Chủ Nhật, 9 tháng 4, 2017


Monday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 257

Reading 1IS 42:1-7
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust. 
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Verse Before The Gospel
Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our faults.

GospelJN 12:1-11
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages
and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.

Meditation: Extravagant love for Jesus
Do you know the love that knows no bounds? As Jesus dines with his beloved friends, Mary does something which only love can do. She took the most precious thing she had and spent it all on Jesus. Her love was not calculated but extravagant. Mary's action was motivated by one thing, and one thing only, namely, her love for Jesus and her gratitude for God’s mercy. She did something, however, a Jewish woman would never do in public. She loosed her hair and anointed Jesus with her tears. It was customary for a woman on her wedding day to bound her hair. For a married woman to loosen her hair in public was a sign of grave immodesty. Mary was oblivious to all around her, except for Jesus. She took no thought for what others would think, but what would please her Lord. In humility she stooped to anoint Jesus' feet and to dry them with her hair. How do you anoint the Lord's feet and show him your love and gratitude?
The gospel records that the whole house was filled with the perfume of the ointment. What Mary had done brought sweetness not only in the physical sense, but the spiritual sense as well. Her lovely deed shows the extravagance of love - a love that we cannot outmatch. The Lord Jesus showed us the extravagance of his love in giving the best he had by pouring out his own blood for our sake and by anointing us with his Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). Do you allow the love of Christ to rule in all your thoughts and intentions, and in all your words and deeds?
Why was Judas critical of Mary's lovely deed? Judas viewed her act as extravagant wastefulness because of greed. A person views things according to what it inside the heart and soul. Judas was an embittered man and had a warped sense of what was precious and valuable, especially to God. Jesus had put Judas in charge of their common purse, no doubt because he was gifted in financial matters. The greatest temptation we can face will often come in the area of our greatest strength or gifting. Judas used money entrusted to him for wrong and hurtful purposes. He allowed greed and personal gain to corrupt his heart and to warp his view of things. He was critical towards Mary because he imputed unworthy motives. Do you examine your heart correctly when you impute wrong or unworthy motives towards others?
"Give us, Lord, a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, a love of you. Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, dullness in prayer. Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, your tender compassion towards me. The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for: through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Prayer of Sir Thomas More, 16th century)
A Daily Quote for LentGod first loved us, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Fulfill the commandments out of love. Could anyone refuse to love our God, so abounding in mercy, so just in all His ways? Could anyone deny love to Him Who first loved us despite all our injustice and all our pride? Could anyone refuse to love God Who so loved us as to send His only Son not only to live among human beings but also to be put to death for their sake and at their own hands?." (excerpt from Catechetical Instructions 39) 

MONDAY, APRIL 10, JOHN 12:1-11

(Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27)

KEY VERSE: "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial" (v.7).
TO KNOW: After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, he joined his friends Martha and Mary for a joyful celebration in Bethany (“House of Figs”). This would be his last visit with them, for Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and his passion at Calvary. True to their unique natures, Martha helped with the serving and Mary knelt at the feet of her friend Jesus. As Jesus reclined at table, Mary anointed his feet with expensive oil (in Luke's gospel, the woman is a penitent sinner, 7:36-38). The house was filled with the fragrance of her generosity, but Judas saw this as an extravagant waste. He declared that the money could be better used for the poor. Jesus commended the woman's deed as an act of charity in preparation for his burial. While there would always be the poor, they would not always have Jesus with them.
TO LOVE: Is my devotion to the Lord reflected in my service to the poor?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, let my life be a sweet aroma to draw others to you.


Passover is probably the best known of the Jewish holidays, mostly because it ties in with the Last Supper, which was apparently a Passover seder. Passover starts at sundown on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, which typically falls in March or April. It is the first of the three major festivals with (the other two are Shavu’ot and Sukkot). Passover represents the beginning of the harvest season in Israel, but little attention is paid to this aspect of the holiday. The primary observances of Passover are related to the Exodus from Egypt after 400 years of slavery. This story is told in Exodus, Ch. 1-15. The name “Passover” refers to the fact that the angel of death “passed over” the houses of the Jews when slaying the firstborn of Egypt. In Hebrew, it is known as Pesach, which is based on the Hebrew root meaning “pass over.” 

Monday 10 April 2017

‘Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment … and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair.’ John 12:1-3
The Gospel of John challenges the followers of Jesus to forget their fears and to take their faith to a deeper level. Six days before the Passover, perhaps a week or so after raising Lazarus, Jesus goes back to his friends in Bethany to the east of Jerusalem. The walk takes nearly two hours. Mary of Bethany forgets any fears she may have had and anoints Jesus’ tired and dusty feet with the most expensive perfume. Perhaps this is also an anointing in anticipation of Jesus’ death.
The house is filled with the fragrance and extravagance of self-forgetting love. Here at the start of the passion, and all through the passion, at the cross and the resurrection, the women disciples show the way. They understand God’s language of love. Lord Jesus, I want to be in love with you. Help me to feel your love. Help me to give and receive selfless love.


St. Fulbert was a scholar and philosopher, and was also the bishop of Chartres, France. He spent much of his time as bishop rigorously defending monasticism and orthodoxy.
He was born in Italy in the 10th century and studied at Rheims, France, under the celebrated philosopher Gerbert, who later became Pope Sylvester II. Gerbert took Fulbert to Rome with him. After the Pope’s death, the bishop of Chartres made Fulbert the chancellor of the cathedral, and soon Chartres became one of the best learning centers in France.
He was eventually named bishop of Chartres in 1007 and had the cathedral rebuilt after a fire destroyed it. He died in 1029.

Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, April 10, 2017
Lent Time

1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you have called your people
to be the servant of one another
in the cause of justice and mercy.You showed us in Jesus, your Son,
what it means to serve
and how much this may cost us.
Fill us with the Spirit of Jesus,
that we too may not break those who are weak
nor repel those groping in the dark.
Let him teach us to serve and to love
with compassion for the helpless
and respect for the least and the poorest,
together with Jesus Christ our Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - John 12, 1-11
Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment.
Then Judas Iscariot -- one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him-said, 'Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?'
He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contents. So Jesus said, 'Leave her alone; let her keep it for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.'
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

3) Reflection
• We have entered into Holy Week, the week of the Passover of Jesus, of his passing from this world to the Father (Jn 13, 1). Liturgy today places before us the beginning of chapter 12 of the Gospel of John, which serves as a link between the Book of the Signs (cc 1-11) and the Book of the Glorification (cc 13-21). At the end of the “Book of Signs” there appears, very clearly the tension between Jesus and the religious authority of the time (Jn 10, 19-21.39) and the danger which Jesus was facing. Several times they had tried to kill him (Jn 10, 31; 11, 8. 53; 12, 10). So much it was like this that Jesus was obliged to lead a clandestine life, because he could be arrested at any moment (Jn 10, 40; 11, 54).
• John 12, 1-2: Jesus persecuted by the Jews, goes to Bethany. Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany to the house of his friends Martha and Mary and of Lazarus. Bethany means, House of Poverty. The police was looking for him (Jn 11, 57). They wanted to kill him (Jn 11, 50). But even now that the police was looking for Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus received him in their house and offered him something to eat. Because love overcomes fear.
• John 12, 3: Mary anoints Jesus. During the meal, Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with a pound of perfume of pure spikenard (cf. Lk 7, 36-50). It was a very costly perfume, so very expensive that it cost three hundred denarii. Then she dried his feet with her hair. The whole house was filled with the scent of the ointment. Mary does not speak during this whole episode. She only acts. The gesture filled with symbolism speaks for itself. In washing the feet, Mary becomes a servant. Jesus will repeat the gesture at the Last Supper (Jn 13, 5).
• John 12, 4-6: Reaction of Judas. Judas criticizes the gesture of Mary. He thinks that it is a waste. In fact, three hundred denarii were the wages of three hundred days! The wages of almost a whole year spent in one time alone! Judas thinks that the money should have been given to the poor. The Evangelist comments and says that Judas had no concern at all for the poor, but that he was a thief. They had a common fund and he stole the money. A strong judgment which condemns Judas. It does not condemn the concern for the poor, but the hypocrisy which uses the poor for self promotion and to enrich oneself. Judas, in his own egoistic interests, thought only about money. This is why he was not aware of what Mary kept in her heart. Jesus reads in the heart and defends Mary.
• John 12, 7-8: Jesus defends the woman, Judas thinks only of the waste and criticizes the woman. Jesus thinks of the gesture and defends the woman: “Leave her alone; so that she can keep it for the day of my burial!” And immediately Jesus says: “You have the poor with you always; you will not always have me!” Which of the two lived closer to Jesus: Judas or Mary? Judas, the disciple, lived together with Jesus for almost three years, twenty-four hours a day. He was part of the group. Mary saw him once or twice a year, on the occasion of some feast, when Jesus went to Jerusalem and visited her in her house. But to live together with, not having any love does not help us to know others. Rather it blinds people. Judas was blind. Many people live together with Jesus and praise him even with many hymns, but do not truly know him and do not reveal him (cf. Mt 7, 21). Two affirmations of Jesus merit a more detailed comment: (a) “You have the poor with you always” and (b) let her keep it for the day of my burial”.
(a) “You have the poor with you always “. Is it perhaps that Jesus wants to say that we should not be concerned about the poor, given the fact that there will always be poor? Or does he want to say that poverty is the destiny imposed by God? How is this phrase to be understood? At that time, persons knew the Old Testament by heart. It sufficed for Jesus to begin quoting a phrase of the Old Testament and persons already knew the rest. The beginning of the phrase said: “There will never cease to be poor people in the country” (Dt 15, 11ª). The rest of the phrase which people already knew and which Jesus wants to remind is the following: “And this is why I am giving you this command: always be open handed with your brother, and with anyone in your country who is in need and is poor!” (Dt 15, 11b). According to this Law, the community should accept the poor and share its goods with them. But, Judas instead of “opening his hand to help the poor” and to share his goods with them, wanted to do charity with the money of others! He wanted to sell the perfume of Mary for three hundred denarii and use it to help the poor. Jesus quotes the Law of God which taught the contrary. Anyone who, like Judas, carries out a campaign with the money of the sale of the goods of other does not disturb or trouble. But, the one who, like Jesus, insists on the obligation to accept the poor and to share with them one’s own goods, this one disturbs, troubles and runs the risk of being condemned.
(b) John 12, 9-11: The crowds and the authority. To be the friend of Jesus could be dangerous. Lazarus is in danger of death because of the new life received from Jesus. The Jews had decided to kill him. Lazarus alive was a living proof that Jesus was the Messiah. This is why the crowd was looking for him, because people wanted to experience closely the living proof of the power of Jesus. A living community runs the risk of its life because it is the living proof of the Good News of God!

4) Personal questions
• Mary was misinterpreted by Judas. Have you been misinterpreted sometimes?
• What does this text of Mary teach us? What does the reaction of Judas say to us?

5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh is my light and my salvation,
whom should I fear?
Yahweh is the fortress of my life,
whom should I dread? (Ps 27,1)