Chủ Nhật, 29 tháng 1, 2017

JANUARY 30, 2017 : MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 323

Reading 1HEB 11:32-40
Brothers and sisters:
What more shall I say?
I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,
of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms, 
did what was righteous, obtained the promises;
they closed the mouths of lions, put out raging fires,
escaped the devouring sword;
out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle,
and turned back foreign invaders.
Women received back their dead through resurrection.
Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance,
in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword's point;
they went about in skins of sheep or goats,
needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered about in deserts and on mountains,
in caves and in crevices in the earth.

Yet all these, though approved because of their faith,
did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us,
so that without us they should not be made perfect.

Responsorial PsalmPS 31:20, 21, 22, 23, 24
R. (25) Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, O LORD,
which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
you show in the sight of the children of men.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men;
You screen them within your abode
from the strife of tongues.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Blessed be the LORD whose wondrous mercy
he has shown me in a fortified city. 
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Once I said in my anguish,
"I am cut off from your sight";
Yet you heard the sound of my pleading
when I cried out to you.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!
The LORD keeps those who are constant,
but more than requites those who act proudly.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in 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 5:1-20
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
"What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!"
(He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!")
He asked him, "What is your name?"
He replied, "Legion is my name. There are many of us."
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
"Send us into the swine. Let us enter them."
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
"Go home to your family and announce to them 
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.


Meditation: "Tell them  how much the Lord has done for you"
Do you ever feel driven by forces beyond your strength? A man driven mad by the evil force of a legion found refuge in the one person who could set him free. A legion is no small force - but an army more than 5,000 strong! For the people of Palestine, hemmed in by occupied forces, a legion, whether spiritual or human, struck terror! Legions at their wildest committed unmentionable atrocities.Our age has also witnessed untold crimes and mass destruction at the hands of possessed rulers and their armies. 
What is more remarkable - the destructive force of this driven and possessed man - or the bended knee at Jesus' feet imploring mercy and release? God's word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. ..Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9).
Jesus took pity on the man who was overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. The destructive force of these demons is evident for all who can see as they flee and destroy a herd of swine. After Jesus freed the demoniac the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did. They feared Jesus as a result and begged him to leave them. Why would they not want Jesus to stay? Perhaps the price for such liberation from the power of evil and sin was more than they wanted to pay. Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and saving grace?
"Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe God-Man beheld, by Gregory of Nazianzus (330 - 390 AD)
"Yes, he is recognized by demons (Luke 4:33-34, Mark 1:23-24), drives out demons (Matthew 8:16, Mark 1:34), drowns deep a legion of spirits (Matthew 8:32; Mark 5:9,13; Luke 8:30,33) and sees the prince of demons falling like lightning (Luke 10:18). He is stoned, yet not hit (John 8:59; 10:31,39); he prays yet he hears prayer (Matthew 8:13; Mark 1:35). He weeps (John 11:35), yet he puts an end to weeping (Luke 7:13; 8:522; 23:28). He asks where Lazarus is (John 11:34) - he was man; yet he raises Lazarus (John 11:43-44) - he was God." (excerpt from ORATION 29, ON THE SON 20)

MONDAY, JANUARY 30, MARK 5:1-20
Weekday

(Hebrews 11:32-40; Psalm 31)

KEY VERSE: "Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you" (v 19).
TO KNOW: Jesus demonstrated the power of his word by calming the stormy sea with a simple command (Mk 4: 35-41). In the expulsion of the "unclean spirit," Jesus again showed the power of his word. In the pagan territory of the Gerasa ("Gadera" in Mt 8:28), Jesus encountered a man who was troubled in body and spirit. The demons showed their power by the superhuman strength of the man they possessed. They recognized Jesus as their enemy, and they tried to overpower him by invoking the divine name. Jesus was more powerful than the demons, and, with a word, he commanded the evil spirits to depart from the man. Jesus then sent the "legions" of demons (a pun on the Roman military) into a herd of swine, which were regarded as unclean by the Jews. The animals threw themselves into the turbulent sea. The people were seized with fear at this display of power, and they begged Jesus to leave the territory. In contrast, the healed man pleaded to be a disciple. Although Jesus usually restrained people from revealing his miraculous cures, he sent the man home to bear witness to his family.
TO LOVE: Have I witnessed to my family of God's mercy toward me?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, remove any evil that has power over my life.

Monday 30 January 2017

Mon 30th. Hebrews 11:32-40. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord—Ps 30(31):20-24. Mark 5:1-20.

Readings

‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’
Humbly aware of the capacity for good manifest in our daily lives, we would find it impossible to identify with the Gerasene man possessed by a legion of evil spirits. However, we should be willing to acknowledge that we have demons of our own—the spirit of bigotry, the spirit of selfishness, the spirit of prejudice, the spirit of greed, the spirit of lust and the spirit of hatred, to name but a few possibilities.
Our hope for healing rests with Jesus who brought health, wholeness and comfort to this afflicted man and who will gift us with his Holy Spirit.
The fruits of this Spirit, as Paul reminds us, are love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
With Jeremiah we pray, ‘Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed’ (Jeremiah 17:14).

