Thứ Ba, 28 tháng 3, 2017

MARCH 29, 2017 : WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 246

Reading 1IS 49:8-15
Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18
R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse Before The GospelJN 11:25A, 26
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

GospelJN 5:17-30
Jesus answered the Jews: 
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."


Meditation: "My Father is working still, and I am working"
Who can claim authority and power over life and death itself? Jesus not only made such a claim, he showed God's power to heal and restore people to wholeness of life. He also showed the mercy of God by releasing people from their burden of sin and guilt. He even claimed to have the power to raise the dead to life and to execute judgment on all the living and dead. The Jewish authorities were troubled with Jesus' claims and looked for a way to get rid of him. He either had to be a mad man and an imposter or who he claimed to be - God's divine son. Unfortunately, they could not accept Jesus' claim to be the Messiah, the anointed one sent by the Father to redeem his people. They sought to kill him because he claimed an authority and equality with God which they could not accept. They failed to recognize that this was God's answer to the long-awaited prayers of his people: "In a time of favor I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you" (Isaiah 49:8).
A "covenant" to the people
Jesus was sent by the Father as "a covenant to the people" to reconcile them with God and  restore to them the promise of paradise and everlasting life. Jesus' words and actions reveal God's mercy and  justice. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah when he brings healing, restoration, and forgiveness to those who accept his divine message.
The religious authorities charged Jesus as a Sabbath-breaker and a blasphemer. They wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed equality with God - something they thought no mortal could say without blaspheming. Little did they understand that Jesus was both human and divine - the eternal Son with the Father and the human son, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Jesus answered their charge of breaking the Sabbath law by demonstrating God's purpose for creation and redemption - to save and restore life. God's love and mercy never ceases for a moment. Jesus continues to show the Father's mercy by healing and restoring people, even on the Sabbath day of rest. When the religious leaders charged that Jesus was making himself equal with God, Jesus replied that he was not acting independently of God because his relationship is a close personal Father-Son relationship. He and the Father are united in heart, mind, and will. The mind of Jesus is the mind of God, and the words of Jesus are the words of God.
The unity of love and obedience
Jesus also states that his identity with the Father is based on complete trust and obedience. Jesus always did what his Father wanted him to do. His obedience was not just based on submission, but on love. He obeyed because he loved his Father. The unity between Jesus and the Father is a unity of love - a total giving of oneself for the sake of another. That is why their mutual love for each other is perfect and complete. The Son loves the Father and gives himself in total obedience to the Father's will. The Father loves the Son and shares with him all that he is and has. We are called to submit our lives to God with the same love, trust, and obedience which Jesus demonstrated for his Father.
If we wish to understand how God deals with sin and how he responds to our sinful condition, then we must look to Jesus. Jesus took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. He, who is equal in dignity and stature with the Father, became a servant for our sake to ransom us from slavery to sin. He has the power to forgive us and to restore our relationship with God because he paid the price for our sins.
Jesus offers us abundant, life, peace, and joy 
Jesus states that to accept him is life - a life of abundant peace and joy with God. But if we reject him, then we freely choose for death - an endless separation with an all-loving and merciful God. Do you want the abundant life which Jesus offers? Believe in him, the living Word of God, who became a man for our sake and our salvation, and reject whatever is false and contrary to the Gospel - the good news he came to give us.
"Lord Jesus, increase my love for you and unite my heart and will with yours, that I may only seek and desire what is pleasing to you."
A Daily Quote for LentThe wonderful exchange, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Unless the Word of God had first assumed our mortal flesh he could not have died for us. Only in that way was the immortal God able to die and to give life to mortal humans. Therefore, by this double sharing he brought about a wonderful exchange. We made death possible for him, and he made life possible for us." (excerpt from Sermon 218c,1) 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, JOHN 5:17-30
Lenten Weekday

​(Isaiah 49:8-15; Psalm 145)

KEY VERSE: "My Father is at work until now, so I am at work" (v.17).
TO KNOW: In Jesus' day, a son learned his trade by watching his father at work. Thus, Jesus learned carpentry from his earthly father Joseph. Similarly, Jesus imitated his heavenly Father's creative and redemptive work in everything he said and did. When Jesus was accused of violating the Sabbath law by healing a cripple (Jn 5:1-16), he declared that God's activity was ongoing. Jesus did not act on his own accord; he only did what the Father did. Jesus received divine power from the Father to exercise judgment and authority over life and death. Jesus' word brought healing and life to those who believed in the One who sent him, and condemnation to those who did not. At the last judgment, everyone who heard his voice and obeyed his word will be raised to eternal life.
TO LOVE: Do I reveal God's saving work by what I say and do?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to be a faithful child of your Father.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Wed 29th. St Eustace. Is 49:8-15; Jn 5:17-30.
‘Not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.’ John 5:18
In the Gospel of John, as we move towards Jerusalem, the divinity of Jesus is being revealed each step of the way. Here he heals the man who has been sick for 38 years, and he breaks the rules and does it on the sabbath. What is also being revealed is the price Jesus may have to pay for breaking the rules of the Temple priests. The more he reveals divinity, the more likely it is that he will be killed. They are locked into their human reasoning and have no spiritual freedom. Jesus is not so much breaking the sabbath as revealing divinity. Isn’t that what the sabbath is for? The tension is growing. The Gospel poses Jesus’ question to the reader: who do you say that I am? Holy Spirit, give me the freedom and courage to follow Jesus, human and divine, through the valley of death.

