Chủ Nhật, 23 tháng 7, 2017


Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 395

Reading 1EX 14:5-18
When it was reported to the king of Egypt
that the people had fled,
Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them.
They exclaimed, "What have we done!
Why, we have released Israel from our service!"
So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiersB
six hundred first-class chariots
and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all.
So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh
that he pursued the children of Israel
even while they were marching away in triumph.
The Egyptians, then, pursued them;
Pharaoh's whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers,
caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea,
at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up
and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them.
In great fright they cried out to the LORD.
And they complained to Moses,
"Were there no burial places in Egypt
that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?
Why did you do this to us?
Why did you bring us out of Egypt?
Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said,
'Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians'?
Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians
than to die in the desert."
But Moses answered the people,
"Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers."

Responsorial PsalmEX 15:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh's chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

AlleluiaPS 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."
He said to them in reply,
"An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, 
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here."

Meditation: "An adulterous generation seeks for a sign"
What would the Lord Jesus say about our generation? Jesus gave a rather stern warning to his generation when they demanded a sign from him. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded "signs" from God's messengers to authenticate their claims. Jesus faulted them for one thing: spiritual adultery. The image of adultery was often used in the Scriptures for describing apostasy or infidelity towards God.
Signs from God
When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims to be the Messiah sent from God, he says in so many words that he is God's sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God's warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented (Jonah 3:5). And the Queen of Sheba recognized God's wisdom in Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-9). Jonah was God's sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders of Jesus' day were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God's Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message.
Simeon had prophesied at Jesus' birth that he was destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against... that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all - his resurrection on the third day.
The Holy Spirit's gift of wisdom and understanding
The Lord Jesus, through the gift of his Holy Spirit, offers us freedom from sin and ignorance, and he gives us wisdom and understanding so that we may grow in knowledge of God and his ways. Do you thirst for God and for the wisdom which comes from above? James the Apostle says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. If we wish to be wise in God's ways, then we must humble ourselves before him, like attentive students who wish to learn, and submit our heart and mind to his will for our lives.
The single of heart and mind desire one thing alone - God who is the source of all wisdom, goodness, truth, and knowledge. Do you wish to be wise and loving as God is wise and loving? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the wisdom which comes from above and to free your heart from all that would hinder God's loving action in your life.
"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may grow in wisdom and knowledge of your love and truth. Free me from stubborn pride and willfulness that I may wholly desire to do what is pleasing to you."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe stumbling block of the cross, from an anonymous early Christian teacher
"What is the sign of Jonah? The stumbling block of the cross. So it is not the disputers of knowledge who will be saved but those who believe true teaching. For the cross of Christ is indeed a stumbling block to those who dispute knowledge but salvation to those who believe. Paul testifies to this: 'But we, for our part, preach the crucified Christ - to the Jews indeed a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God' (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). Why do the Jews seek signs and the Greeks seek wisdom? God pointed to the sign of the stumbling block of the cross to both the Jews and the Greeks. Thus those who wish to find Christ not through faith but through wisdom will perish on the stumbling block of foolishness. Those who wish to know the Son of God not through faith but through a demonstration of signs will remain trapped in their disbelief, falling on the stumbling block of his death. It is no small wonder that the Jews, considering the death of Christ, thought he was merely a man, when even Christians - as they purport to be but really are not - because of his death are reluctant to declare the only begotten, the crucified, as incomparable majesty. (excerpt from INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 30)


(Exodus 14:5-18; Psalm: Exodus 15)

KEY VERSE: "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign" (v 39).
TO KNOW: The scribes and Pharisees demanded evidence from Jesus that his works came from God and not from the evil one (Beelzebul, v 27, the pagan god Baal of Syria). Jesus said that it was the religious leaders who were sinful, since they preferred a religion of legalism to one that made moral demands of them. Jesus told them that the people of Nineveh repented because of Jonah's preaching, not because of signs and wonders (Jon 3:10). The Queen of Sheba sought Solomon's wisdom, not his magic (1 Kgs 10:1-10). Jesus was greater than either Jonah or Solomon, yet the people refused to believe in him. The only sign he would give those faithless ones was the "Sign of Jonah," the three days the prophet spent in the belly of the whale (Jon 2), a sign of Jesus' impending death and resurrection.
TO LOVE: Do I need to see evidence in order to have faith in Jesus?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to see you in the everyday circumstances of my life.​

