Thứ Bảy, 1 tháng 7, 2017


Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 376

Reading 1GN 18:1-15
The LORD appeared to Abraham by the Terebinth of Mamre,
as Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
"Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way."
The men replied, "Very well, do as you have said."

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
"Quick, three measures of fine flour! 
Knead it and make rolls."
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before them;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" 
He replied, "There in the tent." 
One of them said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son."
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years,
and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.
So Sarah laughed to herself and said,
"Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old,
am I still to have sexual pleasure?"
But the LORD said to Abraham: "Why did Sarah laugh and say,
'Shall I really bear a child, old as I am?'
Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?
At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you,
and Sarah will have a son."
Because she was afraid, Sarah dissembled, saying, "I didn't laugh."
But he replied, "Yes you did."

R. (see 54b) The Lord has remembered his mercy.
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.
"For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name."
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.
"He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty."
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.
"He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.

AlleluiaMT 8:17
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 8:5-17
When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully." 
He said to him, "I will come and cure him."
The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority, 
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven,
but the children of the Kingdom
will be driven out into the outer darkness,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
And Jesus said to the centurion,
"You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you."
And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter,
and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her,
and she rose and waited on him. 

When it was evening, they brought him many
who were possessed by demons,
and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick,
to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities 
and bore our diseases.

Meditation: "Say the word and my servant will be healed"
What kind of expectant faith and trust does the Lord Jesus want you to place in him? In Jesus' time the Jews hated the Romans because they represented everything the Jews stood against - including pagan beliefs and idol worship, immoral practices such as abortion and infanticide, and the suppression of the Israelites' claim to be a holy nation governed solely by God's law. It must have been a remarkable sight for the Jewish residents of Capernaum to see Jesus conversing with an officer of the Roman army.
The power to command with trust and respect
Why did Jesus not only warmly receive a Roman centurion but praise him as a model of faith and confidence in God? In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together. Polybius, an ancient write, describes what a centurion should be: "They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts."
Faith in Jesus' authority over sickness and power to heal
The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his associates as well as mockery from the Jews by seeking help from a wandering preacher from Galilee. Nonetheless, he approached Jesus with great confidence and humility. He was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave. In the Roman world slaves were treated as property and like animals rather than people. The centurion was also an extraordinary man of faith. He believed that Jesus could heal his beloved slave. Jesus commended him for his faith and immediately granted him his request. Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith? And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?
"Heavenly Father, you sent us your Son Jesus that we might be freed from the tyranny of sin and death. Increase my faith in the power of your saving word and give me freedom to love and serve others with generosity and mercy as you have loved me."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersWelcoming the Lord Jesus with expectant faith and humility, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"When the Lord promised to go to the centurion's house to heal his servant, the centurion answered, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.' By viewing himself as unworthy, he showed himself worthy for Christ to come not merely into his house but also into his heart. He would not have said this with such great faith and humility if he had not already welcomed in his heart the One who came into his house. It would have been no great joy for the Lord Jesus to enter into his house and not to enter his heart. For the Master of humility both by word and example sat down also in the house of a certain proud Pharisee, Simon, and though he sat down in his house, there was no place in his heart. For in his heart the Son of Man could not lay his head" (Matthew 8:20). (excerpt from SERMON 62.1)


(Genesis 18:1-15; Psalm: Luke 1)

KEY VERSE: "As you have believed, let it be done for you" (v 13).
TO KNOW: As Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion (a military commander of one hundred men), approached him with a request to heal his servant who was paralyzed. Though Jesus' ministry was to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 15:24), he told this non-Israelite that he would go with him to his house. The centurion protested, saying that he was unworthy to have Jesus enter his home, as Jews were not allowed to enter the home of a heathen. The officer understood authority and he had faith that the power of Jesus' command would heal his servant even from a distance. Jesus was amazed by this Gentile's faith, in contrast to his own people's stubborn refusal to believe in him. Jesus, the true servant of God, healed the officer's servant.
TO LOVE: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” (Prayer at communion)
TO SERVE: Do I have faith to bring others to Jesus for healing?

