Thứ Ba, 17 tháng 1, 2017


Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 313

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,
met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings
and blessed him.
And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything.
His name first means righteous king,
and he was also "king of Salem," that is, king of peace.
Without father, mother, or ancestry,
without beginning of days or end of life,
thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up
after the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so,
not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent
but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.
For it is testified:

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial PsalmPS 110:1, 2, 3, 4
R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

AlleluiaMT 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:1-6
Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Meditation: "Is it lawful... to save life or to kill?"
What is God's intention for the commandment, keep holy the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12)? The scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God's law. In a few penetrating words Luke records that Jesus knew their thoughts. They were filled with fury and contempt for Jesus because they put their own thoughts of right and wrong above God. They were ensnared in their own legalism because they did not understand or see the purpose of God. Jesus shows their fallacy by pointing to God's intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to save life rather than to do evil or to destroy life.
Christians have traditionally celebrated Sunday as the Lord's Day, to commemorate God's work of redemption in Jesus Christ and the new work of creation he accomplished through Christ's death and resurrection. Taking "our sabbath rest" is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us. Such "rest" however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor. If we truly love the Lord above all else, then the love of God will overflow to love of neighbor as well. Do you honor the Lord in the way you celebrate Sunday, the Lord's Day and in the way you treat you neighbor?
"Lord Jesus, in your victory over sin and death on the cross and in your resurrection you give us the assurance of sharing in the eternal rest of heaven. Transform my heart with your love that I may freely serve my neighbor for his good and find joy and refreshment in the celebration of Sunday as the Lord's Day."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe tender compassion of the Lord, by John Chrysostom, 547-407 A.D.
"Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, 'Come here.' Then he challenged the Pharisees as to whether it would be lawful to do good on the sabbath. Note the tender compassion of the Lord when he deliberately brought the man with the withered hand right into their presence (Luke 6:8). He hoped that the mere sight of the misfortune might soften them, that they might become a little less spiteful by seeing the affliction, and perhaps out of sorrow mend their own ways. But they remained callous and unfeeling. They preferred to do harm to the name of Christ than to see this poor man made whole. They betrayed their wickedness not only by their hostility to Christ, but also by their doing so with such contentiousness that they treated with disdain his mercies to others." (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 40.1)


(Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17; Psalm 119)

KEY VERSE: "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil?" (v 4).
TO KNOW: Jesus was often critical of those who used the Sabbath Laws to prevent needed ministry to others. While worshiping in the synagogue, he saw a man with a crippled hand. Jesus was just as concerned with the physical well-being of this man, as his spiritual welfare. As a cripple, the man was unable to work and his livelihood was in Jesus' hands. Knowing that the man dared not ask for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus called him to stand before the entire assembly. He asked those gathered whether it was preferable to heal on the Sabbath or to do evil by avoiding the needs of others. When no one answered him, Jesus grew angry and was grieved by their cold-heartedness. Then he healed the man with a simple command. The irate religious leaders saw no violation of the Sabbath Law when they plotted Jesus' death.
TO LOVE: Am I more concerned with keeping rules than with helping others?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to respond with your love in each circumstance.​

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Wed 18th. Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17. You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek—Ps 109(110):1-4. Mark 3:1-6.
'I will be their God and they will be my people.'
The priest Melchizedek is a shadowy mysterious figure who was a forerunner of the promise of God that was fulfilled in the priesthood of Jesus, blameless, sustained and exalted above the heavens. Jesus, when he challenged the Pharisees by healing the man with the withered hand in the Temple, set himself the task of changing their harsh interpretation of laws for a compassionate love of the poor and suffering. And, as we have become followers of Jesus and sons by adoption (Galatians 4:5), we are challenged to copy his actions and so be drawn near to God, to reflect his loving mercy to all we live with or meet, and to rejoice in the privilege of living the new covenant. Praise be to our loving God!


Saint Charles was born John Charles Marchioni in Sezze, Italy on October 19, 1613.  His family was extremely pious. They lived in a rural area and as a child Saint Charles worked as a shepherd.  Due to his lack of education, it is said he learned only the basics and could barely read and write. He joined the Franciscans as a lay brother in Naziano, where he served as a cook, porter, and gardener.
Saint Charles was known for his holiness, simplicity, and charity.  He was generous to travellers and sought out spiritual advice.  In 1656 he worked tirelessly with victims of the plague.  He also wrote several mystical works including his autobiography entitled "The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God".  Tradition states he was called to the bedside of the dying Pope Clement IX for a blessing.
Saint Charles died on January 6, 1670 in Rome of natural causes, and he is buried in Rome in the Church of Saint Francis.  He was Canonized by Pope John XXIII on April 12, 1959.

Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers,
and show us the way to your peace in the world.
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 3,1-6
Another time he went into the synagogue, and there was a man present whose hand was withered. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with. He said to the man with the withered hand, 'Get up and stand in the middle!' Then he said to them, 'Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?' But they said nothing.
Then he looked angrily round at them, grieved to find them so obstinate, and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
3) Reflection
• In today’s Gospel we meditate on the last of the five conflicts which Mark presents at the beginning of his Gospel (Mk 2, 1 to 3, 6). The four previous conflicts were provoked by the enemies of Jesus. This last one is provoked by Jesus himself and reveals the seriousness of the conflict between him and the religious authority of his time. It is a conflict of life or death. It is important to note the category of enemies which has arisen in this conflict. It is a question of the Pharisees and the Herodians, that is of the religious and the civil authority. When Mark wrote his Gospel in the year 70, many of them still remembered very well the terrible persecution of the 60’s, perpetuated by Nero against the Christian communities. In hearing that Jesus himself had been threatened to death and how he behaved in the midst of these dangerous conflicts, the Christians found a source of courage and orientation so as not to be discouraged along the journey.
• Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus enters into the Synagogue. He had the habit of participating in the celebrations of the people. A man was there who had a withered hand. A physically disabled person who could not participate fully, because he was considered to be impure. Even if he was present in the community, he was marginalized. He had to remain far away from the rest.
• The concern of the enemies of Jesus. The enemies were observing him to see if Jesus would cure on Saturday. They wanted to accuse him. The second commandment of the Law of God ordered to “sanctify the Sabbath”. It was prohibited to work on that day (Ex 20, 8-20). The Pharisees said that to cure a sick person was the same as working. And for this reason they taught: “It is prohibited to cure on the Sabbath!” They placed the law above the well-being of persons. Jesus was an uncomfortable person for them, because he placed the well-being of persons above the norms and the laws. The concern of the Pharisees and of the Herodians was not the zeal for the Law, but rather the will, the desire to accuse and get rid of Jesus.
• Get up and stand in the middle! Jesus asks two things of the physically disabled person: Get up and stand in the middle! The word “get up” is the same one which the communities of Mark also used to say “rise, resurrect”. The disabled person has to “resurrect”, to get up, to live in the middle and to take his place in the centre of the community! The marginalized, the excluded, have to live in the middle! They cannot be excluded. They must be together with the others! Jesus calls the excluded one to stand in the middle.
• The question of Jesus leaves the others without knowing what to say. Jesus asks: Is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good or to do bad? To save life or to kill? He could have asked: “On the Sabbath is it permitted to cure: yes or no?! And in this way all would have answered: “No, it is not permitted!” But Jesus changed the question. For him, in that concrete case, “to cure” was the same as “to do good” or “to save a life”, and not “to kill!” . With his question Jesus put the finger on the wound. He denounced the prohibition of curing on the Sabbath considering this to be a system of death. A wise question! The enemies remain without knowing what to answer.
• Jesus looked angrily around at them, grieved to find them so obstinate. Jesus reacts with indignation and sadness before the attitude of the Pharisees and the Herodians. He orders the man to stretch out his hand, and he cures him. By curing the disabled man, Jesus shows that he does not agree with the system which places the law above life. In response to the action of Jesus, the Pharisees and the Herodians decide to kill him. With this decision they confirm that, in fact, they are defenders of a system of death! They are not afraid to kill in order to defend the system against Jesus who attacks and criticizes it in the name of life.
4) Personal questions
• The disabled man was called to stand in the centre of the community. In our community, do the poor and the excluded have a privileged place?
• Have you already confronted yourself, sometimes, with persons such as the Herodians and the Pharisees who place the law above the well-being of persons? What did you feel at that moment? Have you agreed with them or have you criticized them?
5) Concluding prayer
Yet you are merciful to all,
and nothing that you have made disgusts you,
Lord, lover of life! (Wis 11,23-26)