Chủ Nhật, 7 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 08, 2017: MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 279

Reading 1ACTS 11:1-18
The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
'You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them." 
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
"I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me. 
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. 
I also heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.' 
But I said, 'Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' 
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
'What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.' 
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea. 
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. 
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man's house. 
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you 
by which you and all your household will be saved.' 
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
'John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?"
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
"God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too."

Responsorial PsalmPS 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."


Meditation: "I Am the Good Shepherd"
Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God's people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
Jesus made three promises to his followers. He promised them everlasting life. If they accept him and follow him, they will have the life of God in them. Jesus also promised them a life that would know no end. Death would not be the end but the beginning; they would know the glory of indestructible life. Jesus promised a life that was secure. Jesus said that nothing would snatch them out of his hand, not even sorrow and death, since he is everlasting life itself. Our lives are safe in his hands.
Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls you to himself?
The words which Jesus spoke upset many of the Jewish leaders. How could he speak with the same authority which God spoke and claim to be equal with God? He must either be insane or divine. Unfortunately some thought he was mad even though he cured a man who was blind from birth. We are faced with the same choice. Either Jesus is who he claims to be - the Son of God and Savior of the world - or the world's greatest deluder! We cannot be indifferent to his claim. For those who accept him as Lord and Savior he offers the peace and security of unending life and joy with God. Do you know the peace and security of a life fully submitted to Christ?
Cyril of Alexander, a 5th century church father comments on Jesus as our Good Shepherd:
"He shows in what manner a shepherd may be proved good; and He teaches that he must be prepared to give up his life fighting in defense of his sheep, which was fulfilled in Christ.  For man has departed from the love of God, and fallen into sin, and because of this was, I say, excluded from the divine abode of paradise, and when he was weakened by that disaster, he yielded to the devil tempting him to sin, and death following that sin he became the prey of fierce and ravenous wolves.  But after Christ was announced as the True Shepherd of all men, He laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16), fighting for us against that pack of inhuman beasts. 

"He bore the Cross for us, that by His own death he might destroy death.  He was condemned for us, that He might deliver all of us from the sentence of punishment: the tyranny of sin being overthrown by our faith: fastening to the Cross the decree that stood against us, as it is written (Colossians 2:14). Therefore as the father of sin had as it were shut up the sheep in hell, giving them to death to feed on, as it is written in the psalms (Ps. Xlviii.16), He died for us as truly Good, and truly our Shepherd, so that the dark shadow of death driven away He might join us to the company of the blessed in heaven; and in exchange for abodes that lie far in the depths of the pit, and in the hidden places of the sea, grant us mansions in His Father’s House above.  Because of this he says to us in another place: Fear not, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you a kingdom (Luke 12:32)."
Do you listen attentively to the voice of the Good Shepherd and obey his word?
"Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who keeps watch over our lives. May I be ever attentive to your voice and submit fully to your wise rule for my life.  Draw me near to you that I may always find peace and joy in your presence.”
Daily Quote from the early church fathersGreen pastures and still waters, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"The pastures that this good shepherd has prepared for you, in which he has settled you for you to take your fill, are not various kinds of grasses and green things, among which some are sweet to the taste, some extremely bitter, which as the seasons succeed one another are sometimes there and sometimes not. Your pastures are the words of God and his commandments, and they have all been sown as sweet grasses. These pastures had been tasted by that man who said to God, 'How sweet are your words to my palate, more so than honey and the honeycomb in my mouth!'" (excerpt from Sermon 366,3,1)

MONDAY, MAY 8, JOHN 10:11-18
Easter Weekday

(Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 42)

KEY VERSE: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (v.11).
TO KNOW: Throughout the Old Testament, God's loving care for the people had been portrayed as a shepherd guiding the flock (Ps 23). God's servants Moses and David were once shepherds. Jeremiah and Ezekiel indicted Israel's blind leaders, the shepherds who looked out for their own interests rather than those of their flocks. God would appoint "one shepherd" like David to lead them (Jer 23:1-4; Ez 34:23). Jesus, the "good shepherd,” knew his sheep personally by name. He protected them from harm, even willing to lay down his life for the sake of the flock. No one could be hired to care for his sheep that way. Jesus prayed that one day there would be "one flock, one shepherd" (v.16) united in his saving love, a prayer that is yet to be realized.
TO LOVE: What can I do to help work for Church unity?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, thank you for being my guiding shepherd.




