Thứ Hai, 8 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 09, 2017 : TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 280

Reading 1ACTS 11:19-26
Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord. 
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. 
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Responsorial PsalmPS 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (117:1a) All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
"This man was born there."
And of Zion they shall say:
"One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD."
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
"This man was born there."
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
"My home is within you."
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter. 
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. 
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
"How long are you going to keep us in suspense? 
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 
Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father's name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me. 
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. 
No one can take them out of my hand. 
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. 
The Father and I are one."


Meditation: "My sheep hear my voice"
How secure is your faith and trust in God? Scripture describes God's word as a "lamp for our feet and a light for our steps"(Psalm 119:105). The Jewish Feast of the Dedication is also called the Festival of Lights or Hanakkuh. This feast was held in late December, near the time when Christians celebrate the feast of Christmas. This is the time of year when the day is shortest and the night longest. Jesus used this occasion to declare that he is the true light of the world (John 8:12). In his light we can see who God truly is and we can find the true path to heaven.
Our true and lasting security rests in Jesus alone
Jesus speaks of the tremendous trust he has in God his Father and the tremendous trust we ought to have in him because he is our good shepherd (John 10:11). Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless against prey, such as wolves, and often get lost and bewildered without a guide. That is why shepherds literally live with their sheep out in the open field and mountain sides. The shepherd guards his sheep from the dangers of storms, floods, and beasts of prey. The shepherd leads his sheep to the best places for feeding and the best streams for drinking. He finds the best place for their rest and safety at night. The sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd and heed his call when he leads them to safe pasture and rest.
Listen to the Good Shepherd and you will not go astray
We are very much like sheep who stray, we become easy prey to forces which can destroy us - sin, Satan, and a world in opposition to God and his people. The Lord Jesus came not only to free us from Satan's snares and the grip of sin, he came to personally lead us to the best of places where we can feed on his "word of life" and drink from the "living waters" of his Holy Spirit. The sheep who heed the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd, have no fear. He leads them to the best of places - everlasting peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.
In this present life we will encounter trials, difficulties, and persecution. We can face them alone or we can follow Jesus, the true shepherd, who will bring us safely through every difficulty to the place of peace and security with God. Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and heed his commands?
"Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for us. I place all my hope and trust in you. Open my ears to hear your voice today and to follow your commands."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Great might of Christ's hand, by Clement of Alexandria, 150-215 A.D.
"The faithful also have the help of Christ, and the devil is not able to snatch them. Those who have an endless enjoyment of good things remain in Christ's hand, no one thereafter snatching them away from the bliss that is given to them. [No one can throw them] into punishment or torments. For it is not possible that those who are in Christ's hand should be snatched away to be punished because of the great might Christ has. For 'the hand' in the divine Scripture signifies 'the power'” It cannot be doubted therefore that the hand of Christ is unconquerable and mighty to all things." (excerpt from the COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 7.1)

TUESDAY, MAY 9, JOHN 10:22-30
Easter Weekday

(Acts 11:19-26; Psalm 87)

KEY VERSE: "But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep" (v.26).
TO KNOW: As a faithful Jew, Jesus went to the temple for the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). This feast commemorated the rededication of the temple by the Maccabees after its desecration in 164 BCE by the Syrian King Antiochus IV.Epiphanes (1 Mc 4:36-59). While in the temple, Jesus was confronted by those who demanded to know whether or not he claimed to be the Messiah. Jesus pointed to the works that he did as evidence that God had sent him. The words and deeds of Jesus were the words and deeds of God. The reason his adversaries did not recognize him was because they did not belong to his flock. Those who belonged to Jesus knew him and followed him. God gave these faithful ones to Jesus, the "good shepherd" (v.11), who kept careful watch over his own. No one could snatch them from his hand because he and the Father were one
TO LOVE: Do I follow Christ when he calls?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, help me to discern your voice from the voices of those who would lead me astray.

NATIONAL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY

National Teacher Day is always celebrated the first Tuesday of the first full week of May. Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day in 1953. Teachers are true heroes in our communities, who through their dedication to children, work millions of small miracles every day. This day honors those hard working, patient and understanding people to whom we entrust our children. So let's give them their due. And, if you happen to be a teacher reading this, we personally offer our thanks, for the future of our world is in your hands.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Acts 11:19-26. Psalms 86(87):1-7. John 10:22-30.
All you nations, praise the Lord — Psalms 86(87):1-7.
‘The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness.’
In other words, just watch what I do, how I live—that will reveal who I am. Jesus’ whole being was so clearly attuned to his love for the Father and all the Father’s children that he could make such a statement.
Scary stuff! If I think of inviting people to look at my life and decide from that observation who I am, I realise how often fear, hurt or jealousy distort my words and actions. Jesus, my desires so rarely show forth in what I do. Draw me closer to yourself. Heal the hurts and take away the fears that distort my attempts to love. Comfort me with the assurance that you know the desires of my heart.