ST. JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA

St. Joseph of Arimathea is a disciple of Jesus Christ who is mentioned in each account of the Passion narrative. After the Passion of the Lord, Joseph, a member of the Jewish council went to Pilate and asked for possession of the body of Jesus. After receiving this permission, Joseph had Jesus laid in a nearby tomb.
The Gospels tell us that Joseph was a just and devout man waiting for the kingdom of God. He followed Jesus' public ministry but feared the repercussions from the other members of the Jewish council.



LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 5,17-30
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Lent Time 

1) OPENING PRAYER
Our God and Father,
you keep seeking us out
with love as passionate as a mother's love,
even when we have abandoned you.Give us hope and courage,
especially when we feel uncertain.
Reassure us that you want us to live
in the security of your love
and that you stay with us
through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 5, 17-30
Jesus answer to the Jews was, 'My Father still goes on working, and I am at work, too.' But that only made the Jews even more intent on killing him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he spoke of God as his own Father and so made himself God's equal.
To this Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, by himself the Son can do nothing; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he himself does, and he will show him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you.
Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses; for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father. Whoever refuses honour to the Son refuses honour to the Father who sent him.
In all truth I tell you, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to judgement such a person has passed from death to life.
In all truth I tell you, the hour is coming -- indeed it is already here -- when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and, because he is the Son of man, has granted him power to give judgement.
Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice: those who did good will come forth to life; and those who did evil will come forth to judgement. By myself I can do nothing; I can judge only as I am told to judge, and my judging is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
3) REFLECTION
• The Gospel of John is different from the other three. It reveals a more profound dimension which only faith is able to perceive in the words and gestures of Jesus. The Fathers of the Church would say that the Gospel of John is “spiritual”, it reveals what the Spirit makes one discover in the words of Jesus (cf. Jn 16, 12-13). A beautiful example of this spiritual dimension of the Gospel of John is the passage which we are going to meditate on today.
• John 5, 17-18: Jesus explains the profound meaning of the healing of the paralytic. Criticized by the Jews for having cured on Saturday, Jesus answers: “My Father still goes on working, and I am at work too!” The Jews taught that no work could be done on Saturday, because even God had rested and had not worked on the seventh day of creation (Ex 20, 8-11). Jesus affirms the contrary. He says that the Father has always worked even until now. And for this reason, Jesus also works, and even on Saturday. He imitates his Father! For Jesus the work of creation is not finished as yet. God continues to work, unceasingly, day and night, holding up the Universe and all of us. Jesus collaborates with the Father continuing the work of creation in such a way that one day all may be able to enter into the eternal rest that has been promised. The reaction of the Jews was violent. They wanted to kill him for two reasons: because he denied the sense of Saturday and for saying he was equal to God.
• John 5, 19-21: It is love which allows the creative action of God to shine and be visible. These verses reveal something of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Jesus, the Son, lives permanently attentive before the Father. What he sees the Father do, he does it also. Jesus is the reflection of the Father. He is the face of the Father! This total attention of the Son to the Father makes it possible for the love of the Father to enter totally into the Son and through the Son, carry out his action in the world. The great concern of the Father is that of overcoming death and to give life. It is a way of continuing the creative work of the Father.
• John 5, 22-23: The Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgment to the Son. What is decisive in life is the way in which we place ourselves before the Creator, because it radically depends on him. Now the Creator becomes present for us in Jesus. The plenitude of the divinity dwells in Jesus (cf. Col 1, 19). And therefore, according to the way in which we are before Jesus, we express our position before God, the Creator. What the Father wants is that we know him and honour him in the revelation which he makes of himself in Jesus.
• John 5, 24: The life of God in us through Jesus. God is life, he is creating force. Wherever he is present, there is life. He becomes present in the Word of Jesus. The one who listens to the word of Jesus as a word that comes from God has already risen. He has already received the vivifying touch which leads him beyond death. Jesus passed from death to life. The proof of this is in the healing of the paralytic.
• John 5, 25-29: The resurrection is already taking place. All of us are the dead who still have not opened ourselves to the voice of Jesus which comes from the Father. But “the hour will come” and it is now, in which the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who will listen, will live”. With the Word of Jesus which comes from the Father, the new creation begins; it is already on the way. The creative word of Jesus will reach all, even those who have already died. They will hear and will live.
• John 5, 30: Jesus is the reflection of the Father. “By myself I can do nothing; I can judge only as I am told to judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me”. This last phrase is the summary of all that has been said before. This was the idea that the community of the time of John had and diffused regarding Jesus.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• How do you imagine the relationship between Jesus and the Father?
• How do you live faith in the resurrection?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Yahweh is tenderness and pity,
slow to anger, full of faithful love.
Yahweh is generous to all,
his tenderness embraces all his creatures. (Ps 145,8-9)