Thứ Hai, 19 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 20, 2017 : TUESDAY OF THE ELEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 366

Reading 12 COR 8:1-9
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial PsalmPS 146:2, 5-6AB, 6C- 7, 8-9A
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

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

GospelMT 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."


Meditation: Love your enemies and pray for them
What makes the disciples of Jesus different from others and 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, forbearance, and mercy. God is good to the unjust as well as the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. 
Overcome evil with good
Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return. Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil.
Christ's redeeming love and mercy frees us from all hatred and malice towards others
How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who believe and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, prejudices and griefs. 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. Do you know the power of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy?
Allow the Holy Spirit to change and transform the way you think, judge, and treat others
Was Jesus exaggerating when he said we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect? The original meaning of  "perfect" in Aramaic is "completeness" or "wholeness - not lacking in what is essential." God gives us every good gift in Jesus Christ so that we may not lack anything we need to do his will and to live as his sons and daughters (2 Peter 1:3). He knows our weakness and sinfulness better than we do. And he assures us of his love, mercy, and grace to follow in his ways. Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Ask the Holy Spirit to change and transform you in the image of the Father that you may walk in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.
"Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersPray for those who persecute you, by John Chrysostom, 347-407 A.D.
"For neither did Christ simply command to love but to pray. Do you see how many steps he has ascended and how he has set us on the very summit of virtue? Mark it, numbering from the beginning. A first step is not to begin with injustice. A second, after one has begun, is not to vindicate oneself by retaliating in kind. A third, to refuse to respond in kind to the one who is injuring us but to remain tranquil. A fourth, even to offer up one's self to suffer wrongfully. A fifth, to give up even more than the wrongdoer wishes to take. A sixth, to refuse to hate one who has wronged us. A seventh, even to love such a one. An eighth, even to do good to that one. A ninth, to entreat God himself on our enemy's behalf. Do you perceive how elevated is a Christian disposition? Hence its reward is also glorious. (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 18.4)

TUESDAY, JUNE 20, MATTHEW 5:43-48
Weekday
(2 Corinthians 8:1-9; Psalm 146)

KEY VERSE: "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (v 44).
TO KNOW:  Israel believed that their enemies were the enemies of God (Ps 139:21), but God did not command Israel to hate their enemies. Neither was Israel allowed to mistreat a "neighbor," that is, anyone who dwelt in the land (Lv 19:17-18, 34). But Jesus took the Law further. He said that it was no virtue to love only those who loved you. Heathens could do as much. Jesus asked his disciples to imitate the perfect love of God who gave gifts of sun and rain to the just and unjust alike. Jesus' followers must strive to love even those who persecuted them (Mt 5:11). On the cross, Jesus gave us the supreme example of enemy love when he asked God to forgive those who were putting him to death (Lk 23:34). Loving our enemies doesn't mean that we don't have any enemies. Yet the Christian must never seek retaliation for any insult, no matter how hostile.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to forgive those who have injured me.
TO SERVE: Do we as individuals or as a nation measure up to Jesus' command to love and pray for our enemies?
WORLD REFUGEE DAY

World refugee day was established by the General Assembly of United Nations. The day is celebrated every year on 20th of June to support millions of families all over the world who have lost their homes and dear ones because of violence or war. World refugee day celebration provides an opportunity to all to help the refugees worldwide to rebuild their quality lives. Refugees are provided a variety of lifesaving assistance, safety and protection by government agencies and organizations. They are provided tents, shelter, living materials supplies and served with the life-saving services. The goal of celebrating this event is increasing public awareness about refugee’s situations throughout the world. 


Tuesday 20 June 2017

2 Corinthians 8:1-9. Psalms 145(146):2, 5-9. Matthew 5:43-48.
Praise the Lord, my soul! — Psalms 145(146):2, 5-9.
I say this to you: ‘Love your enemies.’
Christians can’t lay claim to being exceptional in following this injunction of Jesus. When was the last time we uttered a prayer, rather than a curse, for those who persecute us? This is meant to be one of the great defining features of Christians, yet many of us find it a difficult thing to do. It takes great emotional and spiritual maturity to let go of personal hurts and grievances.
However, we need to move on from the self-indulgence of dwelling upon our injuries and wounds. Perhaps those in other parts of the world who suffer persecution and the genuine fear of harm can be a shining example to us. If they can love their enemies in the midst of terrible conflict, there may be hope for us to face our damaged relationships with greater maturity and spiritual resilience.

