Thứ Năm, 1 tháng 6, 2017


Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 301

Reading 1ACTS 25:13B-21
King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul's case to the king, saying,
"There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor's decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar." 

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB
R. (19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven, 
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:26
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, 
he said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." 
He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
"Do you love me?" and he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; 
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go."
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."

Meditation: "Do you love Jesus more than these?"
The Lord Jesus asked Simon Peter and he asks each one of us a very personal and profound question - do you love me more than anything else that might be very dear to you? How can the love of Jesus Christ be so attractive and so costly at the same time? Jesus on many occasions spoke to his disciples about the nature of God's unquenchable love. God is love (1 John 4:16) because he is the creator and source of all that is true love. His love is unconditional, unmerited, and unlimited. We can't buy it, earn it, demand it. It is a pure gift, freely given, and freely received. God's love doesn't change or waver. It endures because it is eternal and timeless. It’s the beginning and the end - the purpose for which God created us and why he wants us to be united with him in a bond of unbreakable love. And it’s the essence of what is means to be a son or daughter of God the eternal Father.
Love gives all for the good of others
The Lord Jesus shows us that love is a personal choice and a gift freely given - it is the giving of oneself to another person for their sake. Unselfish love is oriented wholly to the good of the other person for their own welfare and benefit. John the Evangelist tells us that "God so loved the world that he gave us his only-begotten Son" (John 3:16) who took on human flesh for our sake and who died upon the cross for our salvation - to set us free from the power of sin so that we might receive abundant everlasting life and peace with God.
God's love heals and transforms our lives and frees us from fear, selfishness, and greed. It draws us to the very heart of God and it compels us to give him the best we have and all we possess - our gifts, our time, our resources, our full allegiance, and our very lives. Paul the Apostle tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us (Romans 5:5). What can quench such love? Certainly fear, sin, pride, indifference, disbelief, and the loss of hope and trust in God's promises and his mercy towards us.
Do you love me more than these?
Why did Jesus question Peter's loyalty and love three times in front of the other apostles? It must have caused Peter great pain and sorrow since he had publicly denied Jesus three times during the night of Jesus' betrayal and condemnation by the religious authorities who had sought to kill him. Now Peter, full of grief and deep remorse, unequivocally stated that he loved his master and was willing to serve and obey him whatever it might cost. When Jesus asks him "do you love me more than these?" Jesus may have pointed to the boats, fishing nets, and catch of fish from the night's work. He may have challenged Peter to abandon his work as a fisherman for the task of shepherding the community of God's people. Jesus may have also pointed to the other disciples and to Peter's previous boast: "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away" (Matthew 26:33). Peter now makes no boast or comparison but humbly responds: "You know that I love you."
We love because he loved us first
The Lord Jesus calls each one of us, even in our own weakness, sins, and failings, to love him above all else. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) in his Confession wrote: 
"Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved you! ...You shone your Self upon me to drive away my blindness. You breathed your fragrance upon me... and in astonishment I drew my I pant for you! I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me! - and I burn to live within your peace" (Confession 10:27).
Nothing but our own sinful pride and stubborn wilfullness can keep us from the love of God. He loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding graciousness and mercy towards us. Do you allow God's love to fill your heart and transform your life?
 "Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and burn away everything within it that may be unloving, unkind, ungrateful, unholy, and not in accord with your will. May I always love what you love and reject what is contrary to your love and will for my life."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersDo you love me? Feed my sheep, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Christ rose again in the flesh, and Peter rose in the spirit because, when Christ died in his passion, Peter died by his denial. Christ the Lord was raised from the dead, and out of his love he raised Peter. He questioned him about the love he was confessing and entrusted him with his sheep. After all, what benefit could Peter confer on Christ by the mere fact of his loving Christ? If Christ loves you, it is to your advantage, not Christ's. And if you love Christ, it is to your advantage, not Christ's. And yet Christ the Lord wanted to indicate how people ought to show that they love Christ. And he made it plain enough by entrusting him with his sheep. 'Do you love me?' 'I do.' 'Feed my sheep.' All this once, all this a second time, all this a third time. Peter made no other reply than that he loved him. The Lord asked no other question but whether he loved him. When Peter answered, our Lord did nothing else but entrust his sheep to him." (excerpt from SERMON 229n.1.4)

FRIDAY, JUNE 2, JOHN 21:15-19
Easter Weekday

(Acts 25:13b-21; Psalm 103)