Optional Memorial of Saint Junipero Serra, priest

Miguel Joseph Serra was born in 1713 on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Spain. At age of 16, Serra joined the Franciscan Order, taking the name Junipero after a friend of Saint Francis. In 1749, Padre Serra was sent to the western missionary territories of North America. In 1768 he took over missions in the Mexican provinces of Lower and Upper California. A tireless worker, Padre Serra was largely responsible for the foundation and spread of the Church on the West Coast of the United States. He founded twenty-one missions, converted thousands of Native Americans, and trained many of them in European methods of agriculture, cattle husbandry, and crafts. One of the missions was Mission San Juan Capistrano established in 1776, the only Mission church named for Fr. Serra. The structure is also believed to be the oldest church still standing in California. Padre Serra died at Mission San Carlos Borromeo and is buried there. Recognized as “The Father of the California Missions,” a bronze statue of Fr. Serra has been placed in the Statuary Hall of our Nation’s Capital. Fr. Serra was canonized on September 23, 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., by Pope Francis

NOTE: The Serra Club. named for Saint Junipero Serra, is an international Catholic organization whose mission is to foster vocations to the ordained priesthood and vowed religious life. There are 670 Serra Clubs with more than 23,000 Serra members in 35 countries. ​

Saturday 1 July 2017

Genesis 18:1-15. Luke 1:46-50, 53-55. Matthew 8:5-17.
The Lord has remembered his mercy – Luke 1:46-50, 53-55.
‘A centurion came up and pleaded with him.’
We need to read today’s texts with utmost care and note what occurs. Abraham served the angels the fatted calf with the curds from its mother in violation of later dietary laws. What a scandal is required of the one who attends to the Lord! In light of this let us see how Mary describes the actions of our Triune God. The Lord rearranges the order of the world to ensure that the poor are cared for. These are the saving actions that our God uses here through Christ’s incarnation.
In the gospel, the servant who was ill is redeemed because God, in Christ, chooses someone outside the nation Israel. The redefinition of boundaries and laws saves the excluded. God, in Christ, walks where he will and talks to whomever he desires. These are the sources of Mary’s joy.


A statesman and bishop under the Merovingians, St. Arnulf was born in 580 and died in 640. His parents belonged to a distinguished Frankish family, and lived in Austrasia in the eastern section of the kingdom founded by Clovis. 
In the school where Arnulf was placed as a boy, he excelled through his talent and his good behaviour. According to the custom of the age, he was sent in due time to the court of Theodebert II, King of Austrasia (595-612), to be initiated in the various branches of the government. Under the guidance of Gundulf, the Mayor of the Palace, he soon became so proficient that he was placed on the regular list of royal officers, and among the first of the kings ministers. He distinguished himself both as a military commander as well as in the civil administration, and at one time he had six distinct provinces under his care.
In due course, Arnulf was married to a Frankish woman of noble lineage, by whom he had two sons; Anseghisel and Clodulf. While Arnulf was enjoying worldly emoluments and honours, he did not forget higher and spiritual things. His thoughts often dwelt on monasteries, and with his friend Romaricus, also an officer of the court, he planned to make a pilgrimage to the Abbey of Lérins, evidently for the purpose of devoting his life to God.
However, in the meantime the Episcopal See of Metz became vacant. Arnulf was universally designated as a worthy candidate for the office, and he was consecrated bishop of that see around 611. In his new position he set the example of a virtuous life to his subjects, and attended to matters of ecclesiastical government. In 625 he took part in a council held by the Frankish bishops at Reims. With all these different activities, Arnulf still retained his station at the court of the king, and played a prominent role in the national life of his people.
In 613, after the death of Theodebert, he, with Pepin of Landen and other nobles, called to Austrasia Clothaire II, King of Neustria. When, in 625, the realm of Austrasia was entrusted to the kings son Dagobert, Arnulf became not only the tutor, but also the chief minister, of the young king. At the time of the estrangement between the two kings in 625 Arnulf, with other bishops and nobles, tried to bring about a reconciliation, but Arnulf dreaded the responsibilities of the episcopal office, and grew weary of court life.
About the year 626 he obtained the appointment of a successor to the Episcopal See of Metz, and he and his friend Romaricus withdrew to a solitary place in the mountains of the Vosges. There he lived in communion with God until his death. His remains, interred by Romaricus, were transferred about a year afterwards, by Bishop Goeric, to the basilica of the Holy Apostles in Metz.

Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, July 1, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
guide and protector of your people,
grant us an unfailing respect for your name,
and keep us always in your love.
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 8,5-17
When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. 'Sir,' he said, 'my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.' Jesus said to him, 'I will come myself and cure him.' The centurion replied, 'Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, "Go," and he goes; to another, "Come here," and he comes; to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'
When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, 'In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of Heaven; but the children of the kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.' And to the centurion Jesus said, 'Go back, then; let this be done for you, as your faith demands.' And the servant was cured at that moment.
And going into Peter's house Jesus found Peter's mother-in-law in bed and feverish. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him.
That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He drove out the spirits with a command and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: He himself bore our sicknesses away and carried our diseases.

