Thứ Sáu, 12 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 13, 2017 : FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 283

Reading 1ACTS 13:26-33
When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
"My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent. 
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath. 
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb. 
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. 
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you."

Responsorial PsalmPS 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB
R. (7bc) You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
"I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain."
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you."
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
"Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish."
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 
In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way." 
Thomas said to him, 
"Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?" 
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me."



Meditation: Do not let your hearts be troubled!
Do you allow any troubles to rob you of God's peace? As much as we try to avoid it, we all inevitably encounter trouble and difficulties. Jesus knew his disciples would have to face trials and persecution after he left them to return to his Father in heaven. Adversity can make us lose hope and become discouraged, or it can press us closer to God and to his promises for us.
"It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:8).
A place for you in my Father's house
Just as God, who appeared as a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night, went ahead of Moses and the Israelites to lead them safely through the wilderness to the promised land, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going ahead through his ascension into heaven to prepare a place for them in his Father's house - a place of lasting peace, friendship, and happiness with God. God's house is never closed nor over-crowded - there is plenty of room for everyone who believes in God and in his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest fear in this present life - whether it be the separation and loss of a loved one or the threat to one's own life - is put to rest by Jesus' promise that we will live forever with him and the eternal Father. There we will be joined with a great company of saints and angels who will be our friends forever as well.
Do you know the way to the Father's house in heaven? Jesus expected his disciples to know where his life was headed - to dwell in everlasting glory with his Father in heaven. And he expected that his disciples would recognize that this was their ultimate destination as well. Thomas, who was both a doubter and a realist, spoke for all the disciples when he said, "we neither know where you are going nor how we shall get there on our own?" Thomas was a very practical "down to earth" kind of person who wanted to see the map and landmarks showing the exact path that would lead the way to the desired haven. Jesus assured Thomas that he would not only give him everything he needed to complete the journey, he would be Thomas' personal guide as well.
Taveling alone in unfamiliar or uncharted places can be unnerving and bewildering without a companion or guide. And some places are impossible to pass through without the right person who knows the way and who can guarantee a safe passage. Several years ago I was invited by Christian friends to visit their community in Lebanon. They were in the middle of a civil war that would last for 15 years (1975-1990). Months and years of hardship, exposure to danger, and the uncertainty of the war's outcome, as well as being physically cutoff from outside contact with friends, was weighing heavily. I was eager to visit to offer some support. Since I had never traveled there before, nor spoke the local language, I knew that I was helpless without a trustworthy guide. Fortunately a close Christian friend from Lebanon met me half-way on my journey and personally guided me through some unfamiliar territory, including check-points, road-blocks, physical danger, and some social, religious, and political hurdles as well. My guide got me safely to my destination. I literally owed my life to his safe-keeping. The Lord Jesus promised his followers that he would be their personal guide and friend who would lead them to the source of  lasting peace, enduring friendship, and abundant life.
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
The disciples were surprised that Jesus was going to his Father's house and would return to take them with him. And they were even more surprised when Jesus said he expected them to know the way to the Father's house. Jesus' answer to there question, "show us the way", was both a reminder that his disciples should trust their Master and Teacher to show them the way, and a challenge for them to recognize that Jesus had intimate knowledge of God and where God came from. Jesus made a statement that invoked the very name which God had revealed to Moses, "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14), and he made three claims which only God could make. He stated unequivocally to his disciples: "I am theWay, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6)
Jesus proclaims: I am the Way (John 14:6). He alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with the Father from the beginning - before time and creation ever existed. The Lord Jesus gives us more than a road map and guide book. He personally is the way to the Father's kingdom, and we cannot miss it if we follow him. He accompanies us on our daily journey and watches over us as the good shepherd who leads and sustains us each and every step of the way. Are you in step with the Lord and do you trust in his guiding hand for your life?
Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth (John 14:6). Many can say, "I have taught you the truth." Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. He posseses in himself the fulness of truth. Jesus claims to be one with the Father and to speak the truth which proceeds from the Father. Jesus promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they would learn the truth and the  truth would set them free" (John 8:31). The truth which Jesus proclaims has power to set us free from ignorance, deception, and sin. The words which Jesus speaks are true because there is no lie or falsehood in him. Moral truth requires more than mere words or ideas because the person who speaks them must be true - true in thought, speech, deed, example, and action. Jesus embodies the truth in his person.
Jesus proclaims that he is the Life (John 14:6). He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life which only God can give - abundant life that lasts forever. Is there any trouble, fear, or distracton that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ?
 "Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth."

