Thứ Năm, 20 tháng 7, 2017


Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 393

Although Moses and Aaron performed various wonders
in Pharaoh's presence,
the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate,
and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
"This month shall stand at the head of your calendar;
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month
every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb,
one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb,
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one
and shall share in the lamb
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then,
with the whole assembly of Israel present,
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole,
with its head and shanks and inner organs.
None of it must be kept beyond the next morning;
whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.

"This is how you are to eat it: 
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt,
striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.

"This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution."

R. (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

AlleluiaJN 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord,
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 12:1-8
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
"See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath."
He said to the them, "Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."

Meditation: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice"
What does the commandment "keep holy the Sabbath" require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command? The religious leaders confronted Jesus on this issue. The "Sabbath rest" was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God's goodness and the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment.
Mercy and not sacrifice
Jesus' disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the Scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom. In their hunger, David and his men ate of the holy bread offered in the Temple. Jesus also quoted of the Sabbath work involved in worship in the Temple. This kind of work was usually double the work of worship on weekdays. Jesus then quotes from the prophet Hosea (6:6): I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. While the claims of ritual sacrifice are important to God, mercy and kindness in response to human need are even more important. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord's Day?
"Lord, make us to walk in your way: Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice; where there is peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness; where there is the fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter; where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess nor harshness; this we know through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Seventh Day, from the early Greek fathers, attributed to Eusebius of Alexandria (5th century AD)
"Now every week has seven days. Six of these God has given to us for work, and one for prayer, rest, and making reparation for our sins, so that on the Lord's Day we may atone to God for any sins we have committed on the other six days. Therefore, arrive early at the church of God; draw near to the Lord and confess your sins to him, repenting in prayer and with a contrite heart. Attend the holy and divine liturgy; finish your prayer and do not leave before the dismissal. Contemplate your master as he is broken and distributed, yet not consumed. If you have a clear conscience, go forward and partake of the body and blood of the Lord." (excerpt from SERMON 6, 1-2)


(Exodus 11:10  ̶ 12:14; Psalm 116)

KEY VERSE: "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (v 8).
TO KNOW: As Jesus and his disciples continued their journey, the Pharisees criticized him for allowing his hungry followers to glean grain on the Sabbath, since the law forbade manual labor on the Lord's Day. The religious leaders defined "work" as thirty-nine forbidden actions. Among them were reaping, winnowing, threshing and preparing a meal. By plucking the corn Jesus' disciples were guilty of reaping; by rubbing it in their hands they were guilty of threshing, and by separating the grain from the chaff they were guilty of winnowing. Furthermore, the whole process constituted preparing a meal, another violation of the Sabbath law. In defense of his disciples, Jesus cited the example of David who fed his hungry men with the "bread of offering" usually reserved for priests (1 Sm 21:4-7). Jesus argued that priests did not incur guilt by preparing the offering of the lambs on the Sabbath (Nm 28:9). He quoted the prophet Hosea who said: "I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice" (Hos 6:6). Jesus was liberating God's people from the burdens of a restrictive law, which they had labored under for so long (Mt 11:28).
TO LOVE: Do I have a legalistic view of God's Law?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, teach me to observe the Lord's Day through worship and service to your people.

Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor of the Church

Lawrence of Brindisi joined the Capuchin Friars at age 16. Ordained a priest, he taught theology and served as linguist and military chaplain. Lawrence rallied the German princes to fight the Turks, and was asked to lead the army into battle carrying no weapon but a crucifix. The Turks were completely defeated. Lawrence was made Master General of his order in 1602. As a Diplomat, he carried out important and successful peace missions to Munich and Madrid. Lawrence was an effective and forceful preacher, and writer of catechisms. In 1956, the Capuchin order compiled fifteen volumes of his sermons, letters and writings. He was proclaimed Apostolic Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959. 

Friday 21 July 2017

St Lawrence of Brindisi. Day of Penance.
Exodus 11:10 – 12:14. Psalm 115(116):12-13, 15-18. Matthew 12:1-8.
I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord — Psalm 115(116):12-13, 15-18.
‘Here is something greater than the Temple.’
Jesus responds to the accusation of breaking the law on the Sabbath. Some may remember a time when they felt guilty about doing too much work in the garden on Sundays but really knew that gardening is a pleasure and a way of praising God.
These Pharisees try to trap Jesus but with some examples he makes it clear that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Jesus puts human needs above the letter of the law. Hence he defends the disciples who took some grain when hungry and later cures a man with a withered hand. Both incidents happened on the Sabbath and reflection on them can draw us closer to God who delights to be with us. We reflect and pray.


St. Lawrence of Brindisi, whose feast we celebrate on July 21, is a Doctor of the Church. He was born Caesar de Rossi in 1559 in Naples. As a boy, he studied with the Conventual Franciscans and later went to study in Venice. There he discerned a call to enter the Capuchin Franciscans and took the name Lawrence.
Fluent in Hebrew and expertly versed in the Bible, he worked as a diplomat for the secular powers in Europe and as a missionary. In 1596, he was commissioned by the Pope to work for the conversion of the Jewish people and to combat the spread of Protestantism. He was a great preacher and refused a second term as minister general of his order in favor of preaching. He died in 1619.

Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, July 21, 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 12,1-8
At that time Jesus went through the cornfields one Sabbath day. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them.

The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, 'Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath.'

