Thứ Tư, 29 tháng 3, 2017

MARCH 30, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 247

Reading 1EX 32:7-14
The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"
The LORD said to Moses,
"I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
'With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth'?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people. 
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before The GospelJN 3:16
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

GospelJN 5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews: 
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me. 
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"


Meditation: The Father's witness to Jesus
Do you know the joy of the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ - and a life freely submitted to the wisdom and knowledge of God's word? Jesus' opponents refused to accept his authority to speak and act in the name of God. And they refused to believe that he was sent from the Father in heaven. They demanded evidence for his claim to be equal with God. Jesus answers their charges with the supporting evidence of witnesses. The law of Moses had laid down the principle that the unsupported evidence of one person shall not prevail against a man for any crime or wrong in connection with any offence he committed (see Deuteronomy 17:6). At least two or three witnesses were needed.
Witnesses to Jesus' true identity
Jesus begins his defense by citing John the Baptist as a witness, since John publicly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and had repeatedly borne witness to him (see John 1:19, 20, 26, 29, 35, 36). Jesus also asserts that a greater witness to his identity and equality with God the Father are the signs and miracles he performed. He cites his works, not to point to himself but to point to the power of God the Father working in and through him. He cites God the Father as his supreme witness.
Jesus asserts that the Scriptures themselves, including the first five books of Moses, point to him as the Messiah, the promised Savior. The problem with the scribes and Pharisees was that they did not believe what Moses had written. They desired the praise of their own people and since they were so focused on themselves, they became blind-sighted to God. They were so preoccupied with their own position as authorities and interpreters of the law that they became hardened and unable to understand the word of God. Their pride made them deaf to God's voice.
God reveals himself to the lowly of heart
Scripture tells us that God reveals himself to the lowly, to those who trust not in themselves but in God alone. The lowly of heart listen to God's word with an eagerness to learn and to obey. The Lord Jesus reveals to us the very mind and heart of God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he opens our ears so that we may hear his voice and he fills our hearts and minds with the love and knowledge of God. Do you believe that God's word has power to set you free from sin and ignorance and to transform you to be like him?
Saint Augustine of Hippo (430-543 A.D.) wrote:
"As Christians, our task is to make daily progress toward God. Our pilgrimage on earth is a school in which God is the only teacher, and it demands good students, not ones who play truant. In this school we learn something every day. We learn something from commandments, something from examples, and something from sacraments. These things are remedies for our wounds and materials for study."
Are you an eager student of God's word and do you listen to it with faith and obedience?
"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may listen to your word attentively and obey it joyfully."
A Daily Quote for LentChrist is our Master who teaches us, by Augustine of Hippo, 354- 430 A.D.
"There is a Master within Who teaches us. Christ is our Master, and his inspiration and his anointing teaches us. Where his inspiration and his anointing are lacking, it is in vain that words resound in our ears. As Paul the Apostle said: 'I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.' Therefore, whether we plant or whether we water by our words, we are nothing. It is God Who gives the increase; His anointing teaches you all things." (excerpt from Sermon on 1 John 3,13) 

THURSDAY, MARCH 30, JOHN 5:31-47
Lenten Weekday

(Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106)

KEY VERSE: "If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot be verified" (v.31).
TO KNOW: Jewish law prohibited persons from testifying on their own behalf. Two or three witnesses were needed to give evidence regarding any offense that may have been committed (Deut 19:15). Jesus presented four valid witnesses for the truth of his words. First, John the Baptist was a "lamp" who gave witness to the "light" that Jesus came to reveal (Jn 1:7). Second, the works that Jesus accomplished testified that God had sent him. Third, God's Word gave witness to Jesus. Nevertheless, people searched the scriptures to find life, and refused to come to Jesus who was God's life-giving word (Jn 1:1). Finally, God the Father gave the conclusive testimony. No one had ever seen the invisible God, nor heard God's voice, yet God was fully revealed in Jesus Christ, God's Son.
TO KNOW: Do I give testimony to Jesus by what I say and do?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to recognize you in your word and works all around me.


Thursday 30 March 2017

Thu 30th. St John Climacus. Ex 32:7-14; Jn 5:31-47.
‘You refuse to come to me to for life.’John 5:40
This story about Jesus healing on the sabbath continues. After the elite accuse him of blasphemy, Jesus launches into a tirade against them that runs for 28 long verses: ‘you do not believe in the one that God has sent … you have no love of God in you … you refuse to come to me for life.’ The elite are stuck in their own world, compromised by their own authority, unable to see the life and freedom that Jesus has just given the chronically sick man. Lord Jesus, I see myself as part of an elite, struggling to dare to walk with the life and freedom you offer me. I know I cannot cope with the dying of my beloved. Let me put aside my authority. At the end of the day I really know nothing. I come to you for life.


