Thứ Năm, 6 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 07, 2017 : FRIDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 255

Reading 1JER 20:10-13
I hear the whisperings of many:
"Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!"
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him."
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial PsalmPS 18:2-3A, 3BC-4, 5-6, 7
R. (see 7) In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears. 
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse Before The GospelSEE JN 6:63C, 68C
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?"
The Jews answered him,
"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God."
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'? 
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? 
If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. 
Many came to him and said,
"John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true."
And many there began to believe in him.


Meditation: "I am the Son of God"
Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? They charged him with blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God and he made himself equal with God. The law of Moses laid down the death penalty for such a crime: "He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him" (Leviticus 24:16).  As they were picking up stones to hurl at Jesus, he met their attack with three arguments. The many good works that he did, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry, demonstrated that his power and marvelous deeds obviously came from God.
I am the Son of God
Jesus then defended his right to call himself the Son of God with a quote from Psalm 82:6 ("I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you"). Jesus argued that if Scripture can speak like that of humans, why should he not speak of himself like that? Jesus then made two claims: He was consecrated by the Father for a special task and he was sent into the world to carry out his Father's mission (John 10:36). The scriptural understanding of consecration is to make holy for God - to be given over as a free-will offering and sacrifice for God.
Consecrated and sent to do the Father's works
Jesus made himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of his Father consecrating him for this mission of salvation (John 10:36). Jesus challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument. Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power for those who believe and accept it as God's word for us. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the Gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world.  Are you a doer of God's word, or a forgetful hearer only?
"Write upon my heart, O Lord, the lessons of your holy word, and grant that I may be a doer of your word, and not a forgetful hearer only."
A Daily Quote for LentThe sacrifice of Christ, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Even though the man Christ Jesus, in the form of God together with the Father with whom He is one God, accepts our sacrifice, nonetheless He has chosen in the form of a servant to be the sacrifice rather than to accept it. Therefore, He is the priest Himself Who presents the offering, and He Himself is what is offered." (excerpt from City of God, 10,20) 

FRIDAY, APRIL 7, JOHN 10:31-42
Lenten Weekday

(Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18)

KEY VERSE: "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?" (v.31).
TO KNOW: Jesus was walking in the temple precincts during the Festival of Hanukah, an eight-day commemoration of the rededication of the Second Temple. People gathered around and asked, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly" (v.24). When Jesus announced that he and the Father were one (v.30), they charged him with blasphemy for claiming to be equal to God and they tried to stone him. Jesus told them that he had spent his days healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and comforting the sorrowing, which showed that he had come from God. For which of these deeds did they want to stone him? They answered that it was not for anything he had done; it was his claim that he was the Son of God, which was blasphemy. Jesus declared that even the judges of Israel were likened to "gods" because they mediated God's justice (Ex 21:6; Ps 82:6). Jesus told his enemies that if they could not believe that he was consecrated by God and acted in the power of the divine name ("I AM"), at least they should believe in his works. At these words, they tried to arrest him, but he eluded them. Like the prophet Jeremiah, Jesus suffered rejection because of his message.
TO LOVE: Am I willing to do the work that Christ has sent me to do?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, thank you for sharing your divine life with us.

Optional Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, priest

John Baptist de la Salle founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Christian Brothers), established to support academic education for all boys, not just the nobility. John instituted the process of dividing students into grades. He established the first teacher's school, and started high schools and trade schools. When he liquidated his personal fortune, his Brothers expected him to use it to further his education goals. But he surprised them by saying that they would have to depend on Divine Providence. The money was given away to the poor in the form of bread during the great famine of 1683-84. John kept only enough to endow a salary for himself, similar to that which the Brothers received, so he wouldn't be a burden on them. He was proclaimed the patron of all teachers of youth by Pope Pius XII in 1950. 


Friday 7 April 2017

(St John Baptist de la Salle). Day of penance.

Jeremiah 20:10-13; Ps 17(18):2-7; John 10:31-42.
In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice—Ps 17(18):2-7.
Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
We savour these lines of verse 19 of Psalm 18 ‘He delivered me, because he delighted in me.’ What a wonderful message! In the gospel scene, John depicts Jesus surrounded by scurrilous paparazzi, who hunt him, ostensibly for being blasphemous! Jesus stumps them with Psalm 82: ‘I said you are gods!’ In this psalm, God speaks: ‘Give justice to the weak and fatherless, maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute, rescue the weak and needy.’ These are the signs of being sons and daughters of God.
Jesus was well-informed and ready for his critics. We need to stay informed about issues that endanger the clear message of Christ.
Whatever the issue, the criteria for being sons of God must be alive and present within the meaning of the words. Let us pray with a spirit uncluttered by controversy and filled only with the tenets of love and forgiveness.

ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE

St. John Baptist de la Salle is known for promoting and reforming Christian education, especially amongst the poor. He is also the founder of the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools, which now teaches around the world.
The French priest was one of the first pedagogues to emphasize classroom teaching in the vernacular instead of in Latin. He also founded three teachers' colleges and, in 1705, he established a reform school for boys at Dijon.
John was born in Rheims, France to a noble family of 10 children on April 30, 1651. He studied in Paris and was ordained in 1678. He died at St. Yon, Rouen on Good Friday, April 7, 1751. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1900 and named patron of teachers by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 10,31-42
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, April 7, 2017
Lent Time


1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you are a loyal God,
ever faithful to your promises.Strengthen our faith,
that with Jesus we may always keep trusting in you
in spite of prejudices, ridicule or contradiction.
Give us the firm conviction
that you are irrevocably committed to us
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - John 10, 31-42
The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many good works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?'
The Jews answered him, 'We are stoning you, not for doing a good work, but for blasphemy; though you are only a man, you claim to be God.' Jesus answered: Is it not written in your Law: I said, you are gods? So it uses the word 'gods' of those people to whom the word of God was addressed -- and scripture cannot be set aside. Yet to someone whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world you say, 'You are blaspheming' because I said, 'I am Son of God.' If I am not doing my Father's work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for certain that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.
They again wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded their clutches.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to the district where John had been baptising at first and he stayed there. Many people who came to him said, 'John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true'; and many of them believed in him.

3) Reflection
• We are close to Holy Week, during which we commemorate and update the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Beginning with the fourth week of Lent, the texts of the Gospel of every day are texts taken almost exclusively from the Gospel of John, two chapters which stress the dramatic tension between the progressive revelation, on the one side, which Jesus makes of the mystery of the Father which fills him completely, and on the other side, the progressive closing up of the Jews who always become more impenetrable to the message of Jesus. The tragic aspect of this closing up is that they claim it is in fidelity to God. They refuse Jesus in the name of God.
• This way in which John presents the conflict between Jesus and the religious authority is not only something which has taken place in the far past. It is also a mirror which reflects what happens today. In the name of God, some persons transform themselves into bombs and kill other persons. In the name of God, we, members of the three religions of the God of Abraham, Jews, Christians and Muslims, mutually condemn one another, fight among ourselves, throughout history. Ecumenism is difficult among us, and at the same time it is necessary. In the name of God, many horrible things have been committed and we continue to commit them every day. Lent is an important period of time to stop and to ask ourselves: Which is the image of God which I have within me?
• John 10, 31-33: The Jews want to stone Jesus. The Jews prepare stone to kill Jesus and Jesus asks: “I have shown you many good works from my Father, for which of these are you stoning me?” The answer: “We are stoning you, not for doing a good work, but for blasphemy; though you are only man, you claim to be God”. They want to kill Jesus because he blasphemes. The law ordered that such persons should be stoned.
• John 10, 34-36: The Bible calls all sons of God. They want to kill Jesus because he says he is God. Jesus responds in the name of the law of God itself. “Is it not perhaps written in your Law: I said you are gods? Now, if the Law has called gods those to whom the Word of God was addressed (and Scripture cannot be set aside), to those whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, and you say: You blaspheme, because I have said: I am the Son of God?”
• Strangely, Jesus says “your law”. He could have said: “our Law”. Why does he speak in this way? Here appears again the tragic division between Jews and Christians, brothers, sons of the same father Abraham, who became irreconcilable enemies to the point that the Christians say “your law”, as if it were not our law.
• John 10, 37-38: At least believe in the works. Jesus again speaks of the works that he does and which are the revelation of the Father. If I do not do the works of the Father, there is no need to believe in me. But if I do them, even if you do not believe in me, at least believe in the works I do, so that you will believe that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. These are the same words that he said at the Last Supper (Jn 14, 10-11).
• John 10, 39-42: Once again they want to kill him, but he flees from their clutches. There was no sign of conversion. They continue to say that Jesus blasphemes and insist in killing him. There is no future for Jesus. His death has been decided, but as yet his hour has not arrived. Jesus goes out and crosses the Jordan going toward the place where John had baptized. In this way he indicates the continuity of his mission with the mission of John. He helped people to become aware of how God acts in history. The people recognize in Jesus the one whom John had announced.

4) Personal questions
• The Jews condemn Jesus in the name of God, in the name of the image that they have of God. Sometimes, have I condemned someone in the name of God and then I have discovered that I was mistaken?
• Jesus calls himself “Son of God”. When in the Creed I say that Jesus is the Son of God, which is the content that I give to my profession of faith?

5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh is my rock and my fortress,
my deliverer is my God.
I take refuge in him, my rock, my shield,
my saving strength, my stronghold,
my place of refuge. (Ps 18,2)