Thứ Hai, 22 tháng 5, 2017

MAY 23, 2017 : TUESDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 292

Reading 1ACTS 16:22-34
The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
"Do no harm to yourself; we are all here."
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved."
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8
R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me; 
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned."


Meditation: "I will send the Counselor to you"
Why does God seem far from us at times? Separation and loss of relationship often lead to grief and pain. The apostles were filled with sorrow when Jesus spoke about his imminent departure. Jesus explained that it was for their sake that he must leave them and return to his Father. He promised,  however, that they would never be left alone. He will send in his place the best of friends, the Holy Spirit.
Paul reminds us that "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:39). By sending the Holy Spirit to his followers, the Lord Jesus makes his presence known to us in a new and on-going way. We are not left as orphans, but the Lord himself dwells within us through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:9; 6:16b).
The work of the Holy Spirit
Jesus tells his disciples three very important things about the work of the Holy Spirit - to convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. The original word for convince also means convict. The Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier. He makes us holy as God is holy. He does this first by convicting us of our unbelief and sin and by bringing us humbly to the foot of the Cross. The Spirit convinces us of God's love and forgiveness and of our utter dependence on God for his mercy and grace. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us from the error of our unbelief and sinful ways and to show us the way of love and truth.
The Jews who had condemned Jesus as a blasphemer and false messiah thought they were serving God rather than sinning when they crucified Jesus. When the Gospel was later preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37), many were pricked in their heart and convicted of their sin. What made them change their mind about Jesus? The Holy Spirit opened their hearts to recognize Jesus as the true Messiah sent by the Father in heaven.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to both convict us of our unbelief and wrongdoing and to convince us of God's truth. The Spirit convinces us of the righteousness (moral truth and goodness) of Christ, backed by the fact that Jesus rose again and went to his Father. The Holy Spirit also convicts us of judgment. The Spirit gives us the inner and unshakable conviction that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. God's judgments are just and good. He not only forgives those who repent of their wrongdoing, he also vindicates the innocent who have been unjustly treated and restores their rights and he rewards those who have done what is just and good. When we heed his judgments we find true peace, joy and reconciliation with God. Do you allow the Holy Spirit free reign in your life that he may set you free from the grip of sin and set you ablaze with the fire of God's love?
"Come Holy Spirit, and let the fire of your love burn in my heart. Let me desire only what is pure, lovely, holy and good and in accord with the will of God and give me the courage to put away all that is not pleasing in your sight."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersWhatever is not of faith is sin, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"When the Lord said of the Holy Spirit, 'He shall convict the world of sin,' he meant unbelief. For this is what he meant when he said, “Of sin because they believed not on me.' And he means the same when he says, 'If I had not come and spoken to them, they should not have sin.' (John 15:22). He was not talking about [a time] before they had no sin. Rather, he wanted to indicate that very lack of faith by which they did not believe him even when he was present to them and speaking to them. These were the people who belonged to 'the prince of the power of the air, who now works in the children of unbelief' (Ephesians 2:2). Therefore those in whom there is no faith are the children of the devil because they have nothing in their inner being that would cause them to be forgiven for whatever is committed either by human infirmity, ignorance or any evil will whatever. But the children of God are those who certainly, if they should 'say that they have no sin, deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them,' but immediately (as it continues) 'when they confess their sins' (which the children of the devil do not do, or do not do according to the faith which is peculiar to the children of God), 'he is faithful and just to forgive them their sins and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness'" (1 John 1:9). (excerpt from AGAINST TWO LETTERS OF THE PELAGIANS 3.4)

TUESDAY, MAY 23, JOHN 16:5-11
Easter Weekday

(Acts 16:22-34; Psalm 138)

KEY VERSE: "For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you" (v.7).
TO KNOW: As Jesus prepared for his passion and death, he consoled his grief-stricken disciples. He promised them that when he ascended to the Father, the Spirit would be sent to comfort and empower them. John used legal language to describe the Spirit's work. The Spirit would act as an "advocate" (paraclete) of those who were falsely accused, and would "prosecute" those who refused to believe in Jesus. In the eyes of the world, Jesus was put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to die in disgrace. But the Spirit proved the world wrong, and the judgment was reversed. The ruler of darkness was the one who was tried, convicted and condemned. Truth triumphed and justice prevailed.
TO LOVE: Do I defend others when they are falsely accused?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, send your Spirit to help the Church bear witness to your truth.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Acts 16:22-34. Psalms 137(138):1-3, 7-8. John 16:5-11.
Your right hand has saved me, O Lord – Psalms 137(138):1-3, 7-8.
‘Your right hand has saved me, O Lord.’
Today’s psalm celebrates God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. The story of Paul and Silas escaping from prison shows us the power of God to bring major transformations to our lives. Paul and Silas do not simply celebrate their good fortune and flee to freedom straight away. They take time to share God’s love with the prison guard who had kept them captive as well as his family.
Do I sing songs of praise to God in the midst of my troubles? When God answers my prayers do I, like the psalmist, feel the strength of my soul increased? Do I love the very person who attempts to keep me in chains? When I receive unexpected gifts of grace and freedom, do I share those gifts with others?


