Thứ Sáu, 16 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 17, 2017 : SATURDAY OF THE TENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 364

Reading 12 COR 5:14-21
Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ
and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting their trespasses against them
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
and favor me with your law.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God's throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.'
Anything more is from the Evil One."


Meditation: Let what you say be simply Yes or No
How forceful are honest words! (Job 6:25) Jesus addressed the issue of honesty and truthfulness in one's conduct and speech. What does it mean to be true to one's word? To be true to oneself and to others requires character. Unfortunately many people today miserably fail here. No wonder we don’t trust many in positions of leadership and influence. God is the source of all truth and there is nothing false or deceitful in him. His word is truth and his law is truth. His truth liberates us from illusion, deceit, and hypocrisy.  Jesus told his disciples that the truth will make you free (John 8:32).
We can count on God's word because he is faithful and true to his word and promises
Why is it so hard to be true and to speak the truth? Truth demands commitment - that we live our lives according to it and be faithful witnesses of the truth. Jesus teaches his disciples the unconditional love of truth. He speaks against bearing false witness and all forms of untruthfulness and swearing unnecessary oaths to God. A disciple's word should be capable of being trusted without verbal rituals to give it validity. Christ's disciple must speak truthfully without "stretching" the truth by adding to it or by compromising the truth by speaking untruth or by leaving out what is necessary to convey what is truthful.
Do you allow God's word of truth to rule your mind and heart?
Thomas Aquinas said: People could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another... (In justice) as a matter of honor, one person owes it to another to manifest the truth. Are you true to God, to yourself, and to others? And do you allow God's word of truth to penetrate your mind and heart and to form your conscience - the way you think, judge, act, and speak?
"Set a watch, Lord, upon my tongue, that I may never speak the cruel word which is not true; or being true, is not the whole truth; or being wholly true, is merciless; for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Light of Truth, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
"By the grace of gospel teaching, the law given by Moses acquired an advantage. The law prescribes that one must not swear falsely; but according to the gospel one must not swear at all. The Holy Spirit had seen fit to order this through Solomon when he said, 'Do not accustom your mouth to oaths' (Sirach 23:9). And again: 'Even as a well-chastised servant is not deterred from envy, whoever swears and does business will not be purged from sin' (Sirach 23:11). Therefore it is absolutely inappropriate for us to swear. What need is there for us to swear when we are not allowed to lie at all and our words must always be true and trustworthy, so much so that they may be taken as an oath? On this, the Lord not only forbids us to swear falsely but even to swear, lest we appear to tell the truth only when we swear and lest (while we should be truthful in our every word) we think it is all right to lie when we do not take an oath. For this is the purpose of an oath: Everyone who swears, swears to the fact what he is saying is true. Therefore the Lord does not want a gap between our oath and our ordinary speech. Even as there must be no faithlessness in an oath, in our words there must be no lie. For both false swearing and lying are punished with divine judgment, as the Scripture says: 'The mouth that lies kills the soul' (Wisdom 1:11). So whoever speaks the truth swears, for it is written: 'A faithful witness will not lie' (Proverbs 14:5). (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 24.2.2–4)
[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 describead him as a "most learned and most holy man."]


SATURDAY, JUNE 17, MATTHEW 5:33-37
Weekday
(2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Psalm 103)

KEY VERSE: "Let your `Yes,' mean `Yes,' and your `No' mean `No'" (v 37).
TO KNOW: God's name was often invoked in taking an oath as a guarantee of a person's truthfulness. The Law of Moses prohibited profaning God's name by swearing a false oath (Lv 19:12). Some tried to avoid speaking the name of God when taking an oath, appealing instead to heaven, earth, the Holy city, or even their own person. Jesus said that this was comparable to speaking the divine name since God made all these things. Jesus told his disciples that they should be straight-forward and sincere in all of their dealings. A simple "Yes" or "No" made oaths unnecessary. Paul said that a Christian should not be of two minds, but imitate Jesus who was always an emphatic "Yes" to God's will (2 Cor 1:17-20).
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, grant me the courage to speak the truth on all occasions.
TO SERVE: Am I honest with others? With myself? With God?​

OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
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 17 June 2017

2 Corinthians 5:14-21. Psalms 102(103):1-4, 4-8, 11-12. Matthew 5:33‑37.
The Lord is kind and merciful — Psalms 102(103):1-4, 4-8, 11-12.
‘Let your “Yes” mean yes, and your “No” mean no.’
This passage from Matthew is difficult to understand unless we have some concept of how an oath operated. The purpose was to guarantee truthfulness by calling on the name of God as a witness. Jesus is demanding that his followers not lie in any way but be so truthful that an oath is unnecessary.
This call to a higher level of honesty cuts across all facets of our lives. If we are truthful in little things, we will most likely be truthful in bigger things. For instance, do we use too much work time for our personal emails or facebook updates? Do we use the photocopier at work for our own needs? Do we neglect to put the shopping trolley back? Do we leave unwanted clothes in the change room after trying them on? Let us reflect today on our level of truthfulness.


