Chủ Nhật, 21 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 22, 2017 : MONDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291

Reading 1ACTS 16:11-15
We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
"If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples: 
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you."


Meditation: "When the Counselor comes, the Spirit of truth"
Where do you find help and support when you most need it? True friendship is strengthened in adversity. Jesus offers his disciples the best and truest of friends. Who is this promised friend? Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Counselor and Advocate (also translated Paraclete or Helper). How does the Holy Spirit help us as the counselor? Counselor is a legal term for the person who defends someone against an adversary and who guides that person during the ordeal of trial. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate and Helper who guides and strengthens us and brings us safely through the challenges and adversities we must face in this life.
Person and role of the Holy Spirit
As Jesus approaches the hour he was to be glorified - through his death on the cross and his resurrection - he revealed more fully to his disciples the person and role of the Holy Spirit. What does Jesus tell us about the Holy Spirit? First, the Holy Spirit is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. It is the Holy Spirit who gives life - the very life of God - and who makes faith come alive in hearts and minds of people who are receptive to God's word.
The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to know God personally. He gives us experiential knowledge of God as our Father. The Spirit witnesses to our spirit that the Father has indeed sent his only begotten Son into the world to redeem it and has raised his Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead and has seated him at his right hand in glory and power.
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the knowledge, wisdom and plan of God for the ages and the Spirit enables us to see with the "eyes of faith" what the Father and the Son are doing. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit we become witnesses to the great work of God in Christ Jesus.
Spirit strengthens us in faith and courage
Jesus warned his disciples that they could expect persecution just as Jesus was opposed and treated with hostility. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Spirit gives us courage and perseverance when we meet adversities and challenges. Do you pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in faith, hope and love and to give you courage and perseverance when you meet adversities and challenges?
"O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Comforter is with us in our troubles, by Cyril of Jerusalem, 430-543 A.D.
"He is called the Comforter because he comforts and encourages us and helps our infirmities. We do not know what we should pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us, with groanings that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26), that is, he makes intercession to God. Very often, someone has been outraged and dishonored unjustly for the sake of Christ. Martyrdom is at hand; tortures on every side, and fire, and sword, and savage beasts and the pit. But the Holy Spirit softly whispers to him, 'Wait on the Lord' (Psalm 27:14). What is now happening to you is a small matter; the reward will be great. Suffer a little while, and you will be with angels forever. 'The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed in us' (Romans 8:18). He portrays to the person the kingdom of heaven. He gives him a glimpse of the paradise of delight." (excerpt from CATECHETICAL LECTURES 16.20)

MONDAY, MAY 22, JOHN 15:26--16:14a
Easter Weekday

(Acts 16:11-15; Psalm 149)

KEY VERSE: "The hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God" (16:2).
TO KNOW: Jesus warned his followers that persecution and suffering awaited those who proclaimed the gospel. He told them that the "Advocate," the "Spirit of truth" (15:26), would bear witness to his words and strengthen them in the coming trials. An age of oppression and, at times, violent persecution of the Church existed from the time of Christ's death until the Edict of Tolerance was issued by the Roman Emperor Constantine (312 CE). The original Greek word martus meant giving one's testimony in court. As so many valiant Christians chose to die rather than renounce their commitment to Christ, the focus changed to mean the "martyrs" who died giving testimony to their faith.
TO LOVE: Do I testify to the truth at home and in my community?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, give the Church the courage to be true to your words despite obstacles and suffering.

Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, religious

From her early youth, Rita showed an interest in a religious life. However, when she was twelve, her parents betrothed her to an ill-tempered, abusive individual. Disappointed but obedient, Rita married him when she was 18, and became the mother of twin sons. She put up with her husband's abuses for eighteen years before he was ambushed and stabbed to death. Her sons swore vengeance on their father's killers, but through Rita's prayers and interventions, they forgave the offenders. Upon the deaths of her sons, Rita again felt the call to religious life, and she was admitted to the Augustine monastery at age 36. Rita lived 40 years in the convent. She was devoted to the Passion, and in response to a prayer to suffer as Christ, she received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns, and which bled for 15 years. Rita is well-known as a patron seemingly impossible situations. 


Monday 22 May 2017

St Rita of Cascia.
Acts 16:11-15. Psalms 149:1-6, 9. John 15:26 – 16:4.
The Lord takes delight in his people – Psalms 149:1-6, 9.
‘I have told you all this so that you may remember that I told you.’
Today we read of Jesus preparing his disciples for his imminent departure. He wants to make sure his followers will not forget his promise. He has already been preparing them for what may happen. Jesus is giving us that same reminder, for he knows we too live in a hostile world and are sure to encounter suffering.
When we experience difficulties, it is very easy to forget that Jesus told us this would happen. Our world can be critical of those who practise a religious faith, of people who are different, of people who speak a different language, of people who have a disability.
Lord, when I am being jeered at or criticised, help me to remember your promise that the Spirit of truth is with me.

