Thứ Tư, 10 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 11, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 282

Reading 1ACTS 13:13-25
From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. 
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem. 
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. 
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats. 
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
"My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak."

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
"Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. 
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. 
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man's descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. 
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'"

Responsorial PsalmPS 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 AND 27
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever";
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
"I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong."
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
"My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, 'You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.'"
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE RV 1:5AB
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, he said to them:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. 
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."


Meditation: "The one who receives me"
How do you treat those who cause you grief or harm, especially those who are close to you in some way? In his last supper discourse, Jesus addressed the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships. Jesus knew beforehand that one of his own disciples would betray him. Such knowledge could have easily led Jesus to distance himself from such a person and to protect himself from harm's way. Instead, Jesus expresses his love, affection, and loyalty to those who were his own, even to the one he knew would "stab him in the back" when he got the opportunity. Jesus used a quotation from Psalm 4:9 which describes an act of treachery by one's closest friend. In the culture of Jesus' day, to eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust. Jesus extends such friendship to Judas right at the moment when Judas is conspiring to betray his master. The expression lift his heel against me reinforces the brute nature of this act of violent rejection.
Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness to them even to death on the cross. Through his death and resurrection Jesus opened a new way of relationship and friendship with God. Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father who sent him. This principle extends to all who belong to Christ and who speak in his name. To accept the Lord's messenger is to accept Jesus himself. The great honor and the great responsibility a Christian has is to stand in the world for Jesus Christ. As his disciples and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we are called to speak for him and to act on his behalf.  Are you ready to stand for Jesus at the cross of humiliation, rejection, opposition, and suffering?
"Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus our Lord." (Prayer of Saint Augustine)

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Master wants his servants to reach their potential, by Origen, 185-254 A.D.
"The Savior, who is Lord, does something that surpasses all other lords, who have no desire to see their servants rise up to their level. He is such a Son of the Father's goodness and love that, although he was Lord, he produced servants who could become like him, their Lord, not having the spirit of bondage, which comes from fear, but the spirit of adoption in which they too cry, 'Abba, Father.' So then, before becoming like their teacher and lord, they need to have their feet washed because they are still deficient disciples who possess the spirit of bondage to fear. But when they attain the stature of master and lord... then they will be able to imitate their master and wash the disciple's feet as the teacher. (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 32.120–22)

THURSDAY, MAY 11, JOHN 13:16-20
Easter Weekday

(Acts 13:13-25; Psalm 89)

KEY VERSE: "No slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him" (v.16).
TO KNOW: Chapter one through twelve of John's gospel is called the "Book of Signs." Chapter thirteen begins the "Book of Glory" (13:1--20:31). On the threshold of Jesus' passion, resurrection and glorious ascension, he took the role of a lowly slave, washing the feet of his disciples (v.1-15). He told his followers that as servants and messengers of the gospel (Greek, apostolos), they must imitate his humility and love: "You also should do as I have done to you" (13:15). A disciple was one who learned from the master, and acted on his words. If his followers truly understood this, they would be blessed, and all who received Jesus' messengers would be blessed in turn. But Jesus' words were not received by all. In the midst of this outpouring of love, Judas prepared to betray his master. Jesus told his disciples this before it happened, "so that you will believe that I AM" (13:19). Jesus’ “I AM” statement indicates that he was equating Himself with the "I AM" title of God revealed to Moses (Ex 3:14, Ego Eimi).
TO LOVE: How have I served the Lord and his people today?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, help me to understand that the way to glory is through humble service.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Acts 13:13-25. Psalms 88(89):2-3, 21-22, 25, 27. John 13:16-20.
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord — Psalms 88(89):2-3, 21-22, 25,
‘I have set an example for you.’
Twice during the Last Supper discourse, having washed his disciples’ feet, Jesus said to them, ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ On the second occasion he added, ‘If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too.’ With good reason did the English Jesuit martyr Saint Robert Southwell say, ‘The following of Christ is a rough profession.’
One man who knew the truth of this was Paul of Tarsus who ceased his persecution of Christians to become, as he described himself, ‘a servant of Jesus Christ’ (Romans 1:1). As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, he proclaimed the Good News, ‘welcome or unwelcome’, at the cost of his life.
Help me, Lord, to be ever faithful in your service in the family home, the parish and the work place.’

ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI

St. Ignatius of Laconi was a Capuchin Friar. He was born in 1701 and died in 1781. He was canonized 1951 by Pius XII.
Born the second of seven children in a poor farming family, Francis Ignatius Vincent Peis was so named because his safe delivery through a difficult pregnancy was achieved through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi.  His mother promised the saint that she would name her unborn baby Francis and that he would join the Capuchins as an adult.
Since his early childhood, Francis demonstrated a capacity for hard work in the fields and a strong piety.  He would often be seen in prayer and was known to wait at the church doors every morning in prayer until they were opened.
He wanted to join the Capuchins as a teenager, but his father would not allow him to because the family depended on his labour to survive. However, on surviving a riding accident through God’s intervention at the age of 20, he decided to enter the Capuchin monastery at once, and took his vows a year later, taking his second name, Ignatius, as his religious name.
Ignatius spent his first 15 years as a Capuchin doing various menial jobs around the monastery and for the last 40 years of his life he was appointed questor, or offical beggar, for the monastery.  He would travel around the town collecting food and donations for the friars.
He was particularly well loved by the poor and by children, and was often given alms by those who barely had anything to give.  He refused them from the very poor, saying that it was better for them to keep it for themselves.  He tended to the sick and to street children everyday on his rounds through town, and many miracles of healing were said to have occurred through his intercession.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 13,16-20
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, May 11, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
All-powerful God,
your Son Jesus reminds us today
that we are no greater than your and our servant,
Jesus, our Lord and master.
Give us the love and endurance 
to serve you and people
without waiting for awards or gratitude
and to accept the difficulties and contradictions
which are part of the Christian life
and which are normal for followers
of him who bore the cross for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 13,16-20
Jesus said to his disciples: 'In all truth I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the one who sent him. 'Now that you know this, blessed are you if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: 'He who shares my table takes advantage of me. I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe that I am He. In all truth I tell you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.'
3) REFLECTION
• Beginning today, April 17th until the 8th of May, every day, except on feast days, the Gospel of each day is taken from the long conversation of Jesus with the disciples during the Last Supper (Jn 13 to 17). In these five chapters which describe the farewell of Jesus, the presence of those three threads of which we had spoken before, is perceived, those threads which knit and compose the Gospel of John: the word of Jesus, the word of the community and the word of the Evangelist who writes the last redaction of the Fourth Gospel. In these chapters, the three threads are intertwined in such a way that the whole is presented as a unique fabric or cloth of a rare beauty and inspiration, where it is difficult to distinguish what is from one and what is from the other, but where everything is the Word of God for us.
• These five chapters present the conversation which Jesus had with his friends, the evening when he was arrested and was put to death. It was a friendly conversation, which remained in the memory of the Beloved Disciple. Jesus seems to want to prolong to the maximum this last encounter, this moment of great intimacy. The same thing happens today. There is conversation and conversation. There is the superficial conversation which uses words and words and reveals the emptiness of the person. And there is the conversation which goes to the depth of the heart and remains in the memory. All of us, once in a while, have these moments of friendly living together, which expand the heart and constitute the force in moments of difficulty. They help to trust and to overcome fear.
• The five verses of today’s Gospel draw two conclusions from the washing of the feet (Jn 13, 1-15). They speak (a) of service as the principal characteristic of the followers of Jesus, and (b) of the identity of Jesus, the revelation of the Father.
• John 13, 16-17: The servant is not greater than his master. Jesus has just finished washing the feet of the disciples. Peter becomes afraid and does not want Jesus to wash his feet. “If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me” (Jn 13, 8). And it is enough to wash the feet; there is no need to wash the rest (Jn 13, 10). The symbolical value of the gesture of the washing of the feet consists in accepting Jesus as Messiah, Servant, who gives himself for others, and to reject a Messiah, glorious king. This gift of self, servant of all is the key to understand the gesture of the washing of the feet. To understand this is the root of the happiness of a person: “Knowing these things, you will be blessed if you put them into practice”. But there were some persons, even among the disciples, who did not accept Jesus, Messiah, Servant. They did not want to be the servants of others. Probably, they wanted a glorious Messiah, King and Judge, according to the official ideology. Jesus says: “I am not speaking about all of you; I know the ones I have chosen; but what Scripture says must be fulfilled: He who shares my table takes advantage of me!” John refers to Judas, whose betrayal will be announced immediately after (Jn 13, 21-30).
• John 13, 18-20: I tell you this now, before it happens, so that you may believe that I AM HE. It was on the occasion of the liberation from Egypt at the foot of Mount Sinai that God revealed his name to Moses: “I am with you!” (Ex 3, 12), “I am who I am” (Ex 3, 14). “I Am” or “I AM” has sent me to you!” (Ex 3, 14). The name Yahweh (Ex 3, 15) expresses the absolute certainty of the liberating presence of God at the side of his people. In many ways and on may occasions this same expression I Am is used by Jesus (Jn 8, 24; 8, 28; 8, 58; Jn 6, 20; 18, 5.8; Mk 14, 62; Lk 22, 70). Jesus is the presence of the liberating face of God in our midst.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• The servant is not greater than his master. How do I make of my life a permanent service of others?
• Jesus knew how to live together with persons who did not accept him. And I?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
I shall sing the faithful love of Yahweh for ever,
from age to age my lips shall declare your constancy,
for you have said: love is built to last for ever,
you have fixed your constancy firm in the heavens. (Sal 89,1-2)