3) Reflection
• The Gospel today continues the description of the activity of Jesus to indicate how he put into practice the Law of God, proclaimed on the Mountain of the Beatitudes. After the cure of the leper in the Gospel of yesterday (Mt 8, 1-4), now follows the description of other cures:
• Matthew 8, 5-7: The petition of the centurion and the answer of Jesus. When analyzing the texts of the Gospel, it is always good to be attentive to small details. The centurion is a pagan, a foreigner. He does no ask for anything, he only informs Jesus telling him that his servant is sick and suffers terribly. Behind this attitude of people in regard to Jesus, there is the conviction that it was not necessary to ask things to Jesus. It was sufficient to communicate the problem to him. And Jesus would have done the rest. An attitude of unlimited trust! In fact, the reaction of Jesus is immediate: “I will come myself and cure him!”
• Matthew 8, 8: The reaction of the centurion. The centurion did not expect such an immediate gesture and so generous. He did not expect that Jesus would go to his house. And beginning by his own experience of ‘head’ he gives an example to express his faith and the trust that he had in Jesus. He tells him: “Lord, am not worthy to have you under my roof, just say a word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, ‘Go’ and he goes, to another, ‘Come here’ and he comes, to my servant, ‘Do this and he does it”. This reaction of a foreigner before Jesus reveals that which was the opinion of the people in regard to Jesus. Jesus was a person who could be trusted and that he would not have driven away those who would go to him to tell him their problems. This is the image of Jesus which the Gospel of Matthew communicates to us even now that we read it in the XXI century.
• Matthew 8, 10-13: Jesus’ comment. The official was admired of the reaction of Jesus and Jesus was admired of the reaction of the official: “In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this”. And Jesus already foresaw what was happening when Matthew wrote the Gospel: “And I tell you many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness outside where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth”. The message of Jesus, the New Law of God proclaimed from the top of the Mountain of the Beatitudes is a response to the deepest desires of the human heart. The sincere and honest pagans like the centurion and so many others coming from the East and the West, perceived in Jesus the response to their yearning and accept it. The message of Jesus is not, in the first place, a doctrine or morals, nor a rite or a series of norms, but a deep experience of God which responds to what the human heart desires. If today many go away from the Church or seek other religions, it is not always their fault, but it could be ours, because we do not know how to live nor radiate God’s message.
• Matthew 8, 14-15: The cure of Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus goes to Peter’s house and cures his mother-in-law. She was sick. In the second half of the first century, when Matthew writes, the expression: “Peter’s House” evoked the Church, constructed on the rock which was Peter. Jesus enters into this house and cures Peter’s mother-in-law: “He touched her hand and the fever left her and she got up and began to serve him”. In Greek word used is diakonew, to serve. A woman becomes deaconess in Peter’s House. This is what was happening in the communities of that time. In the letter to the Romans, Paul mentions the deaconess Phoebe of the community of Cenchreae (Rm 16, 1). We have much to learn from the first Christians.
• Matthew 8, 16-17: The fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Matthew says that “when evening came”, they brought many persons to Jesus who were possessed by the devil. Why only at night? Because in Mark’s Gospel, from where Matthew takes his information, it was a Saturday (Mk 1, 21), and Saturday ended at the moment when the first star appeared in the sky. Then people could go out of the house, carry a burden and take the sick to the place where Jesus was. And “Jesus with his word cast out the evil spirits and cured all the sick! Using a text of Isaiah, Matthew throws light on the meaning of this gesture of Jesus: “So that what Isaiah had said would be fulfilled”. Ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours sorrows he was carrying”. In this way, Matthew teaches that Jesus was the Messiah-Servant, announced by Isaiah (Is 53,4; cf. Is 42,1-9; 49,1-6; 50,4-9; 52,13-53,12). Matthew was doing what our communities do today: to use the Bible to enlighten and interpret the events and discover the presence of the creative word of God.

4) Personal questions
• Compare the image of God that you have with that of the centurion and of the people, who followed Jesus.
•The Good News of Jesus is not, in the first place, a doctrine or morals, nor a rite or a series of norms, but it is a profound experience of God that responds to what the human heart yearns for. How do the Good News strike you, in your life and in your heart?

5) Concluding Prayer
Proclaim with me the greatness of Yahweh,
let us acclaim his name together.
I seek Yahweh and he answers me,
frees me from all my fears. (Ps 34,3-4)