Thứ Ba, 23 tháng 5, 2017


Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 293

After Paul's escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
"You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, 'To an Unknown God.'
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For 'In him we live and move and have our being,'
as even some of your poets have said,
'For we too are his offspring.'
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will 'judge the world
with justice' through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead."

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
"We should like to hear you on this some other time."
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.
He has lifted up the horn of his people;
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him. 
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you."

Meditation: The Holy Spirit will guide you into all the truth
Are you hungry for truth? Jesus proclaimed that he is the Truth, the Way, and the Life (John 14:6). Truth is not something we create nor is it our discovery. It is the gift of God who is the possessor and giver of all truth. Jesus tells his disciples that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to reveal what is true, right, and good. How can this be? Many skeptics of truth don't want to believe in an absolute, objective, and unchanging Truth. If truth is objective then it must be asserted to as trustworthy and right and be submitted to as authoritative and binding. Some fear the truth because they think it will inhibit their freedom to act, think, and judge as they wish. Jesus told his disciples that the truth will set you free (John 8:32). The truth liberates us from whatever is false, misleading, doubtful, or deceptive. In God there is no lie or falsehood since he is utterly true, good, and just. Since he is the author and source of all that is true and good, then the closer we draw near to him in order to listen to his word and understand his mind and will for us, the more we will grow in the knowledge of God and of his great love, wisdom, and plan for us.
The Spirit of truth
Jesus told his disciples that he would send them the Spirit of truth who will guide you into all the truth ..and declare to you the things that are to come (John 16:13). Jesus knew that his disciples could not fully understand on their own everything he had taught and revealed to them while he was physically present with them. He knew that they would need the ongoing guidance and help of the Holy Spirit after he returned to his Father in heaven. That is why he assured them that the Holy Spirit would take what he had spoken to them and guide them into a fuller understanding of God's wisdom, power, and glory he wished to share with them so they could live in the joy and freedom of his love and truth.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) explains the progressive work of the Spirit in guiding the disciples of Jesus in all the truth:
"Accordingly, when he says, 'He will teach you all truth' or 'will guide you into all truth,' I do not think the fulfillment is possible in anyone's mind in this present life. For who is there, while living in this corruptible and soul-oppressing body (Wisdom 9:15), that can know all truth when even the apostle says, 'We know in part'? But it is effected by the Holy Spirit, of whom we have now received the promise (2 Corinthians 1:21), that we shall attain also to the actual fullness of knowledge that the same apostle references when he says, 'But then face to face' and 'Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known' (1 Corinthians 13:12). He is not talking about something he knows fully in this life but about something that would still be in the future when he would attain that perfection. This is what the Lord promised us through the love of the Spirit, when he said, 'He will teach you all truth' or 'will guide you unto all truth.'" (TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 96.4)
On the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the first disciples of Jesus, the apostles boldly began to carry out the mission Jesus had entrusted to them - to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and to make disciples [followers of Jesus] of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Helper
Today, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we, too, proclaim the same ancient faith which the apostles taught - that Jesus died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day, and will come again to judge, raise the dead, and give everlasting life (from the Apostles Creed). We not only share the same faith which was given to the apostles, we also have the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. The Lord Jesus gives each of us his Holy Spirit as our divine Teacher and Helper that we may grow in the knowledge, wisdom, and strength of God. Do you  listen attentively to God's word and allow his Holy Spirit to give you understanding of God's truth and plan for your life?
"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me in your way of life, truth, and goodness. Free me from ignorance of your truth, and from deception and moral blindness caused by sinful pride and the refusal to believe and obey your word of truth. May I love you with all of my heart, mind, and strength, and seek to please you in all things."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Spirit makes Christ known, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"He [the Holy Spirit] will make me clearly known by pouring love into the hearts of believers and making them spiritual and thus able to see that the Son whom they had known before only according to the flesh - and who they thought was only a man like themselves - was equal to the Father. Or at least, when his love filled them with boldness and cast out fear, they would proclaim Christ to men and women, and in this way they would spread Christ’s fame throughout the whole world... For what they were going to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, this the Holy Spirit says he does himself." (excerpt from TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 100.1)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, JOHN 16:12-15
Easter Weekday

