Thứ Tư, 18 tháng 1, 2017

JANUARY 19, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 314

Reading 1HEB 7:25—8:6
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: 
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, 
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests, 
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people; 
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, 
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, 
appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

The main point of what has been said is this: 
we have such a high priest, 
who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary 
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; 
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, 
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, "See that you make everything 
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry 
as he is mediator of a better covenant, 
enacted on better promises.

Responsorial PsalmPS 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17
R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. 
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, "The LORD be glorified."
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia2 TM 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing, 
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, 
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, 
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, 
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him 
and shout, "You are the Son of God."
He warned them sternly not to make him known.


Meditation: All pressed upon Jesus to touch him
Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself to God without fear or reservation? Jesus offered freedom to everyone who sought him out. Wherever Jesus went the people came to him because they had heard about all the wonderful deeds and miracles which he performed. They were hungry for God and desired healing from their afflictions. In faith they pressed upon Jesus to touch him. As they did so power came from Jesus and they were healed. Do you seek to lay hold of Jesus' presence in your life that he may touch and heal you?
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) remarked:
"It is by faith that we touch Jesus. And far better to touch him by faith than to touch or handle him with the hands only and not by faith. It was no great thing to merely touch him manually. Even his oppressors doubtless touched him when they apprehended him, bound him, and crucified him, but by their ill-motivated touch they lost precisely what they were laying hold of. O worldwide church! It is by touching him faithfully that your 'faith has made you whole' (Isaiah 1:10-18; Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; Mark 10:52; Luke 8:48; John 20:29)." (excerpt from SERMONS, ON EASTER 148)
Why did Jesus perform so many countless miracles and signs during his earthly ministry? Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD) wrote that these signs and miracles showed that Jesus was truly God - the eternal Word who was made flesh for our salvation:
[Jesus] performed very many wonderful miracles, rebuking demons, delivering from incurable diseases whoever drew near to him, and displaying his own most divine power. He did these works so that both the Jews, who had run together to him, and those from the country of the Greeks might know that Christ was not some ordinary man of those in our degree but, on the contrary, God. He honored these chosen disciples with the dignity of the apostolate. He was the Word that was made man but retained nevertheless his own glory. "For power went forth from him and healed all." Christ did not borrow strength from some other person, but being himself God by nature, even though he had become flesh, he healed them all, by the demonstration of power over the sick. (COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 25)
Why did the demons tremble in the presence of Jesus (Mark 3:11)? They recognized that his power and authority came from heaven and not from earth. But while they confessed Christ and trembled in his presence, they did not respond in love.
When you read God's word and consider all that Jesus said and did, how do you respond? With indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with expectant faith, love, and willing obedience? Ask the Lord Jesus to draw you to himself with increasing faith, fervent love, and eager readiness to do his will.
"Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Set me free from all that hinders me from drawing closer to you."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersFaith works by love, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"The 'faith that works by love' (Galatians 5:6), is not the same faith that demons have. 'For the devils also believe and tremble' (James 2:19) but do they love? If they had not believed, they would not have said: 'You are the holy one of God' or 'You are the Son of God' (Mark 3:11-12; Luke 4:34,41). But if they had loved, they would not have said: 'What have we to do with you?' (Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28)(excerpt from Letter194, To Sixtus)

THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, MARK 3:7-12
Weekday
(Hebrews 7:25--8:6; Psalm 40)

KEY VERSE: "He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him" (v 10).
TO KNOW: After Jesus’ confrontation with the religious leaders in the synagogue, he withdrew to the area around the Sea of Galilee. There he would concentrate on the formation of his disciples. As Jesus taught and healed people, he attracted large crowds from many regions: Jerusalem in the south, Tyre and Sidon in the north, Idumea to the east, and even beyond the Jordan River to the west. Jesus was creating a new people of God made up of all peoples. When he encountered some individuals possessed by "unclean spirits" (v 11), they identified him as the "Son of God" (v 11). Ancient people believed that they could gain mastery over a spirit by naming it, and the demons made the effort to ward off God's power. Jesus silenced the demonic attempt to thwart God's plan. By naming the enemy, Jesus had power over them.
TO LOVE: Have I experienced the power of Jesus’ Name in my life?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to reach out for your healing touch.

January 18-25--WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

A world observance since 1894, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an important expression of ecumenical activity at the local level. It strengthens the cause of ecumenism by gathering ordinary Christians of different churches for common action. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is marked worldwide with prayer services, Bible studies and other activities, which bring the Christian community together. The week is celebrated each January, usually between the 18th and 25th. Rev. Paul Watson, founder of the Franciscan Society of the Atonement at Graymoor in Garrison, NY, proposed these dates in 1908, to cover the days between the feasts of St. Peter and of St. Paul. Each year, a scripture verse is selected to set the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is "Reconciliation: The Love of Christ Compels Us." (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-20). 


Thursday 19 January 2017

Thu 19th. Hebrews 7:25 – 8:6. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will—Ps 39(40):7-10, 17. Mark 3:7-12.
The hope of glory.
Moved by his growing reputation, people came from far and wide to hear Jesus preach by the lakeside and to seek healing for their physical and spiritual ailments. In a world where many of them were oppressed and marginalised, Jesus was then the source and focus of their hope, just as indeed he is for us now. As we endeavour to learn and to do God's will, Jesus is, 'a steadfast anchor of the soul'. Christian hope is both a virtue and a sustaining gift. It affirms the ultimate goal of eternal life with God and identifies a way of travelling towards it. In our prayer today we might adopt as our mantra, 'Christ in [me], the hope of glory' (Col 1:27).

