Chủ Nhật, 16 tháng 7, 2017


Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 389

Reading 1EX 1:8-14, 22
A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.
He said to his subjects, "Look how numerous and powerful
the people of the children of Israel are growing, more so than we ourselves!
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase;
otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies
to fight against us, and so leave our country."

Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the children of Israel
to oppress them with forced labor.
Thus they had to build for Pharaoh
the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.
Yet the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied and spread.
The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel
and reduced them to cruel slavery,
making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick
and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.

Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects,
"Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews,
but you may let all the girls live."

Responsorial PsalmPS 124:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8
R. (8a) Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Had not the LORD been with us–
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us. 
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept 
the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us
a prey to their teeth. 
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
We were rescued like a bird 
from the fowlers' snare;
Broken was the snare, 
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

AlleluiaMT 5:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet's reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous 
will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Meditation: "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword"
Why does Jesus describe his mission and the coming of God's kingdom in terms of conflict, division, and war? Jesus told his disciples that he did not "come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). The "sword" which Jesus speaks of here is not a physical weapon that cuts people down, but a spiritual weapon that cuts through the inner core of our being to expose the corruption of sinful thoughts and intentions as well as the lies and deception of Satan and his kingdom of darkness.
Sword of the Spirit
Scripture speaks of God's word as a sharp two-edged sword that "pierces to the division of soul and spirit... discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12, Revelations 19:15). Scripture also describes "God's word" as the "sword of the Spirit" which has power to destroy every spiritual stronghold that keep people in bondage to sin, deception, and Satan (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus came to rescue us and bring us freedom to live as citizens of God's kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
Spiritual warfare
Jesus' mission was an act of war against the spiritual forces who oppose the kingdom of God and his rule over the earth and the heavens. That is why Jesus identified Satan as the ruler of this world whom he will cast out (John 12:31). The battle Jesus had in mind was not an earthly conflict between individuals and nations, but a spiritual warfare between the forces of Satan and the armies of heaven. Jesus came to wage war against the spiritual powers of this present world that turn the minds and hearts of people away from God and his kingdom of peace and truth.
Kingdom of light versus kingdom of darkness
The Scriptures make clear that there are ultimately only two kingdoms or powers and that they stand in opposition to one another - God's kingdom of light and  Satan's kingdom of darkness. John the Apostle contrasts these two opposing kingdoms in the starkest of terms: We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19). The Scriptures describe the "world" as that society of people who are opposed to God and his kingdom of righteousness, truth, and goodness. Jesus came to overthrow Satan's power and to set us free from everything that would hold us back from knowing, loving, and serving God who has loved each one of us with boundless mercy, compassion, and goodness.
God must take first place
Jesus told his disciples that if they followed him it would be costly because they must put God's kingdom first and obey his word. Whenever a great call is given it inevitably causes division between those who accept and reject it. When Jesus remarked that division would cut very close to home his listeners likely recalled the prophecy of Micah: a man's enemies are the men of his own household (Micah 7:6). The love of God compels us to choose who will be first in our lives. To place any relationship or any other thing above God is a form of idolatry. Jesus challenges his disciples to examine who they love first and foremost. A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ. Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than that owed to spouse or kin. It is possible that family and friends can become our enemies if the thought of them keeps us from doing what we know God wants us to do.
The just reward
True love for God compels us to express charity towards our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus declared that any kindness shown and any help given to the people of Christ will not go unrewarded. Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for his help. As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he is. Jesus sets before his disciples the one goal in life that is worth any sacrifice and that goal is the will of God which leads to everlasting life, peace, and joy with God. Does the love of Jesus Christ compel you to put God first in all you do 
(2 Corinthians 5:14)?
"Lord, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has conceived the things you have prepared for those who love you. Set us ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may love you in and above all things and so receive the rewards you have promised us through Christ our Lord." (from A Christian's Prayer Book)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersHow peace requires a sword, by John Chrysostom (347-407 AD)
"What sort of peace is it that Jesus asks them to pronounce upon entering each house? And what kind of peace is it of which the angels sing, 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace'? And if Jesus came not to bring peace, why did all the prophets publish peace as good news? Because this more than anything is peace: when the disease is removed. This is peace: when the cancer is cut away. Only with such radical surgery is it possible for heaven to be reunited to earth. Only in this way does the physician preserve the healthy tissue of the body. The incurable part must be amputated. Only in this way does the military commander preserve the peace: by cutting off those in rebellion. Thus it was also in the case of the tower of Babel, that their evil peace was ended by their good discord. Peace therefore was accomplished. (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 35.1)

MONDAY, JULY 17, MATTHEW 10:34--11.1

(Exodus 1:8-14, 22; Psalm 124)

KEY VERSE: "Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me" (v 39).
TO KNOW: Jesus exhorted the apostles to have courage under persecution. He was aware that his message would not be accepted by everyone, and he warned his followers that members of their own families might be their adversaries. Those who wished to follow in his footsteps must be willing to put the gospel before all else -- even their own lives. They must be prepared to be treated like the prophets of old who suffered for proclaiming God's word. The apostles were Christian "prophets" who would speak God's saving message of the gospel. Whoever offered hospitality to them received Jesus himself and God who sent him, and they would be rewarded for their kindness.
TO LOVE: Pray for missionaries whose lives may be endangered for preaching the gospel.
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, give me courage to proclaim your gospel as your apostles did.

