Thứ Năm, 6 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 07, 2017 : FRIDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 381

The span of Sarah's life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.
She died in Kiriatharba (that is, Hebron)
in the land of Canaan,
and Abraham performed the customary mourning rites for her.
Then he left the side of his dead one and addressed the Hittites:
"Although I am a resident alien among you,
sell me from your holdings a piece of property for a burial ground,
that I may bury my dead wife."

After the transaction, Abraham buried his wife Sarah
in the cave of the field of Machpelah,
facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

Abraham had now reached a ripe old age,
and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
Abraham said to the senior servant of his household,
who had charge of all his possessions:
"Put your hand under my thigh,
and I will make you swear by the LORD,
the God of heaven and the God of earth,
that you will not procure a wife for my son
from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live,
but that you will go to my own land and to my kindred
to get a wife for my son Isaac."
The servant asked him:
"What if the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land?
Should I then take your son back to the land from which you migrated?"
"Never take my son back there for any reason," Abraham told him.
"The LORD, the God of heaven,
who took me from my father's house and the land of my kin,
and who confirmed by oath the promise he then made to me,
'I will give this land to your descendants'–
he will send his messenger before you,
and you will obtain a wife for my son there.
If the woman is unwilling to follow you,
you will be released from this oath.
But never take my son back there!"

A long time later, Isaac went to live in the region of the Negeb.
One day toward evening he went out . . . in the field,
and as he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching.
Rebekah, too, was looking about, and when she saw him,
she alighted from her camel and asked the servant,
"Who is the man out there, walking through the fields toward us?"
"That is my master," replied the servant.
Then she covered herself with her veil.

The servant recounted to Isaac all the things he had done.
Then Isaac took Rebekah into his tent;
he married her, and thus she became his wife.
In his love for her, Isaac found solace
after the death of his mother Sarah.

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5
R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people. 
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Visit me with your saving help,
That I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

AlleluiaMT 11:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:9-13
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."


Meditation: "I desire mercy - not sacrifice"
What is God's call on your life? Jesus chose Matthew to be his follower and friend, not because Matthew was religious or learned, popular or saintly. Matthew appeared to be none of those. He chose to live a life of wealth and ease. His profession was probably the most corrupted and despised by everyone because tax collectors made themselves wealthy by over-charging and threatening people if they did not hand over their money to them. 
God searches our heart
What did Jesus see in Matthew that others did not see? When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the future heir to the throne of Israel, he bypassed all the first seven sons and chose the last! "God looks at the heart and not at the appearance of a man" he declared (1 Samuel 16:7). David's heart was like a compass looking for true north - it pointed to God. Matthew's heart must have yearned for God, even though he dare not show his face in a synagogue - the Jewish house of prayer and the study of Torah - God's law. When Jesus saw Matthew sitting at his tax office - no doubt counting his day's profit - Jesus spoke only two words - "follow me". Those two words changed Matthew from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle who would bring the treasures of God's kingdom to the poor and needy.
John Chrysostom, the great 5th century church father, describes Matthew's calling: "Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. For he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness."
Jesus- the divine physician
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus' unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus' defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn't need to visit healthy people - instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life. The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed spiritual care. Their religion was selfish because they didn't want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came  not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised.All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
On more than one occasion Jesus quoted the saying from the prophet Hosea: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Do you thank the Lord Jesus for the great mercy he has shown to you?  And do you show mercy to your neighbor as well?
"Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself." (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersMatthew did not delay when called by Jesus, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
"The Lord, about to give salvation to all sinners believing in him, willingly chose Matthew the former publican. The gift of his esteem for Matthew stands as an example for our salvation. Every sinner must be chosen by God and can receive the grace of eternal salvation if one is not without a religious mind and a devout heart. So Matthew was chosen willingly by God. And though he is immersed in worldly affairs, because of his sincere religious devotion he is judged worthy to be called forth by the Lord ("Follow me"), who by virtue of his divine nature knows the hidden recesses of the heart. From what follows, we know that Matthew was accepted by the Lord not by reason of his status but of his faith and devotion. As soon as the Lord says to him, "Follow me," he does not linger or delay, but thereupon "he arose and followed him." (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 45.1)
[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a "most learned and most holy man."]

