Thứ Hai, 3 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 04, 2017 : TUESDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 378

Reading 1GN 19:15-29
As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, "On your way!
Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here,
or you will be swept away in the punishment of Sodom."
When he hesitated, the men, by the LORD's mercy,
seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters
and led them to safety outside the city.
As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told:
"Flee for your life!
Don't look back or stop anywhere on the Plain.
Get off to the hills at once, or you will be swept away."
"Oh, no, my lord!" Lot replied,
"You have already thought enough of your servant
to do me the great kindness of intervening to save my life.
But I cannot flee to the hills to keep the disaster from overtaking me,
and so I shall die. 
Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to.
It's only a small place.
Let me flee there–it's a small place, is it not?–
that my life may be saved."
"Well, then," he replied,
"I will also grant you the favor you now ask.
I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 
Hurry, escape there!
I cannot do anything until you arrive there."
That is why the town is called Zoar.

The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar;
at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire
upon Sodom and Gomorrah
from the LORD out of heaven.
He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain,
together with the inhabitants of the cities
and the produce of the soil.
But Lot's wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.

Early the next morning Abraham went to the place
where he had stood in the LORD's presence.
As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah
and the whole region of the Plain,
he saw dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.

Thus it came to pass: when God destroyed the Cities of the Plain,
he was mindful of Abraham by sending Lot away from the upheaval
by which God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

Responsorial PsalmPS 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12
R. (3a) O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Search me, O LORD, and try me;
test my soul and my heart.
For your mercy is before my eyes,
and I walk in your truth.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Gather not my soul with those of sinners,
nor with men of blood my life.
On their hands are crimes,
and their right hands are full of bribes.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
But I walk in integrity;
redeem me, and have mercy on me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the assemblies I will bless the LORD.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.

AlleluiaPS 130:5
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 8:23-27
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
"Lord, save us! We are perishing!"
He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?"
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, "What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?"


Meditation: "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?"
How can we fight fear with faith? Jesus' sleeping presence on the storm-tossed sea reveals the sleeping faith of his disciples (Matthew 8:25). They feared for their lives even though their Lord and Master was with them in the boat. They were asleep to Christ while he was present to them in their hour of need.
Why are you afraid?
The Lord is ever present to us. And in our time of testing he asks the same question: Why are you afraid? Have you no faith (Matthew 8:26)? Do you recognize the Lord's presence with you, especially when you meet the storms of adversity, sorrow, and temptation? Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord Jesus is there with the same reassuring message: "It is I, do not be afraid" (Matthew 14:27).
Faith nourished with the word of God
What are the characteristics of faith and how can we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and who opens the eyes of the mind to understand and accept the truth which God has revealed to us. Faith enables us to relate to God rightly and confidently, with trust and reliance, by believing and adhering to his word, because he is utterly reliable and trustworthy. If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God.
Let the love of Christ rule your heart and mind
Fear does not need to cripple us from taking right action or rob us of our trust and reliance on God. Courage working with faith enables us to embrace God's word of truth and love with confidence and to act on it with firm hope in God's promises. The love of God strengthens us in our faith and trust in him and enables us to act with justice and kindness towards our neighbor even in the face of opposition or harm. Do you allow the love of Jesus Christ to rule in your heart and mind, and to move your will to choose what is good in accordance with his will?
"Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your redeeming love and power that I may always recognize your abiding presence with me. Give me courage and strength to face every difficulty, trial, and temptation with trust in your saving help and guiding presence."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersTraining in courage and endurance, by John Chrysostom, 347-407 A.D.
"He took the disciples with him, not for nothing and not merely to face an absurd hazard but in order to permit them to witness the miracle that was to take place on the sea. For like a superb trainer, he was gradually coaching and fitting them for endurance. He had two objectives in mind. He wanted to teach them to remain undismayed amid dangers and modest in honors. So, to prevent them from thinking too much of themselves, having sent away the multitude, he kept them near him but permitted them to be tossed with a tempest. By doing so he disciplined them to bear trials patiently. His former miracles were indeed great, but this one contained a unique kind of discipline of exceptional importance. For it was a sign akin to that of old [referring to Moses parting the Red Sea]. To do this, he took his disciples with him by himself. He permitted others to see his other miracles, but when trials and terrors were rising, he took with him none but those he was training to be champions of the gospel. (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 28.1.2)


TUESDAY, JULY 4, MATTHEW 8:23-27
Weekday

(Genesis 19:15-29; Psalm 26)

KEY VERSE:  "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?" (v 26).
TO KNOW: Jesus warned his disciples of the perilous road that lay ahead for those who chose to follow him (Mt 7:14). In this nature miracle, Jesus showed them who was in control in all the circumstances they would face. As he and his disciples crossed Lake Galilee, Jesus fell asleep in the boat. Suddenly, a fierce storm threatened to capsize their small craft. The frightened disciples cried out in alarm, "Lord, save us!" (v 25). With an authoritative word, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples as their Lord and Savior. He was master over the winds and waves and also of the terrors that engulfed the human heart. Although the disciples marveled at Jesus' power, they did not yet fully comprehend "what sort of man" (v 27) he truly was.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to have faith in you during the storms that threaten me.
TO SERVE:  How can I help others understand Jesus' power in times of trial?




INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

Independence Day is celebrated on July 4th as America's official split from Britain's rule and the beginning of the American Revolution. The original resolution was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776. Three days later a committee headed by Thomas Jefferson was appointed to prepare an appropriate writing for the occasion. The document that we know as the Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4th although the resolution that led to the writing of the Declaration was actually approved two days earlier. The preamble to the Constitution states: "
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."


Tuesday 4 July 2017

St Elizabeth of Portugal.
Genesis 19:15-29. Psalm 25(26):2-3, 9-12. Matthew 8:23-27.
O Lord, your kindness is before my eyes — Psalm 25(26):2-3, 9-12.
‘He was asleep …’
We have all experienced storms in our lives, times when we have been beset by fear, worry, anger or despair. We too may have felt that God was asleep. St Teresa of Avila wrote: ‘I would often recall how when a storm arose the Lord used to command the winds to be still, and I would say to myself, What have I been thinking of? What am I afraid of? If this Lord is powerful, as I see he is and know he is, what harm can they do to me? I lost all the fears which until then had been wont to trouble me’ (Life, 25).
Jesus wants to do this for us as well. By trusting him we can be secure in all circumstances, knowing that God will use even the storms in our lives for our good.

ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL

On July 4, the Catholic Church celebrates St. Elizabeth of Portugal, a queen who served the poor and helped her country avoid war during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Elizabeth of Portugal was named for her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who was canonized in 1235. Their lives were similar in some important ways: both of them were married at very young ages, they sought to live the precepts of the Gospel despite their status as royalty, and finished their lives as members of the Third Order of St. Francis.
The younger Elizabeth was born in 1271, the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and his wife Constantia. Even in her youth, Elizabeth showed a notable devotion to God through fasting, regular prayer, and a sense of life's seriousness. While still very young, she was married to King Diniz of Portugal, a marriage that would put her faith and patience to the test.
King Diniz was faithfully devoted to his country, known as the “Worker King” because of his diligence. Unfortunately, he generally failed to live out the same faithfulness toward his wife, although he is said to have repented of his years of infidelity before his death. Diniz and Elizabeth had two children, but the king fathered an additional seven children with other women.
Many members of the king's court likewise embraced or accepted various forms of immorality, and it would have been easy for the young queen to fall into these vices herself. But Elizabeth remained intent on doing God's will with a humble and charitable attitude. Rather than using her status as queen to pursue her own satisfaction, she sought to advance Christ's reign on earth.
Like her namesake and great-aunt Elizabeth of Hungary, Elizabeth of Portugal was a devoted patroness and personal friend of the poor and sick, and she compelled the women who served her at court to care for them as well. The queen's bishop testified that she had a custom of secretly inviting in lepers, whom she would bathe and clothe, even though the law of the land barred them from approaching the castle.
Elizabeth's commitment to the Gospel also became evident when she intervened to prevent civil war in the kingdom on two occasions. Alfonso, the only son of Diniz and Elizabeth, resented the king's indulgent treatment of one of his illegitimate sons, to the point that the father and son gathered together rival armies that were on the brink of open war in 1323.
On this occasion, St. Elizabeth placed herself between the two opposing armies, insisting that Diniz and Alfonso come to terms and make peace with one another. In 1336, the last year of her life, she intervened in a similar manner to prevent her son from waging war against the King of Castile for his poor treatment of Alfonso's own daughter.
Following King Diniz's death in 1325, Elizabeth had become a Franciscan of the Third Order, and had gone to live in a convent that she had established some years before. The testimony of miracles accomplished through her intercession, after her death in 1336, contributed to her canonization by Pope Urban VIII in 1625.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 8,23-27
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer

Father,
you call your childrento
walk in the light of Christ.
Free us from darkness
and keep us in the radiance of your truth.
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 8,23-27
Then Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Suddenly a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But he was asleep.
So they went to him and woke him saying, 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' And he said to them, 'Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith?' And then he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
They were astounded and said, 'Whatever kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?'

3) Reflection
• Matthew writes for the converted Jews of the years 70’s who felt lost like a boat in the middle of a stormy sea, without the hope of being able to get to the desired port.  Jesus seems to be asleep in the boat, and it seems to them that no divine power will come to save them from the persecution.  In the face of this desperate and anguished situation, Matthew puts together several episodes of the life of Jesus to help the community discover, in the midst of an apparent absence, the welcoming and powerful presence of Jesus the conqueror who dominates the sea (Mt 8, 23-27), who conquers and casts away the power of evil (Mt 9, 28-34) and who has the power to forgive sins (Mt 9, 1-8).  In other words, Matthew wants to communicate hope and to suggest that the communities have no reason to fear.  This is the reason for the narration of the storm calmed by Jesus in today’s Gospel.  

