Thứ Tư, 14 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 15, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE TENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 362

Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom.
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us,
we are not discouraged.
And even though our Gospel is veiled,
it is veiled for those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this age
has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,
so that they may not see the light of the Gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God
on the face of Jesus Christ.

R. (see 10b) The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

AlleluiaJN 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: 
"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother,
Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."



Meditation: Be reconciled to your brother
Are you ever driven by anger, rage, or revenge? The first person to hate his brother was Cain, the son of Adam and Eve. God warned Cain: Why are you angry? ..Sin is couching at the door; it's desire is for you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:6-7). Sin doesn't just happen to us - it first grows as a tiny seed in our heart. Unless it is uprooted by God's grace, it grows like a weed and chokes the vine and all its fruit. 
Forbidden anger must be uprooted from our heart
Jesus addressed the issue of keeping the commandments with his disciples. The scribes and Pharisees equated righteousness with satisfying the outward observance of the law. Jesus showed them how short they had come. Jesus points to the heart as the seat of desire and choice. Unless evil and forbidden desires are eradicated, the heart will be corrupted. Jesus points to forbidden anger with one's brother. This is a selfish anger that broods and is long-lived, that nurses a grudge and keeps wrath warm, and that refuses to die. Harboring anger in the heart as well as anger in speech and action are equally forbidden by God.
God's love and truth sets us free from anger and malice
What is the antidote to anger and rage? Mercy, kindness, and forbearance spring from a heart full of love and forgiveness. God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us grief and harm. In the cross of Jesus we see the supreme example of love and forgiveness and the power of goodness for overcoming evil. Only God's love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge. 
Do you harbor any anger towards another person? And are you quick to be reconciled when a rupture has been caused in your relationships? Ask God to set you free and to fill your heart and mind with his love and goodness. Paul the Apostle reminds us that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). Through the grace and help of the Holy Spirit we can overcome malice with good, hatred with kindness, and injury with pardon.
"May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides. May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly. May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good. May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none. May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends. May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another. May I never fail a friend who is in danger. When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I respect myself. May I always keep tame that which rages within me. May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances. May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps."  (Prayer of Eusebius, 3rd century)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersTaming the Tongue, by Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)
"What are we to do? Whoever says, 'You fool!' hall be liable to the hell of fire. But no human being can tame the tongue. Will everyone therefore go to the hell of fire? By no means. Lord, you have become our refuge from generation to generation (Psalm 90:1). Your wrath is just. You send no one to hell unjustly. Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence (Psalm 139:7), unless to you? Thus let us understand, my dearly beloved, that if no human being can tame the tongue, we must take refuge in God, who will tame it. Does your own human nature prevent you from taming your tongue? No human being can tame the tongue (James 3:8). Consider this analogy from the animals that we tame. A horse does not tame itself; a camel does not tame itself; an elephant does not tame itself; a snake does not tame itself; a lion does not tame itself. So too a man does not tame himself. In order to tame a horse, an ox, a camel, an elephant, a lion and a snake, a human being is required. Therefore God should be required in order for a human being to be tamed. (excerpt from Sermon 55:2)

THURSDAY, JUNE 15, MATTHEW 5:20-26
Weekday

(2 Corinthians 3:15--4:1, 3-6; Psalm 85)

KEY VERSE: "Leave your gift at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (v 24).
TO KNOW:  Jesus told his disciples that their holiness must surpass that of the religious leaders who outwardly observed the minute details of the Law but inwardly were not submitted to God's will. As their teacher, Jesus' authority was greater than that of Moses. Jesus deepened the literal meaning of the Law. He condemned the act of murder, but also the anger which brought about the deed. He said that anger was a serious transgression when it bore malice toward another. It also was an offense against God. Anyone who offended another person must first go and be reconciled with that individual before coming to worship God. Without this willingness to change one's heart, punishment, rather than salvation would be the reward.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to seek forgiveness from those whom I have offended.
TO SERVE: Have my words and actions offended others?


