Thứ Tư, 3 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 04, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 276

Reading 1ACTS 8:26-40
The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
"Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route." 
So he got up and set out. 
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
"Go and join up with that chariot." 
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
"Do you understand what you are reading?" 
He replied,
"How can I, unless someone instructs me?" 
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. 
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
"I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?" 
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water. 
What is to prevent my being baptized?" 
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him. 
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing. 
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial PsalmPS 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 6:51
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:44-51
Jesus said to the crowds:
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father. 
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life. 
I am the bread of life. 
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die. 
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world."


Meditation: "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever"
God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. What is the bread of life which Jesus offers? It is first of all the life of God himself - life which sustains us not only now in this age but also in the age to come. The Rabbis said that the generation in the wilderness have no part in the life to come. In the Book of Numbers it is recorded that the people who refused to brave the dangers of the promised land were condemned to wander in the wilderness until they died. The Rabbis believed that the father who missed the promised land also missed the life to come. God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness with manna from heaven. This bread foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.
Jesus is the "bread of life"
Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna from heaven prefigured the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist or Lord's Supper which Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity.
The food that makes us live forever
When we receive from the Lord's table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch 
(35-107 A.D.) calls it the "one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ" (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward.
Do you hunger for the "bread of life"? 
Jesus offers us the abundant supernatural life of heaven itself - but we can miss it or even refuse it. To refuse Jesus is to refuse eternal life, unending life with the Heavenly Father. To accept Jesus as the bread of heaven is not only life and spiritual nourishment for this world but glory in the world to come. When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for your soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist or Lord's Supper is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the "bread of life"?
"Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersStudying the Scriptures with humility, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"My ambition as a youth was to apply to the study of the Holy Scriptures all the refinement of dialectics. I did so, but without the humility of the true searcher. I was supposed to knock at the door so that it would open for me. Instead I was pushing it closed, trying to understand in pride what is only learned in humility. However, the all-merciful Lord lifted me up and kept me safe." (excerpt from Sermon 51,6)

THURSDAY, MAY 4, JOHN 6:44-51
Easter Weekday

(Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 66)

KEY VERSE: "This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die" (v.50).
TO KNOW: On the Exodus journey through the wilderness, the people grumbled against God and Moses for having brought them into the desert only to die of starvation. Nevertheless, Moses fed them with the "manna" that God provided (Ex 16:2, 15). Jesus also fed the hungry people in the wilderness with miraculous loaves, and just like the people of the Exodus, they murmured against him when he told them that he was the "bread that came down from heaven" (v.41). The bread in the wilderness was only a foretaste of the true bread, Jesus, who came from God. The Israelites ate the manna in the desert, but they all died. Jesus is the life-giving bread who eternally sustains those who believe in him. Whoever listens to God's truth are drawn to Jesus who is Divine Wisdom incarnate.
TO LOVE: Do I help those who are physically and spiritually hungry?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, feed me with your Eucharistic presence.




Thursday 4 May 2017

Acts 8:26-40. Psalms 65(66):8-9, 16-17, 20. John 6:44-51.
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy — Psalms 65(66):8-9, 16-17, 20.
He brings us to life.
Jesus is the bridge between God and us. He elevates our humanness that we might reach for heights we would never have hoped to otherwise. When we receive the Eucharist we receive the stuff of life. Jesus tells us: ‘The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’ When we partake of the bread of life, and when we believe, we taste the joy to come.
Jesus is our assurance, our comfort, and our hope: he is our meaning and our reason for life. How can we be but joyous when we think of what we have been given. This is the Good News we share with the world: Christ has come, now we can live.

ENGLISH CARTHUSIAN MARTYRS

These 18 Carthusian monks were put to death in England under King Henry VIII between 1535-1540 for maintaining their allegiance to the Pope.

The Carthusians, founded by St. Bruno in 1054, are the strictest and most austere monastic order in the western Church.  They live an austere hermitic life, their ‘monastery’ actually being a number of hermitages built next to each other.
When Henry VIII issued his “Act of Supremacy” declaring that all who refused to take an oath recognizing him as head of the Church of England committed an act of high treason, these 18 Carthusians refused and were sentenced to death.

