Thứ Sáu, 9 tháng 6, 2017


Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 358

Tobit called his son Tobiah and said to him,
"Son, see to it that you give what is due to the man
who made the journey with you; give him a bonus too."
So he called Raphael and said,
"Take as your wages half of all that you have brought back,
and go in peace."

Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them:
"Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory.
Before all the living,
acknowledge the many good things he has done for you,
by blessing and extolling his name in song.
Honor and proclaim God's deeds,
and do not be slack in praising him.
A king's secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be declared and made known.
Praise them with due honor.
Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
Prayer and fasting are good,
but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.
A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness.
It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin.
Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

"I will now tell you the whole truth;
I will conceal nothing at all from you.
I have already said to you,
'A king's secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.'
I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, 
it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer
before the Glory of the Lord;
and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
When you did not hesitate to get up
and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead,
I was sent to put you to the test.
At the same time, however,
God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.
I am Raphael, one of the seven angels
who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord."

"So now get up from the ground and praise God.
Behold, I am about to ascend to him who sent me;
write down all these things that have happened to you."

Responsorial PsalmTOBIT 13:2, 6EFGH, 7, 8
R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages. 
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. 
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. 
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

AlleluiaMT 5:3
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the course of his teaching Jesus said,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

Meditation: "This poor widow has put in more than the rest"
What is true religion and devotion to God? Jesus warns his disciples against the wrong kind of religion. In his denunciation of the scribes (the religious experts of his day), he warns against three things: the desire for prominence and first place of honor rather than lowly service for the benefit of others; the desire for deference and recognition (and seeking esteem from others) rather than seeking to promote the good of others through humble service and selfless care for others; and thirdly, attempting to use one's position (even a religious position) for self-gain and self-advancement. True religion is relating rightly to God and to one's neighbor with love, honor, and respect. The Lord puts his Holy Spirit within us that we may be filled with the joy of his presence, the joy of true worship, and the joy of selfless giving and love for others. True reverence for God frees the heart to give liberally, both to God and to neighbor.
Love is more precious than gold or silver
Jesus taught his disciples a dramatic lesson in generous giving with love and devotion. Love doesn't calculate - it spends lavishly! Jesus drove this point home to his disciples while sitting in the temple and observing people offering their tithes. Jesus praised a poor widow who gave the smallest of coins in contrast with the rich who gave greater sums. How can someone in poverty give more than someone who has ample means? Jesus' answer is very simple - love is more precious than gold! 
Real giving comes from a heart full of gratitude
Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart. A gift that is given with a grudge or for display loses most of its value. But a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice, is invaluable. The amount or size of the gift doesn't matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins, but instead she recklessly gave away all she had! Jesus praised someone who gave barely a penny - how insignificant a sum - because it was everything she had, her whole living. What we have to offer may look very small and not worth much, but if we put all we have at the Lord's disposal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then God can do with it and with us what is beyond our reckoning. Do you know the joy and freedom of giving liberally to God and to neighbor with gratitude and love?
"Lord Jesus, all that I have is yours. Take my life, my possessions, my time and all that I have and use them as you desire for your glory."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersMercy and compassion are never worthless, by Leo the Great, 400-461 A.D.
"Although the spite of some people does not grow gentle with any kindness, nevertheless the works of mercy are not fruitless, and kindness never loses what is offered to the ungrateful. May no one, dearly beloved, make themselves strangers to good works. Let no one claim that his poverty scarcely sufficed for himself and could not help another. What is offered from a little is great, and in the scale of divine justice, the quantity of gifts is not measured but the steadfastness of souls. The 'widow' in the Gospel put two coins into the 'treasury,' and this surpassed the gifts of all the rich. No mercy is worthless before God. No compassion is fruitless. He has given different resources to human beings, but he does not ask different affections." (excerpt from SERMON

SATURDAY, JUNE 10, MARK 12:38-44

(Tobit 12:1, 5-1-15; Psalm: Tobit 13)

