Thứ Ba, 18 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 19, 2017 : WEDNESDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 263

Reading 1ACTS 3:1-10
Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o'clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate" every day 
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, "Look at us."
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you: 
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk."
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial PsalmPS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
R. (3b) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
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. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
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. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaPS 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus' disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, 
"What are you discussing as you walk along?"
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?"
And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"
They said to him, 
"The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning 
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?"
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
"The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.


Meditation: "Did not our hearts burn while he opened to us the Scriptures"
Why was it difficult for the disciples to recognize the risen Lord? Jesus' death scattered his disciples and shattered their hopes and dreams. They had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. They saw the cross as defeat and could not comprehend the empty tomb until the Lord Jesus appeared to them and gave them understanding. 
Do you doubt the good news that Jesus rose to give you new life?
Jesus chided the disciples on the road to Emmaus for their slowness of heart to believe what the Scriptures had said concerning the Messiah. They did not recognize the risen Jesus until he had broken bread with them. Do you recognize the Lord in his word and in the breaking of the bread?
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) reflects on the dimness of their perception:
"They were so disturbed when they saw him hanging on the cross that they forgot his teaching, did not look for his resurrection, and failed to keep his promises in mind" (Sermon 235.1).
"Their eyes were obstructed, that they should not recognize him until the breaking of the bread. And thus, in accordance with the state of their minds, which was still ignorant of the truth - that the Christ would die and rise again, their eyes were similarly hindered. It was not that the truth himself was misleading them, but rather that they were themselves unable to perceive the truth." (From The Harmony of the Gospels, 3.25.72)
How often do we fail to recognize the Lord when he speaks to our hearts and opens his mind to us? The Risen Lord is ever ready to speak his word to us and to give us understanding of his ways. Do you listen attentively to the Word of God and allow his word to change and transform you?
"Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart to recognize your presence with me and to understand the truth of your saving word. Nourish me with your life-giving word and with the bread of life."
A Daily Quote for Easter weekThe Easter Alleluia, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Now therefore, brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say Alleluia. You say to your neighbor, "Praise the Lord!" and he says the same to you. We are all urging one another to praise the Lord, and all thereby doing what each of us urges the other to do. But see that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your actions." (excerpt from commentary on Psalm 148)

 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, LUKE 24:13-35
Wednesday within the Octave of Easter

(Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 105)

KEY VERSE: "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" (v 32).
TO KNOW: On their way home from their pilgrimage for the Feast of Passover, two disciples discussed the meaning of the events that they witnessed in Jerusalem (Only Cleopas is named. Is the other disciple you?). As they walked along, the Risen Christ appeared to them. But they did not recognize him and mistook him for another pilgrim. They told the "stranger" that Jesus was a mighty "prophet" (v 19). Jesus then opened the scriptures and explained to them God's plan as revealed in the Law and the Prophets. Although they had lost hope that Jesus was the expected Messiah, the "one to redeem Israel" (v 21), Jesus told them that it was "necessary" that he should suffer so as to enter glory (v 26). At nightfall, the disciples urged him to stay and share a meal with them. At first their eyes were closed to Jesus' identity, but they recognized him at table "in the breaking of the bread" (v 35). Although Jesus vanished from sight, he continues to be present to us in the breaking of the word in the scriptures and the breaking of the bread in the Eucharist.
TO LOVE: Do I recognize the risen Lord's presence in Word and Sacrament of the Mass?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, open my eyes so that I will know that you are beside me on my journey.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Easter Wednesday.
Acts 3:1-10. Psalms 104(105):1-4, 6-9. Luke 24:13-35.
‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?’ – Luke 24:13-35.
Their eyes were opened and they recognised him.
Perhaps today we can recall our own Emmaus story of conversion or transformation, a moment when we saw more clearly, a time when things changed for us. Let us ponder these events today and seek, too, to assist others to recognise their experiences of personal growth. These moments can be signs—miracles—in our lives, times when we see what was already there—the Spirit moving us forward.
Can we too be promoters of this Spirit within for others as Peter was when he helped the beggar at the Temple gates to walk? Let us seek out ways we can empower others through our encouragement and through helping them recognise their own transformative moments. Lord, help us also to recognise our own ‘Emmaus moments’.

BLESSED JAMES OLDO

James Oldo experienced a radical conversion that led him to become a Franciscan tertiary, and later a priest.
He was born in 1364 into a rich family in Lodi, Italy. He married at a young age, and he and his wife both led a very self-indulgent lifesyle. One day, a traveling reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre came to thier town. As a joke, James lay down on it to compare his height to Christ's.
As soon as he laid down on it, he was instantly converted, and became a tertiary soon after.
At first, his mother and wife were opposed to the change they saw in him, but soon they grew attracted to his new ways and became tertiaries as well. The family turned their mansion into a chapel and worked with the sick and with prisoners.
When James’ wife died, he became a priest. His acts of penance were so severe that his bishop had to order him to eat at least three times a week. He was a celebrated preacher, who inspired many to enter the religious life. He also prophesied wars and his own death. He died at the age of 40 in 1404. When his body was moved seven years after his death, it was found incorrupt.

