Thứ Ba, 18 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 19, 2017 : WEDNESDAY OF THE FIFTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 391

Reading 1EX 3:1-6, 9-12
Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.
Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,
the mountain of God.
There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire
flaming out of a bush.
As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush,
though on fire, was not consumed.
So Moses decided,
"I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,
and see why the bush is not burned."

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely,
God called out to him from the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
He answered, "Here I am."
God said, "Come no nearer!
Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place where you stand is holy ground.
I am the God of your father," he continued,
"the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
The cry of the children of Israel has reached me,
and I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Come, now! I will send you to Pharaoh to lead my people,
the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

But Moses said to God,
"Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh
and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
He answered, "I will be with you;
and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you:
when you bring my people out of Egypt,
you will worship God on this very mountain."

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1B-2, 3-4, 6-7
R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of Israel. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

At that time Jesus exclaimed: 
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."


Meditation: "Heavenly things revealed to infants"
Do you want to know the mind and thoughts of God? Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus' prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time he shows loving care and goodness toward all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Pride and inordinate love of self
Jesus' prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Certainly intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness. Pride is the root of all vice and the strongest influence propelling us to sin. It first vanquishes the heart, making it cold and indifferent towards God. It also closes the mind to God's truth and wisdom for our lives. What is pride? It is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one's own learning and importance.
Simplicity of heart
Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like "infants" in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing - the "summum bonum" or "greatest good," who is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him, as God, to do all. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Only the humble in heart can receive true wisdom and understanding of God and his ways. Do you submit to God's word with simple trust and humility?
Jesus reveals the Father to us
Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make - he is the perfect revelation of God. One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.
In Jesus we see the perfect love of God - a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the perfect revelation of God - a God who loves us completely, unconditionally, and perfectly. Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread.  Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?
"Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersRevealed to babes, by Epiphanius the Latin (late 5th century)
"And he revealed these things to children. To which children? Not those who are children in age but to those who are children in respect to sin and wickedness. To them Jesus revealed how to seek the blessings of paradise and the things to come in the kingdom of heaven, because thus it was well pleasing before God that 'they should come from the east and the west and that they should lie down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but that the sons of this worldly kingdom should be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:11-12).'" (excerpt from INTERPRETATION OF THE GOSPELS 26)

WEDNESDAY, JULY 19, MATTHEW 11:25-27
Weekday

(Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12; Psalm 103)

KEY VERSE: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father" (v 27).
TO KNOW: Jesus said that a childlike receptivity and obedience to God's will was the key to entering God's reign (Mt 18:3). He continually praised the poor and lowly (Hebrew:`anav) for their trust in God (Mt 5:3-12). He was not condemning educated people's intellectual ability but scholarly pride. True wisdom would not be found by the clever and learned whose minds were closed to God. Jesus demonstrated this in his own relationship with his Father. With simple trust, Jesus received everything from the Father. Only the Father fully understood Jesus' mission, and only Jesus comprehended the Father's saving plan. Jesus broke into a joyful hymn of praise to his Father for having revealed the mysteries of his kingdom to those who came to him with open and simple faith.
TO LOVE: Do I praise God for the faith given to me?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to be your Father's faithful child.
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Wednesday 19 July 2017

Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12. Psalm 102(103):1-4, 6-7. Matthew 11:25-27.
The Lord is kind and merciful — Psalm 102(103):1-4, 6-7.
‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?’
Vocation is a mysterious thing. Often the person feels called beyond their capabilities to do something they would previously have thought impossible. This is the case with Moses and the burning bush. Safe in Midian tending Jethro’s flock, he is called to go to Egypt, confront the leader of that regional superpower and convince him to release the people of Israel.
While not as dramatic, my sense of call to be a religious involved a similar fear of being called out of my comfort zone. Despite the fears and doubts, I felt confirmed that God seemed to use my limitations and turn them into strengths.
The message in the gospel encourages us to have a childlike trust that God will reveal his ways to us regardless of our worldly abilities and intelligence. With God on our side anything is possible.

ST. ARSENIUS

St. Arsenius, an Anchorite, was born in 354 at Rome and died in 450 at Troe, in Egypt.
Theodosius the Great, having requested the Emperor Gratian and Pope Damasus to find him in the West a tutor for his son Arcadius, decided on Arsenius, a man well read in Greek literature, a member of a noble Roman family, and said to have been a deacon of the Roman Church. Upon receving the request to become the tutor of young Arcadius, he left and reached Constantinople in 383, and continued as tutor in the imperial family for eleven years, during the last three of which he also had charge of his pupil's brother Honorius.
Coming one day to see his children at their studies, Theodosius found them sitting while Arsenius talked to them standing. This he would not tolerate, and he ordered the teacher to sit while the pupils to stood.
Upon his arrival at court, Arsenius had been given a splendid establishment, and probably because the Emperor so desired, he lived a very great lifestyle, but all the time felt a growing inclination to renounce the world. After praying for a long time to be enlightened as to what he should do, he heard a voice saying "Arsenius, flee the company of men, and thou shalt be saved." Thereupon he embarked secretly for Alexandria, and hastening to the desert of Scetis, asked to be admitted among the solitaries who dwelt there.
St. John the Dwarf, to whose cell he was conducted, though previously warned of the quality of his visitor, took no notice of him and left him standing by himself while he invited the rest to sit down at table. When the John was half finished with his meal, he threw down some bread before Arsenius, bidding him with an air of indifference to eat if he would. Arsenius meekly picked up the bread and ate, sitting on the ground. Satisfied with this proof of humility, St. John kept him under his direction. The new solitary was from the beginning most exemplary, yet unwittingly retained some of his old habits, such as sitting cross-legged or laying one foot over the other. Noticing this, the abbot requested some one to imitate Arsenius's posture at the next gathering of the brethren, and upon his doing so, forthwith rebuked him publicly. Arsenius took the hint and corrected himself.
During the fifty-five years of his solitary life he was always the most meanly clad of all, thus punishing himself for his former seeming vanity in the world. In like manner, to atone for having used perfumes at court, he never changed the water in which he moistened the palm leaves of which he made mats, but only poured in fresh water upon it as it wasted, thus letting it become stenchy in the extreme. Even while engaged in manual labour he never relaxed in his application to prayer. At all times copious tears of devotion fell from his eyes. But what distinguished him the most was his disinclination to all that might interrupt his union with God. When, after a long period of searching, his place of retreat was discovered, he not only refused to return to court and act as adviser to his former pupil the Emperor Arcadius, but he would not even be his almoner to the poor and the monasteries of the neighbourhood. He invariably denied himself to visitors, no matter what their rank and condition and left to his disciples the care of entertaining them. His contemporaries so greatly admired him because of this, that they gave him the surname "the Great".

LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 11,25-27
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, July 19, 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 11,25-27
At that time Jesus exclaimed, 'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.
Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

3) Reflection
• Context. The liturgical passage of Mt 11, 25-27 represents a turning point in the Gospel of Matthew: Jesus is asked the first questions regarding the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. The first one to ask the first questions on the identity of Jesus is John the Baptist, who through his disciples asks him a concrete question: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?” (11, 3). Instead, the Pharisees, together with the Scribes, address words of reproach and judgment to Jesus: “Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath” (12, 2). Up until now in chapter 1 to 10, the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven in the person of Jesus did not seem to find any obstacles, but beginning with chapter 11, we find some concrete difficulties. Or rather many begin to take a stand before Jesus: sometimes he is “the object of scandal”, of fall (11, 6); “this generation“, in the sense of this human descent, does not have an attitude of acceptance regarding the Kingdom that is to arrive; the cities along the lake are not converted (11, 20); concerning the behaviour of Jesus a true and proper controversy springs up (chapter 12), and thus they begin to think how to lead him to death (12, 14). This is the climate of mistrust and of protest in which Matthew inserts this passage.
Now the moment has arrived in which to question oneself about the activity of Jesus: how to interpret the “works of Christ” (11, 2.19)? How can these thaumaturgic actions be explained (11, 20. 21.23)? Such questions concern the crucial question of Messiah ship of Jesus, and judge not only “this generation” but also the cities around the lake which have not converted as the Kingdom of Heaven gets closer in the person of Jesus.
• To becomes small. The most efficacious itinerary to carry out this conversion is to become “small”. Jesus communicates this strategy of “smallness” in a prayer of thanksgiving (11, 27) which has a wonderful parallel in the witness rendered to the Father on the occasion of the Baptism (11, 27). Experts love to call this prayer a “hymn of rejoicing, exultation”. The rhythm of the prayer of Jesus begins with a confession: “I praise you”, “I confess to you”. Such expressions of introduction render Jesus’ words quite solemn. The prayer of praise that Jesus says presents the characteristics of an answer addressed to the reader. Jesus addresses himself to the God with the expression “Lord, of Heaven and earth”, that is, to God as Creator and guardian of the world. In Judaism, instead, it was the custom to address God with the invocation “Lord of the world”, but did not add the term “Father“, a distinctive characteristic of the prayer of Jesus. The reason for the praise and the disclosing of God: because you have hidden..., revealed. The hiding referred to the “wise and intelligent” concerns the Scribes and the Pharisees completely closed up and hostile to the coming of the Kingdom (3, 7 ff; 7, 29; 9, 3.11. 34). The revelation to the little ones, the Greek term says “infants”, those who cannot speak as yet. Thus, Jesus indicates the privileged audience of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven as those who are not experts of the Law, and are not instructed.
Which are “these things” that are hidden or revealed? The content of this revelation or hiding is Jesus, the Son of God, the one who reveals the Father. It is evident for the reader that the revelation of God is linked indissolubly to the person of Jesus, to his Word, to his Messianic actions. He is the one who allows the revelation of God and not the Law or the premonitory events of the end of time.
• The revelation of God from the Father to the Son. In the last part of the discourse Jesus makes a presentation of self as the one to whom every thing has been communicated by the Father. In the context of the coming of the Kingdom, Jesus has the role and the mission to reveal the Heavenly Father in everything. In such a task and role he receives the totality of power, of knowledge and of the authority to judge. In order to confirm this role which is so committed, Jesus appeals to the witness of the Father, the only one who possesses a real knowledge of Jesus: “Nobody knows the Son but the Father”, and vice-versa “and nobody knows the Father but the Son”. The witness of the Father is irreplaceable so that the unique dignity of Jesus as Son may be understood by his disciples. Besides, the unicity or uniqueness of Jesus is affirmed in the revelation of the Father; the Gospel of John had already affirmed this: “No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart who has made him known” (1, 18). To summarize, the Evangelist makes his readers understand that the revelation of the Father takes place through the Son. Even more: the Son reveals the Father to whom he wants.

4) Personal questions
• In your prayer do you feel the need to express all your gratitude to the Father for the gifts that he has given you in life? Does it happen to you to confess publicly, to exult in the Lord because of the wonderful works that he accomplishes in the world; in the Church, and in your life?
• In your search for God do you rely on your wisdom and intelligence or do you allow yourself to be guided by the wisdom of God? How attentive are you to your relationship with Jesus? Do you listen to his word? Do you assume his sentiments in order to discover his physiognomy of Son of the Heavenly Father?

5) Concluding Prayer
My lips shall proclaim your saving justice,
your saving power all day long.
God, you have taught me from boyhood,
and I am still proclaiming your marvels. (Ps 71,15.17)