Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 29, 2017 : MEMORIAL OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, VIRGIN AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 272

Reading 1ACTS 6:1-7
As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows 
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
"It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word."
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ is risen, who made all things;
he has shown mercy on all people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:16-21
When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.


Meditation: Jesus said: "It is I - do not be afraid"
Does the Lord Jesus ever seem distant to you? When John recounted the scene of the apostles being alone at sea in a storm he described the situation as "dark" (John 6:17). It was dark not only physically but spiritually as well. Although they were experienced fishermen, they were fearful for their lives. The Lord's sudden presence - and his supernatural ability to walk towards them on top of the rough waves of the sea - only made them more fearful! John says they were frightened. And Jesus had to calm them with a reassuring command: "Do not be afraid because I am here with you!"
The Lord Jesus is a very present help in trouble
Aren't we like the apostles when we experience moments of darkness, fear, and trials? While the Lord may at times seem absent or very distant to us, he, nonetheless, is always present and close-by. The Scriptures remind us that the Lord is "a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Whatever storms may beset us, he promises to "bring us to our desired haven" and place of calm rest and safety (Psalm 107:29-30). The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty. Do you rely on the Lord for his strength and help? 
Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we put our trust in him and in his great love and care for us. When calamities or trials threaten to overwhelm you, how do you respond? With faith and hope in God's love, personal care, and presence with you?
"Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and your watchful presence in my life, especially in times of trouble. Fortify my faith with courage and give me enduring hope that I may never waver in my trust in you."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersChrist our physician, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"God sent the human race a physician, a savior, One Who healed without charging a fee. Christ also came to reward those who would be healed by Him. Christ heals the sick, and He makes a gift to those whom He heals. And the gift that He makes is Himself!" (excerpt from Sermon 102,2)

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, JOHN 6:16-21

KEY VERSE: "It is I. Do not be afraid" (v.20).
TO KNOW: After the miraculous multiplication of loaves in the wilderness, Jesus' disciples sailed to the village of Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberius, named for the second Roman Emperor). It was Passover time, the time of the full moon (Jn.6:4), and Jesus was up on the hillside praying. When a sudden storm came up threatening to capsize the small craft of his terrified disciples, Jesus appeared walking on the water toward them, calming them with his divine presence, and bringing them safely to shore. Whether in hunger or distress, Jesus continues to be with his people to deliver them from all evil.
TO LOVE: How can I be a source of peace to someone who is fearful?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to know that you are with me in all the storms of my life.​

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church 

At the age of six, Catherine of Siena had a vision in which Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her parents wanted her to marry, but she resisted and became a Dominican tertiary. Catherine was a mystic and a stigmatist (a person bearing marks resembling the wounds of Christ). In a vision, she was united in a mystical marriage with Christ, and he presented her with a wedding ring. Catherine was a counselor to Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI. She helped bring peace to her native Sienna, to Italy, and to 14th century Europe. She spent all her energies for the Church, and through her efforts was able to achieve the papacy’s return from Avignon in France to Rome. She was proclaimed Doctor of the Church on 4 October 1970.

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being, illuminates the mind with its light, and causes me to know your truth. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love." Saint Catherine of Siena, On Divine Providence.​


Saturday 29 April 2017

St Catherine of Siena.
Acts 6:1-7. Psalms 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19. John 6:16-21.
Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you — Psalms 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19.
Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
John’s gospel story tells us that Jesus walked on water. Could this story be true? Perhaps the lake was frozen? Or was Jesus on a sandbar? Had the disciples had a little too much wine with their loaves and fishes?
But Christianity is all about the implausible, the unlikely and the improbable. And we are asked to move beyond belief towards action. To fight for causes that seem impossible, like closing the gap between the rich and poor. To love our neighbours—whatever country they are from, whatever religion they follow and whatever language they speak. To trust God’s plan for us when it doesn’t match up with our own hopes and dreams.
What might ‘walking on water’ mean for me?

ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA


St. Catherine was a third-order Dominican, peacemaker and counselor to the Pope. She singlehandedly ended the Avignon exile of the successors of Peter in the 14th century.
She is the co-patron of Italy and of Europe.
Born in Siena, on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1347, Catherine was the 23rd of Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa’s 25 children. Her twin sister died in infancy.
She exhibited an unusually independent character as a child and an exceptionally intense prayer life. When she was seven years old she had the first of her mystical visions, in which she saw Jesus surrounded by saints and seated in glory. In the same year she vowed to consecrate her virginity to Christ. When, at the age of 16, her parents decided that she should marry, she cut off her hair to make herself less appealing, and her father, realizing that he couldn’t contend with her resolve, let her have her way. 
She joined the Dominican Tertiaries and lived a deep and solitary life of prayer and meditation for the next three years in which she had constant mystical experiences, capped, by the end of the three years with an extraordinary union with God granted to only a few mystics, known as ‘mystical marriage.’
St. Catherine suffered many intense periods of desolation alongside her mystical ecstasies, often feeling totally abandoned by God.
She ended her solitude at this point and began tending to the sick, poor, and marginalized, especially lepers. As her reputation for holiness and remarkable personality became known throughout Siena, she attracted a band of disciples, two of whom became her confessors and biographers, and together they served Christ in the poor with even greater ardor.
The Lord called her to a more public life while she was still in her 20s, and she established correspondences with many influential figures, advising and admonishing them and exhorting them to holiness, including the Pope himself who she never hesitated to rebuke when she saw fit.
Great political acts which are attributed to her include achieving peace between the Holy See and Florence who were at war, to convince the Pope to return from his Avignon exile, which he did in 1376, and to heal the great schism between the followers of the legitimate Pope, Urban VI, and those who opposed him in 1380. She achieved this while on her deathbed.
Her Dialogues, one of the classics of Italian literature, are the record of her mystical visions which she dictated in a state of mystical ecstasy.
In 1375, while visiting Pisa, she received the stigmata, even though they never appeared on her body during her lifetime, owing to her request to God. They appeared only on her incorruptible body after her death.
She died in Rome on April 29, 1380, at the age of 33.


LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 6,16-21

Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, April 29, 2017
Easter Time

1) Opening prayer
Lord God,
also in our day we need men and women
filled with the Spirit of love and service
who are attentive to the needs of people.
Let them listen even to the unspoken cries
of people too timid to voice
their poverty and distress
and help without condescension
their brothers and sisters of Christ,
for he is our Lord for ever.

2) Gospel Reading - John 6,16-21

That evening the disciples went down to the shore of the sea and got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea. It was getting dark by now and Jesus had still not rejoined them. The wind was strong, and the sea was getting rough.
They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming towards the boat. They were afraid, but he said, 'It's me. Don't be afraid.' They were ready to take him into the boat, and immediately it reached the shore at the place they were making for.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel narrates the episode of the boat on the agitated sea. Jesus is on the mountain, the disciples in the sea and the people on the land. In the way of describing the facts, John tries to help the communities to discover the mystery which envelopes the person of Jesus. He does it by recalling texts from the Old Testament which refer to the Exodus.
• At the time when John wrote, the small boat of the communities had to face a contrary wind both on the part of the converted Jews who wanted to reduce the mystery of Jesus to prophecies and figures of the Old Testament, and on the part of some converted Pagans who thought that it was possible to have an alliance between Jesus and the Empire.
• John 6, 15: Jesus on the mountain. In the face of the multiplication of the loaves, the people conclude that Jesus is the awaited Messiah, because according to the hope of the people of the time, the Messiah would have repeated the gesture of Moses: feeding in the people in the desert. For this reason, according to the official ideology, the crowds thought that Jesus was the Messiah, and, because of this, they wanted to make him King (cf. Jn 6, 14-15). This request of the people was a temptation for Jesus as well as for the disciples. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus obliges the disciples to get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake (MK 6, 45). He wanted to avoid that they get contaminated with the dominating ideology. This is a sign that the “yeast of Herod and of the Pharisees”, was very strong (Mk 8, 15). Jesus faces the temptation with prayer on the mountain.
• John 6, 16-18: The situation of the disciples. It was already night. The disciples went down near the sea; they got into the boat and directed themselves toward Capernaum, on the other side of the sea. John says that it was already dark and that Jesus had not arrived as yet. On the one hand he recalls the Exodus: to cross the sea in the midst of difficulties. On the other, he recalls the situation of the communities in the Roman Empire: with the disciples, they were living in the dark, with a contrary wind and the sea was agitated and Jesus seemed to be absent!
• John 6, 19-20. Change of the situation. Jesus reaches them walking on the water of the sea of life. The disciples are afraid. As it happens in the account of the story of Emmaus, they did not recognize him (Lk 24, 28). Jesus gets close to them and says: “It is me! Do not be afraid!” For those who know the story of the Old Testament, here again he recalls some very important facts: (a) He recalls the crowd, protected by God, crossed the Red Sea without fear. (b) He recalls that God, when calling Moses, he declares his name saying: “I am!” (cf. Ex 3, 15). (c) He recalls also the Book of Isaiah which presents the return from exile as a new Exodus, in which God appears repeating many times: “I am!” (cf. Is 42, 8; 43, 5.11-13; 44, 6.25; 45, 5-7).
• For the People of the Bible, the sea was the symbol of the abyss, of chaos, of evil (Ap 13, 1). In Exodus the People goes across toward liberty, facing and conquering the sea. God divides the sea with his breath and the crowds cross the sea which is dry land. (Ex 14, 22). In other passages the Bible shows God who conquers the sea (Gen 1, 6-10; Ps 104, 6-9; Pro 8, 27). To conquer the sea means to impose one’s own limits and to prevent that it swallows all the earth with its waves. In this passage Jesus reveals his divinity by dominating and conquering the sea, preventing the boat and his disciples to be carried away by the waves. This way of evoking or recalling the Old Testament, of using the Bible, helped the communities to perceive better the presence of God in Jesus and in the facts of life. Do not be afraid!
• John 6, 22. They reached the desired port. They want to take Jesus into the boat, but it was not necessary, because the boat touched the shore to which they had directed themselves. They reached the desired port. The Psalm says: “He reduced the storm to calm, and all the waters subsided. He brought them overjoyed at the stillness, to the port where they were bound”. (Ps 107, 29-30).

4) Personal questions
• On the mountain: Why does Jesus seek to be alone to pray after the multiplication of the loaves? Which is the result of his prayer?
• Is it possible today to walk on the water of the sea of life? How?

5) Concluding Prayer
Shout for joy, you upright;
praise comes well from the honest.
Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre,
play for him on the ten-stringed lyre. (Ps 33,1-2)