Thứ Hai, 12 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 13, 2017 : MEMORIAL OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA, PRIEST AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 360

Reading 12 COR 1:18-22
Brothers and sisters:
As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no."
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us,
Silvanus and Timothy and me,
was not "yes" and "no," but "yes" has been in him.
For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him;
therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.
But the one who gives us security with you in Christ
and who anointed us is God;
he has also put his seal upon us
and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

R. (135a) Lord, let your face shine on me.
Wonderful are your decrees;
therefore I observe them.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
gives understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Turn to me in pity
as you turn to those who love your name.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Steady my footsteps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity rule over me.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes. 
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.

AlleluiaMT 5:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:13-16
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father."


Meditation: "The salt of the earth and light of the world"
Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths that transform our minds, hearts, and lives. What does salt and light have to teach us about God and the transforming power of his kingdom? Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with valuable goods, such as gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose, especially in warmer climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave rich flavor to food, it also preserved food from going bad and being spoiled.
God's power at work within us purifies and enriches our lives
Jesus used the image of salt to describe the transforming effect of God's work in our lives - and how the Holy Spirit wants to work in and through us to bring the power and blessing of God's kingdom to others. As salt purifies, preserves, and produces rich flavor for our daily food, we, too, as disciples of Jesus, are "salt" for the world of human society. The Lord wants to work in and through us to purify, preserve, and spread the rich flavor of God's kingdom everywhere - his "kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).
Don't lose your saltiness
What did Jesus mean by the expression "if salt has lost its taste... it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot" (Matthew 5:13)? Salt in the ancient world was often put into ovens to intensify the heat. When the salt was burned off and no longer useful it was thrown out on the ground where it would get stepped on and swept away (Matthew 5:13). 
How can we lose our "saltiness" - the power of God's rich grace and strength at work in us? If we allow the world (which is opposed to God's truth and moral goodness), and sinful habits, and Satan's lies and deception to corrupt our minds and hearts, then we will lose the rich flavor and strength of God which preserves us from moral and spiritual corruption. The Lord wants us to preserve and enrich our "saltiness" - through Godly living and the rejection of sin - not only for our own sake but also for the sake of others who will be impacted by our witness and behavior. 
Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be "the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ). Do you allow the fragrance of Christ's love, truth, and holiness to permeate every area of your life, your thoughts, words, actions, and relationships?
Let the light of Christ shine brightly in and through you for all to see
Jesus used the image of light and a lamp to further his illustration of God's transforming work in and through us. Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood "light" as symbol or expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God's grace not only dispels the darkness in our lives, it also fills us with the light of Christ's truth, wisdom, joy, and peace.
Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illuminates the darkness and enables one to see cleary, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God's kingdom (Ephesians 5:13-14). Our mission is to be light-bearers of Jesus Christ so that others may see the truth of the Gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.
There is great freedom and joy for those who live in the light of God's truth and goodness. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God's light?
"Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed".
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Light of Truth, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
The Lord has already called his disciples the "salt of the earth" because they seasoned with divine wisdom the hearts of the human race which had been made tasteless by the devil. Now he also calls them the "light of the world." For, illumined by his very own self who is the true and eternal light, they too become light within the darkness. For since he himself is the sun of righteousness, he rightly also calls his disciples "light of the world." Through them, as if through shining rays, he poured the light of his knowledge on the entire world. For by showing the light of truth, the Lord's disciples made the darkness of error flee from people's hearts. (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 19.1.1-2)
[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a "most learned and most holy man."]

TUESDAY, JUNE 13, MATTHEW 5:13-16
(2 Corinthians 1:18-22; Psalm 119)

KEY VERSE: "Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father" (v 16).
TO KNOW: Throughout human history there have been shifts from an exaggerated dependence on God to an excessive dependence on oneself. Jesus taught his disciples that a spiritually healthy person was one who had a balance between self-reliance and reliance on God. When the two came together, then the Kingdom of God was truly present on earth. Jesus' disciples must be living signs of God's reign. They must be "salt" for those who had lost their taste for the things of God and "light" for those who had lost their way. Christians can be an influence for good by offering a necessary flavor to the world. By illuminating the pathway to God, Jesus' disciples would preserve others from evil.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to live in such a way that others can "taste and see” your goodness (Ps 34:9).
TO SERVE: How can I be "salt" and "light" to my community?



Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church

Anthony's wealthy family wanted him to be a great nobleman, but for the sake of Christ he became a poor Franciscan. When the remains of Saint Bernard and his companions, the first Franciscan martyrs, were brought to be buried in his church, Anthony was moved to leave his order, enter the Friars Minor, and go to Morocco to evangelize. He was shipwrecked at Sicily, and he joined some other brothers who were going to Portiuncula. Anthony lived in a cave at San Paolo leaving only to attend Mass and sweep the nearby monastery. One day when a scheduled preacher failed to appear, the brothers pressed him into speaking. Anthony impressed them so much that thereafter he was constantly traveling, evangelizing, preaching, and teaching theology throughout Italy and France. One of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are found everywhere. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946.