ST. RITA OF CASCIA

On May 22, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia, who the late John Paul II called “a disciple of the Crucified One” and an “expert in suffering.”
Known in Spain as “La Santa de los impossibiles” (the saint of the impossible), St. Rita has become immensely popular throughout the centuries. She is invoked by people in all situations and stations of life, since she had embraced suffering with charity and wrongs with forgiveness in the many trials she experienced in her life: as a wife, widow, a mother surviving the death of her children, and a nun.
Born in 1386 in Roccaparena, Umbria, St. Rita was married at the age of 12 to a violent and ill-tempered husband. He was murdered 18 years later and she forgave his murderers, praying that her twin sons, who had sworn to avenge their father’s death may also forgive. She was granted this grace, and her sons, who died young, died reconciled to God.
The saint heard the call to become a nun in the Augustinian convent at Cascia, but was refused entry at first. She asked the intercession of Sts. Augustine, Mary Magadalene and John the Baptist and was finally allowed to enter the convent where she lived the last 40 years of her life in prayer, mortification and service to the people of Cascia.
For the last 15 years of her life she received a stigmata-like thorn wound in answer to her prayers to be more profoundly conformed to the passion of the Lord Jesus. Rita was bedridden for the last four years of her life, consuming almost nothing except for the Eucharist. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 70 on May 22, 1456.
On the 100th anniversary of her canonization in 2000, Pope John Paul II noted her remarkable qualities as a Christian woman: “Rita interpreted well the 'feminine genius' by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood.”
St. Rita was canonized in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds.

LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 15,26 - 16,4A
Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, May 22, 2017

1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God,
if we really believe in you and in your Son,
we cannot be but witnesses.
Send us your Spirit of strength,
that we may give no flimsy excuses
for not standing up for you
and for the love and rights of our neighbour.
Make us only afraid
of betraying you and people
and of being afraid to bear witness.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING - JOHN 15,26-16,4A
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness. And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.
I have told you all this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues, and indeed the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy service to God. They will do these things because they have never known either the Father or me. But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you. I did not tell you this from the beginning, because I was with you;
3) REFLECTION
• In chapters 15 to 17 of the Gospel of John, the horizon extends beyond the historical moment of the Supper. Jesus prays to the Father “I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me” (Jn 17, 20). In these chapters, there is constant reference to the action of the Spirit in the life of the communities, after Easter.
• John 16, 26-27: The action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the community. The first thing that the Spirit does is to give witness of Jesus: “He will be my witness”. The Spirit is not a spiritual being without a definition. No! He is the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, will be sent by Jesus himself and introduces us into the complete truth (Jn 16, 13). The complete truth is Jesus himself: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life!” (Jn 14, 6). At the end of the first century, there were some Christians who were so fascinated by the action of the Spirit that they no longer looked at Jesus. They affirmed that now, after the Resurrection, it was no longer necessary to look at Jesus of Nazareth, the one “who comes in the flesh”. They withdrew from Jesus and remained only with the Spirit. They said: “Jesus is anathema!” (1 Co 12, 3). The Gospel of John takes a stand and does not permit that the action of the Spirit be separated from the memory of Jesus of Nazareth. The Holy Spirit cannot be isolated with an independent greatness, separated from the mystery of the Incarnation. The Holy Spirit is inseparably united to the Father and to Jesus. He is the Spirit of Jesus that the Father sends to us that same Spirit that Jesus has gained with his death and Resurrection. And we, receiving this Spirit in Baptism, should be the prolongation of Jesus: “And you too will be witnesses!” We can never forget that precisely on the eve of his death Jesus promises the Spirit; in the moment when he gave himself for his brothers. Today, the Charismatic Movement insists on the action of the Spirit and does much good. It should always insist more, but it should also insist in affirming that it is a question of the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth who, out of love for the poor and the marginalized, was persecuted, arrested and condemned to death and that, precisely because of this, he has promised us his Spirit in such a way that we, after his death, continue his action and be for humanity the revelation itself of the preferential love of the Father for the poor and the oppressed.
• John 16, 1-2: Do not be afraid. The Gospel tells us that to be faithful to Jesus will lead us to have difficulties. The disciples will be excluded from the Synagogue. They will be condemned to death. The same thing that happened to Jesus will happen to them. This is why at the end of the first century, there were persons who, in order to avoid persecution, diluted or watered down the message of Jesus transforming it into a Gnostic message, vague, without any definition, which was not in contrast with the ideology of the Empire. To them is applied what Paul said: “They are afraid of the cross of Christ” (Ga 6, 12). And John himself, in his letter, will say concerning them: “There are many deceivers at large in the world, refusing to acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in human nature (he became man). They are the Deceiver; they are the Antichrist!” (2 Jn 1, 7). The same concern appears also in Thomas’ demand: “Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe”. (Jn 20, 25). The Risen Christ who promises to give us the gift of the Spirit is Jesus of Nazareth who continues to have, even now, the signs of torture and of the cross in his risen Body.
• John 16, 3-4: They do not know what they do. They do all these things “because they have never known either the Father or me”. These persons do not have a correct image of God. They have a vague image of God, in the heart and in the head. Their God is not the Father of Jesus Christ who gathers us all together in unity and fraternity. In last instance, it is the same reason which impelled Jesus to say: “Father, forgive them, because they know not what they do (Lk 23, 34). Jesus was condemned by the religious authority because, according to their idea, he had a false image of God. In the words of Jesus there is no hatred or vengeance, but only compassion: they are ignorant brothers who know nothing of our Father.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• The mystery of the Trinity is present in the affirmation of Jesus, not as a theoretical truth, but as an expression of the Christian with the mission of Christ. How do I live this central mystery of our faith in my life?
• How do I live the action of the Spirit in my life?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Sing a new song to Yahweh:
his praise in the assembly of the faithful!
Israel shall rejoice in its Maker,
the children of Zion delight in their king. (Ps 149,1-2)