Thứ Năm, 8 tháng 6, 2017


Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 357

Reading 1TB 11:5-17
Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.
When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father,
"Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!"

Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father:
"I am certain that his eyes will be opened.
Smear the fish gall on them.
This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes;
then your father will again be able to see the light of day."

Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him,
and said to him, 
"Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!"
And she sobbed aloud.

Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate.
Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand,
and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes.
"Courage, father," he said.
Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart.
Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit's eyes,
Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts.

When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept.
He exclaimed, "I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!"
Then he said: 

"Blessed be God,
and praised be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his holy name be praised
throughout all the ages,
Because it was he who scourged me,
and it is he who has had mercy on me.
Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!"

Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice 
for everything that had happened.
Tobiah told his father that 
the Lord God had granted him a successful journey;
that he had brought back the money;
and that he had married Raguel's daughter Sarah,
who would arrive shortly,
for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh.

Tobit and Anna rejoiced 
and went out to the gate of Nineveh
to meet their daughter-in-law.
When the people of Nineveh saw Tobit walking along briskly,
with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed.
Before them all Tobit proclaimed
how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes.
When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah,
he greeted her: "Welcome, my daughter!
Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter!
Blessed is your father, and blessed is my son Tobiah, 
and blessed are you, daughter!
Welcome to your home with blessing and joy.
Come in, daughter!"
That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,
"How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my lord,
'Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.'

David himself calls him 'lord';
so how is he his son?"
The great crowd heard this with delight.

Meditation: "The Christ is the Son of David"
What kind of ruler does the world need today? Who can establish true peace and justice for all? When the people of Israel settled into the promised land, they wanted a king to unite and rule them like the other nations around them. Their first king, Saul, failed to establish a dynasty. But when David was anointed king God established a covenant with him and promised that his dynasty would last forever. Among the Jews the most common title for the Messiah (the Hebrew word for Christ or the Anointed One) was the Son of David. The Jews looked forward to the long-expected Savior who would come from the line of David. Jesus was often addressed with that title, especially by the crowds (Mark 10:47ff, Matthew 9:27; 12:23).
Jesus, the Anointed King and Ruler of All, fulfills the promise God made with David
Why did Jesus question the Jews on the claim that their Messiah or Christ would be the son of David? After all the New Testament makes clear that Jesus himself is a direct descendant from the line of David's throne (Romans 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:8, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38). Jesus posed the question to make his hearers understand that the Messiah is more than the son of David. Jesus makes his point in dramatic fashion by quoting from one of David's prophetic psalms, Psalm 110: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet. How can the son be the lord of his father? Jesus, who took upon himself our human nature for our sake, is not only the son of David, he is first and foremost the Son of God eternally begotten of the Father. The Messiah King whom God promised to send would not only come from David's line, but would be greater than any earthy ruler who came before or would come after. 
Jesus claimed a sovereignty that only God can claim - a sovereignty that extends not only to the ends of the earth but to the heavens as well. But the way Jesus would establish his kingdom was far different from any of the expectations of the tiny nation of Israel. Jesus came to rule hearts and minds, not lands and entitlements. He came to free people from the worst tyranny possible - slavery to sin, Satan, and a world ruled by greed and lust for power and wealth.
Jesus, risen in glory by the power of the Holy Spirit, now reigns as Lord over all of creation
Paul the Apostle states that no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). It is the role of the Holy Spirit to make the Lord Jesus present and known in our lives. We can accept the Lord Jesus or reject him, love him or ignore him. He will not force his rule upon us. But the consequences of our choice will not only shape our present life but our destiny as well. 
Is your life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus?
What does it mean to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord? The word lord means ruler or king - the one who is owed fealty and submission. The Lord and Master of our lives is the person or thing we give our lives over to and submit to in a full way. We can be ruled by many things - our possessions, the love of money, our unruly passions, alcohol, drugs, and other forms of addictions. Only one Lord and Master can truly set us free to love and serve others selflessly and to be loved as God intended from the beginning. When we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord we invite him to be the king of our heart, master of our home, our thoughts, our relationships, and everything we do. Is the Lord Jesus the true king and master of your heart and do you give him free reign in every area of your life?
"Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of David and the Son of God. You are my Lord and I willingly submit myself to your rule in my life. Be Lord and King of my life, my thoughts, heart, home, relationships, work, and all that I do."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersJesus is Son of David and Son of God, by Cyril of Alexandria, 375-444 A.D.
    "We also will ask the Pharisees of today a similar question. They deny that he who was born of the holy Virgin is very Son of God the Father and himself also God. They also divide the one Christ into two sons. Let these people explain to us how David's Son is his Lord, not so much as to human lordship as divine. To sit at the right hand of the Father is the assurance and pledge of supreme glory. Those who share the same throne are equal also in dignity, and those who are crowned with equal honors are understood of course to be equal in nature. To sit by God can signify nothing else than sovereign authority. The throne declares to us that Christ possesses power over everything and supremacy by right of his substance.
    "How is the Son of David David's Lord, seated at the right hand of God the Father and on the throne of Deity? Is it not altogether according to the unerring word of the mystery that the Word as God sprung from the very substance of God the Father? Being in his likeness and equal with him, he became flesh. He became man, perfectly and yet without departing from the incomparable excellence of the divine dignities. He continued in that state in which he had always been. He still was God, although he became flesh and in form like us. He is David's Lord therefore according to that which belongs to his divine glory, nature and sovereignty. He is his son according to the flesh." 
(excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 137.52)