ST. ALBERT CHMIELOWSKI

Founder of the Albertine Brothers and Sisters, and one of the saints who inspired the vocation of the young Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II.

Saint Albert was born on August 20, 1845 in Igolomia, Poland (near Kraków) as Adam Hilary Bernard Chmielowski.  Born into a wealthy and aristocratic family, Adam was the oldest of four children.

Actively involved in politics from his youth, Adam lost a leg fighting in an insurrection against Czar Alexander III at age 18.  In Krakow, he became a popular artist and his talent in the subject led him to study in Warsaw, Munich, and Paris.

A kind and compassionate person, Adam was always deeply aware of human suffering, and felt called to help those in need.  Realizing that God was calling Him to a life of service, he returned to Krakow in 1874, determined to dedicate his talents to the glory of God.  Instead of continuing his work as an artist, he decided to care for the poor and became a Secular Franciscan, taking the name Albert.

In 1887, Albert founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor, known as the Albertines or the Gray Brothers.  Then, in 1891, he founded a community of Albertine sisters, known as the Gray Sisters.

The Albertines organized food and shelter for the poor and homeless of any age or religion.  Albert preached on the great crisis that results from a refusal to see and aid the suffering individuals in society.

In 1949, Pope John Paul II, who was at the time Father Karol Wojtyla, wrote a well-received play about Albert called Our God’s Brother.  John Paul II later said that he found great spiritual support for his own vocation in the life of St. Albert, whom he saw as an example of leaving behind a world of art, literature, and theater to make a radical choice for the priesthood.

Brother Albert died on Christmas Day, 1916.  He was canonized on November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II.  The Church celebrates St. Albert’s feast day on June 17.



LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 5,33-37
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, June 17, 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 5,33-37
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Again, you have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you, do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God's throne; or by earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is "Yes" if you mean yes, "No" if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the Evil One.'
3) REFLECTION
• In today’s Gospel, Jesus rereads the commandment: “Do not commit perjury”. And here also he surpasses the letter, concerning the spirit of the law and seeks to indicate the last objective of this commandment: to attain total transparency in the relationship among persons. Here we can apply what we said concerning the two commandments “Do not kill” and “Do not commit adultery”. It is a question of a new way of interpreting and setting into practice the law of Moses, starting from the new experience of God Father/Mother which Jesus has brought to us. He rereads the law beginning with the intention which God had in proclaiming it centuries ago on Mount Sinai.
• Matthew 5, 33: It was said to our ancestors: you must not swear. The Law of the Old Testament said: “Do not commit perjury” And it added that the person should swear for the Lord (cf. Nb 20, 2). In the prayer of the Psalms it is said that “one can go up to the Mountain of Yahweh and reach the holy place, if he does not have innocent hands and a pure heart, and does not confide in idols, nor swears in order to deceive”(Ps 24, 4). The same thing is said in diverse other points of the Old Testament (Ecl 5, 3-4), because one must be able to trust the words of others. In order to favour this reciprocal trust, tradition had invented the help of the oath. In order to strengthen one’s own word, the person would swear for someone or for something which was greater than he and who could punish him if he did not fulfil what he had promised. Things continue to be like this up to the present time. Whether in the Church or in society, there are some moments and occasions which demand a solemn oath on the part of persons. In last instance, the oath is the expression of the conviction according to which nobody can trust completely the word of the other.
• Matthew 5, 34-36: But I say to you: do not swear. Jesus wants to heal this deficiency. It is not sufficient “not to swear”. He goes beyond and affirms: “But I say to you: do not swear at all: either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by earth, since that is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is ‘Yes if you mean yes, ‘No’ if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the Evil One”.
They would swear for heaven and for earth, for the city of Jerusalem, for their own head. Jesus shows that all that is medicine which does not cure the pain and suffering of the lack of transparency in the relationship among persons. Which is the solution which he proposes?
• Matthew 5, 37: Let your speech be yes, yes; no, no. The solution which God proposes is the following: Let your speech be yes, yes; no, no; anything more than this comes from the Evil One”. He proposes a radical and total honesty. Nothing more. Anything more that you say comes from the Evil One. Here again, we are confronted with an objective which will always remain in our mind and which we will never succeed in fulfilling it completely. It is another expression of the new ideal of justice which Jesus proposes: “to be perfect like the Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5, 48). Jesus uproots any attempt to create in myself the conviction that I am saved because I observe the law. Nobody can merit God’s grace. Because otherwise it would not be a grace. We observe the Law, not in order to merit salvation, but in order to thank with all our heart, for the immense gratuitous goodness of God who accepts us, and saves us without any merit on our part.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• How do I observe the law?
• Have I experienced some time in my life the gratuitous goodness of God?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
I bless Yahweh who is my counsellor,
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep Yahweh before me always,
for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me.
(Ps 16,7-8)