Thursday 15 June 2017

2 Corinthians 3:15 – 4:1, 3-6. Psalms 84(85):9-14. Matthew 5:20-26.
The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land — Psalms 84(85):9-14.
Our deepest desire.
Jesus tried to show his people that obeying the letter of the Law was not enough. The Pharisees thought differently. To them, ‘You must not kill’ meant just that. But Jesus is saying that these laws are not arbitrary: they help us understand what we are already bound to as children of God. What makes it wrong to kill also makes it wrong to hurt or humiliate another.
What makes adultery wrong makes impurity wrong.
So we will often go beyond the letter of a commandment if we see it as a way of loving God. And that is how Jesus saw it. We need to love God and one another—the commandments show us how.
Is this how I see them? The commandments show me that my deepest desires are to serve God and my neighbour—showing me how to do what I want to do anyway.


ST. GERMAINE COUSIN

June 15 is the feast day of St. Germaine Cousin, a simple and pious young girl who lived in Pibrac, France in the late 1500s. Germaine was born in 1579 to poor parents. Her father was a farmer, and her mother died when she was still an infant. She was born with a deformed right arm and hand, as well as the disease of scrofula, a tubercular condition.
Her father remarried soon after the death of her mother, but his new wife was filled with disgust by Germaine's condition. She tormented and neglected Germaine, and taught her siblings to do so as well.
Starving and sick, Germaine was eventually kicked out of the house and forced to sleep under the stairway in the barn, on a pile of leaves and twigs, because of her stepmother’s dislike of her and disgust of her condition. She tended to the family's flock of sheep everyday.
Despite her hardships, she lived each day full of thanksgiving and joy, and spent much of her time praying the Rosary and teaching the village children about the love of God. She was barely fed and had an emaciated figure, yet despite this she shared the little bread that she had with the poor of the village.
From her simple faith grew a deep holiness and profound trust in God. She went to Mass everyday, leaving her sheep in the care of her guardian angel, who never failed her. Germaine’s deep piety was looked upon with ridicule by the villagers, but not by the children, who were drawn to her holiness.
God protected Germaine and showered his favor upon her. It was reported that on days when the river was high, the waters would part so that she could pass through them on her way to Mass. One day in winter, when she was being chased by her stepmother who accused her of stealing bread, she opened her apron and fresh summer flowers fell out. She offered the flowers to her stepmother as a sign of forgiveness.
Eventually, the adults of the village began to realize the special holiness of this poor, crippled shepherdess. Germaine's parents eventually offered her a place back in their house, but she chose to remain in her humble place outside.
Just as the villagers were realizing the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. Her father found her body on her bed of leaves one morning in her 22nd year of life.
Forty-three years later, when a relative of hers was being buried, Germaine’s casket was opened and her body was found incorrupt. People in the surrounding area began praying for her intercession and obtaining miraculous cures for illnesses.
St. Germaine was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867 and inscribed into the canon of virgins.



LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 5,20-26
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, June 15, 2017
Ordinary Time

