Thứ Ba, 20 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 21, 2017 : MEMORIAL OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, RELIGIOUS

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Lectionary: 367

Reading 12 COR 9:6-11
Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9
R. (1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."


Meditation: When you pray, fast, and give alms
Why did Jesus single out prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for his disciples? The Jews considered these three as the cardinal works of the religious life. These were seen as the key signs of a pious person, the three great pillars on which the good life was based. Jesus pointed to the heart of the matter. Why do you pray, fast, and give alms? To draw attention to yourself so that others may notice and think highly of you? Or to give glory to God?
True piety and devotion to God
The Lord warns his disciples of self-seeking glory - the preoccupation with looking good and seeking praise from others. True piety is something more than feeling good or looking holy. True piety is loving devotion to God. It is an attitude of awe, reverence, worship and obedience. It is a gift and working of the Holy Spirit that enables us to devote our lives to God with a holy desire to please him in all things (Isaiah 11:1-2).
Completely united with God our Father
What is the sure reward which Jesus points out to his disciples? It is communion with God our Father. In him alone we find the fullness of life and happiness, truth and beauty, love and joy. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) wrote the following prayer in his Confessions: When I am completely united to you, there will be no more sorrows or trials; entirely full of you, my life will be complete.
The Lord rewards those who seek him with humble and repentant hearts. He renews us each day and he gives us new hearts of love and compassion that we may serve him and our neighbor with glad and generous hearts. Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Seek him expectantly in prayer, with fasting, and in generous giving to those in need.
“Lord Jesus, give me a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, and a great love for you. Take from me all lukewarmness in meditating on your word, and dullness in prayer. Give me fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace. Fill my heart with compassion for others, especially those in need, that I may respond with generosity.”
Daily Quote from the early church fathersPray with the angels, by John Chrysostom, 547-407 A.D.
"When you pray, it is as if you were entering into a palace - not a palace on earth, but far more awesome, a palace in heaven. When you enter there, you do so with complete attentiveness and fitting respect. For in the houses of kings all turmoil is set aside, and silence reigns. Yet here you are being joined by choirs of angels. You are in communion with archangels and singing with the seraphim, who sing with great awe their spiritual hymns and sacred songs to God, the Lord of all. So when you are praying, mingle with these voices, patterning yourself according to their mystical order. It is not to human beings that you are praying but to God, who is present everywhere, who hears even before you speak and who knows already the secrets of the heart. If you pray to this One, you shall receive a great reward. 'For your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.' He did not merely say he would give it to you but reward you, as if he himself had made a pledge to you and so honored you with a great honor. Because God himself is hidden, your prayer should be hidden."(excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 19.3)

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, MATTHEW 6:1-6, 16-18
(2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Psalm 112)

KEY VERSE: "Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see" (v 1).
TO KNOW: Jesus asked his disciples to examine their motives when performing virtuous deeds. He gave three examples characteristic of Jewish piety at the time: almsgiving (vs 1-4), prayer (vs 5-15), and fasting (vs 16-18). While good in themselves, they must be carried out in a way to honor God, and not as a means to make a public show of holiness. Jesus contrasted the hypocritical behavior of the religious leaders with the sincere conduct he expected of his followers. Prayer should articulate their relationship with God. Fasting should convey their sorrow for sin. Almsgiving should express their solidarity with the poor. These works had no value if only performed to win the approval of others. They already had a reward in their praise. God, the sole judge of all deeds, will reward each according to the true intentions of the heart. Without a willingness to have one's heart changed, salvation could not be experienced.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help my good works to give glory to God and to serve my neighbor, not to make me proud of myself.
TO SERVE: Do I work for earthly or eternal reward?​

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

Aloysius Gonzaga was an Italian noble who grew up in a castle. The son of a compulsive gambler, he was trained from age four as a soldier and courtier. Aloysius suffered from kidney disease which he considered a blessing as it left him bed-ridden with time for prayer. While still a boy, he taught catechism to poor boys. The cousin of Saint Rudolph Acquaviva, Aloysius received First Communion from Saint Charles Borromeo. At age 18 he signed away his legal claim to his family's lands and title to his brother, and became a Jesuit novice. A spiritual student of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Aloysius tended plague victims in Rome in the outbreak of 1591. He died in 1591 at Rome of plague and fever.



SUMMER

The summer solstice marks the first day of the season of summer (on June 20th or 21st). In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year is when the Sun is farthest north. The declination of the Sun on the (northern) summer solstice is known as the tropic of cancer. In the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged. The solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis, and its motion in orbit around the sun. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, since the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year. 


Wednesday 21 June 2017

St Aloysius Gonzaga.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11. Psalms 111(112):1-4, 9. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.
Happy are those who fear the Lord — Psalms 111(112):1-4, 9.
‘Happy are those who fear the Lord.’
The Sermon on the Mount requires a lot of digesting. Today’s section of it gives us three acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. One suspects that good people observe the Lord’s instructions about these quite well. We perform these practices of religion in the sight of a God we do not see and who is known by faith. We perform them in trusting hope that the relationship we have with God, presently hidden, will one day be revealed in full glory and splendour.
Let us take time to tell Jesus or Mary how we are moved by this promise: ‘Your Father, who sees all that is done in secret, will reward you.’