Optional Memorial of Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, priest

Joseph Zaroun Makhlūf, was born in Northern Lebanon and raised by an uncle who opposed the boy's youthful piety. At age 23 Joseph snuck away to join the Baladite monastery of Saint Maron at Annaya where he took the name Sharbel in memory of a 2nd century martyr. He became a hermit from 1875 until his death 23 years later. He gained a reputation for holiness, and was sought after for counseling. Sharbel had a great personal devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and was known to levitate during his prayers. He was briefly paralyzed for unknown reasons just before his death. There were several post-mortem miracles attributed to him, including periods in 1927 and 1950 when a bloody "sweat" flowed from his corpse. His tomb has become a place of pilgrimage for Lebanese and non-Lebanese, Christian and non-Christian alike. He was canonized 9 October 1977 by Pope Paul VI.

Monday 24 July 2017

St Sarbel Makhlüf.
Exodus 14:5-18. Exodus 15:1-6. Matthew 12:38-42.
Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory — Exodus 15:1-6.
‘There is something greater than Solomon here.’
There is always a temptation to say that we would have believed more wholeheartedly if we had grown up with Jesus. Yet we find stories in the gospels where the locals seem to have most trouble in recognising Jesus.
Today’s gospel has the local spiritual authorities asking for proof. It is just the sort of thing one often thinks would help our faith rest more comfortably. If only Jesus would heal this person or visit that person, all would be different. The unfortunate truth seems to be that people ask for signs because they do not believe.
So while we sometimes ask in faith for miracles, and ask Jesus to answer our special prayers, even then we leave it to him to grant what is the Father’s will.


On July 24, the Catholic Church celebrates the life of St. Charbel Makhlouf, a Maronite Catholic priest, monk, and hermit who is known for working miracles both during his life and after his death.
On the occasion of his beatification in 1965, the Eastern Catholic hermit was described by Pope Paul VI as “ a new, eminent member of monastic sanctity,” who “through his example and his intercession is enriching the entire Christian people.”
Born into humble circumstances in Lebanon during 1828, Yussef Antoun Makhlouf was the youngest of Antoun Zaarour Makhlouf and Brigitta Elias al-Shediyaq's five children. Antoun, who had been taken away from the family and forced into hard labor, died when his youngest son was only three.
Yussef studied at the parish school and tended to his family's cow. Engaged in prayer and solitude from a early age, he spent a great deal of time outdoors in the fields and pastures near his village, contemplating God amid the inspiring views of Lebanon's valleys and mountains.
His uncle and guardian Tanious wanted the boy to continue working with him, while his mother wanted him to marry a young woman. Yussef had other plans, however, and left home in 1851 without informing anyone.
Yussef would become “Brother Charbel,” after making a pilgrimage on foot to his new monastic home. In this, he followed the example of his maternal uncles, who were already living as solitary monks at the Hermitage of Saint Paul in the Qadisha Valley.
Charbel took his monastic vows in November of 1853, during a solemn ceremony which was closed to the public and off-limits even to his family. He subsequently studied for the priesthood and was ordained, returning to the Monastery of St. Maron.
The priest-monk lived and served in the monastery for 19 years, showing great devotion to the life of prayer, manual work, and contemplative silence.
Charbel's superiors observed God's “supernatural power” at work in his life, and he became known as a wonder-worker even among some Muslims. In 1875, he was granted permission to live as a solitary monk in a nearby hermitage dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.
Rigorous asceticism, and a profound union with God, continued to characterize the monk's life for the next 23 years. Deeply devoted to God's Eucharistic presence, he suffered a stroke while celebrating the Divine Liturgy of the Maronite Catholic Church on December 16, 1898. He died on Christmas Eve of that year.
St. Charbel's tomb has been a site for pilgrimages since his death. Hundreds of miracles are believed to have occurred through his intercession with God, both in Lebanon and around the world.
He was canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul VI, who had earlier hailed the Lebanese Maronite saint as an “admirable flower of sanctity blooming on the stem of the ancient monastic traditions of the East.”

Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, July 24, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
be merciful to your people.
Fill us with your gifts
and make us always eager to serve you
in faith, hope and love.
You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 12,38-42
Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. 'Master,' they said, 'we should like to see a sign from you.' He replied, 'It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah remained in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
On Judgement Day the men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and they will be its condemnation, because when Jonah preached they repented; and look, there is something greater than Jonah here.
On Judgement Day the Queen of the South will appear against this generation and be its condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look, there is something greater than Solomon here.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel presents to us a discussion between Jesus and the religious authority of the time. This time, the doctors of the law and the Pharisees are those who ask Jesus for a sign. Jesus had made many signs: he had cured the leper (Mt 8,1-4), the servant of the centurion (Mt 8,5-13), Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt 8,14-15), the sick and the possessed of the city (Mt 8,16), he had calmed down the storm (Mt 8,23-27), had cast out the devils (Mt 8,28-34) and had worked many other miracles. The people seeing all these signs recognize in Jesus the Servant of Yahweh (Mt 8,17; 12,17-21). But the doctors and the Pharisees were not capable to perceive the significance of so many signs which Jesus had made. They wanted something different.
• Matthew 12,38: The request for a sign made by the Pharisees and the doctors. The Pharisees arrived and said to Jesus: Master, we should like to see a sign from you". They want Jesus to make a sign for them, a miracle, and thus they will be able to verify and examine if Jesus is or not the one who is sent by God according to what they imagined and expected. They wanted to ascertain it, to be sure. They wanted to submit Jesus to their own criteria, in such a way as to be able to place him into their own Messianic frame. There is no openness in them for a possible conversation. They had understood nothing of all that Jesus had done.
• Mathew 12,39: The response of Jesus: the sign of Jonah. Jesus does not submit himself to the request of the religious authority, because it is not sincere: “An evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign that will be given them is the sign of the prophet Jonah”. These words constitute a very strong judgment regarding the doctors and the Pharisees. They evoke the oracle of Hosea who denounced the people, accusing it of being an unfaithful and adulterous spouse (Ho 2,4). The Gospel of Mark says that Jesus before the request of the Pharisees sighed profoundly (Mk 8,12), probably out of indignation and of sadness before such a great blindness: because it is not worthwhile to place a beautiful picture before someone who does not want to open the eyes. Anyone who closes the eyes cannot see! The only sign which will be given to them is the sign of Jonah.
• Matthew 12,41: There is something greater than Jonah here. Jesus looks toward the future: “For as Jonah remained in the belly of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so will the son of man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights”. Therefore, the only sign will be the resurrection of Jesus which will be prolonged in the resurrection of his followers. This is the sign which will be given to the doctors and the Pharisees in the future. They will be placed before the fact that Jesus, condemned to death by them and to the death of the cross, God will raise him from the dead and he will continue, in many ways to raise those who believe in him., for example, he will raise them in the witness of the apostles, “persons without instruction” who will have had the courage to face authority announcing the resurrection of Jesus (Ac 4,13). What converts is witness, not miracles: “On Judgment day the men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and they will be its condemnation, because when Jonah preached they repented”. The people of Nineveh converted because of the witness of the preaching of Jonah and they denounced the unbelief of the doctors and the Pharisees: because “Look, there is something greater than Jonah here”.
• Matthew 12,42: There is something greater than Solomon here. The reference to the conversion of the people of Nineveh is associated and makes one recall the episode of the Queen of the South. “On Judgment Day the Queen of the South will appear against this generation and be its condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and look, there is something greater than Solomon here!” This reminder of the episode of the Queen of the South who recognizes the wisdom of Solomon, indicates how the Bible was used at that time. By association: the principal rule of interpretation was the following: “The Bible is explained through the Bible”. Up until now this is one of the more important norms for the interpretation of the Bible, especially for the prayerful reading of the Word of God.

4) Personal questions
• To be converted means to be completely changed morally, but also to change the ideas and the way of thinking. A moralist is one who changes behaviour but keeps unaltered his way of thinking. And I how am I?
• Before the renewal of the Church today, am I a Pharisee who asks for a sign or am I like the people who recognize that this is the way wanted by God?

5) Concluding Prayer
Better your faithful love than life itself;
my lips will praise you.
Thus I will bless you all my life,
in your name lift up my hands. (Ps 63,3-4)