Thứ Sáu, 5 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 06, 2017 : SATURDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 278

Reading 1ACTS 9:31-42
The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace. 
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.

As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda. 
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. 
Peter said to him,
"Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed." 
He got up at once. 
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas). 
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. 
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs. 
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
"Please come to us without delay." 
So Peter got up and went with them. 
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed. 
Then he turned to her body and said, "Tabitha, rise up." 
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive. 
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
R. (12) How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:60-69
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
"This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, "Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe."
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father."

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."


Meditation: "You have the words of everlasting life"
Why do some find it easier while others find it harder to accept the claims which Jesus made? Many were attracted to Jesus because he offered them something irresistible - a visible sign of God's mercy and favor which Jesus demonstrated in his wonderful works of healing, deliverance, and miraculous signs, including the multiplication of the loaves and fish when he feed the five thousand who had gathered to hear him speak. Many stumbled, however, when Jesus made claims which only God can make. Jesus' discourse on "eating his flesh and drinking his blood" (see John 6:51-59) which pointed to the Last Supper, caused offence to many of his followers.
The blessing of full union with God through Christ
Jesus claimed to be the bread of heaven, the very life of God given to us as spiritual food to sustain us on our journey to our promised homeland with the Father in heaven. Jesus did not leave any middle ground for his hearers. They must either accept his word as divine or reject it as the claim of an imposter. Even the apostles admitted that this was a "hard saying". This expression meant that it was not just hard to understand, but hard to accept. Jesus pressed the issue with his beloved disciples because he wanted to test their faith and loyalty to him as the Holy One sent from the Father in heaven. Jesus promised his disciples nothing less than the full blessing of eternal life and union with God. Jesus assures his disciples that it is his heavenly Father who gives the invitation and the grace to believe and follow even in the "hard sayings". Jesus knew that some would not only reject him and his word, but would do so with violence fueled by hatred, envy, and even betrayal by one of his own disciples.
"My words are spirit and life"
Jesus told his disciples that his words were "spirit and life" (John 6:63) - his words came from the heavenly Father who is the Author of life and the One who breathes his Spirit into those who believe in him. Through the gift of faith Peter was able to receive spiritual revelation of who Jesus truly is - the Holy One of God, the eternal Son sent from the Father in heaven to redeem a fallen human race and reconcile them with God.
Faith is a gift and a personal response to God's revelation of himself
How does God help us grow in faith and trust in his word, even the hard sayings which are difficult to understand? Faith is a gift which God freely gives to those who listen to his word and who put their trust in him. Faith is a personal response to God's revelation of himself. Faith is neither blind nor ignorant. It is based on the truth and reliability of God's word. True faith seeks understanding. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, "I believe in order to understand, and I understand the better to believe." The Lord Jesus offers all of his followers his life-giving word and Spirit to help us grow in our knowledge and understanding of God.
We can know God personally through his word
Paul the Apostle tells us that it is the work of the Holy Spirit who enlightens the eyes of our heart and mind to understand the truth and wisdom which comes from God (Ephesians 1:17-18). Faith is the key to understanding and experiencing God's action and work in our personal lives. Paul the Apostle tells us that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). We can know God personally, and we grow in recognizing his voice as we listen to his word and obey his instruction. Do you believe, as Peter did, that Jesus has the words of everlasting life and the power to change and transform your life? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith that you may grow in knowing, loving, and serving him as your Lord and Redeemer, Teacher and Healer, Master and Savior.
"Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Help me to cast aside all doubt and fear so that I may freely embrace your word with complete trust and joy. I surrender all to you. Be the Lord of my life and the Ruler of my heart. May there be nothing which hinders me from trusting in your love and following your will."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersEat Life - Drink Life, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"'Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, you shall not have life in you,' says the Lord. Eat life - drink life. You will then have life, and life is complete. Then the Body and Blood of Christ will be life for each person under this condition: what is eaten visibly in the Sacrament be spiritually eaten and spiritually drunk in truth itself." (excerpt from Sermon 102,2)


SATURDAY, MAY 6, JOHN 6:60-69
Easter Weekday

(Acts 9:31-42; Psalm 116)

KEY VERSE: "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (v.63).
TO KNOW: Jesus' teaching that he was the "bread of life" (v.48) caused a division among those who had faith in him and those who did not. Some of Jesus’ own disciples had misgivings about his teaching. Jesus did not retract his words but invited his followers to deeper faith in this mystery, which they could only understand through God's grace. If people could not believe that he was Gods' word become flesh (Jn 1:14), what would they think when he ascended to his Father in glory? Many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. Jesus then asked the Twelve if they too planned to leave him. Peter, the future leader of the Church, confessed his faith in the life-giving words of Jesus. There was no one else to whom he could go. The twelve apostles are mirrors of ourselves ̶ ̶ flawed but graced human beings.
TO LOVE: Do my words bring others to faith or drive them away?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, help me to believe your words of everlasting life.


