Thứ Tư, 5 tháng 7, 2017


Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 380

Reading 1GN 22:1B-19
God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
Then God said: "Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering
on a height that I will point out to you."
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey,
took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well,
and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering,
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants: "Both of you stay here with the donkey,
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you." 
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering
and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham:
"Father!" he said.
"Yes, son," he replied.
Isaac continued, "Here are the fire and the wood,
but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?"
"Son," Abraham answered, 
"God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering."
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD's messenger called to him from heaven,
"Abraham, Abraham!"
"Here I am," he answered. 
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger.
"Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh;
hence people now say, "On the mountain the LORD will see."
Again the LORD's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
"I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing--all this because you obeyed my command."

Abraham then returned to his servants,
and they set out together for Beer-sheba,
where Abraham made his home.

Responsorial PsalmPS 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R. (9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your kindness, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say, 
"Where is their God?"
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone who trusts in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD;
he is their help and their shield.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia2 COR 5:19
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:1-8
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
"Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
"This man is blaspheming."
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
:Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins"–
he then said to the paralytic,
"Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

Meditation: "Take heart - your sins are forgiven"
What cripples the mind and heart and stifles the healing power of love? Sin and unforgiveness for certain! Sin cripples us more than any physical ailment can. Sin is the work of the kingdom of darkness and it holds us in eternal bondage. There is only one solution and that is the healing, cleansing power of Jesus' forgiveness.
Power of forgiveness
Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt. Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God's redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well.
Healing body, mind, and soul
The Lord Jesus is ever ready to bring us healing of mind, body, and soul. His grace brings us freedom from the power of sin and from bondage to harmful desires and addictions. Do you allow anything to keep you from Jesus' healing power?
"Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, mind, and soul. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life - my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offences and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your truth and goodness."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersHealing of soul and body, by Hilary of Poitiers (315-367 AD)
"Now in the narrative of the paralytic a number of people are brought forward for healing. Jesus' words of healing are worthy of reflection. The paralytic is not told, 'Be healed.' He is not told, 'Rise and walk.' But he is told, 'Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven you.' The paralytic is a descendant of the original man, Adam. In one person, Christ, all the sins of Adam are forgiven. In this case the person to be healed is brought forward by ministering angels. In this case, too, he is called a son, because he is God's first work. The sins of his soul are forgiven him, and pardon of the first transgression is granted. We do not believe the paralytic committed any sin [that resulted in his illness], especially since the Lord said elsewhere that blindness from birth had not been contracted from someone's sin or that of his parents" [John 9:1-3]. (excerpt from commentary ON MATTHEW 8.5)


(Genesis 22:1b-19; Psalm 115)

KEY VERSE: Which is it easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise and walk'? (v 5).
TO KNOW: When Jesus returned to Capernaum, some people brought a paralytic on a stretcher to him. In Jesus' day, sickness or misfortune were seen as the consequence of sin. Jesus looked beyond the man's physical infirmity, saw his need for spiritual healing, and granted him forgiveness. The religious leaders were scandalized by Jesus' claim to have authority over sin. Jesus offered them proof of his power by telling the man to rise and walk. If, according to their theology, the man's paralysis was due to sin, and he was now cured, then his sins must have been forgiven. When the paralytic walked, the people were amazed that God had given such authority to human beings. The Church continues to exercise this power of forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation today.

TO LOVE:  Lord Jesus, I thank you for forgiving my sins and healing my wounds.
TO SERVE: Do I help others appreciate the healing power of reconciliation?

Optional Memorial of Saint Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

Maria Goretti was a beautiful, pious farm girl. In 1902, at age twelve, Maria was attacked by Alessandro Serenelli, a 19 year-old farm-hand. He tried to rape the girl who fought back, crying out that it was a sin and that he would go to Hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times. She survived in a hospital for two days, forgave her attacker, asked God's forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and medal of Our Lady. While in prison for his crime, Alessandro had a vision of Maria, dressed in white, gathering lilies. This vision led to Alessandro's conversion, and he later testified at her cause for beatification. She was canonized in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. The ceremony was attended by 250,000 including her mother, the only time a parent witnessed her child's canonization.

