Chủ Nhật, 30 tháng 4, 2017


Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 273

Reading 1ACTS 6:8-15
Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
"We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God."
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
"This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Responsorial PsalmPS 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
R. (1ab) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.
Though princes meet and talk against me,
your servant meditates on your statutes.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaMT 4:4B
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes froth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:22-29
[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus answered them and said,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. 
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." 
So they said to him,
"What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."

Commentary on Acts 6:8-15
Today we begin the story of Stephen, who will be the first person to give his life for Christ. He is the first martyr, the first true witness to the Gospel. The passage follows immediately on yesterday’s reading on the appointment of the ‘deacons’, of whom Stephen was one and also following the conversion of some of the Temple’s priests.
We are told at the beginning that Stephen, “filled with grace and power”, was performing great signs and wonders among the people. Until now, we only heard of the apostles, especially Peter and John, working miracles. Now, after the laying on of hands, Stephen is given the same gifts and the same power. Soon, we will see the deacon Philip doing the same.
However, Stephen’s words and action aroused the displeasure of other Greek-speaking Jews. We are told that there were people from the Synagogue of Freedmen, who were probably descendants of Jews who had been carried off to Rome by Pompey when he attacked Jerusalem in 63 BC. They would have been sold into slavery but later released, hence their name. The Cyrenians came from Cyrene, which was the chief city in Libya and North Africa, half way between Alexandria and Carthage. It had a Jewish community. (We remember too that it was a Simon from Cyrene who was forced to help Jesus carry his cross, Matt 27:32.) Alexandrians, came from the city of Alexandria (named after the famous Macedonian emperor). It was the capital of Egypt and the second city of the Roman Empire. It also had a Jewish community. Cilicia was a Roman province in the southeast corner of Asia Minor, close to Syria. Tarsus, the birthplace of Paul, was one of its principal towns. Asia simply referred to just one Roman province in what is now western Turkey. Its capital was Ephesus, which would feature prominently in Paul’s ministry.
These men began debating with Stephen. It is an interesting theory that, since Paul was from Tarsus in Cilicia, he might have attended this synagogue and have been among those who were arguing with Stephen. He certainly was prominent in the stoning of Stephen.
The parallels between his experience and that of his Lord are strikingly similar. Like Jesus and because of Jesus he is “filled with grace and power” and he “worked great wonders and signs among the people”. He arouses the displeasure especially of his fellow Hellenist Jews who cannot deal with the Spirit-inspired power of his words.
As they could not better Stephen in debate, they began circulating distorted versions of what he was saying. They accused him of saying that the worship of God was no longer to be restricted to the Temple. The charges that Stephen depreciated the importance of the temple and the Mosaic Law and elevated Jesus to a stature above Moses were in fact true. And, as far as the Sanhedrin was concerned, no defence against them was possible. But the false witnesses that some Hellenists were bringing forward were actually distorting what Stephen was saying.
So they begin to throw false accusations against him leading to his incurring the hostility both of the people and the Jewish religious leaders. In the presence of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews, they distort his words by claiming that Stephen claimed Jesus was going to destroy the temple and change the traditions of Moses.
In a sense, of course, it was true. The coming of Jesus made the Temple irrelevant and the teaching of Jesus would not abolish but would transcend and go far beyond the traditions of Moses.
All of this is very similar to the experience that Jesus went through. All through this, his enemies glared at him with hostility while Stephen’s face seemed like “that of an angel”. The face of an angel produces a feeling of awe. There are echoes here of the face of Moses as he came down from the mountain after being face to face with God and the appearance of Jesus at the Transfiguration. Here, too, the Sanhedrin members are witnessing a transfiguration, as Stephen has a vision of Jesus in glory. (This will occur in tomorrow’s reading.) And, whatever their feelings towards him, he had no hostile feelings towards them. This is the spirit of Jesus. “Love your enemies.”
With Stephen, who thus perceived the fuller implications of the teachings of Jesus, the difference between Judaism and Christianity began to appear. Luke’s account of Stephen’s martyrdom and its aftermath shows how the major impetus behind the Christian movement passed from Jerusalem, where the temple and law prevailed, to Antioch in Syria, where these influences were less pressing.
As Christians, we too can expect and should not be surprised to experience hostility and misunderstandings even from our fellow-Christians at times. We are called too to return love for hatred, peace for anger. An attitude which is a real stumbling block to some and utter nonsense to others.
We will see the rest of the story tomorrow.

