Thứ Tư, 7 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 08, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 356

When the angel Raphael and Tobiah had entered Media 
and were getting close to Ecbatana,
Raphael said to the boy,
"Tobiah, my brother!"
He replied: "Here I am!"
He said: "Tonight we must stay with Raguel, who is a relative of yours.
He has a daughter named Sarah."

So he brought him to the house of Raguel,
whom they found seated by his courtyard gate.
They greeted him first.
He said to them, "Greetings to you too, brothers!
Good health to you, and welcome!"
And he brought them into his home.

Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock
and gave them a cordial reception.
When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael,
"Brother Azariah, ask Raguel to let me marry
my kinswoman Sarah."
Raguel overheard the words; so he said to the boy:
"Eat and drink and be merry tonight,
for no man is more entitled
to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother.
Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you,
because you are my closest relative.
But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.
I have given her in marriage to seven men,
all of whom were kinsmen of ours,
and all died on the very night they approached her.
But now, son, eat and drink.
I am sure the Lord will look after you both."
Tobiah answered,
"I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me."

Raguel said to him: "I will do it.
She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses.
Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!
Take your kinswoman;
from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved.
She is yours today and ever after.
And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both.
May he grant you mercy and peace." 
Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him.
He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words:
"Take her according to the law.
According to the decree written in the Book of Moses
she is your wife.
Take her and bring her back safely to your father.
And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity."
Raguel then called Sarah's mother and told her to bring a scroll,
so that he might draw up a marriage contract
stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife
according to the decree of the Mosaic law.
Her mother brought the scroll,
and Raguel drew up the contract, to which they affixed their seals.

Afterward they began to eat and drink.
Later Raguel called his wife Edna and said,
"My love, prepare the other bedroom and bring the girl there."
She went and made the bed in the room, as she was told,
and brought the girl there.
After she had cried over her, she wiped away the tears and said:
"Be brave, my daughter.
May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief.
Courage, my daughter."
Then she left.

When the girl's parents left the bedroom
and closed the door behind them,
Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
"My love, get up.
Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us
and to grant us deliverance."
She got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
And they began to say:

"Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."

They said together, "Amen, amen," and went to bed for the night.

Responsorial PsalmPS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
R. (see 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
Blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table. 
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life. 
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

AlleluiaSEE 2 TM 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel! 
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, 
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.


Meditation: "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength"
What is the purpose of God's law or commandments? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They made it a life-time practice to study the 613 precepts of the Old Testament along with the numerous rabbinic commentaries. They tested Jesus to see if he correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose. 
Our love for God is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us
What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God's love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will. 
Faith and hope strengthen our love for God
What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves. Do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart?  Paul the Apostle says: hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Romans 5:5). Do you know the love which conquers all?
"We love you, O our God; and we desire to love you more and more. Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. O dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, the thought of whom is so sweet and always growing sweeter, come with Christ and dwell in our hearts; that you keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies. Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son." (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersLove God with one's whole self, by Gregory of Nyssa, 330-395 AD
"Human life consists in a threefold unity. We are taught similarly by the apostle in what he says to the Ephesians, praying for them that the complete grace of their 'body and soul and spirit' may be preserved at the coming of the Lord. We use the word 'body,' for the nutritive part, the word for the vital, 'soul,' and the word 'spirit' for the intellective dimension. In just this way the Lord instructs the writer of the Gospel that he should set before every commandment that love to God which is exercised with all the heart and soul and mind (Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). This single phrase embraces the human whole: the corporeal heart, the mind as the higher intellectual and mental nature, and the soul as their mediator." (excerpt from ON THE MAKING OF MAN 8.5.10)

THURSDAY, JUNE 8, MARK 12:28-34
Weekday

(Tobit 6:10-11, 7:1bcde, 9:17, 8:4-9a; Psalm 128)

KEY VERSE: "There is no other commandment greater than these" (v 31).
TO KNOW: The scribes were the learned interpreters of the Law of Moses. They expanded the Law into 613 greater and lesser rules and regulations. One scribe recognized Jesus' skill as a teacher, and asked him which one of the Mosaic Laws was the greatest. Jesus saw the scribe's sincere search for truth, and he summed up the entire Law with two basic decrees, which he saw as inseparable. They were the laws upon which all the other commandments were based: to love God with one's entire being, and to love one's neighbor as oneself. The scribe declared that the love of God and love of neighbor was worth more than any religious acts that one could perform. Because the scribe understood this principle, he moved a step closer to God's reign.
TO LOVE: Lord God, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
TO SERVE: Is my love of God demonstrated by the way I love my neighbor? Do I have a healthy self-love?



Thursday 8 June 2017

Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-14; 8:4-9. Psalms 127(128):1-5. Mark 12:28-34.
Happy are those who fear the Lord — Psalms 127(128):1-5.
Time to be challenged again.
Mark’s recount of Jesus’ declaration of the first of all the commandments is one we are probably very familiar with. To many of the scribes, Jesus’ words were something astonishing. So much so that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
How much of Jesus’ teaching astonishes us today? Do we hear the words so often that they have lost much of their meaning? If we reflect on those greatest of commandments, can we say that we fully live them out? Do we love God with all our heart and love our neighbour as ourselves? Perhaps it’s time we are challenged again.


