Thứ Hai, 24 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 25, 2017 : FEAST OF SAINT MARK, EVANGELIST

Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist
Lectionary: 555

Reading 11 PT 5:5B-14
Beloved: 
Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:

God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever. Amen.

I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever";
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. 
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The heavens proclaim your wonders, O LORD,
and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can rank with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the sons of God? 
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We proclaim Christ crucified:
he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.



Meditation: "Go and preach the Gospel to the whole creation"
In many churches in the East and West, Mark the Evangelist is honored today. Each of the four Gospel accounts gives us a portrait of Jesus, his life, teaching, mission, and his death and resurrection. Each is different in style, length, and emphasis. But they all have a common thread and purpose - the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Among the four Gospels, Mark's account is unique in many ways. It is the shortest account and seems to be the earliest. Mark the Evangelist was an associate of the apostle Peter and likely wrote his Gospel in Rome where Peter was based. Mark wrote it in Greek. It was likely written for Gentile (non-Jewish) readers in general, and for the Christians at Rome in particular. 
It is significant that Mark, as well as Luke, was chosen by the Holy Spirit to write the Gospel account even though he wasn't one of the twelve apostles. Augustine of Hippo, explains: "The Holy Spirit willed to choose for the writing of the Gospel two [Mark and Luke] who were not even from those who made up the Twelve [Apostles], so that it might not be thought that the grace of evangelization had come only to the apostles and that in them the fountain of grace had dried up" (Sermon 239.1).
All must hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ until he comes again
Mark ends his Gospel account with Jesus' last appearance to the apostles before his ascension into heaven. Jesus' departure and ascension was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus' physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus' presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time. Now as the glorified and risen Lord and Savior, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would anoint them with power on the Feast of Pentecost, just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry at the River Jordan. When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they were not left in sorrow or grief. Instead, they were filled with joy and with great anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' last words to his apostles point to his saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of his atoning death for sin and his glorious resurrection to new life for all who will believe in Jesus, God's beloved Son. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations. God's love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a nation, but it is for the whole world - for all who will accept it. The Gospel is the power of God, the power to forgive sins, to heal, to deliver from evil and oppression, and to restore life. Do you believe in the power of the Gospel?
Christ calls every believer to be his ambassador of Good News (the Gospel message)
This is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church - the people of God. All believers have been given a share in this task - to be heralds of the good news (the Gospel message) 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. Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission world-wide. Do you witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection?
“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the Gospel and the reality of your victory over the grave and gift of everlasting life.”
A Daily Quote for Easter seasonThe Gospel proclaimed to all creation, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 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 (Acts 1:8) 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' (Matthew 28:20), 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)

FEAST OF SAINT MARK, EVANGELIST
TUESDAY, APRIL 25, MARK 16:15-20

(1 Peter 5:5b-14; Psalm 89)

KEY VERSE: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" (v 15).
TO KNOW: Mark wrote what is believed to be the first Gospel, thought to be written from Rome during the persecution by Nero shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem (70 CE). Mark wrote to Gentile Christians to encourage them to endure their sufferings, and urged them to continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is believed that Mark's gospel originally ended at Mk 16:8 with the women fleeing the empty tomb in fear. But Mark's purpose in writing was complete; Jesus was raised from the dead just as he told his followers. Mark wanted to challenge his readers to preach the gospel courageously. The concluding verses (9-20) were a later summary of other events and were not in any of the early manuscripts. This "longer ending" is a picture of the tasks committed to the Church by Jesus Christ. First, the Church has a task to preach the good news of Jesus. Next, the Church has a task to bring health to the body and soul. Finally, the Church will never be left on its own to do its work. Christ works with it and in it and through it. And so the gospel ends with the message that the Christian life is filled with the power of Christ who was crucified and rose again.
TO LOVE: Risen Lord, help me to proclaim your good news everywhere I go.
TO SERVE: Is my life a "gospel" that others can read?



Tuesday 25 April 2017

Anzac Day.
Isaiah 9:1-6 / Wisdom 3:1-9. Psalms 71(72):2-4, 7-8, 12-13, 17. Ephesians 2:13-18 / 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. John 12:23-28 / John 14:23-29.
Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace for ever — Psalms 71(72):2-4, 7-8, 12-13, 17.
God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
In his novel, The Great World, David Malouf writes about two ex-servicemen, Digger and his city mate. Their wives noticed that when occasionally they met, the visits would be long. Sometimes fishing together, conversation was sparse. They were POWs together on the Burma railroad: mud, sickness, starvation, often no boats, and sharp rocks.
Digger, drowning in mud, had lost hope. The city mate, at great risk, pulled him out, and carried him to a murky creek infested with blood-sucking fish. He cleaned away the mud from Digger’s gangrenous foot and the fish did the rest. His friend was saved. In Corinthians, we hear that, for the believer, there is strength beyond any person’s ability, and this comes from the power and wisdom of the Cross of Christ. Lord, be this power and strength to all those we remember this day.