KEY VERSE: "For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty" (v 44).
TO KNOW: The scribes were the learned interpreters of the Law of Moses. Jesus reproached them for making a public show of holiness and using their office for prestige rather than for service. Moreover, they ignored the Law of Moses that required aid for helpless widows and orphans (Ex 22: 21). Because the scribes knew God's will, they were more culpable than those who were ignorant of the Law. Jesus contrasted their behavior with that of a poor widow. While sitting in the Temple, Jesus observed that many rich people placed large donations from their surplus wealth in the Temple treasury. But a poor widow gave two small coins (leptons), all that she had to live on. She embodied Jesus' great command to love God and neighbor with one's entire being (Mk 12:30-31).
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to give generously from my heart.
TO SERVE: Do I share the gifts God has given me? 


Chapter V of the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, issued by the Holy See in December 2001, describes the Church's traditional dedication of Saturday to the Virgin Mary. "Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (218). The chapter also describes the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in Catholic devotional life, in the Liturgy, and reflections on popular devotions to Mary, her feast days, and the Rosary. 

Saturday 10 June 2017

Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20. Tobit 13:2, 6-8. Mark 12:38-44.
Blessed be God, who lives forever—Tobit 13:2, 6-8.
Love shows itself better in actions than in words.
In today’s gospel we see Jesus congratulating the scribe who was able to profess in words the importance of loving God and your neighbour as yourself. But many of the scribes were notorious for paying lip-service to God’s command to love one’s neighbour.
Only a few verses further on they are described as  those ‘who swallow the property of widows, while making a lengthy show of prayers’.
Lord, help me. I know that I am weak and sinful, and that my selfishness often prevents me from loving and caring for others the way I love and care for myself.
Help me, Jesus, to express my love for you not just in words and empty gestures, but in concrete acts of kindness, generosity and justice.


On June 10 the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland.
Margaret was born into royalty in Hungary around 1045. Her father was Edward Atheling, heir to the English throne, and her mother was Princess Agatha of Hungary. Her family returned to England when she was 10 years old, but the Norman Conquest forced them into exile. By this time, her father had died, and her mother fled with the children. They boarded a ship which crashed onto the coast of Scotland, where they remained.
In 1070, at the age of 25, Margaret married the king of Scotland, Malcolm Canmore. As queen, Margaret's faith had a strong influence on her husband’s reign. She softened his temper and led him to practice virtue. She dignified the court, providing an example of purity and reverence that led others to follow in her path. She and the king prayed together and fed the hungry, offering a powerful witness of faith to the people they served.
In addition to being a model wife and mother, Margaret worked tirelessly to bring justice and relief to the poor of Scotland. She also built churches and encouraged practices of religious devotion. In her private life, she exhibited great prayerfulness and piety. Her influence was seen not only in her husband's life, but throughout all of Scotland.
Margaret died in 1093, just four days after her husband and one of her sons were killed in battle. She was canonized in 1250 by Pope Innocent IV and named patron of Scotland in 1673.

Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, June 10, 2017
Ordinary Time

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 12,38-44
In his teaching Jesus said, 'Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who devour the property of widows and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.'
He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, 'In truth I tell you, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.'