Monday 8 May 2017

Acts 11:1-18. Psalms 41(42):2-3; 42(43):3-4. John 10:1-10.
My soul is thirsting for the living God — Psalms 41(42):2-3; 42(43):3-4.
‘I have come that you may have life—life in all its fullness.’
Life is not mere existence—even inanimate things exist. The life Jesus intends for each of us is a sharing in the being of God. The life that we receive from the Word we receive is God’s gift through the One who was manifested in him.
Lord, ‘you are unchangeable, yet you change all things. You are new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you.’ Help me to lose myself in you, to find myself in you, ever again, to love you in all. Yes, you have loved all into being. May all your people learn to listen, share with each other and reflect together on their lives in the light of the Gospel. Give me, Lord, only your love.

ST. PETER OF TARANTAISE, BISHOP

Peter was born near Vienne, France in 1102 and died at Bellevaux, France in 1175. He was canonized in 1191.
At the age of 20 he entered the Cistercian Order, and convinced his family to enter along with him.  His two brothers and his father entered the religious community of Bonneveaux with him, and his sister also followed thier example and became a religious.
Ten years after he entered, Peter was sent to found a new house in the Tarantaise mountains near Geneva, Switzerland.  Here he opened a hospital which also served as a guest house for those travelling through the mountains.
He was appointed as Archbishop of Tarantaise in 1142 and wanted to decline the post and remain where he was happiest, as a Cistercian monk. He reluctantly accepted, however, because of the urging of St. Bernard and the other monks in his order, seeing their insistence as the will of God.
On his accession to the episcopacy, he reformed the diocese and set about providing education and distributing food to the poor, a tradition called the "May Bread", which lasted until the French Revolution in 1789.  He performed many miraculous healings during that time.
It seems he was never able to banish his longing for the monastic life he left behind, and after 13 years as archbishop, he fled to a Cistercian abbey in Switzerland disguised as a lay brother and lived there for a year until he was discovered and forced by his superiors in the order to return to Tarantaise.
During the fractious rife between the anti-pope Victor and the true Pope, Alexander III, St. Peter was one of the only major voices in the Church openly supporting the claim of Pope Alexander, even against the emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
Recognizing his courage, loyalty, and holiness, Pope Alexander III thought him to be the ideal peacemaker between King Louis VII of France and Henry II of England. He died of an illness shortly after meeting and unsuccessfully trying to reconcile the two kings.


LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 10,11-18
Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, May 8, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God, Father of all,
you sent your Son Jesus Christ among us
to reveal to us that you care about people
and that your love extends to all,
without any distinction of race or culture.
Give us a great respect for all people,
whatever way they come,
and let your Church embrace all cultures,
that Jesus may truly be
the Lord and Shepherd of all,
now and for ever.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 10,11-18