Commentary on John 6:22-29

Following on the feeding of the 5,000 and the walking on the water, we begin the long discourse of Jesus as the Bread of Life. It is presented as a replacement of the manna with which God fed his people during their long trek through the desert in the Old Testament. What we read today is really an introduction. The proper discourse will begin tomorrow. The last part of the discourse is about the mixed reaction of Jesus’ disciples and Peter’s profession.
The day following the feeding the people go in search of Jesus. First, they realise he did not cross the lake with his disciples but, when they go to the site of the feeding, they find he is not there either. Eventually they find Jesus and his disciples in the vicinity of Capernaum, Jesus’ principal base in Galilee.
They ask him: “When did you come here?” In typically Johannine fashion, the question is loaded with deeper meanings, of which those asking it are quite unaware. Jesus’ origin (where he comes from) is a constant source of misunderstanding both on the part of the crowds and of the Jewish leadership.
Jesus begins by telling the crowds that they are coming in search of him not because of the ‘signs’ that he is doing but because of the bread that they had been given to eat. They have missed the point of what Jesus was doing. They have seen the things that Jesus has been doing but have missed the ‘sign’, the deeper meaning behind them. The food they are looking for is not the food that counts. The real food brings a life that never ends and that is the food that Jesus is offering. It parallels the water “springing up to eternal life” which Jesus promised the Samaritan woman (John 4:14).
The source of this ‘bread’ is the Son on whom the Father has set his seal. This ‘seal’ was given at his baptism. It is the Spirit of the Father, who is the power of God working in and through Jesus.
In answer to the question what they are to do in order to do the works of God, they are told, “This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.” For ‘works’ in the Jewish sense, external fulfilment of the Law’s requirements, Jesus substitutes faith in himself as the delegate of the Father.
And he asks us not just to ‘believe’ but to ‘believe in’. It is not just a question of accepting certain statements about Jesus and who he really is. ‘Believing in’ involves a total and unconditional commitment of the whole self to Jesus, to the Gospel and the vision of life that he proposes and making it part of one’s own self. This is where the real bread is to be found.
And we may add that Jesus is not just speaking of the Eucharistic bread but the deepdown nourishment of which the Eucharist is the sign and sacrament but which also comes from the Word of God in Scripture and the whole Christian community experience.
It is important in reading this whole chapter that we do not limit the truth of Jesus as the Bread or Food of our life simply to the Eucharist, which is the sacramental sign of something much larger – all that we receive through Christ and the whole Christian way of life.


The month of May, with its profusion of blooms, was adopted by the Church in the eighteenth century as a celebration of the flowering of Mary's spirituality. In Isaiah's prophecy of the Virgin birth of the Messiah, the figure of the Blossoming Rod, or Root of Jesse, the flower symbolism of Mary was extended by the Church Fathers, and, in the liturgy, by applying to her the flower figures of the Biblical books of Canticles, Wisdom, Proverbs and Sirach. In the medieval period, the rose was adopted as the flower symbol of the Virgin Birth, as expressed in Dante's phrase, 'The Rose wherein the Divine Word was made flesh,' and depicted in the rose windows of the great Gothic cathedrals, from which came the Christmas carol, 'Lo, How a Rose 'ere Blooming.' Also, with the spread of the Franciscan love of nature, the rose of the fields, waysides and gardens, came to be seen as symbols of Mary.

MONDAY, MAY 1, JOHN 6:22-29
Easter Weekday
​(Acts 6:8-15; Psalm 119)

KEY VERSE: "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life" (v.27).
TO KNOW: After the miraculous multiplication of loaves, the crowd noticed that Jesus' disciples had departed by boat across the Sea of Galilee. Assuming that Jesus was nearby, they waited impatiently for his return. Failing to find him, they crossed the lake to Capernaum in 
search of him. When they found him, Jesus said that they were looking for him for the wrong reasons. They desired the bread that he gave them in the wilderness, but they missed the true meaning of the sign, food that "endures for eternal life" (6:27). Jesus told the crowd that food appeased hunger momentarily. They should look to God to satisfy their spiritual needs. No one could work for this gift, nor earn it. The only way to receive it was to believe in Jesus, the one who God sent to them.
TO LOVE: What can I do to feed the spiritual hunger of someone?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, you are the life-giving nourishment that I desire.

Optional Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker

Despite his humble background, Joseph came from a royal lineage, a descendant of David, the greatest king of Israel. Joseph was chosen by God as the trustworthy guardian of his divine Son. Joseph was wholeheartedly obedient to God - in marrying Mary, in naming Jesus, in shepherding the family to Egypt, in bringing them to Nazareth, and in the undetermined number of years of quiet faith and courage. Joseph carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: 'Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord". There is much we wish we could know about Joseph - where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge of who he was - "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18)
Work is a good thing for one's humanity — because through work one not only transforms nature, adapting it to his or her own needs, but also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes “more a human being.” —Pope John Paul II

Monday 1 May 2017

St Joseph the Worker.
Acts 6:8-15. Psalms 118(119):23-24, 26-27, 29-30. John 6:22-29.
Blessed are they who walk in the way of the Lord — Psalms 118(119):23-24, 26-27, 29-30.
His face shone like that of an angel.
It is what shines from within us that sets us apart as light for the world. Stephen exemplifies this in the midst of the experience of being falsely accused regarding his faith and teaching. Who he is, and his relationship with God, shine through and are evident to all around him.
This too is what Jesus calls each of us to be. Jesus makes clear that what should have the greatest value in our lives, what we strive for and what we give priority to, should be the constant seeking out of God.
When God’s loving graciousness becomes the impetus for how we live our lives, we truly become light for the world. In seeking God, we become more truly ourselves—formed in God’s likeness. We are transformed and what lives within can be seen from without.