FRIDAY, JUNE 9, MARK 12:35-37

(Tobit 11:5-17; Psalm 146)

KEY VERSE: "The Lord said to my Lord, `Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet'" (v 36).
TO KNOW: Jesus had been interrogated by the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the scribes. Now it was Jesus turn to ask questions. These religious leaders were hoping for a new king like David who would restore independent rule to Israel. Jesus asked how they could claim that the Messiah would be David's son, since David himself addressed the Messiah as "Lord" (Ps 110:1). Jesus was of Davidic descent, but more importantly he was God's son. He came to fulfill the promises made to David (2 Sm 7:12-16); however only in a spiritual sense. Jesus' kingdom would "endure" and his throne would "stand firm forever." The people were filled with joy and hope that the Messiah had indeed come in the person of Jesus.
TO LOVE: Jesus, you are my Lord and God.
TO SERVE: Do my actions help others revere the name of Jesus?​

Optional Memorial of Saint Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church

Ephrem was born sometime around the year 306 in Nibisis, a Syrian town located in modern-day Turkey. At that time, the Church was suffering under the persecution of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Ephrem may have been ordained a deacon at the age of 18. Since one of the chief activities of a deacon is the preaching of the Gospel, Ephrem began to write deeply theological hymns and biblical commentaries. In his lifetime, he may have written as many as three million lines, and 400 of his hymns still survive. His hymnography earned him the title "Harp of the Spirit." Fleeing westward from the Persians, who were ravaging Turkey, Ephrem settled in Edessa, in southern Turkey, in 363. There, he continued to write hymns, especially defending the teaching of the Council of Nicaea against the Arian heretics. He died tending plague victims in 373. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1920. "Lord, shed upon our darkened souls the brilliant light of your wisdom so that we may be enlightened and serve you with renewed purity. Sunrise marks the hour for men to begin their toil, but in our souls, Lord, prepare a dwelling for the day that will never end." Sermon of Saint Ephrem

​NOTE: Arianism taught that Christ was a creation of the Father, a creature, and not part of God. Athanasius formulated the doctrine of homoousianism which said that Christ was "consubstantial with the Father,” as we pray in the Nicene Creed. 

Friday 9 June 2017

(St Ephrem). Day of penance.
Tobit 11:5-17. Psalms 145(146):2, 7-10. Mark 12:35-37.
Praise the Lord, my soul! — Psalms 145(146):2, 7-10.
‘Whoever loves me will keep my word.’
The gospel acclamation uses the phrase ‘my word’ not ‘their word’. It is lovely to get that reminder before we hear the Word of God that, as Christians, we are so bound to the words we are about to hear, and if we love our God we will keep God’s word.
A simple thought, but there is so much of what it means to be a Christian contained in that little phrase.
In so doing, we join in the great hymn of Tobias’ father—’Blessed be God: blessed be God’s name forever.’