ST. HYACINTHA OF MARISCOTTI

Born of a noble family near Viterbo (Italy,) Hyacintha entered a local convent of sisters who followed the Third Order Rule. However, she supplied herself with enough food, clothing and other goods to live a very comfortable life amid these sisters who had pledged to mortification.
At one point in her time there, a serious illness required that Hyacintha’s confessor bring Holy Communion to her room. Upon entering, he was scandalized to see how soft of a life she had provided for herself, so he advised her to live more humbly. After hearing this, Hyacintha then disposed of her fine clothes and special foods. She eventually became very penitential in food and clothing, and was ready to do the most humble work in the convent. She developed a special devotion to the sufferings of Christ and by her penances became an inspiration to the sisters in her convent. She was canonized in 1807.


LECTIO DIVINA: MARK 5,1-20
Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, January 30, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
help us to love you with all our hearts
and to love all men as you love them.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading - Mark 5, 1-20
They reached the territory of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and when he disembarked, a man with an unclean spirit at once came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain, because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, 'What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? In God's name do not torture me!' For Jesus had been saying to him, 'Come out of the man, unclean spirit.' Then he asked, 'What is your name?' He answered, 'My name is Legion, for there are many of us.' And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.
Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, 'Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.' So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned.
The men looking after them ran off and told their story in the city and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there -- the man who had had the legion in him -- properly dressed and in his full senses, and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, 'Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.' So the man went off and proceeded to proclaim in the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.

3) Reflection
• In today’s Gospel, we meditate on a long text on the expulsion of a devil which was called Legion and which oppressed and tortured a person. Today there are many people who use the texts of the Gospel which speak of the expulsion of the devils or impure spirits in order to frighten others. This is a sin! Mark does the opposite. As we will see, he associates the action of power of evil to four things: a) With the cemetery, the place of the dead. Death which kills life! b) With the pork which was considered an unclean animal. The impurity which separates from God! c) With the sea, which was considered as a symbol of the chaos which existed before creation. Chaos which destroys nature . d) with the word Legion, a name given to the army of the Roman Empire. The empire which oppresses and exploits people. Well, Jesus overcomes the power of evil in these four points. The victory of Jesus had a very great outreach for the community of the years 70’s, the time in which Mark wrote his Gospel. These communities lived being persecuted by the Roman Legions, the ideology of which manipulated the popular beliefs concerning the devils in order to frighten people and to obtain submission from them.
• The power of evil oppresses, ill-treats and alienates persons. The initial verses describe the situation of the people before the arrival of Jesus. In the way of describing the behaviour of the possessed person, Mark associates the power of evil to the cemetery and to death. It is a power without any purpose, threatening, without control and destructor which makes everybody afraid. It deprives the person of conscience, of self control and of autonomy.
• In the presence of Jesus the power of evil disintegrates itself, and breaks into fragments. In the way of describing the first contact between Jesus and the possessed man, Mark stresses the total lack of proportion that exists! The power which at the beginning seemed to be very strong, melts and is broken, fragmented before Jesus. The man falls on his knees, asks not to be expelled from that district and finally says its name is Legion. With this name, Mark associates the power of evil with the political and military power of the Roman Empire which dominated the world through its Legions. 
• The power of evil is impure and has no autonomy nor consistency. The devil has no power in its movements. He only manages to enter into the pigs with the permission of Jesus! Once he has entered into the pigs, they charged down the cliff into the sea. There were 2000! According to the people the pig was a symbol of impurity, the impurity which prevented the human being to enter into relationship with God and to feel accepted by Him. The sea was the symbol of chaos which existed before creation and which according to the belief of the time, threatened life. This episode of the pigs which threw themselves into the sea is strange and difficult to understand, but the message is sufficiently clear: before Jesus the power of evil has no autonomy nor consistency. The one who believes in Jesus has already overcome the power of evil and should not be afraid, should have no fear!
• The reaction of the people of the place. On the advice of the herdsmen who took care of the pigs, the people of the place ran to see the man who had been liberated from the power of evil, now “in his full senses”. But the Legion entered the pigs! And for this reason they ask Jesus to leave. For them, in fact, the pigs were more important than the human person who had just returned to be himself. The same thing happens today: the neo-liberal system gives very little importance to persons. What is important for it is gain!
• To announce the Good News means to announce “what the Lord has done for you!”. The man who was liberated wanted to “follow Jesus”, but Jesus tells him: “Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you”. Mark addressed this phrase of Jesus to the communities and to all of us. For the majority of us “to follow Jesus” means: “Go to your house, to your people, announce to them what the Lord has done for you!”

4) Personal questions
• Which point of this text pleased or struck you the most? Why?
• The man who was cured wanted to follow Jesus. But he should remain at home and tell everybody what Jesus has done for him. What has Jesus done for you which can be told to others?

5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh, what quantities of good things
you have in store for those who fear you,
and bestow on those who make you their refuge,
for all humanity to see. (Ps 31,19)