St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.
“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II had once said.
There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and  a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.
We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.

Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, May 1, 2017
Easter Time

Our living God,
we hunger for lasting life and happiness 
and the fulfilment of all our hopes.
Satisfy all our hungers
through your Son Jesus Christ,who is our bread of life.
And when he has filled us with himself,
may he lead and strengthen us
to bring to a waiting world
the food of reconciliation and joy,
which you alone can give to the full.
We ask this thorough Christ our Lord.
Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten.
When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, 'Rabbi, when did you come here?'
Jesus answered: In all truth I tell you, you are looking for me not because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that goes bad, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.
Then they said to him, 'What must we do if we are to carry out God's work?' Jesus gave them this answer, 'This is carrying out God's work: you must believe in the one he has sent.'
• In today’s Gospel we begin the Discourse on the Bread of Life (Jn 6, 22-71), which is extended during the next six days, until the end of the week. After the multiplication of the loaves, the people follow Jesus. They had seen the miracle; they had eaten and were satiated and wanted more! They were not concerned about looking for the sign or the call of God that was contained in all of this. When the people found Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum, he had a long conversation with them, called the Discourse of the Bread of Life. It is not really a Discourse, but it treats of a series of seven brief dialogues which explain the meaning of the multiplication of the bread, symbol of the new Exodus and of the Eucharistic Supper.
• It is good to keep in mind the division of the chapter in order to understand better its significance:
6, 1-15: the great multiplication of the loaves
6, 16-21: the crossing of the lake, and Jesus who walks on the water
6, 22-71: the dialogue of Jesus with the people, with the Jews and with the disciples
1st dialogue: 6, 22-27 with the people: the people seek Jesus and find him in Capernaum
2nd dialogue: 6, 28-34 with the people: faith as the work of God and the manna of the desert
3rd dialogue: 6, 35-40 with the people: the true bread is to do God’s will.
4th dialogue: 6, 41-51 with the Jews: the complaining of the Jews
5th dialogue: 6, 52-58 with the Jews: Jesus and the Jews.
6th dialogue: 6, 59-66 with the disciples: reaction of the disciples
7th dialogue: 6, 67-71 with the disciples: confession of Peter
• The conversation of Jesus with the people, with the Jews and with the disciples is a beautiful dialogue, but a demanding one. Jesus tries to open the eyes of the people in a way that they will learn to read the events and discover in them the turning point that life should take. Because it is not enough to follow behind miraculous signs which multiply the bread for the body. Man does not live by bread alone. The struggle for life without mysticism does not reach the roots. The people, while speaking with Jesus, always remain more annoyed or upset by his words. But Jesus does not give in, neither does he change the exigencies. The discourse seems to be a funnel. In the measure in which the conversation advances, less people remain with Jesus. At the end only the twelve remain there, but Jesus cannot trust them either! Today the same thing happens. When the Gospel beings to demand commitment, many people withdraw, go away.
• John 6, 22-27: People look for Jesus because they want more bread. The people follow Jesus. They see that he did not go into the boat with the disciples and, because of this, they do not understand what he had done to reach Capernaum. They did not even understand the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. People see what has happened, but they cannot understand all this as a sign of something more profound. They stop only on the surface; in being satisfied with the food. They look for bread and life, but only for the body. According to the people, Jesus does what Moses had done in the past: to feed all the people in the desert. According to Jesus, they wanted the past to be repeated. But Jesus asks the people to take a step more and advance. Besides working for the bread that perishes, they should work for the imperishable food. This new food will be given by the Son of Man, indicated by God himself. He brings life which lasts forever. He opens for us a new horizon on the sense of life and on God.
• John 6, 28-29: Which is God’s work? The people ask: what should we do to carry out this work of God? Jesus answers that the great work of God asks us to “believe in the one sent by God”. That is, to believe in Jesus!
• The people were hungry, they eat the bread and they look for more bread. They seek the miracle and do not seek the sign of God who was hidden in that. What do I seek more in my life: the miracle or the sign?
• Keep silence within you for a moment and ask yourself: “To believe in Jesus: What does this mean for me concretely in my daily life?”
Lord, I tell you my ways and you answer me;
teach me your wishes.
Show me the way of your precepts,
that I may reflect on your wonders. (Ps 119,26-27)