Thứ Năm, 19 tháng 1, 2017


Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 315

Reading 1HEB 8:6-13
Brothers and sisters:
Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant, 
enacted on better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, 
no place would have been sought for a second one.
But he finds fault with them and says:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of 
Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand to lead 
them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they did not stand by my covenant
and I ignored them, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds
and I will write them upon their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying,
"Know the Lord,"
for all shall know me, from least to greatest.
For I will forgive their evildoing
and remember their sins no more.

When he speaks of a "new" covenant, 
he declares the first one obsolete.
And what has become obsolete 
and has grown old is close to disappearing.

Responsorial PsalmPS 85:8 AND 10, 11-12, 13-14
R. (11a) Kindness and truth shall meet.
Show us, O LORD, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:13-19
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted 
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach 
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter; 
James, son of Zebedee, 
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, 
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; 
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Meditation: "Jesus appointed twelve to be with him"
What is God's call on your life? When Jesus embarked on his mission he chose twelve men for the task of preaching the kingdom of God and healing the sick in the power of that kingdom. In the choice of the twelve, we see a characteristic feature of God's work: Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, who had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.
Jesus calls you to serve him - will you say yes today and tomorrow?
When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you make your life an offering to the Lord and allow him to use you as he sees fit?
"Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude and generosity for all you have done for me. Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe renaming of Matthew by Jesus, by Bede the Venerable, 672-735 A.D.
"We must not pass over the fact that Matthew had two names, for he was also called Levi, and that name too bears witness to the grace granted to him. Levi means 'added' (or 'a joining') or 'taken up,' signifying that he was 'taken up' through being chosen by the Lord, and 'added' to the number of the apostolic band. Mark and Luke generously chose to use this name alone, so as to not make glaringly conspicuous his former way of life, for he was now their companion in the work of the Gospel (Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27). In setting down the list of the twelve apostles, they simply called him Matthew, not mentioning Levi (Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). Matthew himself, on the other hand (in accord with what is written, 'The just man is the first accuser of himself; his friend came and searched him out' - Proverbs 18:17), calls himself by his ordinary name when telling of being called from his tax-collector's place, but adds pointedly 'the publican' (Matthew 10:3) - 'Thomas,' he says, 'and Matthew the publican.' In this way he offers to publicans and sinners greater confidence in securing their salvation." (excerpt from HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 1.21)


(Hebrews 8:6-13; Psalm 85)

KEY VERSE: "He appointed twelve that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach" (v 14).
TO KNOW: In Scripture, the mountain was a special place of God's revelation (Moses, Ex 19:3; Elijah, 1 Kgs 19:8-12). Jesus went up the mountain to summon those with whom he would share his ministry. His co-workers would be "sent forth" (the meaning of the word "apostle") to preach with the power and authority of his name. These men were eye-witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 4:33). In the first covenant, there were twelve tribes that formed the foundation for the people of God (Gn 49). In the new covenant, there would be Twelve Apostles who would be signs of the newly restored twelve tribes of Israel, the Church. Peter was always first in the list. He was the foundation "rock" (Greek, Petros) upon which the Church would be built (Mt 16:18).
TO LOVE: Have I heard the Lord’s call to follow him?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me to your service.

Optional Memorial of Saint Fabian, pope and martyr

Fabian was a farmer who came to Rome on the day when a new pope was to be elected. According to Eusebius, a dove flew in and settled on his head. The gathered clergy and laity took this as a sign that Fabian had been anointed, and he was chosen Pope by acclamation. Fabian sent Saint Dionysius and other missionaries to Gaul. He condemned the heresies of Privatus. Fabian governed as bishop of Rome for 14 peaceful years until his martyrdom in the persecutions of Decius c 250. His relics are long gone, but the stone that covered his grave (which says clearly in Greek, "Fabian, bishop, martyr") is in the catacombs of Saint Callistus, Rome, Italy. 

Optional Memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr

During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing supplies and comfort. It was reported that he healed the wife of a soldier by making the Sign of the Cross over her. Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death. During the 14th century, the random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to liken the plague to being shot by an army of nature's archers. In desperation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague. 

Friday 20 January 2017

Fri 20th. St Fabian; St Sebastian; Day of penance. Hebrews 8:6-13. Kindness and truth shall meet—Ps 84(85):8, 10-14. Mark 3:13-19.
The greatest mission.
I wonder whether the Apostles realised what they were being called to. Did they care about the controversy that seemed to follow Jesus wherever he went? Or were they more impressed simply by his ability to capture the attention of so many through his preaching and miraculous deeds? Perhaps some found it exciting to be part of something new, to be able to say to their friends, 'I'm with him'. Whatever the case, later episodes would gradually reveal to them the truth of Jesus' identity and the depth and breadth of the great mission entrusted to them. What else can we be but grateful and encouraged that these men, however flawed, were given the grace to hand on what they received? May we joyfully continue to do the same.


