Thứ Năm, 22 tháng 6, 2017

JUNE 23,2017 : SOLEMNITY OF MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lectionary: 170

Reading 1DT 7:6-11
Moses said to the people:
"You are a people sacred to the LORD, your God;
he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth
to be a people peculiarly his own.
It was not because you are the largest of all nations
that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you,
for you are really the smallest of all nations.
It was because the LORD loved you
and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn your fathers,
that he brought you out with his strong hand
from the place of slavery,
and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
Understand, then, that the LORD, your God, is God indeed,
the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant
down to the thousandth generation
toward those who love him and keep his commandments,
but who repays with destruction a person who hates him;
he does not dally with such a one,
but makes them personally pay for it.
You shall therefore carefully observe the commandments,
the statutes and the decrees that I enjoin on you today."

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10
R. (cf. 17) The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Reading 21 JN 4:7-16
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.

AlleluiaMT 11:29AB
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord;
and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. 
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."



Meditation: "Heavenly things revealed to infants"
Do you want to know the mind and heart of God? Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus' prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Pride - the root of sin
Jesus' prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Certainly intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his kingdom. Pride is the root of all vice and the strongest influence propelling us to sin. It first vanquishes the heart, making it cold and indifferent towards God. It also closes the mind to God's truth and wisdom for our lives. What is pride? It is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one's own knowledge and importance.
Simplicity of heart
Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like "infants" in the sense that they see purely and simply without any pretense or falsehood. They instinctlively recognize their utter dependence and reliance on those who are stronger, wiser, and more capable of giving them what they need to live and grow. Those who are truly simple of heart seek the one thing alone that can sustain us in good times and hard times and in every circumstance of life - the "summum bonum" or "greatest good" who is God himself.
Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards truth and grace - the favor and help freely given by one who is all-giving, gracious, and kind towards us. Just as pride is the root or every sin and evil, so humility is the only soil in which the grace and favor of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all - all the good that he wishes to do for us for our own benefit and welfare. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Only the humble in heart can receive the wisdom which comes from God and and the understanding of God's perfect goodness and plan for our lives. Do you trust in God with your whole heart and submit to his wisdom and plan for your life?
Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make - he is the perfect revelation of God because he has been with the Father before all creation and time existed. He and the Father are united in an inseparable bond of love and unity. That is why Jesus alone can truly reveal the fulness of God's mind and heart and purpose for our lives. One of the greatest truths of God's revelation and our Christian faith is that we can know the one true and living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing some things about God and his nature, but we can know God personally because God desires to be closely united with each one of us in a bond of love through his Son, Jesus Christ.. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and all other religions, is the personal knowledge of God as our Father - the one, true and eternal Father who knew us before we were knitted in our mother's womb. Jesus makes it possible for each one of us to have a personal direct relationship and experiential knowledge of God as our loving and gracious Father.
To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God - a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of sacrificing his only begotten Son who freely gave up his life for our sake on the cross. Paul the Apostle tells us that Jesus is the image of God (Colossians 1:15). He is the perfect revelation of God - a God who loves us totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. What can separate us from the love of God? Only our own stubborn pride, willfulness, and rebellious attitude towards God and his will for our lives.
Jesus makes an incredible promise to those who acknowledge him as their Lord and Savior. If we pray in his name - the name Jesus means God saves - then the Father in heaven will hear us as if his only begotten Son was speaking to him directly. That is the unity, blessing, and promise he wishes for each one of us. And that is why we have the confidence and boldness to pray as Jesus taught his disciples, Our Father who art in heaven... give us this day our daily bread, and deliver us from temptation.  Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his perfect love and care for you?
The sweet yoke of Jesus
What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the Gospel (Matthew 11:29)? The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God. Jesus  says his yoke is "easy". The Greek word for "easy" can also mean "well-fitting". Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well. We are commanded to put on the "sweet yoke of Jesus" and to live the "heavenly way of life and happiness".
Jesus also says his "burden is light". There's a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. "That's a heavy load you are carrying there," exclaimed the man. "He ain't heavy; he's my brother!" responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it's given in love and carried in love. Jesus offers us a new kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. In his kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured out for all its citizens. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one.
The weight of glory and yoke of freedom
The yoke of Christ's kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates us from the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sin and hurtful desires. Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us - and give us a weight of love and glory in exchange. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a burden of glory and yoke of freedom from sin. The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of grace and freedom from the power of sin. Do you trust in God's love and submit to his will and plan for your life?
 "Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe grace of Christ bears us up, from an anonymous early Christian teacher
"'My yoke is easy and my burden light'... The prophet says this about the burden of sinners: 'Because my iniquities lie on top of my head, so they have also placed a heavy burden on me' (Psalm 38:4)... 'Place my yoke upon you, and learn from me that I am gentle and humble of heart.' Oh, what a very pleasing weight that strengthens even more those who carry it! For the weight of earthly masters gradually destroys the strength of their servants, but the weight of Christ rather helps the one who bears it, because we do not bear grace; grace bears us. It is not for us to help grace, but rather grace has been given to aid us." (excerpt from the INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 29: PG 56:780)