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd.
The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have power to lay it down, so I have power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.
3) REFLECTION
• The Gospel today presents the parable of the Good Shepherd. It is the continuation of the Gospel which we read yesterday (Sunday). It is difficult to understand the first part without the second. This is why we prefer to comment briefly on both (Jn 10, 1-18). The discourse on the Good Shepherd presents three comparisons linked among themselves:
1st comparison: Jesus speaks of the shepherd and of the thieves (Jn 10, 1-5)
2nd comparison: Jesus is the door of the sheep (Jn 10, 6-10)
3rd comparison: Jesus is the Good Shepherd (Jn 10, 11-18)
• John 10, 1-5: 1st comparison: to enter by the door and not by somewhere else. Jesus begins the discourse with the comparison of the door: “Anyone who does notenter the sheepfold through the gate is a thief and a bandit! He who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock!” At that time, the shepherds took care of the flock the whole day. When night arrived they lead the sheep to a great community sheepfold, which was well protected against thieves and wolves. All the shepherds of the same region took their flocks there. A gatekeeper took care of them the whole night. The following day, early in the morning, the shepherd would go there, knocked with his hands on the gate and the gatekeeper would open. The shepherd would go in and call the sheep by name. The sheep recognized the voice of their shepherd would get up and go out following him to go to the pasture. The sheep of the other shepherds heard the voice, but would not move, because for them it was an unknown voice. From time to time, there was the danger of being attacked. The bandits would enter by a side path or jumped over the wall of the sheepfold, made of one rock on top of the other, in order to rob the sheep. They did not enter by the gate because the gatekeeper was there.
• John 10, 6-10: 2nd comparison: Jesus is the door. The audience, the Pharisees (Jn 9, 40-41), did not understand what it meant “to go in through the door”. Jesus then explained: “I am the gate of the sheepfold. All who have come before me are thieves and bandits”. Of whom is Jesus speaking in this phrase which is so hard? Probably, he was referring to the religious leaders who drew the people behind them but they did not respond to their expectations. They were not interested in the good of the people, but only in their own interest and in filling their pockets. They deceived the people and abandoned them to a worse situation. To enter through the gate is to act as Jesus acted. The fundamental criterion to discern who is shepherd and who is a thief is the defence of the life of the sheep. Jesus asks the people not to follow the persons who present themselves as shepherds, but who have no interest for the life of the people. “I have come in order that they have life and life in abundance!” This is the criterion!
• John 10, 11-15: 3rd comparison: Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus changes the comparison. First he was the door of the flock. Now he is the Shepherd of the sheep. Everyone knew what a shepherd was and how he lived and worked. But Jesus is not just any shepherd but, he is the Good Shepherd! The image of the Good Shepherd comes from the Old Testament. Saying that he is the Good Shepherd, Jesus presents himself as the one who comes to fulfil the promises of the prophets and the expectations of the people; for example the beautiful prophecy of Ezekiel (Ex 34, 11-16). There are two points on which Jesus insists: (a) in the defence of the life of the sheep: the Good Shepherd gives his life for the life of the sheep. (b) In the mutual knowledge between the shepherd and the sheep: The shepherd knows his sheep and the sheep know the shepherd. Jesus says that the people have a particular perception and know who the Good Shepherd isThis was what the Pharisees did not accept. They despised or rejected the sheep and said they were damned and ignorant (Jn 7, 49; 9, 34). They thought they had the right and apt view to discern the things of God. In reality they were blind. The discourse on the Good Shepherd teaches two rules to cure this type of blindness, which is quite frequent: (i) to pay special attention to the reaction of the sheep, because they know the voice of the shepherd. (ii) To be very attentive to the attitude of the one who calls himself the shepherd to see if his interest is the life of the sheep, or not, and if he is capable to give his life for the life of the sheep.
• John 10, 16-18: The goal which Jesus wants to attain: one only flock and one only Shepherd. Jesus opens the horizon and says that he has other sheep that do not belong to this flock. They have not as yet heard the voice of Jesus, but when they will hear it, they will become aware that he is the shepherd and will follow him. This is the Ecumenical universal dimension.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Shepherd – Pastoral. Does the Pastoral ministry in my Parish imitate the mission of Jesus as shepherd? And in my pastoral ministry which is my attitude? Am I a shepherd as Jesus?
• Have you had the experience of having been deceived by a false shepherd? How did you succeed in overcoming this?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
As a deer yearns for running streams,
so I yearn for you, my God.
I thirst for God, the living God;
when shall I go to see the face of God? (Ps 42,1-2)