Thứ Sáu, 19 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 20, 2017 : SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290

Reading 1ACTS 16:1-10
Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
"Come over to Macedonia and help us."
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once, 
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 100:1B-2, 3, 5
R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaCOL 3:1
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples: 
"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
'No slave is greater than his master.'
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me." 


Meditation: "You are not of the world"
What does Jesus mean when he says "you are not of this world"? The world in Scripture refers to that society of people who are hostile towards God and opposed to his will. The world rejected the Lord Jesus and treated him with contempt, and his disciples can expect the same treatment. The Lord Jesus leaves no middle ground for his followers. We are either for him or against him, for his kingdom of light and truth or for the kingdom of darkness and deception. The prophet Isaiah warned that people who separate themselves from God because of their rebellious pride and spiritual blindness would end up calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).
"Those who kept my word" (John 15:20)
If we want to live in the light of God's truth, how can we rightly distinguish good from evil and truth from deception? True love of God and his ways draw us to all that is lovely, truthful and good. If we truly love God then we will submit to his truth and obey his word. A friend of God cannot expect to be a friend of the world because the world is opposed to God's truth and way of righteousness.
"I chose you out of the world" (John 15:18)
Jesus' demand is unequivocal and without compromise. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We must make a choice either for or against God. Do you seek to please God in all your intentions, actions, and relationships? Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and mind with the love and truth of God (Romans 5:5).
"Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love fill my heart with an eagerness to please you in all things. May there be no rivals to my love and devotion to you who are my all."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThose who suffer with Christ reign with Christ, by Cyril of Alexandria, 375-444 A.D.
"It is just as if Jesus said, 'I, the creator of the universe, who have everything under my hand, both in heaven and on earth, did not bridle their rage or restrain ... their inclinations. Rather, I let each one choose their own course and permitted all to do what they wanted. Therefore, when I was persecuted, I endured it even though I had the power of preventing it. When you too follow in my wake and pursue the same course I did, you also will be persecuted. You're going to have to momentarily endure the aversion of those who hate you without being overly troubled by the ingratitude of those whom you benefit. This is how you attain my glory, for those who suffer with me shall also reign with me.'" (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 10.2)


SATURDAY, MAY 20, JOHN 15:18-21
Easter Weekday

(Acts 16:1-10; Psalm 100)

KEY VERSE: "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first" (v.18).
TO KNOW: Just as Jesus and his Father are one, Jesus and the believer are one. Because of this close union, Jesus' disciples must be willing to share his fate. If Jesus suffered persecution and hatred, so would they. If the world refused to listen to his words or believe in his works, the world would not believe his disciples' proclamation and deeds. If the disciples had belonged to the world, perhaps the world would love them. Because these unbelievers did not know God, they despised Jesus and they would also despise his followers. Jesus said that "no slave was greater than his master" (v.20). Although the disciples were Jesus' friends (v.15), they were also obedient servants of God's will.
TO LOVE: In what ways am I both friend and servant to others?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, give the Church the grace to speak your gospel to those who do not know you.


Optional Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest

Bernardine's preaching skills were so great that he filled the piazzas of Italian cities. Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to participate in dramatic rituals and exorcisms. A renowned peacemaker in the Franciscan tradition, he tried to calm feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world of the Renaissance. His preaching visits would often culminate in mass reconciliations as listeners were persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of peace. He argued that the catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious gossip, which led, too often, to vendettas by aggressive males. His surprising allies in his peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the majority of his audience.



ARMED FORCES DAY

Armed Forces Day honors all branches of the armed forces of the United States. In the USA, it is celebrated on the third Saturday of May with military exercises on land, at sea, and in the air. Military installations are usually open to the public on Armed Forces Day. President Harry S. Truman proclaimed Armed Forces Day, and it was first celebrated in May 1950. It replaced three separate celebrations for the Air Force, Army, and Navy. James V. Forrestal, the first secretary of defense, helped unite the armed services under the Department of Defense after World War II ended in 1945.


Saturday 20 May 2017

St Bernadine of Siena.
Acts 16:1-10. Palms 99(100):1-3, 5. John 15:18-21.
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy — Palms 99(100):1-3, 5. John 15:18-21.
‘Because you do not belong to the world, the world hates you.’
It’s not always comfortable being a Christian—or at least it shouldn’t be. Paul and Timothy spread the Word of God and the teachings of the apostles further than ever before. There was seemingly no hesitation. Jesus’ words remind us that what they did was not an easy task, and that same task remains ours today. We are called to share the Gospel message, no matter what the cost.
Do we allow the possibility of discomfort? Is our faith important enough to share with those around us? Do we speak the words as well as walk the talk? Pope Francis is calling is to revisit these questions and to share the joy of the gospels with those around us. How can we do this today?

ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

The Catholic Church honors St. Bernardine of Siena on May 20. A Franciscan friar and preacher, St. Bernardine is known as “the Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the country's Catholic faith during the 15th century.
Bernardine Albizeschi was born to upper-class parents in the Italian republic of Siena during 1380. Misfortune soon entered the boy's life when he lost his mother at age three and his father four years later. His aunt Diana cared for him afterward, and taught him to seek consolation and security by trusting in God.
Even at a young age, Bernardine demonstrated a remarkable concern for the poor as an outgrowth of his love for God. Having become accustomed to fasting, he preferred at times to go without any food in order to help someone in greater need. From the ages of 11 to 17 he focused on his studies, developing the eloquence and dedication that would serve his future work as an evangelist.
Before becoming a preacher, however, Bernardine spent several years ministering to the sick and dying. He enrolled in a religious association that served at a hospital in the town of Scala, and applied himself to this work from 1397 to 1400.
During that time, a severe plague broke out in Siena, causing a crisis that would eventually lead to the young man taking charge of the entire hospital. Inside its walls, up to 20 people were dying each day from an illness that also killed many of the hospital workers. The staff was decimated and new victims were coming in constantly.
Bernardine persuaded 12 young men to help him continue the work of the hospital, which he took over for a period of four months. Although the plague did not infect him, the exhausting work left him weak and he contracted a different sickness that kept him in bed for four months.
After recovering, he spent over a year caring for his aunt Bartholomaea before her death. Then the 22-year-old Bernardine moved to a small house outside the city, where he began to discern God's will for his future through prayer and fasting.
He eventually chose to join the Franciscans of the Strict Observance in 1403, embracing an austere life focused on poverty and humility. During this time, while praying before a crucifix, Bernardine heard Christ say to him: “My son, behold me hanging upon a cross. If you love me, or desire to imitate me, be also fastened naked to your cross and follow me. Thus you will assuredly find me.”
After Bernardine was ordained a priest, his superiors commissioned him to preach as a missionary to the Italians who were falling away from their Catholic faith. The Dominican evangelist St. Vincent Ferrer, just before leaving Italy, preached a sermon in which he predicted that one of his listeners would continue his work among the Italians –  a prophecy Bernardine heard in person, and went on to fulfill.
Bernardine's personal devotion to God, which amazed even the strict Franciscans, made his preaching extremely effective. He moved his hearers to abandon their vices, turn back to God, and make peace with one another. He promoted devotion to the name of Jesus as a simple and effective means of recalling God's love at all times.
When other priests consulted him for advice, Bernardine gave them a simple rule: “In all your actions, seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory. Direct all you do purely to his honor. Persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others.”
“By this means,” he said, “the Holy Spirit will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you.”
Bernardine's own life attested to this source of strength in the face of trials. He patiently suffered an accusation of heresy –  which Pope Martin V judged to be false – and refused to abandon his bold preaching when a nobleman threatened him with death.
But Bernardine was also widely admired throughout Italy, and he was offered the office of a bishop on three occasions. Each time, however, he turned down the position, choosing to fulfill the prediction of St. Vincent Ferrer through his missionary work. Bernardine preached throughout most of Italy several times over, and even managed to reconcile members of its warring political factions.
Later in his life, Bernardine served for five years as the Vicar General for his Franciscan order, and revived the practice of its strict rule of life. Then in 1444, forty years after he first entered religious life, Bernardine became sick while traveling. He continued to preach, but soon lost his strength and his voice.
St. Bernardine of Siena died on May 20, 1444. Only six years later, in 1450, Pope Nicholas V canonized him as a saint.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 15,18-21
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, May 20, 2017

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God;
it is good to live in the friendship
of your Son Jesus Christ.
Make us realize that also in this love
we are committed to him and share with him
for better and for worse,
in misunderstanding and contradiction
as well as in joy and intimacy.
Help us to rejoice even when treated
with indifference or ridicule on account of him,
for it means that he is still with us
who is our Lord for ever.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 15,18-21
Jesus said to his disciples: "If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice of you has drawn you out of the world, that is why the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well. But it will be on my account that they will do all this to you, because they do not know the one who sent me.
3) REFLECTION
• John 15, 18-19: The hatred of the world. “If the world hates you, you must realize that it hated me before it hated you”. The Christian who follows Jesus is called to live in a way contrary to society. In a world organized according to the egoistic interests of persons and groups which seek to live and radiate the love which will be crucified. This was the destiny of Jesus. This is why when a Christian is very much praised by the power of this world and is exalted as a model for all by mass media; it is good not to trust too much. “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice of you has drawn you out of the world, that is why the world hates you”. It was Jesus’ choice which separated us. And if we base ourselves on this gratuitous choice or vocation of Jesus we will have the force to suffer persecution and calumny and have joy, in spite of the difficulties.
• John 15, 20: The servant is not greater than his master. “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word they will keep yours as well”. Jesus had already insisted on this same point in the washing of the feet (Jn 13, 16) and in the discourse on the Mission (Mt 10, 24-25). And it is this identification with Jesus that, throughout the centuries, has given so much force to persons to continue the journey and has been a source of mystical experience for many saints and martyrs.
• John 15, 21: Persecution on account of Jesus. “But it will be on my account that they will do all this to you, because they do not know the one who sent me.” The repeated insistence of the Gospel in recalling those words of Jesus which can help the communities to understand the reason for the crisis and persecutions is an evident sign that our brothers and sisters of the first communities did not have an easy life. From the persecution of Nero after Christ up to the end of the first century, they lived knowing that they could be persecuted, accused, imprisoned and killed any moment. The force which sustained them was a certainty that Jesus communicated that God was with them.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Jesus addresses himself to me and tells me: If you belonged to the world, the world would love what is yours. How do I apply this in my life?
• In me there are two tendencies: the world and the Gospel. Which of these two has the priority?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
For Yahweh is good,
his faithful love is everlasting,
his constancy from age to age. (Ps 100,5)