Sebastian was the son of a wealthy Roman family. He was educated in Milan and became an officer of the imperial Roman army, and Captain of the Guard. He was a favorite of Emperor Diocletian. During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing both supplies and comfort. He is reported to have healed the wife of a fellow soldier by making the sign of the cross over her. During his time in the army he converted many soldiers and a governor.
Charged as a Christian in 288 in Rome, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. However, he survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian, where the emperor then had him beaten to death.
During the 14th century, the random nature of the blak plague caused people to say that the plague was intruduced to thier villages through being shot by natures archers. In desparation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.

Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, January 20, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
Almighty God,
ruler of all things in heaven and on earth,
listen favourably to the prayer of your people,
and grant us your peace in our day.
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 3,13-19
Jesus went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils. And so he appointed the Twelve, Simon to whom he gave the name Peter, James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the name Boanerges or 'Sons of Thunder'; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him.

3) Reflection
• The Gospel today describes the acceptance and mission of the twelve apostles. Jesus begins with two disciples to whom he adds other two (Mk 1, 16-20). Gradually, the number increased. Luke tells us that he called the 72 disciples so as to go on mission with him (Lk 10, 1).
• Mark 3, 13-15: The call for a two-fold mission. Jesus calls whom he wants and they go with him, they follow him. Then, “He appointed Twelve, to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils”. Jesus calls them for a double purpose, for a two-fold mission: (a) To be with Him, that is, to form the community of which He, Jesus, is the centre. (b) To pray and to have power to drive out devils, that is, to announce the Good News and to fight against the power of evil that ruins the life of people and alienates persons. Mark says that Jesus went up to the mountain and while he was there, he called the disciples. The call means climbing up. In the Bible to climb up the mountain recalls the mountain that Moses climbed and had the encounter with God (Ex 24, 12). Luke says that Jesus went up to the mountain, prayed all night and, the following day, he called the disciples. He prayed to God so as to know whom to choose (Lk 6, 12-13). After having called them, Jesus makes the election official and creates a more stable group of twelve persons in order to give more consistency to the mission; and also to signify the continuity of God’s project. The twelve Apostles of the New Testament are the successors of the twelve Tribes of Israel.
• Thus, the first community of the New Testament comes into being, is born, a model community, which gradually grows around Jesus during the three years of his public activity. At the beginning they are only four (Mk 1, 16-20). Shortly afterwards the community increases in the measure in which the mission is developing, extending in the towns and villages of Galilee. There is a time in which they do not even have the time to eat or to rest (Mk 3, 2). This is why Jesus was concerned about giving the disciples some rest (Mk 6, 31) and to increase the number of missionaries (Lk 10, 1). In this way, Jesus tries to maintain the two-fold objective of the call: to be with Him and to go on mission. The community which is formed in this way around Jesus has three characteristics which belong to his nature: it is a forming, missionary community, and is inserted among the poor of Galilee.
• Mark 3, 16-19: The list of names of the twelve apostles. Immediately after, Mark gives the names of the twelve: Simon to whom he gave the name of Peter; James and John the sons of Zebedee, to whom he gave the name of Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him. The majority of these names come from the Old Testament. For example, Simon is the name of one of the sons of the Patriarch Jacob (Gn 29, 33). James is the same as Jacob (Gn 25, 26). Judas is the name of the other son of Jacob (Gn 35, 23). Matthew also bore the name of Levi (Mk 2, 14), who was the other son of Jacob (Gn 35, 23). Of the twelve Apostles, seven have a name that comes from the time of the Patriarchs. Two have the name of Simon; two are called James; Two Judas; one Levi. There is only one who has a Greek name: Philip. It would be like in a family where all have names of ancient times and only one has a modern name. This reveals the desire that people have to remake history, from the beginning! It is worth while to think about the names which we give our children today. Like them, each one of us is called by God by our name.

4) Personal questions
• To be with Jesus and to go on Mission is the two-fold purpose of the Christian community. How do you assume this commitment in the community to which you belong?
• Jesus called the twelve disciples by their name. You, I, we, all of us exist because God calls us by our name. Think about this!

5) Concluding prayer
Show us, Lord, your faithful love,
grant us your saving help.
His saving help is near for those who fear him,
his glory will dwell in our land. (Ps 85,7.9)