by gaudily dressed acquaintances. The image is one of being entrapped by one's own comfort and attachments.
Jesus' call, shown as a dramatic pointing of the finger, brings light into the dark seediness of the room and, by way of allusion, our hearts. With the psalmist, we can say that Jesus' call is a call to spirit and life. It calls us beyond our comfort zones and helps us recognise our attachments and the way they diminish the life within us.


Originally Prince Rastko Nemanjic, he was the first Patriarch of Serbia (1219-1233) and is an important Saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In his youth (around 1192) St. Sava escaped from home to join the Orthodox monastic colony on Mount Athos and was given the name Sava. He first traveled to a Russian monastery and then moved to a Greek monastery, Vatoped. At the end of 1197 his father, King Stefan Nemanja, joined him.
In 1198 the former prince and king restored the abandoned monastery Hilandar, which was at that time the center of Serbian Christian monastic life.
St. Sava's father took the monastic vows under the name Simeon, and died in Hilandar on February 13, 1200. He is also canonized, as Saint Simeon.
After his father's death, Sava retreated to an ascetic monastery in Kareya which he built himself in 1199. He also wrote the Kareya typicon both for Hilandar and for the monastery of ascetism.
St. Sava managed to persuade the Patriarch of the Greek/Byzantine Orthodox Church to elevate him to the position of the first Serbian archbishop, thereby establishing the independence of the archbishopic of the serbian church in the year of 1219.
Saint Sava is celebrated as the founder of the independent Serbian Orthodox Church and as the patron saint of education and medicine among Serbs. Since the 1830s, Saint Sava has become the patron Saint of Serbian schools and students.
After participating in a ceremony called "blessing of the waters" he developed a cough that progressed into pneumonia. He died from pneumonia in the evening between Saturday and Sunday, January 14, 1235. He was buried at the Cathedral of the Holy Forty Martyrs in Trnovo. He remained in Trnovo until May 6, 1237, when his sacred bones were moved to the monastery Mileseva in southern Serbia. Three-hundred and sixy years later the Ottoman Turks dug out his bones and burnt them on the main square in Belgrade.
The temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade, whose construction was planned in 1939 and began in 1985 is built on the place where his holy bones were burned.

Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, January 14, 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 2,13-17
He went out again to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them. As he was walking along he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.
When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers. When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When Jesus heard this he said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'

3) Reflection
• In yesterday’s Gospel, we have seen the first conflict which arose concerning the forgiveness of sins (Mk 2, 1-12). In today’s Gospel we meditate on the second conflict which arose when Jesus sat at table with the sinners (Mk 2, 13-17). In the years 70’s, the time when Mark wrote, in the communities there was a conflict between Christians who had been converted from Paganism and those from Judaism. Those from Judaism found great difficult to enter into the house of converted Pagans and to sit with them around the same table (cf. Acts 10, 28; 11, 3). In describing how Jesus faces this conflict, Mark orientates the community to solve the problem.
• Jesus taught, and the people were happy to listen to him. Jesus goes out again to go near the sea. People arrive and he begins to teach them. He transmits the Word of God. In Mark’s Gospel, the beginning of the activity of Jesus is characterized by much teaching and much acceptance on the part of the people (Mk 1, 14.21.38-39; 2, 2.13), in spite of the conflicts with religious authority. What did Jesus teach? Jesus proclaimed the Good News of God (Mk 1, 14). He spoke about God, but he spoke in a new way, different. He spoke starting from his experience, of the experience which he himself had of God and of Life. Jesus lived in God. And surely he had touched the heart of the people who liked to listen to him (Mk 1, 22.27). God, instead of being a severe Jew who threatens from far, at a distance, with punishment and hell, becomes once again, a friendly presence, a Good News for the people.
• Jesus calls a sinner to be a disciple and invites him to eat in his house. Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector, and he, immediately, leaves everything and follows Jesus. He begins to be part of the group of the disciples. Immediately, the text says literally: While Jesus was at table in his house. Some think that in his house means the house of Levi. But the most probable translation is that it was a question of the house of Jesus. It is Jesus who invites all to eat in his house: sinners and tax collectors, together with the disciples.
• Jesus has come not for the just, but for sinners. This gesture or act of Jesus causes the religious authority to get very angry. It was forbidden to sit at table with tax collectors and sinners, because to sit at table with someone meant that he was considered a brother! Instead of speaking directly with Jesus, the Scribes of the Pharisees speak with the disciples: How is it that he eats and drinks together with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus responds: “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners! As before with the disciples (Mk 1, 38), now also, it is the conscience of his mission which helps Jesus to find the response and to indicate the way for the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus.

4) Personal questions
• Jesus calls a sinner, a tax collector, a person hated by the people, to be his disciple. Which is the message for us in this act of Jesus, of the Catholic Church?
• Jesus says that he has come to call sinners. Are there laws and customs in our Church which prevent sinners to have access to Jesus? What can we do to change these laws and these customs?

5) Concluding prayer
May the words of my mouth always find favour,
and the whispering of my heart, in your presence,
Yahweh, my rock, my redeemer. (Ps 19,14)