3) Reflection
• In today’s Gospel we are getting to the end of the long teaching of Jesus to his disciples. From the first cure of the blind man (Mk 8,22-26) up to the cure of the blind Bartimaeus in Jericho (10,46-52), the disciples walked with Jesus toward Jerusalem, receiving much instruction from him about the passion, death and resurrection and the consequences for the life of the disciple. When they reached Jerusalem, they assist to the debates of Jesus with the traders in the Temple (Mk 11, 15-19), with the high priests and the Scribes (Mk 11, 27 a 12, 12), with the Pharisees, Herodians and the Sadducees (Mk 12, 13-27), with the Doctors of the Law (Mk 12, 28-37). Now, in today’s Gospel, after the last criticism against the Scribes (Mk 12, 38-40), Jesus instructs the disciples. Jesus sitting opposite the treasury he called their attention on the gesture of sharing of a poor widow. In that gesture they should look for the manifestation of the will of God (Mk 12, 41-44).
• Mark 12, 38-40: The criticism of the doctors of the Law. Jesus calls the attention of the disciples on the arrogant and hypocritical behaviour of some of the doctors of the Law. They liked very much to go around the squares in the city wearing long tunics, and to receive the greeting of the people, to occupy the first places in the Synagogue and to have the place of honour in the banquets. They liked to enter into the houses of the widows and to say long prayers in exchange for money! And Jesus says: “These people will receive a great condemnation!”
• Mark 12,41-42. The mite of the widow. Jesus and his disciples sitting opposite the treasury of the Temple observed that all left their alms. The poor put in a very small amount, a few cents, the rich put in coins of great value. The Treasury of the Temple received much money. Everyone took something for the maintenance of the cult, to support the clergy and for the maintenance of the building. Part of this money was used to help the poor, because at that time there was no social security. The poor depended on public charity. And the poor who needed greater help, were the orphans and the widows. They had nothing. They depended for everything on the help of others. But even without having anything, they tried to share. In this way, a very poor widow, put in her alms into the treasury of the Temple. Just a few cents!
• Mark 12, 43-44. Jesus indicates where God’s will is manifested. What has greater value: the ten cents of the widow or the one thousand dollars of the rich? For the disciples, the one thousand dollars of the rich were much more useful than the ten cents of the widow. They thought that the problems of the people could be solved only with much money. On the occasion of the multiplication of the loaves, they had said to Jesus: “Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?” (Mk 6, 37) In fact, for those who think this way, the ten cents of the widow do not serve for anything. But Jesus says: “This widow who is poor has put into the treasury more than all the others”. Jesus has different criteria. He calls the attention of his disciples on the gesture of the widow, and teaches them where they and we should seek the manifestation of God’s will: in the poor and in sharing. Many poor people today do the same thing. People say: ”The poor do not let another poor person starve”. But sometimes, not even this is possible. Cicera, the lady of the interior zone of Paraiba, Brazil, who went to live in the periphery of the capital city, would say: “In the interior, people were poor, but there was always a piece of bread to share with the poor person who knocked at the door. Now that I am in the great city, when I see a poor person who knocks at the door, I hide out of shame, because at home I have nothing to share with him!” On the one hand, rich people who have everything, but who do not want to share. On the other side: poor people who hardly have anything, but who want to share the little that they have.
• Alms, sharing, riches. The practice of giving alms was very important for the Jews. It was considered a “good work”, because the Law of the Old Testament said: “Because the poor will never be missing in the country; this is why I give you this command, and I say to you: Always be open handed with your brother in your country who is in need and poor” (Dt 15,11). The alms, deposited in the treasury of the Temple, whether for the worship, or for the needy, for the orphans and for the widows, were considered an action pleasing to God. To give alms was a way of recognizing that all the goods belong to God and that we are simple administrators of these goods, in such a way that there will be abundant life for all. The practice of sharing and of solidarity is one of the characteristics of the first Christian communities: “None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money from the sale of them to present it to the apostles; (Ac 4, 34-35; 2, 44-45). The money from the sale, offered to the apostles, was not accumulated, but rather “it was then distributed to any who might be in need” (Ac 4,35b; 2, 45). The entrance into the community of persons who were richer introduced into the community the mentality of accumulation and blocked the movement of solidarity and of sharing. James warns these persons: “Now you rich! Lament; weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is rotting; your clothes are all moth-eaten” (Jm 5, 1-3). To learn the way to the Kingdom, we all need to become pupils of that poor widow, who shared all she had, what was necessary to live (Mk 12,41-44).

4) Personal questions
• How is it that the two cents of the widow can be worth more than one thousand dollars of the rich? Look well at the text and see why Jesus praises the poor widow. What message does this text contain for us today?
• What difficulties and what joys have you found in your life in the practice of solidarity and in sharing with others?

5) Concluding Prayer
My mouth is full of your praises,
filled with your splendour all day long.
Do not reject me in my old age,
nor desert me when my strength is failing. (Ps 71,8-9)