Thứ Ba, 13 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 14, 2017 : WEDNESDAY OF THE TENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 361

Reading 12 COR 3:4-11
Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial PsalmPS 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9
R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
a forgiving God you were to them,
though requiting their misdeeds. 
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

AlleluiaPS 25:4B, 5A
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Teach me your paths, my God,
and guide me in your truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."


Meditation: Great are those who teach and obey the commandments
Why do people tend to view the "law of God" negatively rather than positively? Jesus' attitude towards the law of God can be summed up in the great prayer of Psalm 119: "Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day."
For the people of Israel the "law" could refer to the ten commandments or to the five Books of Moses, called the Pentateuch or Torah, which explain the commandments and ordinances of God for his people. The "law" also referred to the whole teaching or way of life which God gave to his people. The Jews in Jesus' time also used it as a description of the oral or scribal law. Needless to say, the scribes added many more things to the law than God intended. That is why Jesus often condemned the scribal law because it placed burdens on people which God had not intended.
The essence of God's law
Jesus made it very clear that the essence of God's law - his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled. God's law is true and righteous because it flows from his love, goodness, and holiness. It is a law of grace, love, and freedom for us. That is why God commands us to love him above all else and to follow in the way of his Son, the Lord Jesus who taught us how to love by laying down our lives for one another.
Reverence and respect
Jesus taught reverence for God’s law - reverence for God himself, reverence for the Lord's Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person's good name, respect for oneself and for one's neighbor lest wrong or hurtful desires master and enslave us. Reverence and respect for God's commandments teach us the way of love - love of God and love of neighbor. What is impossible to humans is possible to God who gives generously of his gifts and the Holy Spirit to those who put their faith in him. 
God gives us the grace, help, and strength to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives, to think and judge as he judges, and to act as he acts with mercy, loving-kindness, and goodness. The Lord loves righteousness and hates wickedness. As his followers we must love his commandments and hate every form of sin and wrong-doing. Do you seek to understand the intention of his law and to grow in wisdom of his ways?
The Holy Spirit transforms our minds and hearts
Jesus promised his disciples that he would give them the gift of the Holy Spirit who writes God's law of love and truth on our hearts. The Spirit teaches us God's truth and gives us wisdom and understanding of God's ways. The Spirit helps us in our weakness, strengthens us in temptation, and transforms us, day by day, into the likeness of Christ himself. There is great blessing and reward for those who obey God's commandments and who help others, especially the younger generations, to love, respect, and obey the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with a burning love and reverence for God's word so that you may grow day by day in the wisdom and knowledge of God's truth and goodness.
"Lord Jesus, grant this day, to direct and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts, minds, and bodies, so that all our thoughts, words, and deeds may be in accord with your Father's law and wisdom. And thus may we be saved and protected through your mighty help."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersWhat you teach, you should do, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
"While it is sinful to abolish the least of the commandments, all the more so the great and most important ones. Hence the Holy Spirit affirms through Solomon: 'Whoever despises the little things shall gradually die' (Sirach 19:1b). Consequently nothing in the divine commandments must be abolished, nothing altered. Everything must be preserved and taught faithfully and devotedly that the glory of the heavenly kingdom may not be lost. Indeed, those things considered least important and small by the unfaithful or by worldly people are not small before God but necessary. For the Lord taught the commandments and did them. Even small things point to the great future of the kingdom of heaven. For this reason, not only words but also deeds are important; and you should not only teach, but what you teach, you should do." (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 20.2.1–3)
[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."]

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14, MATTHEW 5:17-19
Weekday

(2 Corinthians 3:4-11; Psalm 99)

KEY VERSE: "But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (v 19b).
TO KNOW: Like Moses, Jesus taught his followers that the Law of God had lasting validity and must be obeyed. Jesus emphasized the permanency of God's Law by saying that not even the tiniest flourish (yod) of the smallest letter (iota) in the Hebrew alphabet would pass from the Law until its fulfillment in the final age. Jesus' dispute with the religious leaders was not with the Law itself, but with their legalistic interpretation. Jesus deepened and widened the meaning of the Law through his words and works. He said that those who taught others to understand the true purpose of God's Law, and practiced it through love of God and one another would inherit a place in God's kingdom. Those who willfully disregarded God's Law would be excluded from God's reign.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to respect God's Law in all I do.
TO SERVE: Do I give good example by my obedience of God's Law?


FLAG DAY (USA)

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes pattern for the national flag. This was almost a year after the Declaration of Independence and more than a decade before the U.S. Constitution was finalized. Flag Day was first celebrated in 1877, the centennial of the U.S. flag's existence. After that many citizens and organizations advocated the adoption of a national day of commemoration for the U.S. Flag. It was not until 1949, that President Harry Truman signed legislation making Flag Day a day of national observance. 