But he said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry - how he went into the house of God and they ate the loaves of the offering although neither he nor his followers were permitted to eat them, but only the priests? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbath day the Temple priests break the Sabbath without committing any fault? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of man is master of the Sabbath.'

3) Reflection
• In today’s Gospel we see that there are many conflicts between Jesus and the religious authority of that time. They are conflicts regarding the religious practices of that time: fasting, purity, observance of the Sabbath, etc.  In normal terms, they would be conflicts regarding for example, matrimony between divorced persons, friendship with prostitutes, the acceptance of homosexuals, communion without being married by the Church, not to go to Mass on Sunday, not to fast on Good Friday.  The conflicts were many: at home, in the school, in work, in the community, in the Church, in personal life, in society. Conflicts regarding growth, relationship, age, mentality.  So many of them! To live life without conflicts is impossible!  Conflict is part of life and springs up since the time of birth. We are born with birth pangs. Conflicts are not accidents along the way, but form part of the journey, of the process of conversion. What strikes us is the way in which Jesus faces the conflicts. In the discussion with his enemies, he was not trying to show them that he was right, but wished to make the experience which he, Jesus, had of God, Father and Mother, prevail. The image of God which others had was that of a severe Judge who only threatened and condemned. Jesus tries to have mercy on the blind observance of the norms and of the law, prevail, since it had nothing to do with the objective of the Law which is the practice of Love.  

• Matthew 12, 1-2: To pick ears of corn on the Sabbath day and the criticism of the Pharisees.  On a Sabbath day, the disciples went through the corn fields and they opened their way picking ears of corn to eat them. They were hungry. The Pharisees arrived and invoke the Bible to say that the disciples were transgressing the law of the Sabbath (cf. Ex 20, 8-11).  Jesus also uses the Bible and responds invoking three examples taken from Scripture: (1) that of David, (2) that of the legislation on work of the priests in the temple and (3) from the action of the Prophet Hosea, that is, he quotes a historical book, a legislative book and a prophetic book.

• Matthew 12, 3-4:  The example of David.  Jesus recalls that David himself did something which was forbidden by the Law, because he took the sacred bread of the temple and gave it to the soldiers to eat, because they were hungry (1 S 21, 2-7). No Pharisee had the courage to criticize King David!

• Matthew 12, 5-6: The example of the priests.  Accused by the religious authority, Jesus argues beginning from what they themselves, the religious authority, do on the Sabbath day. On the Sabbath day, in the Temple of Jerusalem, the priests worked very much, more than the other days of the week, because they had to sacrifice the animals for the sacrifices, they had to clean, sweep, carry burdens, kill the animals, etc. and nobody said that this was against the Law, they thought it as normal! The Law itself obliged them to do all this (Nb 28, 9-10).

• Matthew 12, 7: The example of the prophets. Jesus quotes the phrase of the Prophet Hosea: I want mercy and not sacrifice.  The word mercy means to have the heart (cor) in the misery (miseri) of others, that is, the merciful person has to be very close to the suffering of the persons, has to identify himself/herself with them. The word sacrifice means to have (ficio)  a thing consecrated (sacri), that is, that the one who offers a sacrifice separates the sacrificed object from the profane use and placed it at a distance from the daily life of the people.  If the Pharisees had had this way of looking at the life of the Prophet Hosea, they would have known that the most pleasing sacrifice for God is not that the consecrated persons lives far away from reality, but that he/she placed totally his/her consecrated heart in the service of the brothers and sisters in order to relieve them from their misery. They would not have considered guilty those who in reality were innocent.    

• Matthew 12, 8: The Son of Man is the master of the Sabbath. Jesus ends with this phrase: The Son of Man is the Master of the Sabbath!  Jesus himself is the criterion of interpretation of the Law of God.  Jesus knows the Bible by heart and invokes it to indicate that the arguments of the others had no foundation. At that time, there were no printed Bibles like we have them today. In every community there was only one Bible written by hand, which remained in the Synagogue.  If Jesus knew the Bible so well, it means that during the thirty years of his life in Nazareth, he had participated intensely in the life of the community, where Scripture was read every Saturday. The new experience of God the Father, made Jesus discovered much better the intention of God in decreeing the Laws of the Old Testament. Having lived thirty years in Nazareth and feeling as his own the oppression and exclusion of so many brothers and sisters, in the name of the Law, Jesus must have perceived that this could not be the sense of the Law. If God is Father, then he accepts all as sons and daughters. If God is Father, then we should be brothers and sisters among ourselves. Jesus lived this and prayed for this, from the beginning until the end. The Law should be at the service of life and of fraternity. “The human being is not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for the human being” (Mk 2, 27).  Because of his great fidelity to this message, Jesus was condemned to death.  He disturbed the system, and the system defended itself, using its force against Jesus, because he wished that the Law be placed at the service of life, and not vice-versa.  We lack very much in order to know the Bible at depth and to participate deeply in the community, like Jesus did.  

4) Personal questions
• What type of conflicts do you live in the family, in society, in the Church?  Which are the conflicts which concern religious practices which today, cause suffering to persons and which are a cause of discussion and polemics? Which is the image of God which is behind all these preconceptions, behind all these norms and prohibitions?
• What has conflict taught you during all these years? Which is the message which you draw from all this for our communities today?  

5) Concluding Prayer
Lord, I muse on you in the watches of the night,
for you have always been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice;
my heart clings to you,
your right hand supports me. (Ps 63,6-8)