Tuesday 13 June 2017

St Anthony of Padua.
2 Corinthians 1:18-22. Psalms 118(119):129-133, 135. Matthew 5:13-16.
Lord, let your face shine on me — Psalms 118(119):129-133, 135.
‘Let your light shine before all that they may see your good works and glorify your Father.’
Once, watching the Australian Open Tennis Championships on television I was particularly edified to hear one of the players give glory to Jesus for his victory. I hope that player kept the same frame of mind when he missed out on the final!
I am sure he did. He would have been a man after the heart of St Paul, who said, ‘There is no Yes and No about what we say to you.’ It was most encouraging to hear someone make a statement like that in a situation that could at times be rather cut‑throat.
Lord, help us to realise that there is no place in the world where the Light of Christ cannot shine.


ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA

On June 13, Catholics honor the memory of the Franciscan priest St. Anthony of Padua. Although he is popularly invoked today by those who have trouble finding lost objects, he was known in his own day as the “Hammer of Heretics” due to the powerful witness of his life and preaching.
The saint known to the Church as Anthony of Padua was not born in the Italian city of Padua, nor was he originally named Anthony. He was born as Ferdinand in Lisbon, Portugal during 1195, the son of an army officer named Martin and a virtuous woman named Mary. They had Ferdinand educated by a group of priests, and the young man made his own decision to enter religious life at age 15.
Ferdinand initially lived in a monastery of the Augustinian order outside of Lisbon. But he disliked the distraction of constant visits from his friends, and moved to a more remote house of the same order. There, he concentrated on reading the Bible and the Church Fathers, while living a life of asceticism and heartfelt devotion to God.
Eight years later, in 1220, Ferdinand learned the news about five Franciscan friars who had recently died for their faith in Morocco. When their bodies were brought to Portugal for veneration, Ferdinand developed a passionate desire to imitate their commitment to the Gospel. When a group of Franciscans visited his monastery, Ferdinand told them he wanted to adopt their poor and humble way of life.
Some of the Augustinian monks criticized and mocked Ferdinand's interest in the Franciscans, which had been established only recently, in 1209. But prayer confirmed his desire to follow the example of St. Francis, who was still living at the time.
He eventually obtained permission to leave the Augustinians and join a small Franciscan monastery in 1221. At that time he took the name Anthony, after the fourth-century desert monk St. Anthony of Egypt.
Anthony wanted to imitate the Franciscan martyrs who had died trying to convert the Muslims of Morocco. He traveled on a ship to Africa for this purpose, but became seriously ill and could not carry out his intention. The ship that was supposed to take him to Spain for treatment was blown off course, and ended up in Italy.
Through this series of mishaps, Anthony ended up near Assisi, where St. Francis was holding a major meeting for the members of his order. Despite his poor health, Anthony resolved to stay in Italy in order to be closer to St. Francis himself. He deliberately concealed his deep knowledge of theology and Scripture, and offered to serve in the kitchen among the brothers.
At the time, no one realized that the future “Hammer of Heretics” was anything other than a kitchen assistant and obedient Franciscan priest. Around 1224, however, Anthony was forced to deliver an improvised speech before an assembly of Dominicans and Franciscans, none of whom had prepared any remarks.
His eloquence stunned the crowd, and St. Francis himself soon learned what kind of man the dishwashing priest really was. In 1224 he gave Anthony permission to teach theology in the Franciscan order –  “provided, however, that as the Rule prescribes, the spirit of prayer and devotion may not be extinguished.”
Anthony taught theology in several French and Italian cities, while strictly following his Franciscan vows and preaching regularly to the people. Later, he dedicated himself entirely to the work of preaching as a missionary in France, Italy and Spain, teaching an authentic love for God to many people – whether peasants or princes – who had fallen away from Catholic faith and morality.
Known for his bold preaching and austere lifestyle, Anthony also had a reputation as a worker of miracles, which often came about in the course of his disputes with heretics.
His biographers mention a horse, which refused to eat for three days, and accepted food only after it had placed itself in adoration before the Eucharist that Anthony brought in his hands. Another miracle involved a poisoned meal, which Anthony ate without any harm after making the sign of the Cross over it. And a final often recounted miracle of St. Anthony’s involved a group of fish, who rose out of the sea to hear his preaching when heretical residents of a city refused to listen.
After Lent in 1231, Anthony's health was in decline. Following the example of his patron – the earlier St. Anthony, who had lived as a hermit – he retreated to a remote location, taking two companions to help him. When his worsening health forced him to be carried back to the Franciscan monastery in Padua, crowds of people converged on the group in hopes of paying their homage to the holy priest.
The commotion surrounding his transport forced his attendants to stop short of their destination. After receiving the last rites, Anthony prayed the Church's seven traditional penitential psalms, sung a hymn to the Virgin Mary, and died on June 13 at the age of 36.
St. Anthony's well-established holiness, combined with the many miracles he had worked during his lifetime, moved Pope Gregory IX – who knew the saint personally – to canonize him one year after his death.
“St. Anthony, residing now in heaven, is honored on earth by many miracles daily seen at his tomb, of which we are certified by authentic writings,” proclaimed the 13th-century Pope.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 5,13-16
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, June 13, 2017