ST. ALOYSIUS GONZAGA

As a young boy, St. Aloysius always had a great desire to know and serve God, but his family life was not always supportive of this desire. He was born into a noble Italian family, and his father was a compulsive gambler. He grew up in a castle and was trained from a very young age to be a soldier and courtier, and despite the opposition of his family, he taught catechism to poor boys.
He encountered many holy people in his lifetime; he received his first Communion from St. Charles Borromeo and studied under St. Robert Bellarmine. As a teen, he suffered from a kidney disease which he considered a blessing, as it left him with plenty of time for prayer.
At 18 he signed away his legal claim to his title and his family's lands and entered the Jesuits. He died shortly thereafter of the plague at the age of 23, having devotedly cared for plague victims in Rome in the outbreak of 1591.
He was canonized in 1726 and is the patron saint of youth, AIDS patients and AIDS caregivers.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 6,1-6.16-18
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, June 21, 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 6,1-6.16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win human admiration. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
'And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in, and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
'When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
3) REFLECTION
• The Gospel of today continues the meditation on the Sermon on the Mountain. In the previous days we have reflected at length on the message of chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel. In today’s Gospel and the following days we meditate on the message of chapter 6 of this Gospel. The sequence of chapters 5 and 6 can help us to understand it. The passages in italics indicate the text of today’s Gospel. The following is the schema:
Matthew 5, 1-12: The Beatitudes: solemn opening of the New Law
Matthew 5, 13-16: The new presence in the world: Salt of the earth and Light of the world
Matthew 5, 17-19: The new practice of justice; relationship with the ancient law
Matthew 5, 20-48: The new practice of justice: observing the new Law.
Matthew 6, 1-4: The new practice of piety: alms
Matthew 6, 5-15: The new practice of the works of piety: prayer
Matthew 6, 16-18: The new practice of the works of piety: fasting
Matthew 6, 19-21: New relationship to material goods: do not accumulate
Matthew 6, 22-23: New relationship to material goods: correct vision
Matthew 6, 24: New relationship to material goods: God and money
Matthew 6, 25-34: New relationship to material goods: abandonment in Providence.
Today’s Gospel treats three themes: alms giving (6, 1-4), prayer (6, 5-6) and fasting (6, 16-18). These are three works of piety of the Jews.
• Matthew 6,1: Be careful not to parade your uprightness to attract attention. Jesus criticises those who do the good works to be seen by men (Mt 6,1). Jesus asks to build up interior security not in what we do for God, but in what God does for us. From the advise that he gives there results a new type of relationship with God: “Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you” (Mt 6,4). "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Mt 6, 8). "If you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive your failings” (Mt 6, 14). It is a new way which opens itself now to have access to the Heart of God our Father. Jesus does not allow that the practice of justice and of piety be used as a means for self promotion before God and before the community (Mt 6, 2.5.16).
• Matthew 6, 2-4: How to practice almsgiving. To give alms is a way of sharing, very recommended by the first Christians (Ac 2, 44-45; 4, 32-35). The person who practices alms giving and sharing to promote herself before others merits to be excluded from the community, as it happened to Ananias and Saphira (Ac 5, 1-11). Today, in society as well as in the Church, there are persons who make great publicity of the good that they do to others. Jesus asks the contrary: to do good in such a way that the left hand does not know what the right hand does. It is the total detachment and the total gift in total gratuity of the love which believes in God the Father and imitates all that he does.
• Matthew 6, 5-6: How to practice prayer. Prayer places the person in direct relationship with God. Some Pharisees transformed prayer into an occasion to show themselves before others. At that time, when the trumpet sounded in the three moments of prayer, morning, noon and evening, they should stop in the place where they were to pray. There were people who sought to be in the corners in public places, in such a way that everybody would see that they were praying. Well then, such an attitude perverts our relationship with God. This is false and has no sense. This is why, Jesus says that it is better to close up oneself in our room to pray in secret, maintaining the authenticity of the relationship. God sees you even in secret, and he always listens to you. It is a question of a personal prayer, not of a community prayer.
• Matthew 6, 16-18: How to practice fasting. At that time the practice of fasting was accompanied by some very visible external gestures: not to wash one’s face, not to comb one’s hair, use sober dresses. These were visible signs of fasting. Jesus criticises this form of fasting and orders to do the contrary, and thus others cannot become aware that you are fasting: bathe, use perfume, and comb your hair well. In this way, only your Father who sees in secret knows that you are fasting and he will reward you.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• When you pray, how do you live your relationship with God?
• How do you live your relationship with others in the family and in community?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Yahweh, what quantities of good things you have in store
for those who fear you,
and bestow on those who make you their refuge,
for all humanity to see. (Ps 31,19)