Thứ Sáu, 21 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 22, 2017 : SATURDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 266

Reading 1ACTS 4:13-21
Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
"What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name."

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
"Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
"The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power."
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
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.

GospelMK 16:9-15
When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, "Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."


Meditation: "Go and preach the Gospel to the whole creation"
Do you believe the Lord Jesus is truly alive and ready to make his presence known to everyone who believes in him? The first to see the risen Lord was not Peter or one of the apostles, but a woman noted for her demonized living! She had been forgiven much, and loved her Master greatly. She was first at the tomb to pay her respects. Unfortunately for the disciples, they would not believe her account of the Risen Master. Jesus had to scold his apostles because of their unbelief and stubborn hearts.
The Holy Spirit makes our faith in Jesus Christ come alive
Are you like the apostles or like Mary - slow to believe or quick to run to Jesus? Do you doubt because you do not see? The Lord makes his presence known to us through the work and power of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the gift of faith to know him personally and to understand the mystery of his death and rising. Do you believe his word and do you listen to his voice?
We are Christ's ambassadors and witnesses of his victory over sin and death 
After his appearance to his beloved apostles, Jesus commissions them to go and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel but to all the nations. This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. All believers have been given a share in this task - to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?
"Lord Jesus Christ, increase my faith and hope in the power of your resurrection. And give me joy and courage to be your witness to others and to boldly speak of what you have done to save us from sin and death."
A Daily Quote for Easter WeekThe Great Commission, by Augustine of Hippo, 430-543 A.D.
"The command to the apostles to be witnesses to him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth was not addressed exclusively to those to whom it was immediately spoken. They alone would not be the only ones who would carry such an enormous task to completion. Similarly he seems to be speaking to the apostles very personally when he says: "Behold I am with you even to the end of the world," yet who does not know that he made this promise to the universal church which will last from now even to the consummation of the world by successive births and deaths?" (excerpt from Letter 199, To Hesychius 49) 

SATURDAY, APRIL 22, MARK 16:9-15
Saturday within the Octave of Easter

(Acts 4:13-21; Psalm 118)

KEY VERSE: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (v 15).
TO KNOW: This section of Mark's Gospel (verses 9-20) is termed the "Longer Ending." It is believed that this material was added later from other traditions to complete what was thought to be an abrupt ending to Mark's gospel at the empty tomb. But Mark's purpose in writing was complete; Jesus was raised from the dead just as he told his followers. Mark's message was a warning to the Christian community to be fearless in announcing the gospel of Jesus. The longer version includes Christ's appearance to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:1-18), and to two disciples on a country road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-24). The disciples did not believe any of these witnesses, and later, when they "were at table" (v 14, Eucharist), the Lord appeared and rebuked them for their unbelief. Jesus then commissioned his followers to go into the world and proclaim the message of salvation to everyone. Mark’s ending leaves his readers to “complete” his Gospel in their lives.
TO LOVE:  Have I the courage to share the good news with those who do not believe?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, help me to believe that you are with us always.

EARTH DAY

Earth Day is observed each year by the United Nations and by people around the world acting as responsible trustees of the earth. All individuals and institutions have a mutual responsibility to act as guardians of the earth, seeking the choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, foster peaceful progress, awaken the wonder of life, and realize the best potential for the future of humanity. God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28).


Friday 21 April 2017

Easter Friday. [St Anselm].
Acts 4:1-12. Psalms 117(118):1-2, 4, 22-27. John 21:1-14.
‘Jesus came over and took bread and gave it to them.’ — John 21:1-14.
The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Today I am reminded of the creation of Michelangelo’s David. Two other sculptors were commissioned to create David before he was. It could be said that he was rejected twice before he was chosen. Then he was presented with the block of marble that had already been worked on by one of the other sculptors and since neglected for over 25 years. And yet from these humble beginnings was created what is arguably the world’s most famous sculpture.
Every year millions of people come to Florence to view this masterpiece. It gives us hope that, even as flawed as we are, great beauty can be created through us.