On June 9, the Roman Catholic Church honors Saint Ephrem of Syria, a deacon, hermit, and Doctor of the Church who made important contributions to the spirituality and theology of the Christian East during the fourth century.
Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christian celebrate his feast on January 28.
In a 2007 General Audience on St. Ephrem’s life, Pope Benedict XVI noted that St. Ephrem became known as the “Harp of the Holy Spirit,” for the hymns and writings that sang the praises of God “in an unparalleled way” and “with rare skill.”
Ephrem was born in the city of Nisibis in approximately 306. Traditions differ on the question of his family background, with some sources attesting that his father was at one time a pagan priest. Other sources suggest that his family either was, or later became, entirely Christian.
During his youth, and prior to his baptism at age 18, Ephrem committed certain sins that continued to trouble him in later years. In one incident, he caused the death of a neighbor’s cow by chasing it into an area where it was killed by a wild animal. Another source of shame was his temporary doubt regarding God’s providential direction of events.
A sense of God’s care for him, however, was reinforced by an incident in which he was falsely accused of theft and imprisoned. An angel appeared to Ephrem, informing him that he would be shown an example of God’s providence. Through a complex series of events, Ephrem’s innocence was ultimately vindicated, in fulfillment of the angel’s words.
Soon after this ordeal, Ephrem received baptism and began to consider the salvation of his soul more seriously. He embraced an ascetic lifestyle under the direction of an elder, who gave him permission to live as a hermit. Ephrem supported himself with manual labor, making sails for ships, while living in a remarkably austere manner with few comforts and little food.
Ephrem’s spiritual director and friend, Bishop James of Nisibis, died in 338. Soon after, Ephrem left his solitude and moved to Edessa in present-day Turkey. Ordained as a deacon in Edessa, he was known for sermons which combined articulate expressions of Catholic orthodoxy with urgent and fruitful calls to repentance.
The deacon was also a voluminous author, producing commentaries on the entire Bible as well as the theological poetry for which he is best known. Ephrem used Syriac-language verse as a means to explain and popularize theological truths, a technique he appropriated from others who had used poetry to promote religious error.
An effective evangelist and opponent of heresy, Ephrem was also known as a compassionate spiritual director, who warned new converts not to attempt excessive works of penance.
Late in his life, the deacon made a pilgrimage to the city of Caesarea, where God had directed him to seek the guidance of the archbishop later canonized as Saint Basil the Great. Basil helped Ephrem to resolve some of his own spiritual troubles, giving him advice which he would follow as he spent his final years in solitary prayer and writing.
Near the end of his life, Ephrem briefly left his hermitage to serve the poor and sick during a famine. His last illness came in 373, most likely from a disease he contracted through this service.
When his own death approached, he told his friends: “Sing no funeral hymns at Ephrem’s burial … Wrap not my carcass in any costly shroud: erect no monument to my memory. Allow me only the portion and place of a pilgrim; for I am a pilgrim and a stranger as all my fathers were on earth.”
St. Ephrem of Syria died in June of 373. Soon after his death, he was remembered in a public address by his contemporary Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who closed his remarks by asking Ephrem’s intercession.
“You are now assisting at the divine altar, and before the Prince of life, with the angels, praising the most holy Trinity,” said Gregory. “Remember us all, and obtain for us the pardon of our sins.”

Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, June 9, 2017

1) Opening prayer
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 12,35-37
While teaching in the Temple, Jesus said, 'How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, moved by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord declared to my Lord, take your seat at my right hand till I have made your enemies your footstool. David himself calls him Lord; in what way then can he be his son?' And the great crowd listened to him with delight.
3) Reflection
• In the Gospel of day before yesterday, Jesus criticizes the doctrine of the Sadducees (Mk 12, 24-27). In today’s Gospel, he criticizes the teaching of the doctors of the Law. And this time his criticism is not directed to the incoherence of their life, but to the teaching which they transmit to the people. On another occasion, Jesus had criticized their incoherence and had said to the people: “The Scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses: You must, therefore, do and observe what they tell you, but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not observe what they preach” (Mt 23.2-3). Now, he shows himself reserved in regard to those who taught the Messianic hope, and he bases his criticism on arguments taken from the Bible.
• Mark 12, 35-36: The teaching of the Doctors of the Law on the Messiah. The official propaganda both of the government as that of the Doctors of the Law said that the Messiah would have come as the Son of David. This was the way to teach that the Messiah would be a glorious king, strong and dominator. This is how the people shouted on Palm Sunday: “Blessed the Kingdom that is coming from our Father David!” (Mk 11,10). The blind man of Jericho also cried out in this same way: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” (Mk 10, 47).
• Mark 12, 37: Jesus questions the teaching of the doctors about the Messiah. Jesus questions this teaching of the Scribes. He quotes a Psalm of David: “The Lord declared to my Lord, take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool!” (Ps 110,1). And Jesus adds: “If David calls him Lord, how then can he be his son?” This signifies that Jesus was not completely in agreement with the idea of a Messiah, Glorious Lord, who would have come like a powerful king to dominate and to impose himself on all his enemies. Mark adds that people were pleased with the criticism of Jesus. In fact, history informs that the “poor of Yahweh” (anawim) were expecting a Messiah who was not a dominator, but the servant of God for humanity.
•The diverse forms of Messianic hope. Throughout the centuries, the Messianic hope grew, assuming diverse forms. Almost all the groups and movements of the time of Jesus were waiting for the coming of the Kingdom, but each one in his own way, the Pharisees, the Scribes, the Essenes, the Zealots, the Herodians, the Sadducees, the popular prophets, the disciples of John the Baptist, the poor of Yahweh. In the time of Jesus, three tendencies in the Messianic hope could be distinguished.
a) The Messiah personally sent by God: For some, the future Kingdom should arrive through one sent by God, called Messiah, or Christ. He would have been anointed so as to be able to carry out his mission (Is 61,1). Some expected that he would be a prophet; others, a king, a disciple or a priest. Malachi, for example, expects the prophet Elijah (Ml 3,23-24). Psalm 72 expects an ideal king, a new David. Isaiah expects now a disciple (Is 50,4), now a prophet (Is 61,1). The unclean spirit shouted: "I know who you are: the Holy One of God!” (Mc 1, 24). This was a sign that there were people who expected a Messiah who would be a priest (Holy or Sanctifier). The poor of Yahweh (anawim) expected the Messiah “Servant of God”, announced by Isaiah.
b) Messianism without the Messiah. For others, the future would have arrived suddenly, unexpected, without mediations, without help from anyone. God himself would have come in person to carry out the prophecies. There would not have been a Messiah, properly so called. There would be a messianism without a Messiah. Of this we are aware in the Book of Isaiah where God himself arrives with the victory in hand (Is 40, 9-10; 52, 7-8).
c) The Messiah has already come. There were also some groups which did not expect the Messiah. According to them the present situation should continue as it was, because they thought that the future had already arrived. These groups were not popular. For example the Sadducees did not expect the Messiah. The Herodians thought that Herod was a messianic king.
• The light of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus is the light which enlightens unexpectedly all the past. In the light of the Resurrection Christians would begin to read the Old Testament and would discover in it new meaning which before could not be discovered, because the light was missing (cf. 2 Co 3,15-16). They sought in the Old Testament the words to express the new life which they were living in Christ. There they found the majority of the titles of Jesus: Messiah (Ps 2, 2) Son of man (Dn 7, 13; Ez 2, 1), Son of God (Sl 2, 7; 2 S 7, 13), Servant of Yahweh (Is 42, 1; 41, 8), Redeemer (Is 41, 14; Ps 19, 15; Rt 4, 15), Lord (LXX) (almost 6000 times!). All the great themes of the Old Testament spring up in Jesus and find in him their full realization. In the Resurrection of Jesus springs up the seed and according to everything that has been said by the Fathers of the Church, the whole Old Testament becomes New Testament.
4) Personal questions
• Which is the hope for the future of today’s world in which we live?
• Does Faith in the Resurrection influence the way of living your life?
5) Concluding Prayer
I am waiting for your salvation, Yahweh,
I fulfil your commandments.
I observe your precepts, your judgements,
for all my ways are before you. (Ps 119:166,168)