Thứ Hai, 15 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 16, 2017 : TUESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

Reading 1ACTS 14:19-28
In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds. 
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city. 
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished. 
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21
R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."


Meditation: "My peace I give to you"
Do you know the peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)? In his farewell discourse Jesus grants peace as his gift to his disciples. What kind of peace does he offer? The peace of Christ is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our highest good. The world's approach to peace is avoidance of trouble and a refusal to face unpleasant things. Jesus offers the peace which conquers our fears and anxieties. Nothing can take us from the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. No sorrow or grief, no danger, no suffering can make it less.
The true nature of peace
How can we attain the peace which the Lord Jesus offers his followers? Through the gift and work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, the Lord Jesus shows us how to yield our passions of anger, fear, and pride to him so we can receive his gift of peace. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and strengthens us with his gifts and supernatural virtues which enable us to live as wise and holy disciples of Christ. 
Caesarius of Arles (470-542 AD), an early church bishop in Gaul who was noted for his godly wisdom and preaching of Scripture, linked peace with the character of Christ and the Christlike virtues which help us to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Caesarius describes some of the key character traits (virtues) which form us into true people of peace:
"Peace, indeed, is serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. It removes hatred, settles wars, restrains wrath, tramples on pride, loves the humble, pacifies the discordant and makes enemies agree. For it is pleasing to everyone. It does not seek what belongs to another or consider anything as its own. It teaches people to love because it does not know how to get angry, or to extol itself or become inflated with pride. It is meek and humble to everyone, possessing rest and tranquility within itself. When the peace of Christ is exercised by a Christian, it is brought to perfection by Christ. If anyone loves it, he will be an heir of God, while anyone who despises it rebels against Christ.
"When our Lord Jesus Christ was returning to the Father, he left his peace to his followers as their inherited good, teaching them and saying, 'My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.' Anyone who has received this peace should keep it, and one who has destroyed it should look for it, while anyone who has lost it should seek it. For if anyone is not found with it, he will be disinherited by the Father and deprived of his inheritance." (Sermon 174.1)
Destiny with the Father 
Jesus speaks to his disciples about his destination - and their destiny as well. He tells them in plain words that he must return to his Father in heaven (John 14:28). If his disciples truly love him for who he is - the only begotten Son of the Father, then they will rejoice that Jesus will ascend to the throne of God and be reunited with his Father in heaven. 

Jesus also speaks of his struggle - his passion, suffering and death which he undertook on the cross to redeem us from slavery to sin and death. Jesus called Satan the "ruler of this world" (John 14:30) who seeks to rob people of peace and friendship with God. Jesus defeated the evil one through his death and resurrection and won pardon and peace for all who believe in him.The victory of the cross brought glory to Jesus and to the Father and it is our way to glory with the Father in heaven as well. In the Cross of Christ we find true peace and reconciliation with God our Father. Do you live in the peace of Jesus Christ?
"Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no troubling thought, trial or affliction rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing in your word and by doing your will.”
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Following of Christ, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Come, follow Me, says the Lord. Do you love? He has hastened on, He has flown on ahead. Look and see where. O Christian, don't you know where your Lord has gone? I ask you: Don't you wish to follow Him there? Through trials, insults, the cross, and death. Why do you hesitate? Look, the way has been shown you." (excerpt from Sermon 345,6) 

TUESDAY, MAY 16, JOHN 14:27-31a
Easter Weekday

(Acts 14:19-28; Psalm 145)

KEY VERSE: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you" (v.27).
TO KNOW: In anticipation of his passion and death, Jesus entreated his disciples to remain steadfast when they faced persecution and suffering. The enemy, though close at hand, held no power over them. Jesus’ farewell gift to his disciples was "peace" (Hebrew, shalom). The peace that he imparted was not to be understood in the worldly sense as a cessation of hostilities. Nor could it be achieved by arbitration and treaties. Jesus' peace is the indwelling Spirit. When Jesus ascended to his Father, his first gift of the resurrection would be the peace of the Spirit. This peace would sustain Jesus’ disciples in his absence, even in the midst of distress and fear. By their courageous proclamation of the gospel, the world would know that they were obedient to the Father's will despite pain and death.
TO LOVE: In what ways do I gift others with the peace of Christ?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, grant your peace to this troubled world.


Tuesday 16 May 2017

Acts 14:19-28. Psalms 144(145):10-13, 21. John 14:27-31.
Your friends tell the glory of your kingship, Lord — Psalms 144(145):10-13, 21.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’
Today we are greeted with two powerful readings that remind us of the comfort we can find despite the hardships that are part of every life. Paul’s words, ‘We must experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God’, are spoken with all the passion of his recent experience of being stoned. This surely rings true for all of us.
It reminds me of a local Catholic community where people who have struggled for justice are ministering to each other in love and compassion. Through their outreach they are finding the true peace which Jesus spoke of at the Last Supper: ‘My own peace I give to you.’ They are ‘engraced’ by the love which has become part of their everyday experience. Perhaps the grace they share has permitted them a taste of the kingdom of God.