ST. PACHOMIUS

St. Pachomius can justifiabley be called the founder of of cenobitic monasticism, monks who live in community. Even though St. Antony the Great was the first to go into the desert to live a life of seclusion pursuing evangelical perfection, he lived a heremitic life, that is, a primarily solitary life.
Pachomius first started out as a hermit in the desert, like many of the other men and women in the third and fourth centuries who sought the most radical expression of Christian life. There he developed a very strong bond of friendship with the hermit Palemon. One day during prayer, he had a vision in which he was called to build a monastery, and was told in the vision that many people who were eager to live an ascetic life in the desert, but were not inclined to the solitary life of a hermit, would come and join him.  His hermit friend, Palemon, helped him to build the monastery and Pachomius insisted that his cenobites were to aspire to the austerity of the hermits.
However, Pchomius knew that his idea was a radical one, because most of the men who came to live in his monastery had only ever conceived of the eremitic lifestyle. His great accomplishment was to reconcile this desire for austere perfection with an openness to fulfilling the mundane requirements of community life as an expression of Christian love and service. He spent most of his first years as a cenobitic doing all the menial work on his own, knowing that his brother monks needed to be gently inducted into serving their brothers in the same manner.  He therefore allowed them to devote all their time to spiritual exercises in those first years.  At his death, there were eleven Pachomian monasteries: nine for men and two for women.
The rule that Pachomius drew up was said to have been dictated to him by an angel, and it is this rule that both St. Benedict in the west and St. Basil in the east drew upon to develop their better known rules of cenobitic life. St. Pachomius died in the year 346.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 10,22-30
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord God, our Father,
the Spirit of Jesus calls us, as he called your Son,
to abandon our old selves and our old world
to be free for new life and growth.
Forgive us our fear and hesitations,
lead us out of our worn-out phrases and habits,
and our self-made certainties,
steep us in the gospel of your Son,
that his good news may become credible
in our times and our world.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 10,22-30
It was the time of the feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us openly.'
Jesus replied: I have told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine. The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from my hand. The Father, for what he has given me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal anything from the Father's hand. The Father and I are one.
3) REFLECTION
• Chapters one to twelve of the Gospel of John are called “The Book of Signs”. In these chapters we have the progressive revelation of the Mystery of God in Jesus. In the measure in which Jesus makes this revelation, adherence and opposition grow around him according to the vision or idea which each one has of the coming of the Messiah. This way of describing the activity of Jesus does not only serve to inform how adherence to Jesus took place at that time, but also and above all, how this should take place in us today, his readers. At that time, all expected the coming of the Messiah and they had their criteria of how to recognize him. They wanted him to be like they imagined that he should be. But Jesus does not submit himself to that requirement. He reveals the Father as the Father is and not as his listeners would want him to be. He asks for conversion in the way of thinking and of acting. Today, also, each one of us has his/her own likes and own preferences. Some times we read the Gospel to see if we find in it a confirmation of our desires. Today’s Gospel presents some light concerning this.
• John 10, 22-24: The Jews question Jesus. It was cold; it was the month of October. It was the Feast of the dedication which celebrated the purification of the temple done by Judah Maccabee (2 M 4, 36.59). It was a very popular Feast with much light. Jesus was out on the square of the Temple, in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews said: "How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us openly”. They wanted Jesus to define himself and that they could verify, according to their own criteria, if Jesus was or was not the Messiah. They wanted some proofs. It is the attitude of the one who feels that he dominates the situation. The new ones must present their credentials. Otherwise, they have no right to speak or to act.
• John 10, 25-26: Response of Jesus: the works that I do are my witness. The response of Jesus is always the same: “I have told you, but you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine”. It is not a question of giving proofs. It would be useless. When a person does not want to accept the witness of some one, there is no proof which is valid and which will lead the person to change and think differently. The basic problem is the disinterested openness of the person toward God and toward truth. Where this openness exists, Jesus is recognized by his sheep. “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice”. Jesus will say these words before Pilate (Jn 18, 37). The Pharisees lacked this openness.
• John 10, 27-28: My sheep listen to my voice. Jesus repeats the parable of the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and they know him. This mutual understanding – between Jesus who comes in the name of the Father and the persons who open themselves to truth – is the source of eternal life. This union between the Creator and the creature through Jesus exceeds every threat of death: “They will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from my hand!” They are safe and secure and, because of this, they are in peace and enjoy full freedom.
• John 10, 29-30: The Father and I are one. These two verses refer to the mystery of the union between Jesus and the Father: “The Father, for what he has given me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal anything from my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one”. These and other phrases make us guess or have a glimpse at something of the greatest mystery: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14, 9). “The Father is in me and I am in the Father” (Jn 10, 38). This union between Jesus and the Father is not something automatic, but rather it is the fruit of obedience: “I always do what pleases my Father” (Jn 8, 29; 6, 38; 17, 4). “My food is to do the will of the Father” (Jn 4, 34; 5, 30). The Letter to the Hebrews says that Jesus learnt obedience from the things that he suffered (Heb 5, 8). “He was obedient until death and death on the Cross” (Ph 2, 8). The obedience of Jesus is not a disciplinary one, but rather it was prophetic. He obeys in order to be total transparency and, thus, to be the revelation of the Father. Because of this, he could say: “The Father and I are one!” It was a long process of obedience and of incarnation which lasted 33 years. It began with Mary’s YES (Lk 1, 38) and ended with: “It is all fulfilled!” (Jn 19, 30).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Is my obedience to God, disciplinary or prophetic? Do I reveal something of God or am I only concerned about my own salvation?
• Jesus does not submit himself to the exigencies of those who want to verify if he is the Messiah. In me, is there something of this attitude of dominion and of inquiry of the enemies of Jesus?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
May God show kindness and bless us,
and make his face shine on us.
Then the earth will acknowledge your ways,
and all nations your power to save. (Ps 67,2-3)