ST. JOHN CLIMACUS

St. John Climacus was born around the year 525 in Palestine. As a youth, he excelled in his studies and was highly regarded by his peers for his knowledge. At the age of 16, John decided to leave the world and retired to a hermitage near the base of Mount Sinai. For the next four years, John spent his time in prayer, fasting, meditation and discernment while preparing to take solemn vows to the religious life. Through the direction of Martyrius, John curbed his vices and worked to perfect his virtues.
After professing his solemn vows, John began to spend more of his time studying scriptures and the early fathers of the Church. He became very knowledgeable in these subjects but his humility caused him to hide his talents and not presume to share them with others. Near the end of his life, he was encouraged to share his knowledge with others and wrote the "Climax" also known as "The Ladder of Paradise." This work was a collection of sayings and examples to illustrate how to live the monastic life. From this work, he received the name Climacus, a derivative from the Latin root for climax or ladder.
As John progressed in years and wisdom, many of the religious living on Mount Sinai began to seek his advice in spiritual matters. He freely offered his advice and was highly regarded for his wisdom and holiness. Around the year 600 the abbot of all the religious in the region of Mount Sinai died and John was chosen to replace him. John ruled until his death in 605 and always tried to lead through his own example.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 5,31-47
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, March 30, 2017
Lent Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God, we know,
perhaps more in theory than in practice,
that you are with us,
that you are our God and we your people.Forgive us, Lord, when we fashion
our own gods made in our own image -
honour, power, prestige,
things to which we are attached and enslaved.
Remind us again and again
that you are our loyal God,
who made us in your own indelible image
and who shows us your perfect likeness
in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 5, 31-47
Jesus said to the Jews: "Were I to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be true; but there is another witness who speaks on my behalf, and I know that his testimony is true.
You sent messengers to John, and he gave his testimony to the truth- not that I depend on human testimony; no, it is for your salvation that I mention it. John was a lamp lit and shining and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John's: the deeds my Father has given me to perform, these same deeds of mine testify that the Father has sent me. Besides, the Father who sent me bears witness to me himself. You have never heard his voice, you have never seen his shape, and his word finds no home in you because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You pore over the scriptures, believing that in them you can find eternal life; it is these scriptures that testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me to receive life! Human glory means nothing to me. Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you. I have come in the name of my Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else should come in his own name you would accept him. How can you believe, since you look to each other for glory and are not concerned with the glory that comes from the one God?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father: you have placed your hopes on Moses, and Moses will be the one who accuses you. If you really believed him you would believe me too, since it was about me that he was writing; but if you will not believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?
3) REFLECTION
• John, interpreter of Jesus. John is a good interpreter of the words of Jesus. A good interpreter has to have a two-fold fidelity. Fidelity to the words of the one who speaks, and fidelity to the language of the one who listens. In John’s Gospel, the words of Jesus are not transmitted materially, literally; rather they are translated and transferred to the language of the people of the Christian communities of the first century in Asia Minor. For this reason, the reflections of the Gospel of John are not always easy to understand. Because in them are mixed the words of God and the words of the Evangelist himself who mirrors the language of faith of the communities of Asia Minor. The scholarly or scientific study of Jesus is not sufficient for this. It is also necessary that we have the lived experience of faith in the community. Today’s Gospel is a typical example of the spiritual and mystical depth of the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple.
• Reciprocal enlightenment between life and faith. Here it is well to repeat what John Cassian says regarding the discovery of the full and profound sense of the Psalms: “Instructed by that which we ourselves feel, let us not consider the text as something which we have only heard, but rather like something which we have experienced and which we touch with our hands; not like a strange and unheard of story, but rather like something that we bring out to light from the deepest part of our heart, as if these were sentiments which form part of our being. Let us repeat them; it is not the reading (the study) what makes us penetrate into the sense or meaning of the words, but rather our own experience which has previously been acquired in the life of every day”. (Collationes X, 11). Life enlightens the text, the text enlightens life. If, at times, the text says nothing, it is not because of lack of study or because of lack of prayer, but simply because of lack of depth in one’s own life.
• John 31-32: The value of the witness of Jesus. The witness of Jesus is true because he does not promote or exalt himself. “There is another witness who speaks on my behalf”, that is the Father. And his witness is true and deserves to be believed.
• John 5, 33-36: The value of the witness of John the Baptist and of the works of Jesus. John the Baptist also gave witness of Jesus and presents him to the people as the one sent by God who has to come to this world (cf. Jn 1, 29.33-34; 3, 28-34). For this reason, even if the witness of John the Baptist is very important, Jesus does not depend on him. He has a witness in his favour who is greater than the witness of John, and that is, the works which the Father carries out through him (Jn 14, 10-11).
• John 5, 37-38: The Father bears witness of Jesus. Previously, Jesus had said: “Whoever is from God listens to the words of God” (Jn 8, 47). The Jews who accused Jesus did not have a mind open to God. And for this reason, they do not succeed to perceive the witness of the Father which reaches them through Jesus.
• John 5, 39-41: Scripture itself gives testimony of Jesus. The Jews say that they have faith in the Scriptures, but in reality, they do not understand Scripture, because the Scripture speaks of Jesus (cf. Jn 5, 46; 12, 16.41; 20, 9).
• John 5, 42-47: The Father does not judge but entrusts his judgment to the Son. The Jews say that they are faithful to the Scripture of Moses and, because of this, they condemn Jesus. In reality, Moses and the Scripture speak about Jesus and ask to believe in him.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Life enlightens the text and the text enlightens life. Have you experienced this some times?
• Try to deepen the value of the testimony of Jesus.
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Yahweh, your kingship is a kingship for ever,
your reign lasts from age to age.
Yahweh is trustworthy in all his words,
and upright in all his deeds.
Yahweh supports all who stumble,
lifts up those who are bowed down. (Ps 145,13-14)