ST. MEDARD, BISHOP

St. Medard was born around 456 in Salency, France. His father Nectard was a noble Frenchman, and his mother, Protogia, descended from a Roman family that settled in Gaul.
His mother instilled into St. Medard a very keen compassion for the poor.
His practice of Christian virtue was obvious as a young boy and his commitment to the poor was so evident that he had difficulty in walking by a poor man in the street and not giving him what he had, either his cloak or shoes, and one time even his horse.
When he looked after the cattle in his father’s grounds, as was common in France, he often deprived himself of his dinner to divide it among the needy.
St. Medard’s parents sent him to study Scripture with the bishop, who was very surprised with the young man’s rapid learning, piety, prayer, obedience and humility. To himself, though, he only saw laziness and imperfection.
He was ordained a priest in about 490 and was consecrated bishop of Vermand in 530. He moved the See of Vermand to Noyons a year later because it was a city better defended against invasion, the Huns and Vandals being the threats in that epoch.
Pope Hormisdas appointed St. Medard to the See of Tournai which he presided over along with that of Vermand, and had great success in converting the remaining pagans in the area to Christ.
King Clotaire, who always honored him as a living saint, heard that St. Medard was sick and went to Noyon to pay a visit, and to receive his blessing.
St. Medard died of an illness in 545 at the age of 89. The whole kingdom lamented his death as the loss of their common father and protector.


LECTIO DIVINA: MARK 12,28B-34
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, June 8, 2017
Ordinary Time


1) Opening prayer
Father,
your love never fails.
Hear our call.
Keep us from danger
and provide for all our needs.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading - Mark 12,28b-34
One of the scribes put a question to Jesus, 'Which is the first of all the commandments?' Jesus replied, 'This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one, only Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.' The scribe said to him, 'Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true, that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.'
Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And after that no one dared to question him any more.

3) Reflection
• The Gospel today presents a beautiful conversation between Jesus and a Doctor of the Law. The doctor wants to know from Jesus which is the first of all the commandments. Today, also many persons want to know what is most important in religion. Some say: to be baptized. Others, to pray. Others say: to go to Mass or to participate in the worship on Sunday. Others say: to love your neighbour! Others are worried about the appearance or the charges or tasks in the Church.
• Mark 12, 28: The question of the Doctor of the Law. A doctor of the Law, who had seen the debate of Jesus with the Sadducees (Mk 12,23-27), was pleased with the response of Jesus, and he perceives in him a great intelligence and wants to profit of this occasion to ask him a question: Which is the first one of all the commandments?” At that time the Jews had an enormous number of norms which regulated, in practice, the observance of the Ten Commandments of the Law of God. Some said: “All these norms have the same value, because they all come from God. It does not belong to us to introduce distinctions in the things of God”. Others would say: “Some Laws are more important than others, that is why they oblige more!” The Doctor wanted to know Jesus’ opinion.
• Mark 12, 29-31: The response of Jesus. Jesus responds by quoting a passage of the Bible to say that the first commandment is “to love God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength!” (Dt 6, 4-5). At the time of Jesus, the pious Jews made of this text of Deuteronomy a prayer which they recited three times a day: in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Among them it was known as today we know the Our Father. And Jesus adds, quoting the Bible again: the second one is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other more important commandment than this one”. (Lev 19,18). A brief and profound response! It is the summary of all that Jesus has taught about God and about life (Mt 7, 12).
• Mark 12, 32-33: The answer of the doctor of the Law. The Doctor agrees with Jesus and draws the conclusion: “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself; this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice”. In other words, the commandment of love is more important than the commandments related to worship and sacrifice in the Temple. This affirmation was already used by the prophets of the Old Testament (Ho 6, 6; Ps 40, 6-8; Ps 51, 16-17). Today, we would say that the practice of love is more important than novenas, promises, Masses, prayers, and processions.
• Mark 12, 34: The summary of the Kingdom. Jesus confirms the conclusion reached by the Doctor and says: “You are not far from the Kingdom of God!” In fact, the Kingdom of God consists in recognizing that love toward God is equal to the love of neighbour. Because if God is Father, we all are sisters and brothers and should show this in practice, living in community. "On these two commandments depend the Law and the prophets” (Mt 22, 4). The disciples must keep in mind, fix in their memory, in their intelligence, in the heart, in the hands and in the feet this important law of love: God is only attained through the total gift of self to our neighbour!
• The first and most important commandment. The most important and first commandment was and will always be: “to love God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk 12,30). In the measure in which the People of God, throughout the centuries, has deepened the meaning and the importance of the love of God, it has become aware that God’s love is true and real only in the measure in which it is made concrete in the love to neighbour. And thus, the second commandment which asks for the love for neighbour, is similar to the first commandment of God’s love (Mt 22, 39; Mk 12, 31). “Anyone who says I love God, and hates his brother, is a liar” (1 Jn 4, 20). “On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets too” (Mt 22, 40).

4) Personal questions
• For you, what is more important in religion and in life? Which are the concrete difficulties that you find, in order to be able to live that which you consider more important?
• Jesus tells the doctor: “You are not far from the Kingdom of God”. Today, am I nearer or farther away from the Kingdom of God than the doctor praised by Jesus?

5) Concluding Prayer
Direct me in your ways, Yahweh,
and teach me your paths.
Encourage me to walk in your truth and teach me
since you are the God who saves me. (Ps 25,4-5)