ST. CANUTUS, KING OF DENMARK

Saint Canutus, King of Denmark,  succeeded his elder brother Harold on the throne of Denmark in the year 1080. He began his reign by a successful war against the enemies of the state, and by planting the faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his diadem, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings. After having provided for the peace and safety of his country, he married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Earl of Flanders, who proved herself a spouse worthy of him.
The justice of Saint Canutus as sovereign was well known. He applied himself to the reform of all internal abuses. For this purpose he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, the repression of violence and tyranny by the powerful, without respect to persons. He favored and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects made him study all possible ways to make them a happy people.
During a rebellion in his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by the rebels. He confessed his sins and received Holy Communion. Stretching out his arms before the altar, he was struck down on his knees by the enemies of his Christian reign.

LECTIO DIVINA: MARK 3,7-12
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, January 19, 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 3,7-12
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea and Transjordan and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came to him.
And he asked his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, to keep him from being crushed. For he had cured so many that all who were afflicted in any way were crowding forward to touch him.
And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, would fall down before him and shout, 'You are the Son of God!' But he warned them strongly not to make him known.

3) Reflection
• The conclusion reached at the end of this fifth conflict (Ml 2, to 3, 6), is that the Good News as it was announced by Jesus, said exactly the contrary of the teaching of the religious authority of the time. This is why, that at the end of the last conflict, it is foreseen that Jesus will not have an easy life and will be put to death. Death is already appearing in the horizon. They decide to make him die (Mk 3, 6). Without a sincere conversion it is not possible for persons to attain a correct understanding of the Good News.
• A summary of the evangelizing action of Jesus. The verses of today’s Gospel (Mk 3, 7-12) are a summary of the activity of Jesus and they stress an enormous contrast. Earlier, in Mk 2, 1 to 3,6, it was spoken only of conflicts, including the conflict of the life and death between Jesus and the civil and religious authority of Galilee (Mk 3, 1-6). And here, in the summary, we have the contrary: an immense popular movement, greater than the movement of John the Baptist, because people come not only from Galilee, but also from Judaea, from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, from Transjordan, and even from the pagan region of Tyre and Sidon to encounter Jesus! (Mk 3, 7-12). All want to see him and to touch him. The people are so numerous, that Jesus himself is concerned. There is the danger of being crushed by the multitude. This is why he asks the disciples to have a boat ready for him so that the crowd would not crush him. And from the boat he spoke to the crowds. There were especially the excluded and the marginalized who came to him with their ailments: the sick and those possessed. Those who were not accepted to live in the society of the time were accepted by Jesus. Here is the contrast: on the one side the religious and civil leaders decided to put Jesus to death (Mk 3, 6); on the other side, an immense popular movement seeking salvation in Jesus. Who will win?
• The unclean spirits and Jesus. Mark insists very much on the expulsion of the unclean spirits. The first miracle of Jesus is the expulsion of the unclean spirits (Mk 1, 25). The first impact caused by Jesus is due to the expulsion of the devil (Mk 1, 27). One of the principal causes of the clash of Jesus with the Scribes is the expulsion of the unclean spirits. (Mk 3, 22). The first power which the Apostles received when they were sent out on mission was the power to expel the demons (Mk 16, 17). What does it mean in Mark’s Gospel to drive out or expel the evil spirits?
• At the time of Mark the fear of the devil was increasing. Some religions instead of liberating the people, increased fear and anguish. One of the objectives of the Good News of Jesus is precisely to help people to liberate themselves from this fear. The coming of the Kingdom means the coming of a stronger power. Jesus is “the stronger man” who has come to conquer and overcome Satan, the power of evil, and to take way from him, to rob humanity imprisoned by fear (Mk 3, 27). This is why Mark insists very much on the victory of Jesus over the power of evil, over the devil, over Satan, sin and death. From the beginning to the end, with almost similar words, he repeats the same message: “And Jesus drove out, expelled the impure spirits!” (Mk 1, 26.27.34.39; 3, 11-12.15.22.30: 5, 1-20; 6, 7.13; 7, 25-29; 9,25-27.38; 16, 9.17). It seems almost a refrain which is repeated! Today, instead of using always the same words, we prefer to use diverse words. We would say: “The power of evil, Satan, which causes so much fear to people, Jesus overcomes him, dominates him, conquers him, threw him off the throne, drove him out or expelled him, eliminated him, annihilated him, knocked him down, destroyed him and killed him!” What Mark wants to tell us is the following: “Christians are forbidden to be afraid of Satan!” After Jesus rose from the dead, it is a mania and a lack of faith to call in cause Satan, at every moment, as if he still had any power on us. To insist on the danger of the devil in order that people may return to Church, means to ignore the Good News of the Kingdom. It is a lack of faith in the Resurrection of Jesus!

4) Personal questions
• How do you live your faith in the Resurrection of Jesus? Does it help in some way to help you overcome fear?
• To drive away or expel the devil! What do you do in order to neutralize this power in your life?

5) Concluding prayer
Joy and happiness in you to all who seek you!
Let them ceaselessly cry, 'Great is Yahweh'
who love your saving power. (Ps 40)