Thứ Tư, 26 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 27, 2017 : TURSDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 398

In the third month after their departure from the land of Egypt,
on its first day, the children of Israel came to the desert of Sinai.
After the journey from Rephidim to the desert of Sinai,
they pitched camp.

While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain,
the LORD told Moses,
"I am coming to you in a dense cloud,
so that when the people hear me speaking with you,
they may always have faith in you also."
When Moses, then, had reported to the LORD the response of the people,
the LORD added, "Go to the people
and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow.
Make them wash their garments and be ready for the third day;
for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai
before the eyes of all the people."

On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning,
and a heavy cloud over the mountain,
and a very loud trumpet blast,
so that all the people in the camp trembled.
But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.
Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke,
for the LORD came down upon it in fire. 
The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace,
and the whole mountain trembled violently.
The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking
and God answering him with thunder.

When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai,
he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.

Responsorial PsalmDANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you who look into the depths 
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!

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.

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?"
He said to them in reply,
"Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them.

"But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."


Meditation: "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
What is the best and easiest way to help people understand God's kingdom? Like the rabbis of his time, Jesus very frequently used parables - short stories and images taken from everyday life - to convey hidden truths about the kingdom of God. Like a skillful artist, Jesus sketched memorable pictures with short and simple words. A good image can speak more loudly and clearly than many words. Jesus used the ordinary everyday illustrations of life and nature to point to another order of reality - hidden, yet visible to those who had "eyes to see" and "ears to hear". Jesus communicated with vivid illustrations which captured the imaginations of his audience more powerfully than any abstract presentation could. His parables are like buried treasure waiting to be discovered (Matthew 13:44).
What can the parable about seeds and roots teach us about the kingdom of God? Any farmer will attest to the importance of good soil for supplying nutrients for growth. And how does a plant get the necessary food and water it needs except by its roots? The Scriptures frequently use the image of fruit-bearing plants or trees to convey the principle of spiritual life and death. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8; see also Psalm 1:3)
How do you listen to God's word?
Jesus' parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God's word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly. There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Such a person is unteachable and blind to what he or she doesn't want to hear. Then there is the shallow hearer. He or she fails to think things out or think them through; they lack depth. They may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when it wears off their mind wanders to something else.
Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests or cares, but who lacks the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important. Such a person is too busy to pray or too preoccupied to study and meditate on God's word. Then there is the one whose mind is open. Such a person is at all times willing to listen and to learn. He or she is never too proud or too busy to learn. They listen in order to understand. God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand his will and have the strength to live according to it. Do you hunger for God's word?
The refusal to believe and understand
Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. Did Jesus mean to say that he was deliberately confusing or hiding the meaning of his stories from his listeners? Very likely not. Jesus was speaking from experience. He was aware that some who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe. God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom - that which is hidden to the spiritually blind - to those who hunger for God and humbly submit to his truth.
What can makes us ineffective or unresponsive to God's word? Preoccupation with other things can distract us from what is truly important and worthwhile. And  letting our hearts and minds be consumed with material things can easily weigh us down and draw us away from the heavenly treasure that lasts for eternity. God's word can only take root in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say.
How God's word takes root in us
The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not understand. God's word can only take root in a receptive heart that is ready to believe and willing to submit. Do you submit to God's word with trust and obedience?
One lesson from this parable is clear: the harvest is sure to come. While some seed will fall by the wayside and some fall on shallow ground and never come to maturity, and some be choked to death by the thorns; nonetheless a harvest will come. The seed that falls on good soil, on the heart that is receptive, will reap abundant fruit. God is always ready to speak to each of us and to give us understanding of his word. Are you hungry for his word? And do you allow anything to keep you from submitting to God's word with joy and trusting obedience?
"Lord Jesus, faith in your word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth. Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call, that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it".

THURSDAY, JULY 27, MATTHEW 13:10-17
Weekday

(Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20b; Psalm: Daniel 3)

KEY VERSE: "Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear" (v 16).
TO KNOW: Jesus often spoke to the crowds in parables (Hebrew, mashal), making a comparison of common things to impart a moral lesson. These figures of speech encouraged his audience to discover the meaning of his words. Only those who were open to the divine mysteries could understand the plan of God revealed in Jesus’ words. Stubborn nonbelievers were blind and deaf to his message. They fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah: "They look but do not truly see. They listen but do not really hear" (Is 6:9-10). The disciples were blessed because they believed what they saw and heard, and they would grow even more so in their understanding of God's reign. The prophets and righteous people of old longed to see and hear that which the disciples of Jesus were privileged to witness.
TO LOVE: Am I able to help others understand the revealed word of God?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to comprehend the mysteries you came to reveal.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20. Daniel 3:52-56. Matthew 13:10-17.
Glory and praise for ever — Daniel 3:52-56.
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand.’
Jesus speaks like an exasperated school teacher in today’s gospel. ‘Don’t pay attention—you might learn something’ is what he is saying. Like the prophet Jeremiah before him, he is calling them to recognise where God is, or perhaps is not, in their lives.
Those who do not have faith and do not have God at the centre of their lives will not understand the parables of Jesus. They are the ones who ‘have not’, who rely on the law instead of faith.
They see belief in God as fulfilling requirements and rituals, rather than a faith relationship where we stand humbly before God, aware of our sinfulness and recognising that God and none other is our source of life, as today’s psalm response says.
Jesus, grant us the humility to recognise you and your word as the true meaning of our lives.

BLESSED MARY MAGDALEN MARTINENGO

Mary Magdalen Martinengo da Barco was born as the daughter of a noble family, her father being Fidelis, who was the son of noble parents, in Brescia, Italy. Her mother died when she was only 5 months old, and her childhood was lived with many psychological disturbances. However, she later joined the Capuchinesses of Santa Maria della Neve.