The first to die were the Carthusian prior of London, John Houghton, and two of his brothers, Robert Lawrence and Augustine Webster, who were hanged, drawn and quartered, on May 4, 1535. The prior is said to have declared his fidelity to the Catholic Church and forgiven his executioners before dying. 

The Carthusians were the first martyrs to die under the reign of Henry VIII. Two more were killed on June 19 of that year and by August 4, 1540, all 18 had been tortured and killed for refusing to place their allegiance to the king before their allegiance to the Pope.

They were beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII, and John Houghton, Robert Lawrence, and Augustine Webster, were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970.


LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 6,44-51
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, May 4, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Father,
you draw all people to you
who believe in your Son Jesus Christ.
Faith, Lord, faith it is that we need.
Give it to us, we pray you,
a living faith that we can encounter today
Jesus Christ, your Son,
in your word that you speak to us
in the bread that you offer us,
and in the food that we can give
and can be to one another,
in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit
now and for ever.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 6,44-51
'No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God; everyone who has listened to the Father, and learnt from him, comes to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except him who has his being from God: he has seen the Father. In all truth I tell you, everyone who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.'
3) REFLECTION
• Up until now the dialogue had been between Jesus and the people. From now on, the Jewish leaders begin to enter into conversation and the discussion becomes tenser.
• John 6, 44-46: Anyone who opens himself to God accepts Jesus and his proposal. The conversation becomes more demanding. Now, it is the Jews, the leaders of the people who complain: “Surely, this is Jesus, son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know. How can he say: I have come down from heaven?” (Jn 6, 42). They thought they knew the things of God. But, in reality, they did not know them. If we were truly open and faithful to God, we would feel within us the impulse of God which attracts us toward Jesus and we would recognize that Jesus comes from God, because it is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God; everyone who has listened to the Father and has learnt from him, comes to me.
• John 6, 47-50: Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead. In the celebration of the Passover, the Jews recalled the bread of the desert. Jesus helps them to take a step ahead. Anyone who celebrates the Passover, recalling only the bread that the fathers ate in the past, will die as all of them did! The true sense of the Passover is not to recall the manna which falls from heaven, but to accept Jesus, the new Bread of Life and to follow the way which he has indicated. It is no longer a question of eating the meat of the paschal lamb, but rather of eating the flesh of Jesus, so that the one who eats it will not die, but will have eternal life!
• John 6, 51: Anyone who eats of this bread will live for ever. And Jesus ends saying: “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live for ever and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Instead of the manna and the paschal lamb of the first exodus, we are invited to eat the new manna and the new paschal lamb that was sacrificed on the Cross for the life of all.
• The new Exodus. The multiplication of the loaves takes place close to the Passover (Jn 6, 4). The feast of the Passover was the prodigious souvenir of the Exodus, the liberation of the People from the clutches of Pharaoh. The whole episode which is narrated in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John has a parallel in the episodes related to the feast of the Passover, whether as liberation from Egypt or with the journey of the people in the desert in search of the Promised Land. The discourse of the Bread of Life, in the Synagogue of Capernaum, is related to chapter 16 of the Book of Exodus which speaks about the Manna. It is worth while to read all of chapter 16 of Exodus. In perceiving the difficulties of the people in the desert we can understand better the teaching of Jesus here in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. For example, when Jesus speaks of a “food which does not perish, which endures for eternal life” (Jn 6, 27) he is recalling the manna which produced worms and became rotten (Ex 16, 20) Like when the Jews “complained” (Jn 6, 41), they do the same thing as the Israelites in the desert, when they doubted of the presence of God in their midst during their journey across the desert (Ex 16, 2; 17, 3; Nb 11, 1). The lack of food made the people doubt about God and they began to complain against Moses and against God. Here also, the Jews doubt about God’s presence in Jesus of Nazareth and begin to complain (Jn 6, 41-42).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Does the Eucharist help me to live in a permanent state of Exodus? Am I succeeding?
• Anyone who is open to truth finds the response in Jesus. Today, many people withdraw and do not find any response. Whose fault is it? Is it of the persons who know how to listen? Or is it the fault of us, Christians, who do not know how to present the Gospel as a message of life?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Come and listen, all who fear God,
while I tell what he has done for me.
To him I cried aloud,
high praise was on my tongue. (Ps 66,16-17)