• Matthew 8, 23: The starting point: to enter into the boat.  Matthew follows the Gospel of Mark, but makes it shorter and inserts it in the new outline which he has adopted.  In Mark, the day had been very heavy because of the work that they had done.  Having finished the discourse of the parables (Mk 4, 3-34), the disciples take Jesus into the boat and he was so tired that he fell asleep on a cushion (Mk 4, 38). Matthew’s text is very brief.  It only says that Jesus went into the boat and that the disciples accompanied him.  Jesus is the Master, the disciples follow the Master.

• Matthew 8, 24-25: The desperate situation: “We are lost!” The Lake of Galilee is close to high mountains.  Sometimes, between the cracks of the rocks, the wind blows strongly on the lake causing a sudden storm.  Strong wind, agitated sea, the boat full of water!  The disciples were experienced fishermen.  If they thought that they were about to sink, it meant that the situation was truly dangerous!  But Jesus is not aware, and continues to sleep.  They cried out: “Save us, Lord, we are lost!”  In Matthew the profound sleep of Jesus is not only a sign of tiredness.  It is also the expression of the calm trust of Jesus in God.  The contrast between the attitude of Jesus and that of the disciples is enormous!

• Matthew 8, 26: The reaction of Jesus: Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith!”  Jesus wakes up, not because of the waves, but because of the desperate cry of the disciples.  And he turns to them saying: “Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith!” Then he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea, because there was no danger.  It is like when one arrives to a friend’s house, and the dog, at the side of his master, barks very much.  But one should not be afraid, because the master is present and controls the situation.  The episode of the storm calmed by Jesus evokes the episode, when people, without fear, passed across the water of the sea (Ex 14, 22).  Jesus recreates this episode.  He recalls the Prophet Isaiah who said to the people: “If you have to go across the water, I will be with you!” (Is 43, 2).  The episode of the calmed storm recalls and fulfils the prophecy announced in the Psalm 107:
Those who ploughed the waves in the sea on the ships, plying their trade on the great ocean.
they have seen the works of the Lord, his wonders in the deep.
By his word he raised a storm-wind lashing up towering waves.
Up to the sky then down to the depths; their stomachs were turned to water.
They staggered and reeled like drunkards, and all their skill went under.
They cried out to Yahweh in their distress, he rescued them from their plight.
He reduced the storm to a calm, and all the waters subsided.
He brought them overjoyed at the stillness, to the port where they were bound (Ps 107, 23-30)

• Matthew 8, 27: The fear of the disciples: “Who is this man?” Jesus asks: “Why are you so frightened?”  The disciples do not know what to answer.  Astounded, they ask themselves: “Whatever kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” In spite of the long time that they had lived with Jesus, they still do not know who he is. Jesus seems to be a foreigner for them! Who is this man?  

• Who is this man? Who is Jesus for us, for me? This should be the question which urges us to continue to read the Gospel, every day, with the desire always to know better the significance and the importance of the person of Jesus for our life.  From this question comes Christology. It does not come from elevated theological considerations, but from the desire of the first Christians always to find new names and titles to express what Jesus meant for them.  There are tens of names, titles and attributes, from that of carpenter to Son of God, which Jesus expresses: Messiah, Christ, Lord, Beloved Son, Holy One of God, Nazarene, Son of Man, Spouse, Son of God, Son of the Most High God, Carpenter, Son of Mary, Prophet, Master, Son of David, Rabboni, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Son, Shepherd, Bread of Life, Resurrection, Light of the world, Way, Truth, Life, King of the Jews, King of Israel, etc.  Every name, every image, is an effort to express what Jesus means for them.  But a name, no matter how beautiful it is, never succeeds to reveal the mystery of a person, and much less of the person of Jesus.  Jesus does not enter into any of these names, in no outline, in no title.  He exceeds everything, he is the greatest! He cannot be put into a frame.  Love takes up all this, not the mind! Starting from this experience of a love which is alive, the names, the titles and the images receive their full significance. Definitively, who is Jesus for me, for us?

4) Personal questions
• Which was the agitated sea at the time of Jesus?  Which was the agitated sea at the time when Matthew wrote his Gospel?  Today, which is the agitated sea for us?  Have you ever been on the point of drowning in the agitated waters of the sea of your life?  What saved you?  

• Who is Jesus for me?  Which is the name of Jesus which expresses my faith and my love better?  

5) Concluding Prayer
Each age will praise your deeds to the next,
proclaiming your mighty works.
Your renown is the splendour of your glory,
I will ponder the story of your wonders. (Ps 145,4-5)