Thứ Tư, 19 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 20, 2017 : THURSDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

Thursday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 264

Reading 1ACTS 3:11-26
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called "Solomon's Portico."
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
"You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people. 

"Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways."

Responsorial PsalmPS 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
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.

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
"Peace be with you."
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have."
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
They gave him a piece of baked fish; 
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled."
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
"Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things."


Meditation: Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures
Aren't we like the apostles? We wont believe unless we can see with our own eyes. The Gospel accounts attest to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Jesus goes to great lengths to assure his disciples that he is no mere ghost or illusion. He shows them the marks of his crucifixion and he explains how the Scriptures foretold his death and rising.
Jerome (347-420 AD), an early church bible scholar, comments:
"As he showed them real hands and a real side, he really ate with his disciples; really walked with Cleophas; conversed with men with a real tongue; really reclined at supper; with real hands took bread, blessed and broke it, and was offering it to them... Do not put the power of the Lord on the level with the tricks of magicians, so that he may appear to have been what he was not, and may be thought to have eaten without teeth, walked without feet, broken bread without hands, spoken without a tongue, and showed a side which had no ribs." (From a letter to Pammachius against John of Jerusalem 34)
The centrality of the Gospel message is the cross - but fortunately it does not stop there. Through the cross Jesus defeated our enemies - death and Satan and won pardon for our sins. His cross is the door to heaven and the key to paradise. The way to glory is through the cross. When the disciples saw the risen Lord they disbelieved for joy! How can death lead to life, the cross to victory? Jesus shows us the way and he gives us the power to overcome sin and despair, and everything else that would stand in the way of his love and truth. Just as the first disciples were commissioned to bring the good news of salvation to all the nations, so, we, too, are called to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to all who live on the face of the earth. Do you witness the joy of the Gospel to those around you?
"Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed."
A Daily Quote for Easter WeekThe Easter Alleluia, by Augustine of Hippo, 343-430 A.D.
"We are praising God now, assembled as we are here in church; but when we go on our various ways again, it seems as if we cease to praise God. But provided we do not cease to live a good life, we shall always be praising God. You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive your intentions; for as our ears hear each others voices, so do God's ears hear our thoughts. " (excerpt from commentary on Psalm 148)

THURSDAY, APRIL 20, LUKE 24:35-48
Thursday within the Octave of Easter

(Acts 3:11-26; Psalm 8) 

KEY VERSE: "He stood in their midst and said to them, `Peace be with you'" (v 36).
TO KNOW: After the two pilgrims from Emmaus recognized Jesus "in the breaking of the bread" (v 35), they returned to Jerusalem to announce the good news of the resurrection to Jesus' fearful disciples. But they discovered that the apostles had already experienced the risen Lord. Then the disciples recounted how their hearts burned within them on their journey to Emmaus, how Jesus opened the scriptures to them, and that he was known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking, Jesus appeared in their midst and imparted peace to his distressed followers. He reassured them that he was not a ghost by showing them the wounds of the crucifixion and by sharing a meal with them. He reminded them that he had told them that he would suffer, die and rise from the dead, but their minds had been closed to the idea of a suffering Messiah. Jesus declared that everything in the scriptures had been fulfilled in him. His followers were witnesses of these events, and were commanded to proclaim a message of "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (v 47).
TO LOVE: In what ways do I bring the peace of Christ to those who are anxious and afraid?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, give me your peace when I am fearful.

Thursday 20 April 2017

Easter Thursday.
Acts 3:11-26. Psalms 8:2, 5-9. Luke 24:35-48.
‘You are witnesses of these things.’ — Luke 24:35-48.
‘Feel me and see!’
In each of these readings, Luke is endeavouring to convince pious Jews that Jesus is the fulfilment of the prophecies and that by following him they are being faithful to their calling. In the gospel reading, Jesus is saying that the way to know him is to touch him. When the disciples doubt, Jesus sits at table with them once again. He touches them and they touch him, not only metaphorically but in reality. ‘See that it is I myself.’
This is the sign, this is where we shall find him, at the table with our fellow Christians. The centre of our faith is not prophecies. Nor is it law. It is Jesus Christ, dead and risen, there in the midst of us as we eat. ‘Feel me and see.’ How prosaic, yet how touching! Tangible things and people are signs of our faith.

ST. AGNES OF MONTEPULCIANO

St. Agnes of Montepulciano was born in 13th-century Tuscany. At the age of six, Agnes began trying to convince her parents to allow her to join a convent. She was finally admitted to the Dominican convent at Montepulciano at age nine.
Agnes' reputation for holiness attracted other sisters, and she became an abbess at the unheard of age of 15. She insisted on greater austerities in the abbey. She lived on bread and water for 15 years, slept on the ground and used a stone for a pillow.
It was said that she had visions of the Virgin Mary and that in her visions angels gave her Communion. She also had a vision in which she was holding the infant Jesus. When she awoke from her trance, she she was holding the small gold crucifix the infant Jesus was wearing.
She died in 1317. Miracles have been reported at her tomb. When her body was moved to a church years after her death, it was found incorrupt.
She was canonized in 1726.