KEY VERSE: "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth" (v.13).
TO KNOW: Jesus had so much to tell his disciples before his passion and death, but he promised them that the Holy Spirit would continue to enlighten their minds after his departure. Those things that confused and perplexed them would be clarified by the Spirit who would be their constant companion and would guide them to all truth. “Revelation” (apocalypse) is the name for bringing God's truth to people. The divine revelation of the Father and Son through the Spirit was transmitted by the apostles and the evangelists through their teaching, example, institutions and writings. This "Apostolic Tradition" has been preserved by the Spirit in the doctrine, worship and sacraments of the Church. Divine revelation did not cease with the death of the apostles. The Spirit continues to interpret Christ's eternal message of love and truth for each generation.
TO LOVE: Do I hand on the faith that I have received?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, help the Church to grow in knowledge and wisdom of God's truth.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Our Lady Help of Christians.
Ecclesiasticus 4:11-18. Psalms 112(113):1-8. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. John 19:25-27.
Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever — Psalms 112(113):1-8.
Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
In St John’s gospel, Jesus, hanging upon the cross and before he breathes his last, announces the formation of a new community which is to become the new family of the church.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is given as the mother of John and of the new community. She continues this image in the Catholic tradition as the most perfect masterpiece in humanity after the incarnate Son of God himself.
Mary, by her response of ‘yes’ to the Word of God, became the help of all Christians. In recognising the goodness of Mary’s life, we praise the gift of God’s only Son to all humanity. God’s maternal care for the world is revealed in her beauty and uniqueness. She prays for us all so that we too will receive the gift of the One to whom she gave birth.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.

Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lord God, our Father,
you are not far away from any of us,
for in you we live and move and exist
and you live in us
through your Holy Spirit.
Be indeed with us, Lord,
send us your Holy Spirit of truth
and through him deepen our understanding
of the life and message of your Son,
that we may accept the full truth
and live by it consistently.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples: "I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now. However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine. Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine."
• In these weeks of Easter Time, the Gospels of each day are almost always taken from chapters 12 to 17 of the Gospel of John. That reveals something regarding the origin and the destination of these chapters. They show not only what happened before the Passion and the death of Jesus, but also and above all, the living out of faith of the first communities after the resurrection. They express the Paschal faith which animated them.
• John 16, 12: I still have many things to say to you. The Gospel today begins with this phrase: “I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now”. In these words of Jesus there are two things: the environment of the farewell, which characterized the Last Supper, and the concern of Jesus, the older brother, for his younger brothers, who within a brief time will remain without his presence. The time left was very short. Within a short time, Jesus will be arrested. The work begun was not yet complete. The disciples were just at the beginning of their apprenticeship. Three years are a very short time to change life and to begin to live and to think in a new image of God. Their formation was not yet finished. Much was still lacking and Jesus had still many things to teach them and to transmit to them, but he knows his disciples. They are not among the most intelligent. They would not be capable to know now all the consequences and implications of discipleship. They would become discouraged. They would not be able to bear this.
• John 16, 13-15: The Holy Spirit will come to their help. “However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine”. This affirmation of Jesus shows the experience of the first communities. In the measure in which they sought to imitate Jesus, trying to interpret and apply his Word to the various circumstances of their life, they experienced the presence and the light of the Spirit. And this happens even today in the communities which try to incarnate the Word of Jesus in their life. The root of this experience is the words of Jesus: “Everything the Father has is mine that is why I said: all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine”.
• The action of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John. John uses many images and symbols to signify the action of the Holy Spirit. Like in creation (Gen 1, 1), the Spirit also descends on Jesus, “in the form of a dove, come from Heaven” (Jn 1, 32). It is the beginning of the new creation! Jesus speaks the words of God and communicates the Sprit without reserve to us (Jn 3, 34). His words are Spirit and Life (Jn 6, 63). When Jesus bids farewell, he said that he would have sent another Paraclete, Consoler, another defender, who will remain with us. It is the Holy Spirit (Jn 14, 16-17). By his Passion, death and Resurrection, Jesus won for us the gift of the Holy Spirit. By Baptism all of us have received this same Spirit of Jesus (Jn 1, 33). When he appeared to the apostles, he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit!” (Jn 20, 22). The Spirit is like the water which springs from within the persons who believe in Jesus (Jn 7, 37-39; 4, 14). The first effect of the action of the Spirit in us is reconciliation: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained”. (Jn 20, 23). The Spirit which Jesus communicates to us has multiple actions: consoles and spreads (Jn 14, 16), he communicates truth (Jn 14, 17; 16, 13), makes us remember what Jesus taught (Jn 14, 26); will give witness of Jesus (Jo 15, 26); manifests the glory of Jesus (Jn 16, 14); will convince the world concerning sin, justice (Jn 16, 8). The Spirit is given to us so that we can understand the complete meaning of the words of Jesus (Jn 14, 26); 16, 12-13). Encouraged by the Spirit of Jesus we can adore God in any place (Jn 4, 23-24). Here lies the liberty of the Spirit of which Saint Paul speaks: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Co 3, 17).
• How do I live my adherence to Jesus: alone or in community?
• Has my participation in the community led me, sometimes, to experience the light and the force of the Holy Spirit?
The name of the Lord is sublime,
his splendour transcends earth and heaven.
For he heightens the strength of his people,
to the praise of all his faithful,
the people close to him. (Ps 148,13-14)

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer for the Catholic Church in China, May 24, on the eve of the annual May Day prayer.
Our Lady of Sheshan
Prayer To Our Lady Of Sheshan
(Benedict XVI)
Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mothers care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.
When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed Gods eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of Gods loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

Our Lady of China