Her responsibilities in the convent varied from portress to Novice Mistress, and eventually superior of the convent. In order to fully imitate her foundress, St. Clare of Assisi, Mary distinguished herself in modesty, patience and obedience. She had a great devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, and the climax of every day for her were her numerous visits to the Blessed Sacrament. God rewarded her with the gifts of miracles and prophecy.
Mary Magdalen died when she reached the age of fifty, and she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1900.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 13,10-17
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, July 27, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
Lord,
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 13,10-17
Then the disciples went up to Jesus and asked, 'Why do you talk to them in parables?' In answer, he said, 'Because to you is granted to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not granted. Anyone who has will be given more and will have more than enough; but anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah is being fulfilled: Listen and listen, but never understand! Look and look, but never perceive! This people's heart has grown coarse, their ears dulled, they have shut their eyes tight to avoid using their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their heart to understand, changing their ways and being healed by me.

'But blessed are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! In truth I tell you, many prophets and upright people longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

3) Reflection
• Chapter 13 speaks to us about the discourse of the Parables. Following the text of Mark (Mk 4,1-34), Matthew omits the parable of the seed which germinates alone (Mk 4,26-29), and he stops on the discussion of the reason for the Parable (Mt 13,10-17) adding the parable of the wheat and the darnel (Mt 13,24-30), of the yeast (Mt 13,33), of the treasure (Mt 13,44), of the pearl (Mt 13,45-46) and of the dragnet (Mt 13,47-50). Together with the parable of the sower (Mt 13,4-11) and of the mustard seed (Mt 13,31-32), there are seven parables in the Discourse of the Parables (Mt 13,1-50).

• Matthew 13,10: The question. In the Gospel of Mark, the Disciples ask for an explanation of the parables (Mk 4,10). Here in Matthew, the prospective is diverse. They want to know why Jesus, when he speaks to the people, speaks only in parables: “Why do you talk to them in parables?” Which is the reason for this difference?

• Matthew 13,11-13: “Because to you is granted to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not granted. Anyone who has will be given more and will have more than enough; but anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has. The reason I speak to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. Jesus answers: “Because to you is granted to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven. Anyone who has will be given more and will have more than enough; but anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has“. Why is it granted to the Apostles to know and not to others? Here is a comparison to help us to understand. Two persons listen to the mother who teaches: is someone who does not cut and sew”.One of them is the daughter and the other is not. The daughter understands and the other one understands nothing. Why? Because in the house of the mother the expression “cut and sew” means to slander. Thus, the teaching of the mother helps the daughter to understand better how to put into practice love, helping her so that what she already knows may grow, develop. Anyone who has will be given more. The other person understands nothing and loses even the little that she knew regarding love and slander. She remains confused and does not succeed in understanding what love has to do with cutting and sewing! Anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has. A parable reveals and hides at the same time! It reveals for “those who are inside”, who accept Jesus as the Messiah Servant. It hides from those who insist in saying that the Messiah will be and should be a Glorious King. These understand the image presented by the parable, but they do not succeed to understand the significance. The Disciples, instead grow in what they already know concerning the Messiah. The others do not understand anything and lose even the little that they thought they knew on the Kingdom and on the Messiah.

• Matthew 13,14-15: ”The fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Just like some other time (Mt 12,18-21), in this different reaction of the people and of the Pharisees before the teaching of the parables, Matthew again sees here the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. He even quotes at length the text of Isaiah which says: “Listen and listen, but never understand! Look and look, but never perceive! This people’s heart has grown coarse, their ears dulled, they have shut their eyes tight to avoid using their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their heart to understand, changing their ways and being healed by me”.

• Matthew 13,16-17: “But blessed are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear“. All this explains the last phrase: “But blessed are your eyes because they see your ears because they hear. In truth I tell you, many prophets and upright people longed to see what you see and never saw it, to hear what you hear and never heard it!”

• The Parables: a new way of speaking to the people about God. People remained impressed about the way in which Jesus taught. “A new way of teaching! Given with authority! Different from that of the Scribes! (Mk 7,28). Jesus had a great capacity for finding very simple images to compare the things of God with the things of life which people knew and experienced in the daily struggle to survive. This presupposes two things: to be inside the things of the life of the people, and to be inside the things of God, of the Kingdom of God. In some parables there are things that happen and that seldom arrive in life. For example, when has it ever happened that a shepherd, who has one hundred sheep, abandons the flock with 99 to go and look for the lost sheep? (Lk 15,4). Where have we ever seen a father who accepts with joy and a feast his son who had squandered all his goods, without saying a word of reproach to him? (Lk 15,20-24). When has it been seen that a Samaritan man is better than a Levite, than a priest? (Lk 10,29-37). The parable makes one think. It leads the person to enter into the story beginning from the experience of life. And through our experience it urges us to discover that God is present in our daily life. The parable is a participative form of teaching and of educating. It does not change everything in one minute. It does not make one know, it makes one discover. The parable changes our look, it renders the person who listens to be a contemplative, it helps her to observe reality. This is the novelty of the teaching of the parables of Jesus, different from that of the doctors who taught that God manifests himself only in the observance of the law. “The Kingdom is present in your midst” (Lk 17,21). But those who listened did not always understand.

4) Personal questions
• Jesus says: “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom”. When I read the Gospels am I like those who understand nothing or like those to whom it has been granted to know the Kingdom?
• Which is the parable of Jesus with which I identify myself more? Why?

5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh, your faithful love is in the heavens,
your constancy reaches to the clouds,
your saving justice is like towering mountains,
your judgements like the mighty deep. (Ps 36,5-6)