Chủ Nhật, 18 tháng 6, 2017


Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 365

Reading 12 COR 6:1-10
Brothers and sisters:
As your fellow workers, we appeal to you
not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots,
labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1, 2B, 3AB, 3CD-4
R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him, 
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
In the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. 
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

AlleluiaPS 119:105
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:38-42
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."

Meditation: Do not return evil for evil
If someone insults you or tries to take advantage of you, how do you respond? Do you repay in kind? Jesus approached the question of just retribution with a surprising revelation of God's intention for how we should treat others, especially those who mistreat us. When Jesus spoke about God’s law, he did something no one had done before. He gave a new standard based not just on the requirements of justice - giving each their due - but based on the law of grace, love, and freedom.
Law of grace and love
Jesus knew the moral law and its intention better than any jurist or legal expert could imagine. He quoted from the oldest recorded law in the world: If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:23-25). Such a law today seems cruel, but it was meant to limit vengeance as a first step towards mercy. This law was not normally taken literally but served as a guide for a judge in a law court for assessing punishment and penalty (see Deuteronomy 19:18).
The Old Testament is full of references to the command that we must be merciful: You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the  LORD (Leviticus 19:18). If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink (Proverbs 25:21). Do not say, "I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done" (Proverbs 24:29). Let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults (Lamentations 3:30).
Jesus does something quite remarkable and unheard of. He transforms the law of mercy with grace, forbearance, and loving-kindness. Jesus also makes clear that there is no room for retaliation. We must not only avoid returning evil for evil, but we must seek the good of those who wish us ill. Do you accept insults, as Jesus did, with no resentment or malice? When you are compelled by others to do more than you think you deserve, do you insist on your rights, or do you respond with grace and cheerfulness?
Grace of the Holy Spirit
What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ different from everyone else? What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace - treating others, not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated - with loving-kindness and mercy. Only the cross of  Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. The Lord Jesus suffered insult, abuse, injustice, and death on a cross for our sake. Scripture tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin and guilt (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7, I John 1:7, Revelation 1:5). Since God has been merciful towards us through the offering of his Son, Jesus Christ, we in turn are called to be merciful towards our neighbor, even those who cause us grief and harm. Do you know the power and freedom of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy?
"O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109 AD)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersYou tear yourself apart by hating, by an anonymous early author from the Greek church
"We have seen how murder is born from anger and adultery from desire. In the same way, the hatred of an enemy is destroyed by the love of friendship. Suppose you have viewed a man as an enemy, yet after a while he has been swayed by your benevolence. You will then love him as a friend. I think that Christ ordered these things not so much for our enemies as for us: not because enemies are fit to be loved by others but because we are not fit to hate anyone. For hatred is the prodigy of dark places. Wherever it resides, it sullies the beauty of sound sense. Therefore not only does Christ order us to love our enemies for the sake of cherishing them but also for the sake of driving away from ourselves what is bad for us. The Mosaic law does not speak about physically hurting your enemy but about hating your enemy. But if you merely hate him, you have hurt yourself more in the spirit than you have hurt him in the flesh. Perhaps you don’t harm him at all by hating him. But you surely tear yourself apart. If then you are benevolent to an enemy, you have rather spared yourself than him. And if you do him a kindness, you benefit yourself more than him." (excerpt from INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 13, The Greek Fathers)

Weekday (Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time)

(2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Psalm 34)

KEY VERSE: "But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil" (v 39).
TO KNOW:  The Law of Moses was intended to limit the extent of vengeance that could be taken against someone who inflicted an injury (Ex 21:23-24). This law of retaliation (Lex Talionis), which may be described as the Law of tit for tat, stated that punishment could not exceed the wrong that was done. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that the law of love prohibited revenge and retribution. He emphasized that there were no limits to be placed on Christian forgiveness and love. A disciple was to go an "extra mile" in responding to another person's needs, even at one's own expense, and to give generously without expecting repayment. In today's violent world, Jesus reminds us not to repay injury with evil. St. Augustine said, "Forgiveness has two daughters: Justice and Compassion."
TO LOVE:  Lord Jesus, help me to be a peace-making member of my community.
TO SERVE: Does capital punishment promote Jesus' teaching on non-violence or does it further the cycle of vengeance and retaliation?

Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, abbot

In 976, Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna, Italy, quarreled with a relative about an estate, and slew him in a duel. His son Romuald, horrified at his father's crime, entered the Benedictine monastery at Classe, to do a forty days’ penance for him. This penance ended in his own vocation to religion. After three years, Romuald went to live as a hermit near Venice. He founded many monasteries, the chief of which was that at Camaldoli, a wild desert place. There he built a church, which he surrounded with a number of separate cells for the solitaries who lived under his rule. His disciples were hence called Camaldolese. Among his first disciples were Saint Adalbert and Saint Boniface apostles of Russia, and Saint John and Saint Benedict of Poland, martyrs for the faith. He was an intimate friend of the Emperor Saint Henry, and was reverenced and consulted by many great men of his time.

Monday 19 June 2017

(St Romuald). 
2 Corinthians 6:1-10. Psalms 97(98):1-4. Matthew 5:38-42.
The Lord has made known his salvation — Psalms 97(98):1-4.
‘If someone hits you on the right cheek, offer the other as well.’
Lord, you said some outrageous things, but today is one of the most outrageous. However, when they hit you, you did not do that: instead you challenged them verbally. So we cannot take you too literally or exclude other considerations. If we did, what would happen to truth, justice, the right of self-defence and the courage to fight for a just cause?
Lord, help us to understand. You effectively turned the other cheek by telling Peter to put away his  sword, by not castigating those contriving your death. Turning the other cheek must mean, at least, suffering evil done to us without a resistance motivated by what is evil, resentment, vengefulness or hatred, or just our own self-interest.


Saint Romuald, who founded the Camaldolese monastic order during the early eleventh century, has his liturgical memorial on June 19.

Working within the Western Church’s Benedictine tradition, he revived the primitive monastic practice of hermit life, allowing for greater solitude in a communal setting.

Born into an aristocratic family during the middle of the tenth century, Romuald grew up in a luxurious and worldly environment, where he learned little in the way of self-restraint or religious devotion. Yet he also felt an unusual attraction toward the simplicity of monastic life, prompted by the beauty of nature and the experience of solitude .

It was not beauty or tranquility, but a shocking tragedy that spurred him to act on this desire. When Romuald was 20 years old, he saw his father Sergius kill one of his relatives in a dispute over some property. Disgusted by the crime he had witnessed, the young man went to the Monastery of St. Apollinaris to do 40 days of penance for his father.

These 40 days confirmed Romuald’s monastic calling, as they became the foundation for an entire life of penance. But this would not be lived out at St. Apollinaris, where Romuald’s strict asceticism brought him into conflict with some of the other monks. He left the area near Ravenna and went to Venice, where he became the disciple of the hermit Marinus.

Both men went on to encourage the monastic vocation of Peter Urseolus, a Venetian political leader who would later be canonized as a saint. When Peter joined a French Benedictine monastery, Romuald followed him and lived for five years in a nearby hermitage.

In the meantime, Romuald’s father Sergius had followed his son’s course, repenting of his sins and becoming a monk himself. Romuald returned to Italy to help his father, after learning that Sergius was struggling in his vocation. Through his son’s guidance, Sergius found the strength to persist in religious life.

After guiding his penitent father in the way of salvation, Romuald traveled throughout Italy serving the Church. By 1012 he had helped to establish or reform almost 100 hermitages and monasteries, though these were not connected to one another in the manner of a distinct religious order.

The foundations of the Camaldolese order were not laid until 1012 – when a piece of land called the ”Camaldoli,” located in the Diocese of Arezzo, was granted to Romuald. It became the site of five hermits’ quarters, and a full monastery soon after. This combination of hermits’ cells and community life, together with other distinctive features, gave this monastery and its later affiliates a distinct identity and charism.

Romuald’s approach to the contemplative life, reminiscent of the early Desert Fathers, can be seen in the short piece of writing known as his “Brief Rule.” It reads as follows:

“Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms – never leave it.”