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
FRIDAY, JUNE 23, MATTHEW 11:25-30

(Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Psalm 103; 1 John 4:7-16)

KEY VERSE: "No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him" (v 27).
TO KNOW: With gratitude that came from the depths of his heart, Jesus praised God for having revealed the mysteries of the kingdom to the lowly ones (anawim) who accepted his teaching with childlike faith. In contrast, "the wise and the learned" (v 25) were closed to God's revelation and persisted in their unbelief. The religious leaders had laid a crushing weight on the people by complicating God's Law and made no effort to lighten the load. Jesus invited all who were weary of these legalistic requirements to come to him. Obedience to his word was light by comparison because he was the embodiment of God's mercy and love. Yoked to Jesus, the faithful would find happiness and peace from all that weighed them down. The attitude of receptivity and obedience to God's will is the key to entering God's reign (Mt 18:3). Jesus demonstrated this in his own relationship with his Father. The Father handed over everything to the Son who received it with a grateful, humble heart. In turn, the Son shared his knowledge of God with those whose hearts were open and prepared to receive it.
TO LOVE: Sacred heart of Jesus, make my heart like unto yours.
TO SERVE: Is my heart open or closed to God's offer of love?

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Visions of Saint Margaret Mary
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a French nun, claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ during the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675. Jesus told her, “Behold this heart that has loved men so much, and has been loved so little in return,” and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. Margaret Mary reported everything she saw to Fr. de la Colombière, superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. He acknowledged the vision as an action of the Spirit of God, and directed her to write an account of the apparition. He also made use of every available opportunity to circulate this account through France and England. Worship of the Sacred Heart mainly consists of several hymns, the Salutation of the Sacred Heart, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.


Friday 23 June 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Deuteronomy 7:6-11. Psalms 102(103):1-4, 6-8, 10. 1 John 4:7-16. Matthew 11:25-30.
The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him — Psalms 102(103):1-4, 6-8, 10.
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, for I am gentle and humble in heart.’
Can I imagine Jesus standing before me, speaking these words to me? I look at him. He is gentle.
His eyes hold concern for my hurts. His hand steadies and reassures my flagging spirit. He is humble. His gaze, his touch, show his respect for me, the time and space he wants to give me.
And not only me. His arms open and I sense his love and reverence for all people-family, friends, those I find difficult to love. My heart becomes calm and rests in this heart, in his heart. He pardons, he endures the night with me, he draws me out to embrace the world in which he lives.


LECTIO DIVINA: THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS (A)
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, June 23, 2017