Monday 17 July 2017

Exodus 1:8-14, 22. Psalm 123(124). Matthew 10:34 – 11:1.
Our help is in the name of the Lord — Psalm 123(124).
‘Those who do not take up their cross and follow me are not worthy of me.’
The messages in today’s gospel are not all pretty and gift-wrapped. There’s a hard edge that calls for conversion and commitment. Jesus knew then that many would not see the message as good news. Not everyone would accept his invitation to change.
Jesus insisted that the kingdom took priority over family loyalties. Maybe this was his version of ‘tough love’, even the disciples took a long time to understand this message.
They didn’t understand it fully until Jesus had risen—but still they stayed. Lord, I want to respond to your call.
I want to share your love with everyone in my life, especially those who struggle and feel unloved.


The universal Church celebrates the life of St. Leo IV on July 17. Both a Roman and the son of Radoald, Leo was unanimously elected to succeed Sergius II as Pope. At the time of his election, there was an alarming attack of the Saracens on Rome in 846, which caused the people to fear the safety of the city. Because of the tension of the situation, Leo was consecrated on April 10, 847 without the consent of the emperor.
Leo received his early education at Rome in the monastery of St. Martin, near St. Peter's Basillica. His pious behaviour drew the attention of Gregory IV, who made him a subdeacon, and he was later created Cardinal-Priest of the church of the Quatuor Coronati by Sergius II.
As soon as Leo, much against his will, became Pope, he began to take precautions against a repetitious acts of the Saracen raid of 846. He began a project to put the walls of the city into a thorough state of repair, entirely rebuilding fifteen of the great towers. He was the first to enclose the Vatican hill by a wall. In order to do this, he received money from the emperor, and help from all the cities and agricultural colonies (domus cultae) of the Duchy of Rome. The work took him four years to accomplish, and the newly fortified portion was called the Leonine City, after him. In 852 the fortifications were completed, and were blessed by the Pope with great solemnity.
It was by this Pope that the church of S. Maria Nova was built, to replace S. Maria Antiqua, which the decaying Palace of the Caesars threatened to engulf, and of which the ruins have recently been brought to light. In 850, Leo associated with Lothair in the empire of his son Louis, by imposing on him the imperial crown. Three years later "he hallowed the child Alfred to king [says an old English historian] by anointing; and receiving him for his own child by adoption, gave him confirmation, and sent him back [to England] with the blessing of St. Peter the Apostle."
In the same year, 853, he held an important synod in Rome, in which various decrees were passed for the furtherance of ecclesiastical discipline and learning, and for the condemnation of the refractory Anastasius, Cardinal of St. Marcellus, and sometime librarian of the Roman Church. Equally rebellious conduct on the part of John, Archbishop of Ravenna, forced Leo to undertake a journey to that city to inspire John and his accomplices with respect for the law. It was duing his engaging endeavour to inspire another archbishop, Hincmar of Reims, with this same reverence, that Leo died.
He was buried in St. Peter's on July 17, 855. He is credited with being a worker of miracles both by his biographer and by the Patriarch Photius. His name is found in the Roman Martyrology.

Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, July 17, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
God our Father,
your light of truth
guides us to the way of Christ.
May all who follow him
reject what is contrary to the gospel.
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 10,34-11,1
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person's enemies will be the members of his own household. 'No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. 'Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 'Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet's reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person. 'If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.'
When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