LECTIO DIVINA: LUKE 24,13-35
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Easter Time


1) Opening prayer
God our Father,
you are a God not of the dead
nor of those paralyzed by their fears and limitations
but the God of the living.Raise us up and make us walk forward
in joy and hope
as companions on the road
of him whom you raised from the dead,
Jesus Christ, our risen Lord for ever.

2) Gospel Reading - Luke 24, 13-35
That very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened.
And it happened that as they were talking together and discussing it, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but their eyes were prevented from recognising him. He said to them, 'What are all these things that you are discussing as you walk along?' They stopped, their faces downcast. Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, 'You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.' He asked, 'What things?' They answered, 'All about Jesus of Nazareth, who showed himself a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have now gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they could not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.'
Then he said to them, 'You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?' Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them saying, 'It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over.' So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, 'Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?'
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, 'The Lord has indeed risen and has appeared to Simon.' Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel speaks to us of a very well know episode, that of the apparition of Jesus to the Disciples of Emmaus. Luke writes in the year 80 for the communities of Greece which in their great majority were formed by converted pagans. The years 60’s and 70’s had been the most difficult ones. There had been the great persecution of Nero in the year 64. Six years later, in the year 70, Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the Romans. In the year 72, in Masada, in the desert of Judah, there was the massacre of the last rebellious Jews. In those years, the Apostles, witnesses of the Resurrection, disappeared gradually. People began to feel tired on the journey. From where could they draw the courage so as not to get discouraged? How to discover the presence of Jesus in such a difficult situation? The story of the apparition of Jesus to the Disciples of Emmaus tries to give a response to all these anguishing questions. Luke wants to teach the communities how to interpret Scripture in order to be able to rediscover the presence of Jesus in life.
• Luke 24, 13-24: 1st Step: to get away from reality. Jesus meets the two friends in a situation of fear and of lack of faith. The force of death, the cross, had killed in them their hope. This was the situation of many people at the time of Luke, and is also the situation of many persons today. Jesus gets close to them and walks by their side; he listens to their conversation and asks: “What are all these things that you are discussing as you walk along?” The dominating ideology, that is, the propaganda of the government and of the official religion of the time, prevent them from seeing. “Our hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free”. Which is today the conversation of people who suffer? The first step is this one: get close to the persons, listen to their reality, feel their problems: be capable to ask questions which will help the persons to look at reality with a more critical look.
• Luke 24, 25-27: 2nd step: use the Bible to enlighten life. Jesus uses the Bible and the history of people to enlighten the problem which made the two friends suffer, and to clarify the situation which they are living. He also uses it to place them in the whole project of God which came from Moses and the prophets. Thus, he indicates that history had not escaped from God’s hand. Jesus uses the Bible not as a doctor who knows everything, but rather like a companion who comes to help the friends and to remind them what they had forgotten. Jesus does not set off to the disciples the complex of ignorance, but tries to awaken their memory: “Foolish and slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?”
This is the second step: With the Bible help persons to discover the wisdom which already exists in them, and transform the cross, a sign of death, into a sign of life and of hope. What prevented them from walking, now becomes for them force and light on the journey. How can we do this today?
Luke 24, 28-32: 3rd step: to share in community. The Bible, in itself, does not open the eyes. It only makes their heart burn, what opens the eyes and makes them see, is the breaking of the bread, the community gesture of sharing, and the celebration of the Supper. In the moment in which both recognize Jesus, they are born anew and Jesus disappears. Jesus does not take possession of the road of his friends. He is not paternalistic. Risen, the disciples are capable to walk alone.
The third step is the following: to know how to create a fraternal environment of faith, of celebration and of sharing, where the Holy Spirit can act. It is he who makes us discover and experience the Word of God in life and which leads us to understand the sense of the words of Jesus (Jn 14, 26; 16, 13).
• Luke 24, 33-35: 4th step: The result: To resurrect means to go back to Jerusalem. The two of them, courageously, get back on the road to go to Jerusalem, where the same forces of death, which had killed Jesus and, had killed their hope, continue to be active. But, now everything has changed. If Jesus is alive, then there is in him and with him a stronger power than that which killed him. This experience makes them resurrect! Truly, everything has changed. There is the return and not the flight! Faith and not unbelief! Hope and not despair! Critical conscience and not fatalism in the face of power! Liberty and not oppression! In one word: life and not death! Instead of the bad news of the death of Jesus, the Good News of his Resurrection! Both of them experience life and life in abundance! (Jn 10, 10). This is a sign that the Spirit of Jesus acts in them!

4) Personal questions
• Both of them say: “We were hoping, but…!” Have you ever seen a situation of discouragement which has led you to say: “I was hoping, but…!”?
• How do you read, use and interpret the Bible? Have you ever felt your heart burning when reading and meditating on the Word of Gold? Do you read the Bible alone or are you part of a Bible group?

5) Concluding Prayer
Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name,
proclaim his deeds to the peoples!
Sing to him, make music for him,
recount all his wonders! (Ps 105,1-2)