Wednesday 14 June 2017

2 Corinthians 3:4-11. Psalms 98(99):5-9. Matthew 5:17-19.
Holy is the Lord our God — Psalms 98(99):5-9.
‘I have come not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to complete them.’
In psychologist James Fowler’s stages of faith development, there is one at which many people stay. It is the stage where rules and laws are all important. Those who start to question may realise law does not always provide an answer. They may make decisions in conscience for the welfare of other individuals and the wider community. Some go beyond all boundaries, have universal empathy and live lives of service to all.
Jesus put a human face on the abstract attributes of God. Those watching him could see the mercy, compassion, kindness and love of the Father in action. The Law gave guidelines on how to live: Jesus made it all real. Jesus, help me to be a gate through which the mercy of God can enter our world.

ST. METHODIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE

St. Methodius worked for unity and reconciliation in the Eastern Church and, served as the Patriarch of Constantinople the last five years of his life.
Born in Syracuse, he first felt the call to enter religious life while in Constantinople, where he had gone to seek a position at court. He left for the island of Chinos, where he built a monastery and started a monastic community.
However, his time at the monastery was short-lived since he was summoned by the Patriarch of Constantinople to help govern the diocese and create unity after a debate broke out on the use of icons in worship. While in Rome seeking the Pope’s help, he was exiled for seven years. He returned as patriarch in 842 and continued to work for unity.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 5,17-19
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ordinary Time

  
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
your prophets remind us
in season and out of season
of our responsibilities toward you
and toward the world of people.
When they disturb and upset us,
let it be a holy disturbance
that makes us restless, eager to do your will
and to bring justice and love around us.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 5, 17-19
'Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. In truth I tell you, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, is to disappear from the Law until all its purpose is achieved.
Therefore, anyone who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of Heaven; but the person who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of Heaven.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel (Mt 5, 17-19) teaches how to observe the law of God in such a way that its practice indicates in what its complete fulfilment consists (Mt 5, 17-19). Matthew writes in order to help the communities of the converted Jews to overcome the criticism of the brothers of their own race who accused them saying: You are unfaithful to the Law of Moses”. Jesus himself had been accused of infidelity to the Law of God. Matthew has the clarifying response of Jesus concerning his accusers. Thus, he gives some light to help the communities solve their problems.
• Using images of daily life, with simple and direct words, Jesus had said that the mission of the community, its reason for being, is that of being salt and light! He had given some advice regarding each one of the two images. Then follow two or three brief verses of today’s Gospel.
• Matthew 5, 17-18: Not one dot, nor one stroke is to disappear from the Law. There were several different tendencies in the communities of the first Christians. Some thought that it was not necessary to observe the laws of the Old Testament, because we are saved by faith in Jesus and not by the observance of the Law (Rm 3, 21-26). Others accepted Jesus, the Messiah, but they did not accept the liberty of spirit with which some of the communities lived the presence of Jesus. They thought that being Jews they had to continue to observe the laws of the Old Testament (Acts 15, 1.5). But there were Christians who lived so fully in the freedom of the Spirit, who no longer looked at the life of Jesus of Nazareth, nor to the Old Testament and they even went so far as to say: ”Anathema Jesus!” (1 Co 12, 3). Observing these tensions, Matthew tries to find some balance between both extremes. The community should be a space, where the balance can be attained and lived. The answer given by Jesus to those who criticized him continued to be actual for the communities: “I have not come to abolish the law, but to complete it!” The communities could not be against the Law, nor could they close up themselves in the observance of the law. Like Jesus, they should advance, and show, in practice, which was the objective which the law wanted to attain in the life of persons, that is, in the perfect practice of love.
• Matthew 5, 19: Not one dot or stroke will disappear from the Law. It is for those who wanted to get rid of all the law that Matthew recalls the other parable of Jesus: “Anyone who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but the person who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the Kingdom of Heaven”. The great concern in Matthew’s Gospel is to show that the Old Testament, Jesus of Nazareth and the life in the Spirit cannot be separated. The three of them form part of the same and unique project of God and communicate to us the certainty of faith: The God of Abraham and of Sarah is present in the midst of the community by faith in Jesus of Nazareth who sends us his Spirit.

4) Personal questions
• How do I see and live the law of God: as a growing horizon of light or as an imposition which limits my freedom?
• What can we do today for our brothers and sisters who consider all this type of discussion as obsolete and not actual? What can we learn from them?

5) Concluding Prayer
Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem,
Zion, praise your God.
For he gives strength to the bars of your gates,
he blesses your children within you. (Ps 145,12-13)