“If you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind. And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up; hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.”

“Realize above all that you are in God’s presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor. Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.”

St. Romuald of Ravenna died in his monastic cell on June 19, 1027. Pope Gregory XIII canonized him in 1582.

Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, June 19, 2017
Ordinary Time

Almighty God,
our hope and our strength,
without you we falter.
Help us to follow Christ
and to live according to your will.
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus said to his disciples: 'You have heard how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if someone wishes to go to law with you to get your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.
• Today’s Gospel forms part of a small literary unit which goes from Mt 5, 17 to Mt 5, 48, in which is described how to pass from the ancient justice of the Pharisees (Mt 5, 20) to the new justice of the Kingdom of God (Mt 5, 48). It describes how to go up to the Mountain of the Beatitudes, from where Jesus announces the new Law of Love. The great desire of the Pharisees was to live in justice, to be just before God. And this is the desire of all of us. Just is the one who succeeds to live where God wants him/her to live. The Pharisees tried to attain justice through the strict observance of the Law. They thought that with their own effort they could succeed in being where God wanted them to be. Jesus takes a stand concerning this practice and announces the new justice which should exceed, surpass the justice of the Pharisees (Mt 5, 20). In today’s Gospel we are reaching almost the summit of the mountain. Only a little is lacking. The summit is described in one phrase: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5, 48), on which we will meditate in tomorrow’s Gospel. Let us look closely at this last degree which is still lacking to reach the summit of the Mountain, of which Saint John of the Cross says: “Here reign silence and love”.
• Matthew 5, 38: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Jesus quotes a text of the Ancient Law saying: “You have heard how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth!” He shortened the text, because the complete text said: “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, blow for blow” (Ex 21, 23-25). Like in the previous cases, here also Jesus makes a completely new rereading. The principle “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was already found in the origin of the interpretation which the Scribes made of the law. This principle should be overthrown, because it perverts and destroys the relationship between persons and with God.
• Matthew 5, 39ª: Do not give back evil for evil received. Jesus affirms exactly the contrary: “But I say to you do not offer resistance to the wicked”. Before some violence received, our natural reaction is to pay the other one with the same coin. Vengeance asks for “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”. Jesus asks to pay back the evil not with evil, but with good. Because if we do not know how to overcome the violence received, the spiral of violence will take up everything and we will not know what to do. Lamec said: For a wound received I will kill a man, and for a scar I would kill a young person. If the vengeance of Cain was worth seven that of Lamec will count for seventy-seven” (Gen 4, 24). And it was precisely because of this terrible act of vengeance that everything ended in the confusion of the Tower of Babel. (Gen 11,1-9). Faithful to the teaching of Jesus, Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans: “Never pay back evil with evil; let your concern be to do good to all men. Do not allow yourselves to be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (Rm 12, 17.21). To be able to have this attitude is necessary to have much faith in the possibility to recover that the human being has. How can we do this in practice? Jesus offers four concrete examples.
• Matthew 5, 39b-42: the four examples to overcome the spiral of violence. Jesus says: “rather (a) if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; (b) if anyone wishes to go to Law with you to get your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. (d) And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him. (e) Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away” (Mt 5, 40-42). How are these four affirmations to be understood? Jesus himself helps us to understand. When the soldier hit him on the cheek, he did not offer the other cheek. Rather, he reacted with energy: “If there is some offence in what I said, point it out, but if not, why do you strike me?” (Jn 18, 23) Jesus does not teach us to be passive. Saint Paul thinks that paying evil with good “you will make others be ashamed” (Rm 12, 20). This faith in the possibility to recover the human being is possible only beginning from the root which comes from the total gratuity of the creative love which God shows us in the life and the attitudes of Jesus.
• Have you some time felt within you such a great anger as to want to apply the vengeance “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”? What did you do to overcome this?
• Does life in community, living together, favour today in the Church and in us the creative love which Jesus proposes in today’s Gospel?
Give ear to my words, Yahweh,
spare a thought for my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God! To you I pray. (Ps 5,1-2)