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 5,20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: 'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven.
'You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You shall not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother "Fool" will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him "Traitor" will answer for it in hell fire.
So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.
Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. In truth I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.'
3) REFLECTION
• The text of today’s Gospel is placed in a lager unity: Mt 5, 20 to Mt 5, 48. In this Matthew shows us how Jesus interpreted and explained the Law of God. Five times he repeats the phrase: “You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, but I say to you!” (Mt 5,21.27.33.38.43). According to some Pharisees, Jesus was eliminating the law. But it was exactly the contrary. He said: “Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them” (Mt 5, 17). Before the Law of Moses, Jesus has an attitude of rupture and of continuity. He breaks away from the mistaken interpretation which was closed up in the prison of the letter, but he affirms categorically the last objective of the law: to attain to the greatest justice, which is Love.
• In the communities for which Matthew writes his Gospel there were diverse opinions concerning the Law of Moses. For some, it no longer had any sense, for others it should be observed even up to the minimum details. Because of this there were many conflicts and disputes. Some said of the others that they were stupid and idiot. Matthew tries to help both groups to better understand the true sense of the Law and presents some counsels of Jesus to help them face and overcome the conflicts which arose within the families and the communities.
• Matthew 5, 20: Your justice should surpass that of the Pharisees. This first verse gives the general key to everything which follows in Mt 5, 20-48. The Evangelist indicates to the communities how they should practice a greater justice which surpasses the justice of the Scribes and the Pharisees and which leads to the full observance of the law. Then, after this general key on a greater justice, Matthew quotes five very concrete examples of how to practice the Law, in such a way that its observance leads to the perfect practice of love. In the first example of today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals what God wanted in giving Moses the fifth commandment, “Do not kill!”
• Matthew 5,21-22: Do not kill. “You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, you shall not kill and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court." (Ex. 20, 13). To observe fully this fifth commandment it is not sufficient to avoid murdering. It is necessary to uproot from within oneself everything which in one way or other can lead to murder, for example, anger, hatred, the desire of vengeance, exploitation, etc. “anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court”. That is, anyone who is angry against the brother merits or deserves the same punishment of condemnation by the court which, according to the ancient law, was reserved to the murderer! But Jesus goes beyond all this. He wants to uproot the origin of murder: “Anyone who calls a brother ‘Fool’ will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him ‘Traitor’ will answer for it in hell fire”. In other words, I observe truly the commandment “Not to kill if I succeed to take away from my heart any sentiment of anger which leads to insult the brother. That is, if I attain the perfection of love.
• Matthew 5, 23-24: The perfect worship wanted by God. “If you are bringing your offering to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back sand present your offering”. In order to be accepted by God, and be united to him, it is necessary to be reconciled with the brother, with the sister. Before the destruction of the Temple, in the year 70, when the Christians still participated in the pilgrimages to Jerusalem to take their offering to the altar of the Temple, they always remembered this phrase of Jesus. Now in the years 80’s, in the moment in which Matthew writes, the Temple and the Altar no longer existed. The community itself had become the Temple and the Altar of God (1Co 3, 16).
• Matthew 5,25-26: To be reconciled. One of the points on which the Gospel of Matthew insists the most is reconciliation, because in the communities of that time there were many tensions among the groups which had different tendencies, without any dialogue. Nobody wanted to give in or cede before the other. Matthew enlightens this situation with words of Jesus on reconciliation which demand acceptance and understanding. Because the only sin which God does not forgive is our lack of forgiveness of others (Mt 6, 14). For this reason, he seeks reconciliation first, before it is too late.
• The ideal of greatest justice. Five times, Jesus quotes a commandment or a usage of the ancient law: Do not kill. (Mt 5, 21), Do not commit adultery (Mt 5, 27), Do not bear false witness (Mt 5, 33), Eye for eye, tooth for tooth 5, 38), To love neighbour and to hate the enemy (Mt 5, 43). And five times he criticizes the ancient way of observing these commandments and he indicates a new way to attain justice, the objective of the law (Mt 5,22-26; 5, 28-32; 5,34-37; 5,39-42; 5,44-48). The word Justice is present seven times in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 3, 15; 5, 6.10.20; 6, 1.33; 21, 32). The religious ideal of the Jews of that time was “to be just before God”. The Pharisees taught: “A person attains justice before God when he/she observes all the norms of the Law in all the details!” This teaching resulted in a legalistic oppression and produced much anguish in persons of good will, because it was very difficult for a person to be able to observe all the norms (Rm 7,21-24). This is why Matthew takes some words of Jesus on justice showing that this leads to surpass the justice of the Pharisees (Mt 5, 20). For Jesus, justice does not come from what I do for God observing the law, but from what God does for me, accepting me with love, like a son, like a daughter. The new ideal that Jesus proposes is this: "To be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect!” (Mt 5,48). That means: I will be just before God, if I try to accept and to forgive persons as God accepts and forgives me gratuitously in spite of my many defects and sins.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Which are the more frequent conflicts in my family? And in our community? Is reconciliation easy in the family and in the community? Yes or no? Why?
• The advice of Jesus, how can this help me to improve relationships in the sphere of our family and of the community?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Lord, you visit the earth and make it fruitful,
you fill it with riches;
the river of God brims over with water,
you provide the grain. (Ps 65,9)