3) Reflection
• In May of last year, the V Conference of Latin American Bishops, which was held in Aparecida in the north of Brazil, wrote a very important Document on the theme: Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life”. The discourse of the Mission of chapter 10 of the Gospel of Matthew, offers much light in order to be able to carry out the mission as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ. The Gospel today presents to us the last part of this Discourse of the Mission.
• Matthew 10, 34-36: I have not come to bring peace to the earth but the sword.  Jesus always speaks of peace (Mt 5, 9; Mk 9, 50; Lk 1, 79; 10, 5; 19, 38; 24, 36; Jn 14, 27; 16, 33; 20, 21. 26). And then, how can we understand the phrase in today’s Gospel which seems to say the contrary: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; no, I have not come to bring peace but the sword”. This affirmation does not mean that Jesus was in favour of division and the sword. No! Jesus does not want neither the sword (Jn 18, 11), nor division. He wants the union of all in truth (cf. Jn 17, 17-23). At that time, the announcement of the truth that He, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Messiah became a reason of great division among the Jews.  In the same family or community, some were in favour and others were radically contrary. In this sense the Good News of Jesus was truly a source of division, a “sign of contradiction” (Lk 2, 34) or, as Jesus said, he was bringing the sword.  In this way the other warning is understood: “I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother– in-law; a person’s enemies will be the members of his own household”. In fact, that was what was happening in the families and in the communities: much division, much discussion, the consequence of the announcement of the Good News among the Jews of that time, because some accepted, others denied. Today the same thing happens. Many times, there where the Church renews itself, the appeal to the Good News becomes a ‘sign of contradiction’ and of division.  Persons, who during years have lived comfortably in their routine of Christian life, do not want to allow themselves to be bothered by the ‘innovations’ of Vatican Council II. Disturbed by the changes, they used all their intelligence to find arguments in defence of their opinions and to condemn the changes considering them contrary to what they thought was the true faith.
• Matthew 10, 37: No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. Luke gives this same phrase, but much more demanding. Literally he says: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his sons and brothers, his sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14, 26). How can this affirmation of Jesus be combined with the other one in which he orders to observe the fourth commandment: love and honour father and mother? (Mk 7, 10-12; Mt 19, 19). Two observations:  (1) The fundamental criterion on which Jesus insists always is this one: the Good News of God should be the supreme value of our life. In our life there can be no greater value. (2) The economic and social situation at the time of Jesus was such that the families were obliged to close themselves up in themselves. They no longer had the conditions to respect the obligations of human community living together as for example: sharing, hospitality, invitation to a meal and the acceptance of the excluded.  This individualistic closing up in self, caused by the national and international situation produced distortion: (1) It made life in community impossible (2) It limited the commandment “honour father and mother” exclusively to the small family nucleus and no longer to the larger family of the community (3) It prevented the full manifestation of the Good News of God, because if God is Father/Mother we are brothers and sisters of one another. And this truth should be expressed in the life of the community.  A living and fraternal community is the mirror of the face of God. Human living together without community is a mirror which disfigures the face of God.  In this context, the request of Jesus: “to hate father and mother means that the disciples should overcome the individualistic closing up of the small family on itself, and extend it to the community dimension. Jesus himself put into practice what he taught others.  His family wanted to call him to close himself up in self. When they told him: “Look, your mother and your brothers are outside and they are looking for you”, he answered: “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And looking at the persons around him he said: “Behold, my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God is my brother, my sister and my mother” (Mk 3, 32-35). He extends the family!  This was and continues to be even today for the small family the only way to be able to keep and transmit the values in which he believes.
• Matthew 10, 38-39: The demands of the mission of the disciples. In these two verses, Jesus gives important and demanding advice: (a) To take up the cross and follow Jesus:  Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. In order to perceive all the significance and important of this first advice it is well to keep in mind the witness of Saint Paul: “But as for me, it is not of the question that I should boast at all, except of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Ga 6, 14).  To carry the cross presupposes, even now, a radical drawing away from the iniquitous system which reigns in the world. (b) To have the courage to give one’s life: “Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it”.  Only the one, who in life has been capable of giving himself totally to others, will feel fulfilled.  This second advice confirms the deepest human experience; the source of life is in the gift of life. Giving one receives. If the wheat grain does not die … (Jn 12, 24). 
• Matthew 10, 40: The identification of the disciple with Jesus and with God himself. This human experience of donation and of the gift receives here a clarification, a deepening:”Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me: and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”  In the total gift of self, the disciple identifies himself with Jesus; there the encounter with God takes place, and God allows himself to be found by the one who seeks him. 
• Matthew 10, 41-42: the reward of the prophet, of the just and of the disciple. The discourse of the Mission ends with one phrase on reward: “Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without reward”. In this phrase the sequence is very meaningful: the prophet is recognized because of his mission as one sent by God. The upright person is recognized by his behaviour, by his perfect way of observing the law of God. The disciple is recognized by no quality or mission, but simply by his social condition of being least among the people. The Kingdom is not made of great things. It is like a very big house which is constructed with small bricks. Anyone who despises the brick will have great difficulty in constructing the house. Even a glass of water serves as a brick for the construction of the Kingdom.
• Matthew 11, 1: The end of the Discourse of the Mission.  The end of the Discourse of the Mission. When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved from there to teach and preach in their towns.  Now Jesus leaves to put into practice what he has taught. We will see this in the next chapters 11 and 12 of the Gospel of Matthew. 

4) Personal questions
• To lose life in order to gain life. Have you had some experience of having felt rewarded for an act of donation or gratuity for others? 
• He who welcomes you welcomes me, and who welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me. Stop and think what Jesus says here: He and God himself identify themselves with you. 

5) Concluding Prayer
How blessed are those who live in your house;
they shall praise you continually. Pause
Blessed those who find their strength in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. (Ps 84,4-5)