KEY VERSE: Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep" (v.17).
TO KNOW: For each of Peter's three denials, the Risen Lord gave him three opportunities to profess his devotion. There are two Greek words used for love in this passage. Agape love is the highest love imaginable, the love that God has for the Son and for all created beings. Phileo love has a different connotation, referring to human affection or friendship. Jesus asked Peter twice, "Do you love me?" (Agapas me?). Peter replied, "I love you" (Philo se). The third time, Jesus asked, "Do you love me like a friend?" (Phileis me?). Jesus wanted Peter to know he accepted him in friendship and forgave him for his disavowal of knowing him. To each expression of love, Jesus told Peter to feed his flock. Like Jesus the good Shepherd, Peter would lay down his life for the sake of the sheep (Jn 10:11). He would walk the same road to the cross that Jesus walked.
TO LOVE: In what ways do I care for the Lord's flock?
TO SERVE: Risen Lord, I pray for all the shepherds of the Church, especially Pope Francis I.
Optional Memorial of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs

Peter and Marcellinus were two Roman martyrs who suffered under the persecution of the Roman emperor Diocletian, about the year 303. Marcellinus was a priest and Peter an exorcist. Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I). Peter was cast into prison at Rome for confessing the Christian faith. There he set free Paulina, the daughter of Artemius, the keeper of the prison, from an evil spirit which tormented her. Upon hearing this, Artemius and his wife and all their house, with their neighbors were converted to Jesus Christ Peter then brought them to Marcellinus the priest, who baptized them all. When the judge heard this, he called Peter and Marcellinus before him, and threatened them unless they would deny Christ. Marcellinus answered with Christian boldness, whereupon he was beaten, and shut in a prison without either food or light. Peter was also confined. But when both of them were found unshaken in their testimony, they were beheaded, confessing Jesus Christ by their blood. Sometime later devout women found the bodies and honorably interred them near the tomb of Saint Tiburtius in the catacombs on the Via Labicana at "the two laurels."​

Friday 2 June 2017

Day of penance. Ss Marcellinus and Peter. 
Acts 25:13-21. Psalms 102(103):1-2, 11-12, 19-20. John 21:15-19.
The Lord has set his throne in heaven—Psalms 102(103):1-2, 11-12, 19-20.
‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’
When the risen Lord meets his apostles on the beach, Peter, who is to be both fisherman and shepherd, is taught two lessons. He is to catch people, but will labour in vain unless the Lord is with him (John 21:3).
He is to be also the shepherd who feeds the sheep. The necessary qualifications are not some great charism of leadership or organising ability, just a deep love of the Lord.
Jesus asks Peter, solemnly, three times, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ The triple question, which grieved Peter, gave him the opportunity to make reparation for the boastful claim that he was more trustworthy than the others. Peter was to be an apostle, fisherman, shepherd and a forgiven sinner.


On June 2, the Catholic Church remembers two fourth-century martyrs, Saints Marcellinus and Peter, who were highly venerated after the discovery of their tomb and the conversion of their executioner.
Although the biographical details of the two martyrs are largely unknown, it is known that they lived and died during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. In 302, the ruler changed his tolerant stance and pursued a policy intended to eliminate the Church from the empire.
Diocletian and his subordinate ordered the burning of Catholic churches and their sacred texts, as well as the imprisonment and torture of clergy and laypersons. The goal was to force Christians to submit to the Roman pagan religion, including the worship of the emperor himself as divine.
It was at the mid-point of this persecution, around 303, that a Roman exorcist by the name of Peter was imprisoned for his faith. While in prison, tradition holds that Peter freed Paulina, the daughter of the prison-keeper Artemius, from demonic influence by his prayers.
This demonstration of Christ's power over demons is said to have brought about the conversion of Paulina, Artemius, his wife, and the entire household, all of whom were baptized by the Roman priest Marcellinus.
After this, both Marcellinus and Peter were called before a judge who was determined to enforce the emperor's decree against the Church. When Marcellinus testified courageously to his faith in Christ, he was beaten, stripped of his clothes, and deprived of food in a dark cell filled with broken glass shards.
Peter, too, was returned to his confinement. But neither man would deny Christ, and both preferred death over submission to the cult of pagan worship.
It was arranged for the two men to be executed secretly, in order to prevent the faithful from gathering in prayer and veneration at the place of their burial. Their executioner forced them to clear away a tangle of thorns and briars, which the two men did cheerfully, accepting their death with joy.
Both men were beheaded in the forest and buried in the clearing they had made. The location of the saints' bodies remained unknown for some time, until a devout woman named Lucilla received a revelation informing her where the priest and exorcist lay.
With the assistance of another woman, Firmina, Lucilla recovered the two saints' bodies and had them re-interred in the Roman Catacombs. Sts. Marcellinus and Peter are among the saints named in the Western Church's most traditional Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon.
Pope St. Damasus I, who was himself a great devotee of the Church's saints during his life, composed an epitaph to mark the tombs of the two martyrs. The source of his knowledge, he said, was the executioner himself, who had subsequently repented and joined the Catholic Church.

Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, June 2, 2017

Lord our God,
you have appointed shepherds in your Church
to speak your word to us
and to build community in your name.
We pray you today:
May they be shepherds like your Son
who look for those who have lost the way,
bring back the stray, bandage the wounded
and make the weak strong.
May they all be ministers
of your tender love and service,
as Jesus was, your Son and our Lord.
When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'
A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.'
Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep. In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.'
In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, 'Follow me.'
• We are in the last days before Pentecost. During the time of Lent the selection of the Gospels of the day continues the ancient tradition of the Church. Between Easter and Pentecost, the Gospel of John is preferred. And thus, during these last days, before Pentecost, the Gospels of the day narrate the last verses of the Gospel of John. When again we go to Ordinary time, we will go back to the Gospel of Mark. In the weeks of Ordinary Time, the Liturgy proceeds to a continuous reading of the Gospel of Mark (from the 1st to the 9th week of the Ordinary Time), of Matthew (from the 10th to 21st week of Ordinary Time) and of Luke from the 22nd to the 34th week of Ordinary Time).
• The Gospel readings for today and for tomorrow speak about the last encounter of Jesus with his disciples. It was an encounter of celebration, marked by tenderness and affection. At the end Jesus calls Peter and asks him three times: “Do you love me?” Only after having received three times the same affirmative response, Jesus entrusts to Peter the mission of taking care of the lambs. In order to be able to work in the community Jesus does not ask us many things. What he asks of us is to have much love!
• John 21. 15-17: Love in the centre of the mission. After a whole night of fishing in the lake catching not even one fish, they go to the shore, the disciples discover that Jesus had prepared bread and roasted fish for them. When they finished eating, Jesus calls Peter and asks him three times: “Do you love me?” Three times, because Peter denied Jesus three times (Jn 18, 17.25-27). After the three affirmative responses, Peter also becomes a “Beloved Disciple” and receives the order to take care of the lambs. Jesus does not ask Peter if he had studied exegesis, theology, Morals, or Canon Law. He only asks: “Do you love me?” Love in the first place. For the communities of the Beloved Disciple the force which supports and maintains united is not the doctrine, but love.
• John 21, 18-19: The foresight of death. Jesus tells Peter: Truly I tell you: when you were young, you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go! Throughout life, Peter and we also, attain maturity. The practice of love will take roots in life and the persons will not longer be the patrons of their own life. Service to the brothers and sisters out of love will prevail and will lead us. Somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go. This is the meaning of the following. And the Evangelist comments: “He tells him this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God”. And Jesus adds: “Follow me.”
• Love in John – Peter, do you love me? – The Beloved Disciple. The word love is one of the words which today are more used by us. Precisely, because of this, it is a word that has been greatly worn out. But the communities of the Beloved Disciple manifested their identity and their own project by this word. To love is, above all, a profound experience of relationship among persons in which there are similar sentiments and values: joy, sadness, suffering, growth, renunciation, dedication, fulfilment, gift, commitment, life, death, etc. All these together is summarized in the Bible in one only word in the Hebrew language. This word is hesed. Its translation in our language is difficult. Generally, in our Bibles it is translated by charity, mercy, fidelity or love. The communities of the Beloved Disciple sought to live this practice of love in a very radical way. Jesus revealed this in his encounters with persons with sentiments of friendship and tenderness, as for example, in his relationship with the family of Martha and Mary of Bethany: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” He weeps before the tomb of Lazarus (Jn 11, 5.33-36). Jesus always embodies his mission in a manifestation of love: “having loved his own, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13, 1). In this love, Jesus manifests his profound identity with the Father (Jn 15, 9). For his communities, there was no other commandment, except this one “to act as Jesus acted” (1 Jn 2, 6). This presupposes to love the brethren” (1 Jn 2, 7-11; 3, 11-24; 2 Jn 4-6). Being such a central commandment in the life of the community, the writings of John define love as follows: “This is the proof of love that he laid down his life for us and we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”. Our love should not be just words or mere talk but something active and genuine”. (1 Jn 3, 16-17). Anyone who lives this love and manifests it in words and attitudes becomes a Beloved Disciple.
• Look within you and say: which is the most profound reason which impels you to work in the community? Love or the concern for ideas?
• Considering the relationships among us, with God and with nature, what type of community are we constructing?
Bless Yahweh, my soul,
from the depths of my being, his holy name;
bless Yahweh, my soul,
never forget all his acts of kindness. (Ps 103,1-2)