Thứ Tư, 5 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 06, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 254

Reading 1GN 17:3-9
When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
"My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God."

God also said to Abraham:
"On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages."

Responsorial PsalmPS 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before The GospelPS 95:8
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

GospelJN 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death." 
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? 
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?" 
Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word. 
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad." 
So the Jews said to him,
"You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.


Meditation: "Before Abraham was, I am"
Do you listen to Jesus' words as if your life depended on it? Jesus made a claim which only God can make - "if any one keeps my word, he will never see death." St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), explains this verse from John 8:51:
"It means nothing less than he saw another death from which he came to free us - the second death, eternal death, the death of hell, the death of the damned, which is shared with the devil and his angels! This is the real death; the other kind of death is only a passage" (Tractates on the Gospel of John 43.10-11).
When God established a relationship with Abraham, he offered him an unbreakable "everlasting covenant" (Genesis 17:7). Jesus came to fulfill that covenant so that we could know the living God and be united with him both now and for all eternity. God made us to know him and to be united with him and he gives us the gift of faith and understanding so that we may grow in the knowledge of what he has accomplished for us through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus challenged the people of Israel to accept his word as the very revelation of God himself. His claim challenged the very foundation of their belief and understanding of God. Jesus made a series of claims which are the very foundation of his life and mission. What are these claims? First, Jesus claims unique knowledge of God as the only begotten Son of the Father in heaven. Since he claims to be in direct personal communion with his Father in heaven, he knows everything about the Father. Jesus claims that the only way to full knowledge of the mind and heart of God is through himself. Jesus also claims unique obedience to God the Father. He thinks, lives and acts in the knowledge of his Father's word. To look at his life is to "see how God wishes me to live." In Jesus alone we see what God wants us to know and what he wants us to be.
When the Jewish authorities asked Jesus who do you claim to be? he answered, "before Abraham was, I am." Jesus claims to be timeless and there is only one in the universe who is timeless, namely God. Scripture tells us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus was not just a man who came, lived, died, and then rose again. He is the immortal timeless One, who always was and always will be. In Jesus we see the eternal God in visible flesh. He is God who became a man for our sake and for our salvation. His death and resurrection make it possible for us to share in his immortality. Do you believe the words of Jesus and obey them with all your heart, mind, and strength?
"Lord Jesus, let your word be on my lips and in my heart that I may walk in the freedom of your everlasting love, truth and goodness."
A Daily Quote for LentChrist died that you might live, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"For you Christ allowed Himself to be crucified, to teach you humility. He was alive, and you were dead. He died that you might live. God vanquished death so that death might not overcome human beings." (excerpt from Sermon on John 2,4;14,13) 

THURSDAY, APRIL 6, JOHN 8:51-59
​Lenten Weekday

(Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105)

KEY VERSE: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM" (v.58).
TO KNOW: Jesus said that those who were true to his words would never see death. The unbelievers scoffed, saying that all the prophets had died, and even the great father Abraham was dead. Did Jesus claim to be greater than them? Jesus answered that Abraham rejoiced that the divine promises were fulfilled in him. His enemies mocked Jesus asking if he claimed to have seen Abraham. Jesus used the divine name of God, "I AM" (egō eimi), a declaration that he existed before Abraham. His enemies were scandalized. Did Jesus claim equality with God? The penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning (Lv.24:16), but Jesus was able to evade their attempt to kill him.
TO LOVE: Do I show respect for the name of God?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to trust your promise of eternal life.
www.togetherwithgodsword.com

Thursday 6 April 2017

Thu 6th. Gn 17:3-9; Jn 8:51-59.
‘Whoever keeps my word will never see death.’ John 8:51
In this verse Jesus challenges me to hold tight to his word, without compromise, and he promises me that I will never see death. Clearly he is talking to the unbelievers among the Jews, and in this discourse he steadily ramps up the difference between their worldview and his, between light and darkness, between truth and falsehood, and between life and death. I wonder if Jesus means that I shall never see the death of love, and that death shall be shown to be a way to eternal life rather than the end of life. Dying is not death. In other words, dying is a last step on the way of life towards God’s love and eternal life. Jesus, may my dying beloved live forever.

