Thứ Năm, 15 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 16, 2017 : FRIDAY OF THE TENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 363

Reading 12 COR 4:7-15
Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, 
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke,"
we too believe and therefore speak, 
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I believed, even when I said,
"I am greatly afflicted";
I said in my alarm,
"No man is dependable." 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:27-32
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you, 
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin, 
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, 
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

"It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."


Meditation: "If your eye causes you to sin"
What does Jesus mean when he says "pluck out your eye" or "cut off your hand and throw it away" if it leads you to sin? Is he exaggerating here? Jesus used forceful language to urge his disciples to choose for life - an enduring life of joy and happiness with God - rather than for death - an unending death and total separation from a community of love, peace, joy and friendship with God. Jesus set before his disciples the one goal in life that is worth any sacrifice and that goal is the conformity of our will with God and what he desires for our well-being and happiness with him. Just as a doctor might remove some part of the body, such as a diseased limb, in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us to sin and which inevitably leads to spiritual death.
The great stumbling block - bad example
Jesus warns us of the terrible responsibility that we must set no stumbling block in the way of another, that is, not give offense or bad example that might lead another to sin. The young in faith are especially vulnerable to the bad example of those who should be passing on the faith. Jesus teaches that righteousness involves responding to every situation in life in a way that fulfill's God's law, not just externally but internally as well. Jesus says that evil desires spring from the heart. That is why the sin of adultery must first be dealt with in the heart, the place not only of the emotions, but the mind, will, thought, and intentions as well.
God's intention from the beginning
God’s intention and ideal from the beginning was for man and woman to be indissolubly united in marriage as “one flesh” (see Genesis 2:23-24). That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come. Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal (see Mark 10:2-9). Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands. Jesus gives the grace and power of his Holy Spirit to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life - whether married or single.
The power to live a holy life
If we want to live righteously as God desires for us, then we must know and understand the intention of God's commands for us, and decide in our heart to obey the Lord. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit, the Lord writes his law on our hearts and gives us his power to live his way of righteousness and holiness. Do you trust in God’s love and allow his Holy Spirit to fill you with a thirst for holiness and righteousness in every area of your life?
"Lord Jesus, begin a new work of love within me. Instill in me a greater love and respect for your commandments. Give me a burning desire to live a life of holiness and righteousness. Purify my thoughts, desires, and intentions that I may only desire what is pleasing to you and in accord with your will."

FRIDAY, JUNE 16MATTHEW 5:27-32
Weekday

(2 Corinthians 4:7-15; Psalm 116)

KEY VERSE: "It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna" (v 30).
TO KNOW: Jesus taught his disciples about the sacredness of the marriage contract as written in the Law of Moses (Ex 20:14). As with the prohibition against murder (Mt 5:21-22), Jesus said that sin began in the mind and heart. If lustful thoughts ("eye") or deeds ("hand") were occasions of sin, they should be ruthlessly eliminated. Jesus illustrated this by saying that his followers must gouge out their "eyes" or cut off their "hands." Of course he wasn't speaking literally, but used Semitic hyperbole to demonstrate his point. He was illustrating how relentless one must be in eradicating sin. It would be better to sacrifice passion and pleasure than to risk being destroyed in "Gehenna." This smoldering refuse dump was a graphic portrayal of eternal punishment.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to be pure in mind and heart.
TO SERVE: What is my attitude towards graphic sex and violence in the media?



Friday 16 June 2017

Day of penance.
2 Corinthians 4:7-15. Psalms 115(116):10-11, 15-18. Matthew 5:27-32.
To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise — Psalms 115(116):10-11.
‘God will raise us to eternal life in our turn.’
St Paul believed this with all the faith, fervour and zeal he could muster. He preached, as Jesus did, against those who preferred a different message. Both Jesus and Paul died in preference to surrendering their beliefs.
As Jesus was raised up by the Father, Paul believed and preached that he and others speaking in faith and living that faith would be raised up with Jesus in turn.
We, as believers, carry with us in our bodies the death of Jesus. Similarly, the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies while we remain true to our faith. Let us pray for the grace to persevere as both Jesus and Paul did in their lives and to be forever grateful for the opportunities we have been given.