Saturday 6 May 2017


Acts 9:31-42. Psalms 115(116):12-17. John 6:60-69.
What return can I make to the Lord for all that he gives to me? — Psalms 115(116):12-17.
‘Lord, you have the words of eternal life.’
Jesus, we know, as Peter knew, that life without you is empty: that it is you who gives meaning to or very being. Give us the faith to understand and accept your message and to let it work within our life. Help us understand that you are the Holy One from God and that the way to the Father is through you.
Jesus, if we leave you out of our life, it is hollow, a mere noise with no substance. It is not hard to see ourselves in the shoes of Judas, for we can be so self-centred in our day-to-day living.
Give us the grace to follow your Way, and to persevere in that way so that we may never betray you in any circumstance.

ST. EVODIUS OF ANTIOCH

Evodius was on of the 72 disciples Christ, and Catholic tradition has always held that he was the first bishop of Antioch after St. Peter, but we are not sure in what year he assumed the position.
As bishop of Antioch, he was the first to coin the word “Christian” to refer to the disciples of Jesus. He probably died between the years 64-67, when he was then succeeded by St. Ignatius of Antioch.







LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 6,60-69
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, May 6, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Faithful God of the covenant,
in the daily choices we have to make
give us the courage to opt always
for your Son and his ways
and to remain close to him.
Bless the difficult road we have sometimes to take
without seeing where it will lead us.
Keep us from making half-hearted decisions
when our faith is rather weak
and make us accept all the consequences of our choice.
Keep us always faithful
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 6,60-69
After hearing it, many of his followers said, 'This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?'
Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, 'Does this disturb you? What if you should see the Son of man ascend to where he was before? 'It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 'But there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the outset who did not believe and who was to betray him. He went on, 'This is why I told you that no one could come to me except by the gift of the Father.'
After this, many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more. Then Jesus said to the Twelve, 'What about you, do you want to go away too?' Simon Peter answered, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.'
3) REFLECTION
• Today’s Gospel presents the last part of the Discourse of the Bread of Life. It is a question of the discussion of the disciples among themselves and with Jesus (Jn 6, 60-66) and of the conversation of Jesus with Simon Peter (Jn 6, 67-69). The objective is to show the exigencies of faith and the need for a serious commitment with Jesus and with his proposal. Up until this moment everything took place in the Synagogue of Capernaum. The place of this last part is not indicated.
• John 6, 60-63: Without the light of the Spirit these words cannot be understood. Many disciples thought that Jesus himself was going too far! The celebration of the Passover was coming to an end and he was placing himself in the most central part of the Passover. For this reason many people separated from the community and no longer went with Jesus. Jesus reacts and says: “It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh has nothing to offer”. These things which he says should not be taken literally. It is only with the light of the Holy Spirit that it is possible to get the full sense of everything that Jesus says (Jn 14, 25-26; 16, 12-13). Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians will say: “Written letters kill, but the Spirit gives life!” (2 Co 3, 6).
• John 6, 64-66: Some of you do not believe. In his discourse Jesus had presented himself as the food which satisfies hunger and thirst of all those who seek God. In the first Exodus, they have the test of Meriba. Before hunger and thirst in the desert, many doubted of the presence of God in their midst: “The Lord is in our midst, yes or no?” (Ex 17, 7) and they complained against Moses (cf. Ex 17, 2-3; 16, 7-8). They wanted to get away from him and return to Egypt. The disciples fall into this same temptation, they doubt of the presence of Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Before the words of Jesus on “eat my flesh and drink my blood”, many complained like the crowds in the desert (Jn 6, 60) and take the decision to break away from Jesus and with the community: “they went away and accompanied him no more” (Jn 6, 66).
• John 6, 67-71: Confession of Peter. At the end only the twelve remain with him. In the face of the crisis produced by his words and his gestures, Jesus turns toward his more intimate friends, represented there by the Twelve and says: “Do you want to go away also?” For Jesus it is not a question of having many people following him. Neither does he change the discourse when the message does not please. He speaks in order to reveal the Father and not to please anyone. He prefers to remain alone, and not be accompanied by persons who are not committed with the Father’s project. Peter’s response is beautiful: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God!” Even without understanding everything, Peter accepts Jesus as Messiah and believes in him. In the name of the group he professes his faith in the broken bread and in his word. Jesus is the word and the bread which satisfies the new people of God (Dt 8, 3). In spite of all his limitations, Peter is not like Nicodemus who wanted to see all things clearly according to his own ideas. But among the twelve there was someone who did not accept the proposal of Jesus. In this more intimate circle there was an enemy (the Devil) (Jn 6, 70-71) “he who shares my table takes advantage of me” (Si 41, 10; Jn 13, 18).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• I place myself in Peter’s place before Jesus. What response do I give Jesus who asks me: “Do you want to go away also?”
• I place myself in Jesus’ place. Today many persons no longer follow Jesus. Whose fault is it?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Lord, I am your servant, I am your servant
and my mother was your servant;
you have undone my fetters.
I shall offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of Yahweh. (Ps 116,16-17)