Thursday 6 July 2017

St Maria Goretti.
Genesis 22:1-19. Psalm 114(116):1-6, 8-9. Matthew 9:1-8.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living — Psalm 114(116):1-6, 8-9.
‘Rise and walk.’
I was a guest at the home of a dear young friend, who happens to have suffered quadriplegia. At dawn, he called me to his bedroom and requested that I pull up the bed covers! His humility stirred my heart and I gave thanks for all my healthy faculties. The same lad taught me the intricacies of rugby league (at 70 I was new to the game!).
It is said that there is magic in action and this is testified in the gospel of today. The four friends carry the inert body of their friend up onto the roof and Jesus sees their faith. Not only is the paralytic man given strength, but the assembled crowd are witness to the glory of God, at Jesus’s word. Each of us can increase our faith in God’s care, by using the examen at a special time of day.


July 6 marks the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a young virgin and martyr whose life is an example of purity and mercy for all Christians.
Maria Goretti is best known for her commitment to purity and the courageous defense of her faith at the young age of eleven that made her willing to undergo death rather than participate in a sin against God. She is also remarkable for the forgiveness she willingly granted her attacker as she lay on her deathbed.
Maria was born in Corinaldo, Italy on October 16, 1890. Her father, a farmer, died of malaria when she was young, and her mother had to work to support their six children.
Maria took care of the younger children while her mother worked, and she prayed the Rosary every night for the repose of her father’s soul. She grew in grace and maturity, and her cheerful obedience and piety were noticed by those around her.
On July 5, 1902, a neighboring farm hand, Alessandro Serenelli, tried to rape Maria. On several prior occasions, Alessandro had harassed Maria with impure advances, all of which she has vehemently rejected. This time, he locked her in a room and tried to force himself upon her. She fought against him, shouting, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" and warning him that this was the path towards hell. When Maria declared that she would rather die than submit to this sin, Alessandro angrily grabbed her and stabbed her 14 times with a knife.
Maria was found bleeding to death and rushed to the hospital. As she lay dying, she forgave Alessandro for the crime he had committed against her, saying, "Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him...and I want him to be with me in Paradise."
Although the doctors tried to save her, she died two agonizing days later, only eleven years old.
Alessandro was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He remained unrepentant until one night, eight years into his prison term, when Maria appeared to him, dressed in white, gathering lilies in a garden. She smiled, turned towards Alessandro, and offered him the flowers. Each lily he took transformed into a white flame. Then Maria disappeared.
From that moment, Alessandro converted and found peace. He repented of his crime and changed his life. He was released from prison three years early and begged forgiveness from Maria’s mother, which she duly granted.
Alessandro moved to a Capuchin monastery, working in the garden as a tertiary for the remainder of his life. He was one of the witnesses who testified to Maria's holiness during her cause of beatification, citing the crime and the vision in prison.
Many miracles were attributed to Maria Goretti after her death. In 1950, she was canonized by Pope Pius XII, becoming the youngest Roman Catholic saint officially recognized by name. Her feast day is celebrated by the Church on July 6, and she is the patron saint of purity, rape victims, young women, and youth in general.
On her feast day in 2003, Pope John Paul II spoke about St. Maria Goretti at his Sunday Angelus, noting that her life provides an exemplary witness of what it means to be "pure of heart."
"What does this fragile but christianly mature girl say to today's young people, through her life and above all through her heroic death?" asked the Pope.
"Marietta, as she was lovingly called, reminds the youth of the third millennium that true happiness demands courage and a spirit of sacrifice, refusing every compromise with evil and having the disposition to pay personally, even with death, faithful to God and his commandments."
"How timely this message is," the Holy Father continued. "Today, pleasure, selfishness and directly immoral actions are often exalted in the name of the false ideals of liberty and happiness. It is essential to reaffirm clearly that purity of heart and of body go together, because chastity ‘is the custodian’ of authentic love."

Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, July 6, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
you call your children
to 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 9,1-8
Jesus got back in the boat, crossed the water and came to his home town. And suddenly some people brought him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, 'Take comfort, my child, your sins are forgiven.'
And now some scribes said to themselves, 'This man is being blasphemous.' Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, 'Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier: to say, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Get up and walk"? But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins,' -- then he said to the paralytic-'get up, pick up your bed and go off home.'
And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for having given such authority to human beings.

3) Reflection
• The extraordinary authority of Jesus. To the reader, Jesus appears as a person invested with extraordinary authority, by means of the words and actions (Mt 9, 6.8). The authoritative word of Jesus strikes evil at its root: in the case of the paralytic man on sin that affects the man in his liberty and blocks him in his living forces: “Your sins are forgiven” (v. 5); “”Get up pick up your bed and go off home” (v.6). Truly all the forms of paralysis of the heart and the mind to which we are subject are cancelled by the authority of Jesus (9, 6), because during his life on earth he met all these forms. The authoritative and effective word of Jesus awakens the paralyzed humanity (9, 5-7) and gives it the gift of walking (9, 6) in a renewed faith
• The encounter with the paralytic. After the storm and a visit in the country of the Gadarenes, Jesus returns to Capernaum, his city. And as he was on his way, he met the paralytic. The healing did not take place in a house, but along the road. Therefore, along the road that leads to Capernaum they brought him a paralytic man. Jesus addresses him calling him “my son”, a gesture of attention that soon becomes a gesture of salvation: “your sins are forgiven you” (v. 2) The forgiveness of sins which Jesus pronounces on the part of God on the paralytic refers to the bond between sickness, failure and sin. This is the first time that the evangelist attributes this particular divine power to Jesus, in an explicit way. For the Jews the sickness of a man was considered a punishment because of sins committed; The physical illness was considered always as a consequence of one’s own moral evil or due to parents (Jn 9, 2). Jesus restores to man the condition of salvation freeing him from illness as well as from sin.
• For some of those who were present, for the Scribes, the words of Jesus which announce forgiveness of sins is a true and proper blasphemy. According to them Jesus is arrogant because God alone can forgive sins. They do not manifest openly such a judgment of Jesus but express it by murmuring among themselves. Jesus who penetrates their hearts sees their considerations and reproves them because of their unbelief. The expression of Jesus “To prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins...” (v. 6) he is going to indicate that not only God can forgive sins, but with Jesus, also man (Gnilka).
• The crowd, differently from the Scribes, is seized by fear before the cure of the paralytic and glorifies God. The crowd is struck by the power to forgive sins manifested in the healing. People exult because God has granted such a power to the Son of man. Is it possible to attribute this to the ecclesial community where forgiveness of sins was granted on the order of Jesus? Matthew has presented this episode on forgiveness of sins with the intention of applying it to fraternal relationships within the ecclesial community. In it the practice to forgive sins, by delegation of Jesus, was already in force; a practice which was not shared in the Synagogue. The theme of forgiveness of sins is repeated also in Mt 18 and at the end of the Gospel it is affirmed that this is rooted in the death of Jesus on the Cross (26, 28). But in our context the forgiveness of sins is linked with the demand of mercy present in the episode which follows, the vocation of Matthew: «…mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed, I came to call not the upright but sinners” (Mt 9, 13). Such words of Jesus intend to say that He has made visible the forgiveness of God; above all, in his relationships with the Publicans or tax collectors and sinners, in sitting at table with them.
• This account that takes up again the problem of sin and reminds of the bond with the misery of man is something to be practiced in the forgiveness which should be given, but it is a story that should occupy a privileged place in the preaching of our ecclesial communities.

4) Personal questions
• Are you convinced that Jesus, called the friend of sinners, does not despise your weaknesses and your resistance, but he understands and offers you the necessary help to live a life in harmony with God and with the brothers and sisters?
• When you make the experience of betraying or refusing friendship with God do you have recourse to the Sacrament of reconciliation that reconciles you with the Father and with the Church and makes you a new creature by the force of the Holy Spirit?

5) Concluding Prayer
The precepts of Yahweh are honest,
joy for the heart;
the commandment of Yahweh is pure,
light for the eyes. (Ps 19,8)