BLESSED PIERINA MOROSINI

Pierina Morosini is the patron saint of rape victims and a martyr to chastity. She was born into a poor family of eight children in 1931 in the Diocese of Bergamo, Italy. She was trained to be a seamstress and began to work in a factory at 15 years of age.
Pierina had made a private vow to God to live a life of chastity. She taught catechism and considered religious life, but continued to live at home to help her mother care for their family. One day, as the 26-year-old Pierina returned home from work, she was attacked by a would-be rapist, however she fought against him for the purpose of protecting her chastity, and he stoned her to death for refusing to comply with him. Pope John Paul II beatified Pierina on October 4, 1987.




LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 8, 51-59
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, April 6, 2017
Lent Time

1) Opening prayer
Lord God,
in your son Jesus Christ
you have given us a new name,
the name of your Son himself.
May we live up to our new destiny,
to be people-for-others
who serve and commit ourselves
together with Jesus,
your Son and our Lord for ever.

2) Gospel Reading - John 8, 51-59
In all truth I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.
The Jews said, 'Now we know that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, "Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death." Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?'
Jesus answered: If I were to seek my own glory my glory would be worth nothing; in fact, my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, 'He is our God,' although you do not know him. But I know him, and if I were to say, 'I do not know him,' I should be a liar, as you yourselves are. But I do know him, and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.
The Jews then said, 'You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!'
Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, before Abraham ever was, I am.
At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

3) Reflection
• Chapter 8 seems an exhibition of works of art, where it is possible to admire and contemplate famous paintings, next to one another. Today’s Gospel presents us a painting, and a dialogue between Jesus and the Jews. There is not too much connection between one and the other painting. It is the spectator who, thanks to his/her attentive and prayerful observation, succeeds to discover the invisible thread that binds the paintings, the dialogues among themselves. Thus, we penetrate into the divine mystery which envelops the person of Jesus.
• John 8, 51: Whoever keeps the word of Jesus will not see death. Jesus makes a solemn affirmation; the prophets said: Oracle of the Lord! Jesus says: “Truly, I say to you!” And the solemn affirmation is the following: “Whoever keeps my word will not see death!” This same theme appears and reappears many times in the Gospel of John. These are words of a great depth.
• John 8, 52-53: Abraham and the prophets died. The reaction of the Jews is immediate: “Now we know that you are out of your mind. Abraham died and the prophets also died. And you say: “Whoever keeps my word will never see death”. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who are you claiming to be?” They did not understand the importance and significance of the affirmation of Jesus. It was a dialogue of the deaf.
• John, 8, 54-56: I am glorified by my Father. Once again and as always Jesus hits on the same key: He is so united to the Father that everything that he says or does is his. Everything is the Father’s. And he says: “The one who glorifies me is my Father, the one whom you say, ‘He is our God!” and you do not know him. But I know him. And if I were to say, ‘I do not know him’, I should be a liar, as you yourselves are. But I do know him and I observe his word. Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad”. These words of Jesus must have been like a spade which wounded the self esteem of the Jews. To tell the religious authority: “You do not know the God whom you say you know. I know him and you do not know him!” It is like accusing them of total ignorance exactly regarding the theme on which they think they are specialized doctors. And the final word increases the measure: “Abraham, your father, rejoiced in the hope of seeing my Day, he saw it and was glad”. 
• John 8, 57-59: “You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham! They took everything literally, thus showing that they did not understand anything of what Jesus was saying. And Jesus makes another solemn affirmation: "In all truth I tell you: before Abraham ever was, I AM”.
For those who believe in Jesus, here we reach the heart of the mystery of the story. Once again they pick up stones to kill Jesus. But neither this time will they succeed, because his hour has not as yet come. The one who determines the hour is Jesus himself.

4) Personal questions
• It is a dialogue with the deaf between Jesus and the Jews. Have you sometimes had the experience of speaking with a person who thinks exactly the opposite of what you think and is not aware of it?
• How can we understand this phrase: “Abraham, your father, rejoiced in the hope of seeing my Day, he saw it and was glad”?

5) Concluding Prayer
Seek Yahweh and his strength,
tirelessly seek his presence!
Remember the marvels he has done,
his wonders, the judgements he has spoken. (Ps 105,4-5)