Daily Quote from the early church fathersWalk by faith in the truth, by Augustine of Hippo, 430-543 A.D.
"Persevere now in walking by faith in the truth, that you may succeed in coming at a definite and due time to the sight of the same truth. For as the apostle says, 'While staying here in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we are walking by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:6-7). We are led to the direct sight and vision of the Father by Christian faith. That is why the Lord says, 'No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (excerpt fromSERMON 12.5)

FRIDAY, MAY 12, JOHN 14:1-6
Easter Weekday

(Acts 13:26-33; Psalm 2)
KEY VERSE: "I am the way and the truth and the life" (v.6).
TO KNOW: As Jesus approached his impending death, he prepared his disciples for the work that he would hand over to them. He told them that it was necessary for him to go so that he could prepare a place for them. Jesus assured them that they would know the way to the place where he was going. His anxious disciples were troubled by Jesus' words, and Thomas plaintively asked, "How can we know the way?" (v.5). Jesus assured them that he was the "way" to God's "truth," which he revealed by his words and deeds. He was the bridge to the Father and to "life" eternal. Jesus likened heaven to a huge mansion in which there were many rooms. He promised his faithful followers that he would "return" and take them to live with him there (Greek, Parousia, the second coming).
TO LOVE: Is my life a light to show others the way to God's truth?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, guide me to the Father by your eternal truth.

Optional Memorial of Saints Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs, or Saint Pancras, martyr

Nereus was a soldier in the imperial Roman army, and a member of the Praetorian Guard. He was a convert to Christianity, and allegedly baptized by Saint Peter the Apostle. Nereus was exiled for his faith, and was martyred. Pancras, a fourteen year old orphan, was brought to Rome by his uncle, Saint Dionysius. Pancras became a convert to Christianity and was martyred along with Saint Nereus, Saint Achilleus, and Saint Domitilla. Pope Vitalian sent Pancras’ relics from Rome to England as part of the evangelization of England. Saint Augustine of Canterbury dedicated the first Church in England to Saint Pancras, and subsequent churches were similarly named for him. 


Friday 12 May 2017

Ss Nereus and Achilleus; St Pancras. Day of Penance.
Acts 13:26-33. Psalms 2:6-11. John 14:1-6.
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you — Psalms 2:6-11.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.’
Today I want to let these words of yours, Lord, sink into my heart and resound down inside me. I will repeat them slowly, over and over again. I will let all that troubles me, all my doubts and fears, all my frustrations and sins rise to the surface so that I can place them in your hands.
Lord. I want to believe in your words. I want to trust more in you and not in possessions or in my own unaided strength. Help me to know in my heart that you are risen and are with me. Be for me the way, the truth, the life.