STS. CAIUS AND SOTER

Cauis and Soter, Popes of the early Church, are both venerated in tradition as martyrs, though no reliable account of their martyrdom survives today.
St. Soter was born in Fundi, in Italy. The date of his birth is unknown but we know that he was Pope for eight years from 166 until his death in 174.
Soter´s papacy was an example of what seems to have been the remarkable tradition of generosity exercised by the bishop of Rome. This tradition and Soter´s personal charity and paternal love for his universal flock can be evidenced from a letter to Pope Soter by Bishop St. Dionysus of Corinth, quoted in the 4th century “Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius”:
“This has been your custom from the beginning, to do good in manifold ways to all Christians, and to send contributions to the many churches in every city, in some places relieving the poverty of the needy and ministering to the Christians in the mines, by the contribution which you have sent from the beginning, preserving the ancestral custom of the Romans, true Romans as you are. Your blessed bishop Soter has not only carried on the habit but has even increased it, by administering the bounty distributed to the saints and by exhorting with his blessed words the brethren who come to Rome, as a loving father would his children." (IV, xxiii, 9- 15)
In the same letter of Dionysus we learn that Pope Soter had written a letter to the Corinthians which was read in the Church alongside the epistle of St. Clement and was held in high esteem.
Though his kindness extended to all persons, he was a fierce opponent of heresy, having been said to have written an encyclical against Montanism – the teachings of a heretical sect which believed that a Christian who had sinned gravely could never be redeemed.
Pope St. Caius reigned for 13 years from 283 until his death in 296 just before the Diocletian persecution. He was a relative of the Emperor Diocletian – instigator of one of the last great persecution of Christians in the early years of the Church. Early in his papacy Caius decreed that a man must be a priest before he could be ordained a bishop.
He is said to have been driven into hiding in the catacombs for eight years whence he died a confessor, however the source from which this information is gleaned is considered unreliable by most historians.
Both St. Soter and St. Caius are buried in the cemetery of St. Calixtus and are venerated on the date of the death of Pope St. Caius.

LECTIO DIVINA: MARK 16,9-15
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, April 22, 2017
Easter Time


1) Opening prayer
Our God and Father,
your Son Jesus lived among us,
flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood.He died for our sake
and you raised him back to life.
May we experience his love and his presence
to such an extent
that we can never stop proclaiming
what we have seen and heard,
and that people may give glory to you, our God.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - Mark 16, 9-15
Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.
After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.
Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel forms part of a broader literary unit (Mk 16, 9-20) which places us before a list or summary of diverse apparitions of Jesus: (a) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, but the disciples do not accept her testimony (Mk 16, 9-11); (b) Jesus appears to the disciples, but the others do not accept their testimony (Mk 16, 12-13); (c) Jesus appears to the eleven, he criticizes their lack of faith and orders them to announce the Good News to all (Mk 16, 14-18); (d) Jesus ascends to Heaven and continues to cooperate with the disciples (Mk 16, 19-20).
• Besides this list of apparitions in the Gospel of Mark, there are other lists of apparitions which do not always coincide among themselves. For example, the list kept by Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians is very different (1 Co 15, 3-8). This variety shows that at the beginning the Christians were not concerned to prove the Resurrection by means of the apparitions. For them faith in the Resurrection was so evident and alive that there was no need to prove it. A person who takes sun on the shore is not concerned in showing that the sun exists, because she herself, sun burnt, is the evident proof of the existence of the sun. The communities, existing in the midst of the immense Empire, were a living proof of the Resurrection. The list of the apparitions began to appear later, in the second generation in order to refute the criticism of the enemies.
• Mark 16, 9-11: Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, but the other disciples do not believe her. Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene. She goes to announce this to the others. To come into the world, God wanted to depend on the womb of a young girl 15 or 16 years old, called Mary of Nazareth (Lk 1, 38). To be recognized alive in our midst, he wants to depend on the announcement of a woman who had been liberated from seven devils, also called Mary, of Magdala! (This is why she was called Mary Magdalene). But the others did not believe her. Mark says that Jesus appeared first to Magdalene. In the list of apparitions, transmitted in the letter to the Corinthians (1 Co 15, 3-8), the apparitions of Jesus to the women are not mentioned. The first Christians had difficulty to believe in the testimony of women. It is a sin!
• Mark 16, 12-13: Jesus appears to the disciples, but the others do not believe them. Without too many details, Mark refers to an apparition of Jesus to two disciples, “while they were on their way into the country”. This is perhaps a summary of the apparition of Jesus to the disciples of Emmaus, narrated by Luke (Lk 24, 13-35). Mark insists in saying that “the others did not believe them either”.
• Mark 16, 14-15: Jesus criticizes the unbelief and orders them to announce the Good News to all creatures. For this reason, Jesus appears to the Eleven and reproaches them because they had not believed the persons who had seen him resurrected. Once again, Mark refers to the resistance of the disciples in believing to believe the testimony of those who have experienced the Resurrection of Jesus. Why? Probably to teach three things. In the first place that faith in Jesus passes through the faith in the persons who give witness. In the second place, that nobody should be discouraged, when the doubt or the unbelief arises in the heart. In the third place, in order to refute the criticism of those who said that the Christian is naïve and accepts without criticism any news, because the Eleven had great difficulty to accept the truth of the Resurrection!
• Today’s Gospel ends with the sending out: “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation!” Jesus confers to them the mission to announce the Good News to all creatures.

4) Personal questions
• Mary Magdalene, the two disciples of Emmaus and the eleven disciples: who had the greatest difficulty to believe in the Resurrection? Why? With whom do I identify myself?
• Which are the signs which can convince persons of the presence of Jesus in our midst?

5) Concluding Prayer
May God show kindness and bless us,
and make his face shine on us.
Then the earth will acknowledge your ways,
and all nations your power to save. (Ps 671-2)