ST. JANE ANTIDE THOURET

On May 23 the universal Church celebrates the feast day of St. Jane Antide Thouret, a Sister of Charity who worked tirelessly for the faith amidst persecution during the French Revolution in the 18th century.
Jane was born in Sancy, France, in 1765 to a poor family and her mother died when she was 16 years old. The saint took on many family responsibilities until she joined the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris at the age of 22, working among the sick in various hospitals.
During the French Revolution, when many religious and priests were killed, she was ordered to return home to a secular life. Jane refused, and when she tried to escape the authorities, she was badly beaten.
St. Jane Antide Thouret finally returned to Sancy, where she cared for the sick and opened a small school for girls until she was forced to flee to Switzerland. She fled to Germany before returning again to Switzerland to found a school and hospital in 1799 and a congregation called the Institute of the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul. The community eventually expanded into France and Italy.
She died 30 years after the founding of her community, in 1828 of natural causes.
In 1934, she was canonized by Pope Puis XI.


LECTIO DIVINA: JOHN 16,5-11
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, May 23, 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 16,5-11
Jesus told to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me. Not one of you asks, 'Where are you going?' Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this. Still, I am telling you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgement: about sin: in that they refuse to believe in me; about who was in the right: in that I am going to the Father and you will see me no more; about judgement: in that the prince of this world is already condemned.”
3) REFLECTION
• John 16, 5-7: The sadness of the Disciples. Jesus begins with a rhetorical question that makes evident the sadness of the disciples, at this time evident in the heart of the disciples because of the detachment from Jesus: «Now I am going to the One who sent me; not one of you asks, where are you going?” It is clear that for the disciples the detachment from the life-style lived with Jesus implies suffering. And Jesus urges saying: “Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this” (v. 6). Thus Saint Augustine explains such a sentiment of abandonment of the disciples: “they were afraid to think of losing the visible presence of Christ... they were grieved, saddened in their human affection, at the thought that their eyes would no longer be consoled in seeing him”. (Comment of the Gospel of John, XCIV, 4). Jesus tries to dispel this sadness, due to the fact that they will not have his presence, revealing to them his departure. We can say that if he does not leave them, the Paraclete will not be able to join them; if he dies and therefore, returns to the Father, he will be able to send him to the disciples. His departure and the detachment of the disciples is the previous condition for the coming of the Paraclete: “because unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you...” (v. 7).
• John 16, 8-11: The Mission of the Paraclete. Jesus continues to describe the mission of the Paraclete. The term “Paraclete” means “advocate”, that is, support, assistant. Here the Paraclete is presented as the accuser in a process that is carried out before God and in which the accused is the world which has made itself guilty for condemning Jesus: «He will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right and about judgment” (v. 8). The Greek verb elègken means that he will make an inquiry, he will question, will test: he will bring out to light a reality, and will furnish the proof of the guilt.
The object of the confutation is sin: he will give the world the proof of the sin that it has committed regarding Jesus and will manifest it. Of which sin is there a question here?; that of unbelief (Jn 5, 44ff; 6, 36; 8, 21.24.26; 10, 31ss). Besides, for the world to have thought that Jesus was a sinner (Jn 9, 24; 18, 30) is an inexcusable sin (Jn 15, 21ff).
In the second place he will “refute” the world “concerning justice”, On the juridical level, the notion of justice which adheres more to the text, is the one which implies a declaration of guilt or of innocence in a judgment. In our context this is the only time that the term “justice” appears in the Gospel of John, elsewhere there is the term “just”. In John 16, 8 justice is linked to all that Jesus has affirmed about himself, that is, the reason why he is going to the Father. Such a discourse concerns his glorification: Jesus goes to the Father, he is about to disappear in him and therefore, the disciples will not longer be able to see him; he is about to entrust and to submerge himself completely in the will of the Father. The glorification of Jesus confirms his divine filiation or son ship and the approbation of the Father regarding the mission which Jesus has accomplished. Therefore, the Spirit will show directly the justice of Christ (Jn 14, 26; 15, 26) protecting the disciples and the ecclesial community.
The world that believed to have judged Jesus condemning him is condemned by the “prince of this world”, because it is responsible for his crucifixion (13, 2.27). Jesus in dying on the Cross is exalted (12, 31) and he has triumphed over Satan. Now the Spirit will give witness to all about the significance of the death of Jesus which coincides with the fall of Satan (Jn 12, 32; 14, 30; 16, 33).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Is the fear, consternation of the disciples in losing Jesus also ours?
• Do you allow yourself to be led by the Spirit, the Paraclete who gives you the certainty of the error of the world and helps you to adhere to Jesus, and, therefore, he introduces you into the truth about yourself?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart,
for you have listened to the cry I uttered.
In the presence of angels I sing to you,
I bow down before your holy Temple. (Sal 138,1-2)