Thứ Ba, 25 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 26, 2017 : WEDNESDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF EASTER

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 269

Reading 1ACTS 5:17-26
The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
"Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life."
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
"We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, 
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
"The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people." 
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 3:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 3:16-21
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.


Meditation: "God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son"
Do you know the love which surpasses the greatest joy and happiness which one could ever hope to find in this life? Greater love is manifested in the cost and sacrifice of the giver. True lovers hold nothing back but give the best that can be offered to their beloved, including all they possess, even their very lives. God proved his love for each and every one of us by giving us the best he had to offer - his only begotten Son who freely offered up his life for our sake as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sin of the world.
God loves each of us uniquely and personally  
Abraham's willing sacrifice of his only son, Isaac, prefigures the perfect offering and sacrifice of God's beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This passage in the Gospel of John tells us of the great breadth and width of God's love. Not an excluding love for just a few or for a single nation, but a redemptive love that embraces the whole world, and a personal love for each and every individual whom God has created in his own image and likeness 
(Genesis 1:26,27). God is the eternal Father of Love who cannot rest until his wandering children have returned home to him. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love. God gives us the freedom to choose whom and what we will love.
Truth, goodness, and beauty are made perfect in the love of Christ
Jesus shows us the paradox of love and judgment. We can love the darkness of sin and unbelief or we can love the light of God's truth, goodness, and beauty. If our love is guided by what is true, and good, and beautiful then we will choose for God and love him above all else. What we love shows what we prefer and value most. Do you love God above all else? Does he take first place in your life, in your thoughts, affections, and actions?
"Lord Jesus Christ, your love is better than life itself. May your love consume and transform my heart with all of its yearnings, aspirations, fears, hurts, and concerns, that I may freely desire you above all else and love all others generously for your sake and for your glory. Make me to love what you love, desire what you desire, and give generously as you have been so generous towards me".
A Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The Intensity of God's Love and Our Response, by John Chrysostom, 347-407 A.D.
"The text, 'God so loved the world,' shows such an intensity of love. For great indeed and infinite is the distance between the two. The immortal, the infinite majesty without beginning or end loved those who were but dust and ashes, who were loaded with ten thousand sins but remained ungrateful even as they constantly offended him. This is who he 'loved.' For God did not give a servant, or an angel or even an archangel 'but his only begotten Son.' And yet no one would show such anxiety even for his own child as God did for his ungrateful servants..."
"He laid down his life for us and poured forth his precious blood for our sake - even though there is nothing good in us - while we do not even pour out our money for our own sake and neglect him who died for us when he is naked and a stranger... We put gold necklaces on ourselves and even on our pets but neglect our Lord who goes about naked and passes from door to door... He gladly goes hungry so that you may be fed; naked so that he may provide you with the materials for a garment of incorruption, yet we will not even give up any of our own food or clothing for him...  These things I say continually, and I will not cease to say them, not so much because I care for the poor but because I care for your souls." (HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 27.2–3)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, JOHN 3:16-21
Easter Weekday

​(Acts 5:17-26; Psalm 34)

KEY VERSE: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (v.16).
TO KNOW: John 3:16 is often called the essence of the gospel. This text tells us that the Father sent the Son out of love for the world. Although there was judgment, there was mercy. God did not come to condemn the world but to save it (v.17). When the Pharisee Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, Jesus told him that God's love for the world was so great, that God sent the Son to save the world from sin and death. Everyone has the opportunity to respond to Jesus by acknowledging him as their Savior. Those who refuse to come into the light do so out of fear that their evil deeds might be exposed. God's verdict has already been pronounced upon those who "prefer darkness to light" (v.19). They bring condemnation upon themselves for their refusal to believe. But those who believe in God's Son should have no fear of the light. They have the indwelling Spirit to guide them so that their deeds will be done according to God's truth.
TO LOVE: Do I help enlighten those who are in the darkness of unbelief?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, banish any darkness from my soul.
www.togetherwithgodsword.com

Wednesday 26 April 2017

St Mark.
1 Peter 5:5-14. Psalms 88(89):2-3, 6-7, 16-17. Mark 16:15-20
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord — Psalms 88(89):2-3, 6-7, 16-17.
The final chapter of Mark’s Gospel recounts Jesus’ call to his disciples to go out into the world and proclaim the good news to the whole of creation. The disciples are given ‘signs’ or powers they can enact in his name to carry out his work. We are disciples too and although we don’t have ‘powers’ as such we do have gifts we can share with others that illustrate the good news. While spreading Jesus’ message to all can seem a daunting mission in our busy world, it doesn’t have to be. As they say actions speak louder than words and the actions don’t need to be big or grandiose. They can be as simple as bringing in your neighbour’s garbage bin, sbbbaying ‘hello’ to someone while waiting in the supermarket queue or visiting a relative who is often forgotten.

OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL

On the Feast of St. Mark, April 25, 1467, at the close of a festival in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud descended upon an ancient 5th-century deteriorated church, dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, the festive crowd found a small, fragile image of the Blessed Virgin and Child on a thin sheet of plaster. The painting hung in mid-air, suspended without support, floating, on a small ledge. This particular fresco is said to date to the time of the Apostles. It had long been venerated in Albania’s capital city, Scutari.
Much of the church of Our Lady of Good Counsel was destroyed in World War II, but the image remained intact and in place. The miraculous image is still today, after more than 500 years, suspended in the air by itself. Countless miracles have been attributed to the prayerful intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Many pilgrims visit the church in Genazzano, and take part in the annual spring celebration, observed on April 25. Elsewhere in the world, the feast is celebrated April 26.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 3,16-21
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Easter Time


1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you loved the world - that is us - so much
that you gave us your only Son
to save us from ourselves
and to give us eternal life.Do not condemn us, Lord,
do not leave us to ourselves
and to our little schemes
but give us your Son now to stay with us
and to make love and justice and peace
ever new realities among us,
your people reborn in your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

2) Gospel Reading - John 3,16-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus: "For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God's only Son. And the judgement is this: though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up; but whoever does the truth comes out into the light, so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God.'

3) Reflection
• John’s Gospel is like a fabric or cloth made of three different threads, but similar. The three of them are so well combined with one another that, sometimes, it is not possible to understand when one goes from one thread to the other. (a) The first thread are the facts and words of Jesus during the thirty years, preserved by the eye witnesses who kept the things which Jesus did and taught. (b) The second thread are the facts of the life of the community. Because of their faith in Jesus and convinced of his presence among them, the communities enlightened their path with the words and the gestures of Jesus. This has some incidence or impact on the description of the facts. For example, the conflict of the communities with the Pharisees at the end of the first century marks the way of describing the conflicts of Jesus with the Pharisees. (c) The comments made by the Evangelist are the third thread. In some passages it is difficult to perceive when Jesus ceases to speak and the Evangelist begins to weave his own comments. The text of today’s Gospel, for example, is a beautiful and profound reflection of the Evangelist on the action of Jesus. The people can hardly perceive the difference between when Jesus speaks and when the Evangelist does. In any case, both of them are Word of God.
• John 3, 16: God loved the world. The word world is one of those words used more frequently in the Gospel of John: 78 times! It has several meanings. In the first place world may signify the earth, the space inhabited by human beings (Jn 11, 9; 21, 25) or also the created universe (Jn 17, 5.24) World can also mean the persons who inhabit this earth, all of humanity (Jn 1, 9; 3, 16; 4, 42; 6, 14; 8, 12). It can also mean a large group, a numerous group of persons, as when we speak of “the whole world” (Jn 12, 19; 14, 27). Here, in our text the word world also has the sense of humanity, all the human beings. God so loves humanity that he gave his only Son. The one who accepts that God reaches down to us in Jesus, has already passed through death and has eternal life.
• John 3, 17-19: The true sense of judgment. The image of God which appears in the three verses is that of a Father full of tenderness and not of a severe judgment. God sends his Son not to judge and condemn the world, but in order that the world may be saved through him. The one who believes in Jesus and accepts him as the revelation of God is not judged, because he is already accepted by God. And the one who does not believe in Jesus has already been judged. He excludes himself. And the Evangelist repeats what he had already said in the Prologue: many persons do not want to accept Jesus, because his light reveals the evil which exists in them (cf. Jn 1, 5.10-11).
• John 3, 20-21: To practice truth: In every human being, there is a divine seed, a trait of the Creator. Jesus, the revelation of the Father, is a response to this deepest desire of the human being. The one, who wants to be faithful to what he has deepest in him, accepts Jesus. It is difficult to find a broader ecumenical vision than the one expressed in these three verses in the Gospel of John.
• To complete the significance of the word world in the Fourth Gospel. Other times the word world means that part of humanity opposed to Jesus and to his message. There the word world assumes the meaning of “enemies” or “opponents” (Jn 7, 4.7; 8, 23.26; 9, 39; 12, 25). This world which is contrary to the practice of the liberty of Jesus, is directed by the enemy or Satan, also called the “prince of this world” (Jn 14, 30; 16, 11). It represents the Roman Empire and, at the same time, also those responsible of the Jews who driving out the followers of Jesus from the Synagogue. This world persecutes and kills the communities causing tribulations to the faithful (Jn 16, 33). Jesus will liberate them, conquering the prince of this world (Jn 12, 31). Therefore, world means a situation of injustice, of oppression, which generates hatred and persecution against the communities of the Beloved Disciple. The persecutors are those persons who have the power, the leaders, both of the Empire and of the Synagogue. Lastly, all those who practice injustice using for this the name of God (Jn 16, 2). The hope which the Gospel gives to the persecuted communities is that Jesus is stronger than the world. This is why he says: “In the world you will have hardship, but be courageous, I have conquered the world!” (Jn 16, 33).

4) Personal questions
• God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Has this truth penetrated in the depth of your heart, of your conscience?
• The more ecumenical truth that exists is the life which God has given us and for which he has given his only Son. How do I live Ecumenism in my daily life?

5) Concluding Prayer
I will bless Yahweh at all times,
his praise continually on my lips.
I will praise Yahweh from my heart;
let the humble hear and rejoice. (Ps 34,1-2)