1) OPENING PRAYER
God of wisdom and love,
source of all good,
send your Spirit to teach us your truth
and guide our actions
in your way of peace.
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 - MATTHEW 5,13-16
Jesus said to his disciples: 'You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people's feet.
'You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in people's sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.
3) REFLECTION
• Yesterday, in meditating on the Beatitudes, we passed through the door of entry of the Sermon on the Mountain (Mt 5, 1-12). Today in the Gospel we receive an important instruction on the mission of the Community. It should be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Mt 5, 13-16). Salt does not exist for itself, but to give flavour to the food. Light does not exist for itself, but for the service of people. At the time when Matthew wrote his Gospel, this mission was very difficult for the communities of the converted Jews. In spite that they were living in faithful observance of the Law of Moses, they were expelled from the Synagogues, cut away from their Jewish past. Regarding this, among the converted pagans, some said: “After the coming of Jesus, the Law of Moses has become obsolete”. All this caused tension and uncertainty. The openness of some seemed to be criticism of the observance of others, and vice versa. This conflict brought about a crisis which led many to close up in their own position. Some wanted to advance, to go ahead, others wanted to place the light under the table. Many asked themselves: “In last instance, which is our mission?” Recalling and updating the words of Jesus, Matthew tries to help them.
• Matthew 5, 13-16: Salt of the earth. By using images of daily life, with simple and direct words, Jesus makes known which is the mission and the reason for being a Christian community: to be salt. At that time when it was very hot, people and animals needed to consume much salt. The salt, which was delivered by merchants in great blocks in the public square, was consumed by the people. What remained fell to the ground and lost its savour. “It no longer serves for anything, but it is thrown out and trampled under people’s feet”. Jesus recalls this use in order to clarify for the disciples the mission which they have to carry out.
• Matthew 5, 14-16: Light of the world. The comparison is obvious. Nobody lights a candle and places it under the tub. A city built on the hill top, cannot be hidden. The community should be light, it should enlighten. It should not be afraid to show the good that it does. It does not do it to make itself seen, but what it does can be seen. The salt does not exist for itself. The light does not exist for itself! This is how the community should be. It cannot remain enclosed in itself. “Your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in Heaven.”
• Matthew 5, 17-19: Not one dot, not one little stroke will disappear from the Law. Among the converted Jews there were two tendencies. Some thought that it was not necessary to observe the laws of the Old Testament because we are saved by the faith in Jesus and not by the observance of the Law (Rm 3, 21-26). Others thought that they should continue to observe the laws of the Old Testament (Ac 15, 1-2). In each one of the two tendencies there were some more radical groups. Before this conflict, Matthew tries to find a balance, the equilibrium, over and beyond the two extremes. The community should be the space, where this equilibrium can be attained and lived. The response given by Jesus continued to be very actual: “I have not come to abolish the law, but to complete it!” The communities cannot be against the Law, nor can they close themselves up in the observance of the law. Like Jesus did, they must advance forward, and show in a practical way that the objective which the law wants to attain in life is the perfect practice of love.
•The different tendencies in the first Christian communities. The plan of salvation has three stages united among themselves from the earth to life: a) the Old Testament: the path of the Hebrew People, orientated, guided by the Law of God. b) The life of Jesus of Nazareth: it renews the Law of Moses starting from his experience of God, Father and Mother. c) The life of the communities: through the spirit of Jesus, they tried to live as Jesus lived it. The union of these three stages generates the certainty of faith that God is in our midst. The intention to break or weaken the unity of this plan of salvation gave rise to various groups and tendencies in the communities:
i) The Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as Messiah and accepted only the Old Testament. In the communities there were some people who sympathized with the thought of the Pharisees (Ac 15, 5).
ii) Some converted Jews accepted Jesus as Messiah, but they did not accept the liberty of spirit with which the communities lived the presence of the Risen Jesus. (Ac 15,1).
iii) Others, both converted Jews and pagans, thought that with Jesus had come the end of the Old Testament. From now on, Jesus alone and the life in the Spirit.
iv) There were also Christians who lived so fully the life in the liberty of the Spirit, that they no longer looked at the life of Jesus of Nazareth, nor the Old Testament (1Co 12,3).
v) Now the great concern of the Gospel of Matthew is that of showing that the Old Testament, Jesus of Nazareth and the life in the Spirit cannot be separated. The three form part of the same and only project of God and give us the central certainty of faith: The God of Abraham and of Sarah is present in the midst of the communities by the faith in Jesus of Nazareth.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• For you, in your life experience, for what does salt serve? Is your community salt? For you, what does light signify in your life? How is your community light?
• How do the people of the neighbourhood see your community? Does your community have some attraction for others? Is it a sign? Of what? For whom?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Yahweh judiciously guides the humble,
instructing the poor in his way.
Kindness unfailing and constancy mark all his paths,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. (Ps 25,9-10)