ST. JOHN FRANCIS REGIS

On June 16 the Catholic Church celebrates the memory of Saint John Francis Regis, a 17th-century French Jesuit known for his zealous missionary efforts and his care for the poor and marginalized.
In a 1997 letter to the Bishop of Viviers, Pope St. John Paul II commemorated the fourth centenary of St. John Francis Regis' birth, honoring him as a “lofty figure of holiness” and an example for the Church in the modern world.
“In less than 10 years of ministry, this saintly Frenchman succeeded, with God’s help, in leading back to Christ an immense crowd of men, women and children of all ages and walks of life,” the Pope recalled. He urged the faithful to imitate the saint and “put themselves in God’s hands with total trust.”
Born in 1597, John Francis Regis was the son of a wealthy merchant father and a mother descended from nobility. As a boy he was sensitive, devout, and eager to please his parents and teachers. Educated by Jesuits from the age of 14, he entered the Society of Jesus in December of 1616.
As he followed the traditional Jesuit path of teaching and extensive studies, John also became known as a skilled catechist. He was eager to enter the priesthood, and offered his first Mass in 1631. John spent much of the rest of that year caring for victims of a plague outbreak in the city of Toulouse.
In 1632, John received his assignment as a missionary to the French Protestants – known as Huguenots – as well as the country's lapsed Catholics and others in need of evangelization. The rest of his life would be devoted to this mission, with remarkable success.
John's missionary work spanned both a large geographical distance and a broad social spectrum. In over 50 districts of France, he preached the Gospel to children, the poor, prisoners, and others forgotten or neglected by society. His best-known work involved helping women escape prostitution.
John's labors reaped a harvest of conversions. However, his boldness – perceived as arrogance in some cases – led to a conflict with certain other priests, a period of tension with the local bishop, and even threats of violence from those whose vices he condemned.
Against these obstacles, the priest persevered, sustained by fervent prayer and severe asceticism. His missionary work involved difficult winter journeys, and a witness at his beatification testified to John’s habit of preaching outdoors all day, then hearing confessions throughout the night.
St. John Francis Regis died at age 43, in late December of 1640. Though suffering from a lung ailment, he insisted on preaching a parish mission and hearing confessions. A penitent found him unconscious in the confessional, though he revived long enough to receive the last rites before dying.
Hailed as a confessor of the faith and a model for Jesuit missionaries, St. John Francis Regis was beatified in 1716 and canonized in 1737. Although June 16 was established as his feast day, there are differing local and particular customs, including the Jesuits' celebration of his feast on July 2.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 5,27-32
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, June 16, 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 5,27-32
Jesus said to his disciples: 'You have heard how it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say this to you, if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should be your downfall, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body go to hell. 'It has also been said, Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you, everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of an illicit marriage, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.'
3) REFLECTION
• In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus made a rereading of the commandments: “Do not kill” (Mt 5, 20-26). In today’s Gospel Jesus rereads the commandment “You shall not commit adultery”. Jesus rereads the law starting from the intention that God had, which was proclaimed centuries before on Mount Sinai. He seeks the spirit of the Law and does not close himself up in the letter. He takes up again and defends the great values of human life which constitute the background of each one of these Ten Commandments. He insists on love, on fidelity, on mercy, on justice, on truth, on humanity (Mt 9,13; 12,7; 23,23; Mt 5,10; 5,20; Lc 11,42; 18,9). The result of the full observance of the Law of God humanizes the person. In Jesus we can see what happens when a person allows God to fill his life. The last objective is that of uniting both loves, the building up of fraternity in defence of life. The greater the fraternity, the greater will be the fullness of life and greater will be the adoration given by all creatures to God, Creator and Saviour.
• In today’s Gospel, Jesus looks closely at the relationship man-woman in marriage, fundamental basis of human living together. There was a commandment which said: “Do not commit adultery”, and another one which said: “Anyone who divorces his wife, has to give her a certificate of divorce”. Jesus takes up again both commandments, giving them a new meaning.
• Matthew 5, 27-28: Do not commit adultery. What does this commandment require from us? The ancient response was: man cannot sleep with somebody else’s wife. This was demanded by the letter of the commandment. But Jesus goes beyond, surpasses the letter and says: “But I say to you, if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.
The objective of the commandment is reciprocal fidelity between man and woman who assume life together, as a married couple. And this fidelity will be complete only if both will know how to be faithful to one another in thought and in the desire and, will know how to reach a total transparency between them.
• Matthew 5, 29-30: Tear out your eye and cut off your hand. To illustrate what Jesus has just said, he states a hard word of which he serves himself on another occasion when he spoke of the scandal to little ones (Mt 18, 9 e Mc 9, 47). He says: If your right eye should be your downfall tear it out and throw it away: for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have to have your whole body thrown into hell”. And he affirms the same thing concerning the hand. These affirmations cannot be taken literally. They indicate the radical nature and the seriousness with which Jesus insists on the observance of this commandment.
• Matthew 5, 31-32: The question of divorce. Man was permitted to give a certificate of divorce to the woman. In the discourse of the community, Jesus will say that Moses permitted this because the people were hard hearted (Mt 19, 8). “But I say to you: anyone who divorces his wife, give her a certificate of divorce; but I say to you: anyone who divorces his wife, except in the case of concubinage, exposes her to adultery and anyone who marries a divorced woman , commits adultery”. There has been much discussion on this theme. Basing itself on this affirmation of Jesus, the Oriental Church permits divorce in case of “fornication”, that is of infidelity. Others say that here the word fornication is the translation of an Aramaic or Hebrew word zenuth which indicated a valid marriage among people who were relatives, and which was forbidden. It would not be a valid marriage.
• Leaving aside the correct interpretation of this word, what is important is to see the objective and the general sense of the affirmation of Jesus in the new reading which is done of the Ten Commandments. Jesus speaks about an ideal which should always be before my eyes. The definitive ideal is: “to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5, 48). This ideal is valid for all the commandments reviewed by Jesus. In the rereading of the commandment “Do not commit adultery”, this ideal is translated as transparency and honesty between husband and wife. Even more, nobody can say: “I am perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect”. We will always be below the measure. We can never merit the reward because we will always be below the measure. What is important is to continue walking on the road, turn our look toward the ideal, always! But at the same time, as Jesus did, we have to accept persons with the same mercy with which he accepted persons and directed them toward the ideal. This is why, certain juridical exigencies of the Church today, for example, not to permit communion to those divorced persons living a second marriage, seem to be more in agreement with the attitude of the Pharisees than with that of Jesus. Nobody applies literally the explanation of the commandment “Do not kill”, where Jesus says that anyone who says idiot to his brother deserves hell (Mt 5, 22). Because if it was like that we would all have the entrance into hell guaranteed and nobody would be saved. Why does our doctrine use different measures in the case of the fifth and the ninth commandments?
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Do you succeed in living honesty and transparency totally with persons of the other sex?
• How is this to be understood: “to be perfect like the Heavenly Father is perfect?”
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Of you my heart has said,
'Seek his face!' Your face, Yahweh, I seek;
do not turn away from me.
Do not thrust aside your servant in anger,
without you I am helpless.
Never leave me, never forsake me, God, my Saviour.
(Ps 27,8-9)