ST. MARK, THE EVANGELIST

St. Mark, the Evangelist, is the author of the second Gospel and the patron saint of notaries. He wrote the Gospel in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition says the Romans asked St. Mark to record the teachings of St. Peter about Jesus.
St. Mark is also said to have traveled with St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who was Mark's cousin, on their missionary journey through Cyprus. Mark is said to have founded the Church in Alexandria.
St. Mark is sometimes called John Mark in the New Testament. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians.



DIVINA LECTIO: ST. MARK, EVANGELIST - MK 16,15-20
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Easter Time


1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
there is much in us that obscures your word
and keeps us from being truly your Church.We pray you today:
Call us, as once you called Mark,
to speak and live your word.
Inspire us through your Spirit
and teach us to live in the hope
that your kingdom will come
and remain among us
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
now and for ever.

2) Gospel Reading - Mark 16,15-20
Jesus said to the Eleven, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.' And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven; there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel forms part of the appendix of the Gospel of Mark (Mk 16, 9-20) which presents the list of some apparitions of Jesus: to Magdalene (Mk 16, 9-11), to the two disciples who were walking out in the country (Mk 16, 12-13) and to the twelve apostles (Mk 16, 14-18). This last apparition together with the description of the Ascension into Heaven (Mk 16, 19-20) forms the Gospel for today.
• Mark 16, 14: The signs which accompany the announcement of the Good News. Jesus appears to the eleven disciples and reproaches them for not believing the persons who had seen him resurrected. They did not believe Mary Magdalene (Mk 16, 11), neither the two disciples on the road out in the country (Mk 16, 13). Several times, Mark refers to the resistance of the disciples in believing the witness of those who experienced the Resurrection of Jesus. Why does Mark insist so much on the lack of faith of the disciples? Probably, to teach two things: First, that faith in Jesus goes through faith in persons who give witness. Second, that no one should be discouraged when there is incredulity in the heart. Even the eleven disciples doubted!
• Mark 16, 15-18: The mission to announce the Good News to the whole world. After having criticized the lack of faith of the disciples, Jesus confers the mission to them: “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned”. To those who had the courage to believe in the Good News and who are baptized, Jesus promises the following signs: they will cast out devils, they will have the gift of tongues, they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed if they drink deadly poison, they will lay their hands on the sick who will recover. This happens even today:
- to cast out devils: it is to fight against the force of evil which destroys life. The life of many persons improves because they entered into the community and have begun to live the Good News of the presence of God in their life.
- to speak new tongues: it means to begin to communicate with others in a new way. Sometimes we meet a person whom we have never seen before, but it seems to us that we have known her for some time. This happens because we speak the same language, the language of love.
- deadly poison will not harm them: there are many things that poison life together, community There is much gossiping which destroys the relationship between persons. The one who lives in the presence of God does not pay attention to these things and is able not to be disturbed by this terrible poison.
- they cure the sick. Wherever there is a clearer and livelier conscience of God’s presence, there is also a special care given to the excluded and marginalized persons, especially the sick. What can help the cure is that the person feels accepted and loved.
• Mark 16, 19-20: Through the community Jesus continues his mission. Jesus himself who lives in Palestine, and accepts the poor of his time, revealing the love of the Father to them, and this same Jesus continues to be alive in our midst, in our community. Through us, he wants to continue his mission to reveal the Good News of God’s love to the poor. Even up to this time the resurrection takes place. And it impels us to sing: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ, who will separate us?” No power of this world is capable to neutralize the force that comes from faith in the Resurrection (Rm 8, 35-39). A community which wants to be a witness of the Resurrection should be a sign of life, should struggle against the forces of death, in such a way that the world may be a favourable place for life, where to believe that another world is possible. Above all, in Latin America, where the life of people is in danger because of the system of death which has been imposed, the communities should be a living proof of the hope which overcomes the world, without fear of being happy!

4) Personal questions
• How do theses signs of God’s presence take place in my life?
• Today, which are the signs of the presence of Jesus in our midst that convince persons the most?

5) Concluding Prayer
I shall sing the faithful love of Yahweh for ever,
from age to age my lips shall declare your constancy,
for you have said: love is built to last for ever,
you have fixed your constancy firm in the heavens. (Ps 89,1-2)