1) OPENING PRAYER
Holy God,
we often turn our hearts
into houses of pride and greed
rather than into homes of love and goodness
where you can feel at home.
Destroy the temple of sin in us,
drive out all evil from our hearts
and make us living stones of a community
in which can live and reign
your Son Jesus Christ,
our living Lord for ever and ever.
2) GOSPEL READING - MATTHEW 11,25-30
At that time Jesus exclaimed, 'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.
Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'
3) REFLECTION
• Today we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the Gospel we will listen to the invitation of Jesus: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart”. The Gospel shows the tenderness with which Jesus welcomes, accepts the little ones. He wanted the poor to find rest and peace in him.
• The context of chapters 11 and 12 of Matthew. In this context is stressed and made evident the fact that the poor are the only ones to understand and to accept the wisdom of the Kingdom. Many people did not understand this preference of Jesus for the poor and the excluded.
a) John the Baptist, who looked at Jesus with the eyes of the past, had doubts (Mt 11, 1-15)
b) The people, who looked at Jesus with a purpose of their own interests, were not capable to understand him (Mt 11, 16-19).
c) The great cities around the lake, which listened to Jesus’ preaching and saw the miracles, did not want to open themselves to his message (Mt 11, 20-24).
d) The wise and the Doctors, who judged everything according to their own science, were not capable to understand the preaching of Jesus (Mt 11, 25).
e) Not even his relatives understood him (Mt 12, 46-50).
f) Only the little ones understood him and accepted the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 11, 25-30).
g) The others want sacrifice, but Jesus wants mercy (Mt 12, 1-8).
h) The reaction against Jesus impels the Pharisees to want to kill him (Mt 12, 9-14).
i) They said that Jesus was Beelzebul (Mt 12, 22-32).
j) But Jesus did not draw back. He continues to assume the mission of Servant, as described in the prophecies (Mt 12, 15-21). This is why he was persecuted and condemned to death.
• Matthew 11, 25-26: Only the little ones understand and accept the Good News of the Kingdom. Jesus addresses a prayer to the Father: “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do!” The wise, the doctors of that time, had created a series of laws which they imposed upon the people in the name of God. They thought that God demanded this observance from the people. But the Law of love, brought by Jesus, said the contrary. What is important is not what we do for God, but rather what God, in his great love, does for us! People understood the words of Jesus and were filled with joy. The wise thought that Jesus was not right. They could not understand this teaching which modified the relationship of the people of God.
• Matthew 11, 27: The origin of the New Law: The Son knows the Father. Jesus, the Son, knows the Father. He knows what the Father wanted when, centuries before, he gave the Law to Moses. What the Father wants to tell us, he handed it to Jesus, and Jesus revealed it to the little ones, because they opened themselves to his message. Today, also, Jesus continues to teach many things to the poor and to the little ones. The wise and the intelligent do well if they become pupils of the little ones!
• Matthew 11, 28-30: “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest”. Jesus invites all those who are tired to find rest in him. These are the people who are tired under the weight of the impositions and the observances which the law of purity demanded. And he says: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart”. Many times this phrase has been manipulated to ask people to submit themselves, to be passive. What Jesus wants to say is the contrary. He asks people to leave aside the professors of religion of that time, to rest and to begin to learn from him, from Jesus, who is “gentle and humble of heart”. Jesus does not do like the Scribes who pride themselves of their own science, but he is like the people who live humiliated and exploited. Jesus, the new teacher, knows from experience what happens in the heart of the people and how much the people suffer.
• The invitation of divine wisdom to all those who seek it. Jesus invites all those who are oppressed under the weight of the observance of the law to find rest in him, because he is gentle and humble of heart, capable of relieving and consoling the people who suffer, who feel tired and depressed (Mt 11, 25-30). In this invitation resound the beautiful words of Isaiah who consoled the people who lived in exile (Is 55, 1-3). This invitation is bound to divine wisdom, which invites persons to the encounter with her (Ws 24, 19), saying: “her ways are filled with delight; her paths all lead to contentment” (Pr 3, 17). And he adds: “Wisdom brings up her own children and cares for those who seek her. Whoever loves her, loves life, those who seek her early will be filled with joy” (Si 4, 11-12). This invitation reveals a very important characteristic of the feminine face of God: tenderness and acceptance which consoles, which gives life to persons and leads them to feel well. Jesus is defence, the protection and the maternal womb which the Father offers to people who are tired (cfr. Is 66, 10-13).
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• What produces tension in you and what gives you peace? For you, to live in community, is it a source of tension or of peace?
• How can these words of Jesus help our community to be a place of rest for our life?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Yahweh is tenderness and pity,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love;
his indignation does not last for ever,
nor his resentment remain for all time. (Ps 103,8-9)