ST. ANDREW BOBOLA

Andrew Bobola is a Polish-born martyr. He was born in Sandormir, Poland, in 1591 to a noble family. He was ordained a Jesuit in 1622 and three years later became a parish priest in Vilna, Lithuania, the town in which he had studied. He also served as superior of the Jesuit community for a time. He worked extensively with the sick and made and even stronger efforts to help them during a plague outbreak, but he is best known as a successful missionary to the Orthodox. He did this for almost 20 years, preaching along the roads and converting whole villages to Catholicism.
However, he was captured after Mass on May 10, 1657 by the Cossacks and brutally tortured. Six days later, he was beheaded and died a martyr, refusing to denounce his Catholic faith.
His tomb was opened in 1808 and his body was found incorrupt. He is now entombed in a Jesuit church in Krakow, Poland.
He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1938.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 14,27-31A
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Easter Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God, almighty Father,
you have absolute power over the world,
and yet you respect the freedom of people,
even of those who persecute your faithful.
Make us realize that our faith
does not protect us against the evil
which people bring upon one another,
but that you want us to build according to your plan
a kingdom of justice, love and peace.
Help our faith to stand the test
when our meager efforts fail.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 14,27-31A
Jesus said to his disciples: "Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away and shall return. If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.
I shall not talk to you much longer, because the prince of this world is on his way. He has no power over me, but the world must recognise that I love the Father and that I act just as the Father commanded. Come now, let us go.
3) REFLECTION
• Here in John 14, 27, begins the farewell of Jesus and at the end of chapter 14, he ends the conversation saying: “Come now, let us go!” (Jn 14, 31). But instead of leaving the room, Jesus continues to speak in three other chapters: 15, 16, and 17. If we read these three chapters, at the beginning of chapter 18, we see the following phrase: “After he had said all this, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciples“ (Jn 18, 1). In Jn 18, 1, there is the continuation of Jn 14, 31. The Gospel of John is like a beautiful building constructed slowly, rock on top of rock, brick upon brick. Here and there, there are signs of rearrangement or adaptation. In some way, all the texts, all the bricks, form part of the building and are the Word of God for us.
• John 14, 27: The gift of Peace. Jesus communicates his peace to the disciples. The same peace will be given after the Resurrection (Jn 20, 29). This peace is an expression of the manifestation of the Father, as Jesus had said before (Jn 14, 21). The peace of Jesus is the source of joy that he communicates to us (Jn 15, 11; 1620.22.24; 17, 13). It is a peace which is different from the peace which the world gives us, diverse from Pax Romana. At the end of the first century the Pax Romana was maintained by force and violent repression against the rebellious movements. Pax Romana guaranteed the institutionalized inequality between the Roman citizens and the slaves. This is not the peace of the Kingdom of God. The Peace which Jesus communicates is what in the Old Testament is called Shalom. It is the complete organization of the whole life around the values of justice, of fraternity and of equality.
• John 14, 28-29: The reason why Jesus returns to the Father. Jesus returns to the Father in order to be able to return immediately. He will say to Mary Magdalene: “Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father” (Jn 20, 17). Going up to the Father, he will return through the Holy Spirit that he will send (cfr. Jn 20, 22). Without the return toward the Father he will not be able to stay with us through the Spirit.
• John 14, 30-31a: That the world may know that I love the Father. Jesus had ended the last conversation with the disciples. The prince of this world wanted to impose himself on the destiny of Jesus. Jesus will die. In reality, the Prince, the Tempter, the Devil, has no power over Jesus. The world will know that Jesus loves the Father. This is the great witness of Jesus which can impel the world to believe in him. In the announcement of the Good News it is not a question of diffusing a doctrine, or of imposing a Canon Law, or of uniting all in one organization. It is a question; above all, of living and radiating what the human being desires and has deeper in his heart: love. Without this, the doctrine, the Law, the celebration will be only a wig on a bald head.
• John 14, 31b: Come now, let us go. These are the last words of Jesus, the expression of his decision to be obedient to the Father and of revealing his love. In the Eucharist, at the moment of the consecration, in some countries, it is said: “On the day before his passion, voluntarily accepted”. In another place Jesus says: “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: 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 that I have received from my Father.” (Jn 10, 17-18).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Jesus says: “I give you my peace”. How do I contribute to the construction of peace in my family and in my community?
• Looking into the mirror of the obedience of Jesus toward the Father, on which point could I improve my obedience to the Father?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh,
and your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingship
and tell of your might. (Ps 145,10-11)