STS. NEREUS AND ACHILLEUS; ST. PANCRAS

Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers of the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s bodyguards) who were martyred at the end of the first century, and were said to have been baptized by St. Peter himself.  When they became Christians they gave up their posts which they saw as immoral and were exiled and then killed under the reign of the emperor Trajan.
An epitaph written by Pope Damasus says the following: "Nereus and Achilleus the martyrs joined the army and carried out the cruel orders of the tyrant, obeying his will continually out of fear. Then came a miracle of faith. They suddenly gave up their savagery, they were converted, they fled the camp of their evil leader, throwing away their shields, armor, and bloody spears. Professing the faith of Christ, they are happy to witness to its triumph. From these words of Damasus understand what great deeds can be brought about by Christ's glory."
St. Pancras, or Pancratius, was a Syrian boy of pagan origin who went to Rome and was converted to Christianity. He was beheaded in 304 at the age of 14 during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian.  He is buried on the Via Aurelia in Rome and the church of St. Pancratius, which still stands today, was built on his grave in the fourth century.
Saints Nereus, Achilleus and Pancras have been honored together on May 12 since the fourth century.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 14,1-6
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, May 12, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus Christ is to us
the way that leads to you and to one another,
the truth that is good news of love and hope,
the life which he sacrificed to give it.
Help us to show the way to him
and to go his way to one another,
to speak the truth that is encouraging and credible,
to give life by sharing happiness,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 14,1-6
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
Thomas said, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?'
Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
3) REFLECTION
• These five chapters (Jn 13-17) are a beautiful example of how the communities of the Beloved Disciple of the end of the first century in Asia Minor, which today is Turkey, carried on the catechesis. For example, in chapter 14, the questions of the three disciples, Thomas (Jn 14, 5), Philip (Jn 14, 8) and Judas Thaddeus (Jn 14, 22) were also the questions and problems of the communities. Thus, the answers of Jesus to the three of them are like a mirror in which the communities found a response to their doubts and difficulties. To understand better the environment in which the catechesis was carried out, it is possible to do what follows. During and after the reading of the text, it is good to close the eyes and pretend that we are in the room in the midst of the disciples, participating in the encounter with Jesus. While we listen, it is necessary to pay attention to the way in which Jesus prepares his friends to separate themselves and reveals to them his friendship, communicating to them security and support.
• John 14, 1-2: Do not let your hearts be troubled. The text begins with an exhortation: “Do not let your hearts be troubled!” And immediately he adds: “In my Father’s house there are many places to live in!” The insistence in continuing to use encouraging words which help to overcome the trouble and the divergence is a sign that there was much polemic and divergence among the communities. One would say to the other: “Our way of living the faith is better than yours. We are saved! You live in error: If you want to go to heaven, you have to convert yourselves and live like we do!” Jesus says: “In my Father’s house there are many places!” It is not necessary that everybody thinks in the same way. The important thing is that all accept Jesus, the revelation of the Father and that out of love for him, they have attitudes of understanding, of service and of love. Love and service are the basis which unite the bricks and help the diverse communities to become a Church of brothers and sisters.
• John 14, 3-4: The farewell of Jesus. Jesus says that he is going to prepare a place and that afterwards he will return to take us with him to the Father’s house. He wants us to be with him forever. The return which Jesus speaks about is the coming of the Spirit that he sends and who acts in us, in such a way that we can live as he lived (Jn 14, 16-17.26; 16, 13-14). Jesus ends by saying: “You know the way to the place where I am going!” Anyone who knows Jesus knows the way, because the way is the life that he lived and which led him through death together to the Father.
• John 14, 5-6: Thomas asks which is the way. Thomas says: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answers: “I am the Way, I am Truth and Life! No one can come to the Father except through me”. Three important words. Without the way we cannot go. Without the truth one cannot make a good choice. Without life, there is only death! Jesus explains the sense. He is the Way, because “No one can come to the Father except through me”. And he is the gate through which the sheep enter and go out (Jn 10, 9). Jesus is the truth, because looking at him, we see the image of the Father. “Anyone who knows me knows the Father!” Jesus is the life, because walking like Jesus we will be united to the Father and we will have life in us!
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• What beautiful encounter of the past do you remember, encounters which give you the strength to continue ahead?
• Jesus says: “In my Father’s house there are many places”. What does this affirmation mean for us today?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Sing a new song to Yahweh,
for he has performed wonders,
his saving power is in his right hand and his holy arm. (Ps 98,1)