FRIDAY, JULY 7, MATTHEW 9:9-13
Weekday

(Genesis 23:1-4, 19, 24:1-8, 62-27; Psalm 106)

KEY VERSE: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do" (v 12).
TO KNOW: Matthew (named "Levi" in Mark and Luke's gospels) was a publican, that is, a collector of taxes for the Roman Empire. He was regarded as a sinner because he cooperated with the occupying Roman forces. What's more, tax collectors were often accused of extorting money from their own people and lining their pockets with the revenue. When Jesus invited Matthew to follow him as a disciple he didn't ask Matthew to change his way of living. He simply said, "Follow me" (v 9). Moreover, Jesus accepted an invitation to dine in Matthew's home along with many well-known sinners. The Pharisees, who were strict observers of the Law of Moses, were outraged and asked Jesus to explain his apparent disregard for their religious practices. Jesus quoted the prophet Hosea who condemned those who pretended to act virtuously and showed no compassion for those in need (Hos 6:6). Jesus' purpose in coming was to call sinners to repentance. The 'sick' knew they had need of a doctor. Those who thought they were blameless did not recognize their need for God's mercy.
TO LOVE: Lord Jesus, help me to be aware of my need for repentance.
TO SERVE: Do I respond eagerly to Jesus' call?

Friday 7 July 2017

Bl. Peter To Rot. Day Of Penance.
Genesis 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67. Psalm 105(106):1-5. Matthew 9:9-13.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good — Psalm 105(106):1-5.
‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
Today’s readings tell us something of the mysterious ways God works in human lives. Isaac and Rebecca ‘look up’ and their lives are changed. Matthew hears Jesus’ call and follows him. In these episodes, and especially in the confrontation with the Pharisees, it becomes clear that God wants mercy, not sacrifice.
Lord, forgive the lack of mercy in my life; help me to become more merciful. Help me to be open to your workings. Come to me, Lord, with your help. Thank you for calling me to follow you. To follow is to walk in the same footsteps. Give me the strength that faith in you brings. Help me realise that you are always with me.


BLESSED MARIA ROMERO MENESES

Blessed Maria Romero Meneses is a saint of the new millennium. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
Maria was born in Granada, Nicaragua, in 1902 to a wealthy family, her father being a government minister. At the age of 12, she became extremely sick and was paralyzed for six months with rheumatic fever. She was cured through the intercession and apparition of Our Lady Help of Christians, during which she discovered her vocation to be a Salesian sister.
She entered the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters) and made her final profession in 1929. Two years later, she was transferred to San Jose, Costa Rica. She taught music, drawing and typing to rich girls. She also trained catechists and taught the poor. She inspired many of her students to join her in her work with the poor, and was known for helping people to come to know God in a personal way.
More and more, her ministry became focused on social development, helping the rich to see how they could help the poor. She set up recreational centers in 1945, food distribution centers in1953, a school for poor girls in 1961, and a clinic in 1966. In 1973, she organized the construction of seven homes, which became the foundation of the village of Centro San Jose, a community where poor families could have decent homes.
She died of a heart attack in 1977 in Nicaragua.

LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 9,9-13
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, July 7, 2017
Ordinary Time


1) Opening prayer
Father,
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 9,9-13
As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.
Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?'
When he heard this he replied, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'