LECTIO DIVINA: LUKE 24,35-48
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, April 20, 2017
Easter Time


1) Opening prayer
Almighty God and Father,
Jesus died for us on the cross
and you raised him from the dead.We have not seen the marks of the nails in his hands
nor touched the wound in his side,
but we believe that he is alive
and present here among us.
Open our hearts to his word
and let us touch him in the bread of the eucharist,
that he may raise us above our sins
and change us into new people.
May we thus bear witness to your risen Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - Luke 24, 35-48
Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when he himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!' In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, 'Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts stirring in your hearts? See by my hands and my feet that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.' And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, as they were dumbfounded; so he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?' And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes. Then he told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, was destined to be fulfilled.'
He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.

3) Reflection
• In these days after Easter, the texts of the Gospel narrate the apparitions of Jesus. At the beginning, in the first years after the death and the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christians were concerned in defending the Resurrection through the apparitions. They themselves, the living community, were a great apparition of the Risen Jesus. But in the measure in which the criticism of the enemies against the faith in the Resurrection increased, and that internally, there arose criticism and doubts concerning diverse functions in the community (cf. 1 Co 1, 12), they began to recall the apparitions of Jesus. There are two types of apparitions: (a) those which stress the doubts and the resistance of the disciples in believing in the Resurrection, and (b) those who call the attention toward the orders of Jesus to the disciples – men and women – conferring some mission to them. The first respond to the criticism which come from outside. These show that Christians are not naïve and credulous persons who accept everything and anything, rather all the contrary. They themselves had many doubts in believing in the Resurrection. The others respond to the criticism from within and found the community functions and tasks, not on human qualities which are always debatable, but on the authority and orders received from the Risen Jesus. The apparitions of Jesus in today’s Gospel put together two different aspects: the doubts of the disciples and the mission to announce and to forgive received from Jesus.
• Luke 24, 35: The summary of the story of Emmaus. Returning to Jerusalem, the two disciples found the community together and they shared with them the experience that they had lived. They told them what had happened along the road and how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. The community gathered together, in turn, shared the apparition of Jesus to Peter. This was a reciprocal sharing of the experience of the Resurrection, as it also happens today when the communities gather together to share and celebrate their faith, their hope and their love.
• Luke 24, 36-37: The apparition of Jesus causes great fright in the disciples. At this moment, Jesus becomes present among them and says: “Peace be with you!” This is the most frequent greeting of Jesus: “Peace be with you!” (Jn 14, 27; 16, 33; 20, 19.21.26). But the disciples in seeing Jesus were frightened and did not recognize him. Before them is Jesus in person, but they think that they are seeing a ghost, a phantasm. They cannot believe it. It is not the encounter between Jesus of Nazareth and the Risen Jesus.
• Luke 24, 38-40: Jesus helps them to overcome fear and unbelief. Jesus does two things to help the disciples overcome the fear and the unbelief. He shows them his hands and his feet, saying: “It is I myself!”, and tells them to touch his body saying: “A ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have!” Jesus shows his hands and feet because in them is the sign of the nails (cf. Jn 20, 25-27). The Risen Christ is Jesus of Nazareth, the same one who was nailed on the Cross and not a phantasm Christ as the disciples imagined, when they saw him. He orders them to touch his body, because the Resurrection is the Resurrection of the whole person, body and soul. The Resurrection has nothing to do with the theory of the immortality of the soul, which the Greeks taught.
• Luke 24, 41-43: The other gesture to help them overcome unbelief. But it does not suffice! Luke said that they could not believe because their joy was so great that they became dumbfounded. Jesus asks them to give him something to eat. They offered him some fish and he eats before them, to help them to overcome the doubt.
• Luke 24, 44-47: A key for the reading to understand the new significance of the Scripture. One of the greatest difficulties of the first Christians was that of accepting the crucified as the promised Messiah, because the Law taught that a crucified person was a “person cursed by God” (Dt 21, 22-23). For this reason, it was important to know that Scripture had already announced that “Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that in his name, conversion and forgiveness of sins would be preached to all peoples”. Jesus shows them that which had already been written in the Law of Moses, in the prophets and in the Psalms. Jesus risen from the dead, alive in their midst, becomes the key to open to them the total significance of Sacred Scripture.
• Luke 24, 48: You are witnesses of this. In this last order is enclosed the whole mission of the Christian communities: to be witnesses of the Resurrection, in such a way that the love of God which accepts us and forgives us will be manifested, and which wants us to live in community as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters with one another.

4) Personal questions
• Some times, unbelief and doubt set in the heart and weaken the certainty that faith gives us concerning the presence of God in our life. Have you ever lived this some times? How have you overcome it?
• Our mission, and also my mission, is that of being a witness of the love of God revealed in Jesus. Am I a witness of this love?

5) Concluding Prayer
What are human beings
that you spare a thought for them,
or the child of Adam that you care for him? (Ps 8,4)