ST. ALBAN

St. Alban was the first Christian martyr in Britain during the early 4th century. He is the patron saint of converts and torture victims.
Although he was not a man of faith, St. Alban was very hospitable and compassionate. As a soldier, he sheltered a persecuted priest, Amphibalus, during a time when Christians were being put to death in Britain. The priest's faith and piety struck St. Alban, as well as his dedication to prayer.
Alban soon converted to Christianity.
In an effort to help the priest escape, he switched clothes with him. But Alban was caught and ordered to renounce his faith. St. Alban refused to worship idols, and when asked to state his name, answered “My name is Alban, and I worship the only true and living God, who created all things.
For his refusal to deny his beliefs, he was to be tortured and beheaded. The person first selected to execute Alban heard his testimony and converted on the spot. After refusing to kill Alban, he was executed as well.
A number of other conversions are claimed to have happened thanks to the witness of St. Alban’s martyrdom, specifically on behalf of spectators of his execution.
Finally, when the priest learned that Alban was arrested in his place, he turned himself in, hoping to save Alban’s life. But that wasn’t the case. The priest was killed as well.
St. Alban’s Cathedral now stands near the execution site. The town where he was born was also renamed after him.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 5,43-48
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, June 20, 2017
1) OPENING PRAYER

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.
2) GOSPEL READING - MATTHEW 5,43-48
Jesus said to his disciples: 'You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.'
3) REFLECTION
• In today’s Gospel we get to the summit of the Mountain of the Beatitudes, where Jesus proclaimed the Law of the Kingdom of God, the ideal of which can be summarized in this lapidarian phrase: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5, 48) Jesus was correcting the Law of God! Five times, one after another, he had already affirmed: “It was said, but I say to you!” (Mt 5, 21.27, 31.33.38). This was a sign of great courage on his part, in public, before all the people gathered there, to correct the most sacred treasure of the people, the origin of their identity, which was the Law of God. Jesus wants to communicate a new way of looking and of practicing the Law of God. The key, so as to be able to get this new look, is the affirmation: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”. Never will anyone be able to say: “Today I have been perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect!” We are always below the measure which Jesus has placed before us. Perhaps, because of this, he has placed before us an ideal which is impossible for us mortal beings to attain?
• Matthew 5, 43-45: It was said: You will love your neighbour and hate your enemy. In this phrase Jesus explains the mentality with which the Scribes explained the Law; a mentality which resulted from the divisions among the Jews and the non Jews, between neighbour and non neighbour, between saint and sinner, between the clean and the unclean, etc. Jesus orders to overthrow this pretence, these interested divisions. He orders to overcome divisions. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you! So that you may be children of your Father in Heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike”. And from here we draw from the source from which springs the novelty of the Kingdom. This source is proper to God who is recognized as Father, who causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good. Jesus orders that we imitate this God: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (5, 48). And, it is in imitating this God that we can create a just society, radically new:
• Matthew 5,46-48: Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect. Everything is summarized in imitating God: "But I say to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven who causes the sun to rise on the bad as well as on the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Do not even the gentiles do as much? Therefore, you be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5, 43-48). Love is the beginning and the end of everything. There is no greater love than to give one’s life for the brother (Jn 15, 13). Jesus imitated the Father and revealed his love. Every gesture, every word of Jesus, from his birth until the hour of his death on the cross, it was an expression of this creative love which does not depend on the gift received, neither does it discriminate the other because of race, sex, religion or social class, but which comes from wishing well in a completely gratuitous way. This was continually growing, from birth until his death on the Cross.
• The full manifestation of the creative love in Jesus. This was when on the Cross he offered forgiveness to the soldier who tortured him and killed him. The soldier, employed by the Empire, placed the wrist of Jesus on the arm of the Cross, placed a nail and began to hammer. He hammered several times. The blood fell flowing down. The body of Jesus twisted with pain. The mercenary soldier, ignorant of what he was doing and of what was happening around him, continued to hammer as if it was a nail on the wall to hang a picture. At that moment Jesus addresses this prayer to the Father: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing!” (Lk 23, 34). In spite of all the will of men, the lack of humanity did not succeed to extinguish humanity in Jesus. They take him, they mock him, they spit on his face, they scoff him, they make of him a clown king with a crown of thorns on the head, they scourged him, torture him, make him walk on the streets as if he were a criminal, he has to listen to the insults of the religious authority, on Calvary they leave him completely naked at the sight of all. But the poison of lack of humanity does not succeed to reach the source of humanity which sprang from the Heart of Jesus. The water which sprang from within was stronger than the poison from without, wanting to contaminate everything. Looking at that ignorant and rude soldier, Jesus felt compassion for the soldier and prayed for him and for all: “Father, forgive them!” And he adds even an excuse: “They are ignorant. They do not know what they are doing!” Before the Father, Jesus is in solidarity with those who torture him and ill treat him. Like the brother who sees his murder brothers before the judge and he, victim of his own brothers, tells the judge: “You know they are my brothers. They are ignorant. Forgive them. They will become better!” It was as if Jesus was afraid that the minimum anger against man could extinguish in him the remaining humanity which still existed. This unbelievable gesture of humanity and of faith in the possibility of recovering that soldier has been the greatest revelation of the love of God. Jesus can die: “It is fulfilled!” And bowing his head he gave up his spirit (Jn 19, 30). In this way he fulfilled the prophecy of the Suffering Servant (Is 53).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Which is the most profound reason for the effort which you make to observe God’s Law: to merit salvation or to thank for God who in his immense goodness has created you, keeps you alive and saves you?
• What meaning do you give to the phrase: “to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Have mercy on me, O God, in your faithful love,
in your great tenderness wipe away my offences;
wash me clean from my guilt,
purify me from my sin. (Ps 51,1-2)