3) Reflection
• The Sermon on the Mountain takes chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew.   The purpose of the narrative part of chapters 8 and 9 is to show how Jesus put into practice what he had just taught.  In the Sermon on the Mountain, he teaches acceptance (Mt 5, 23-25. 38-42.43).  Now he puts it into practice accepting the lepers (Mt 8, 1-4), the foreigners (Mt 8, 5-13), the women (Mt 8, 14-15), the sick (Mt 8, 16-17), the possessed (Mt 8, 28-34), the paralytics (Mt 9, 1-8), the tax collectors (Mt 9, 9-13), the unclean persons (Mt 9, 20-22), etc.  Jesus breaks the norms and the customs which excluded and divided persons, that is with the fear and the lack of faith (Mt 8, 23-27) the laws on purity (9, 14-17), and he clearly says which are the requirements for those who want to follow him. They should have the courage to abandon many things (Mt 8, 18-22).  In the same way in the attitudes and in the practice of Jesus we see in what the Kingdom and the perfect observance of the Law of God consists.
• Matthew 9, 9: The call to follow Jesus.  The first persons called to follow Jesus are four fishermen, all Jewish (Mt 4, 18-22).  Now Jesus calls a tax collector, considered a sinner and treated as an unclean person by the community of the most observant of the Pharisees. In the other Gospels, this tax collector is called Levi. Here, his name is Matthew, which means gift of God or given by God.  The communities, instead of excluding the tax collector and of considering him unclean, should consider him a Gift of God for the community, because his presence makes the community become a sign of salvation for all!  Like the first four who were called, in the same way also Matthew, the tax collector, leaves everything that he has and follows Jesus.  The following of Jesus requires breaking away from many things.  Matthew leaves the tax office, his source of revenue and follows Jesus!
• Matthew 9, 10: Jesus sits at table with sinners and tax collectors. At that time the Jews lived separated from the tax collectors and sinners and they did not eat with them at the same table. The Christian Jews should break away from this isolation and sit at table with the tax collectors and with the unclean, according to the teaching given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mountain, the expression of the universal love of God the Father (Mt 5, 44-48).  The mission of the communities was that of offering a place to those who did not have it. But this new law was not accepted by all.  In some communities persons coming from paganism, even if they were Christians, were not accepted around the same table (cf. Ac 10, 28; 11, 3; Ga 2, 12). The text of today’s Gospel shows us Jesus who sits at table with tax collectors and sinners in the same house, around the same table.
• Matthew 9, 11: The question of the Pharisees. Jews were forbidden to sit at table with the tax collectors and with sinners, but Jesus does not follow this prohibition.  Rather he becomes a friend to them. The Pharisees seeing the attitude of Jesus, ask the disciples: “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” This question may be interpreted as an expression of their desire to know why Jesus acts in that way.  Others interpret the question like a criticism of Jesus’ behaviour, because for over five hundred years, from the time of the slavery in Babylon until the time of Jesus, the Jews had observed the laws of purity.  This secular observance became a strong sign of identity.  At the same time it was a factor of their separation in the midst of other peoples.  Thus, because of the laws on purity, they could not nor did they succeed to sit around the same table to eat with tax collectors.  To eat with tax collectors meant to get contaminated, to become unclean.  The precepts of legal purity were rigorously observed, in Palestine as well as in the Jewish communities of the Diaspora.  At the time of Jesus, there were more than five hundred precepts to keep purity.  In the years 70’s, at the time when Matthew wrote, this conflict was very actual.   
• Matthew 9, 12-13: “Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. Jesus hears the question of the Pharisees to the disciples and he answers with two clarifications: the first one is taken from common sense: “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick”. The second one is taken from the Bible: “Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice”. Through these clarifications, Jesus makes explicit and clarifies his mission among the people: “I have not come to call the upright but sinners”.  Jesus denies the criticism of the Pharisees; he does not accept their arguments, because they came from a false idea of the Law of God.  He himself invokes the Bible: “Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice”. For Jesus, mercy is more important than legal purity.  He refers to the prophetic tradition to say that mercy has greater value for God than all sacrifices (Ho 6, 6; Is 1, 10-17).  God has profound mercy, and is moved before the failures of his people (Ho 11, 8-9).   

4) Personal questions
• Today, in our society, who is marginalized and excluded?  Why? In our community, do we have preconceptions or prejudices? Which? Which is the challenge which the words of Jesus present to our community?  
• Jesus asks the people to read and to understand the Old Testament which says: “Mercy is what pleases me and not sacrifice”.  What does Jesus want to tell us with this today?

5) Concluding Prayer
Blessed are those who observe his instructions,
Blessed are those who observe his instructions,
who seek him with all their hearts,
and, doing no evil, who walk in his ways. (Ps 119,2-3)