Thứ Năm, 27 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 28, 2017 : FRIDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 399

Reading 1EX 20:1-17
In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:

"I, the LORD, am your God, 
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves 
in the shape of anything in the sky above 
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, 
inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness 
on the children of those who hate me, 
down to the third and fourth generation; 
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation 
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished 
him who takes his name in vain.

"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work, 
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, 
or your male or female slave, or your beast, 
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, 
the sea and all that is in them; 
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

"Honor your father and your mother, 
that you may have a long life in the land 
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

"You shall not kill.

"You shall not commit adultery.

"You shall not steal.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, 
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, 
nor anything else that belongs to him."

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

AlleluiaSEE LK 8:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."


Meditation: "Whoever hears the word and understands it"
How good are you at listening, especially for the word of God? God is ever ready to speak to each of us and to give us understanding of his word.  This parable of Jesus is a warning to those who hear and who preach the word of God. What makes us ineffective and 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 treasure that lasts for eternity.
Allowing God's word to take root in our heart
God's word can only take root in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say. One lesson is clear: the harvest is sure.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. Are you teachable and eager to learn God's truth? And do you allow anything to keep you from submitting to God's word with joy and trusting obedience?
"Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing and obeying you. May I be fruitful in your service and may I never fear to speak of you to others and to share with them the good news of the Gospel."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersGod's word is like good seed sown in the heart, by Jerome (347-420 AD)
"'And the one sown upon good ground is he who hears the word, understands it and bears fruit.' Even as on bad ground there were three diverse situations (by the path, upon rocky ground and among thorns), so too on good ground the diversity is of three types: fruit of one hundredfold, sixtyfold and thirtyfold. Both in one and the other there is a change that takes place in the will, not in the nature itself. In both the unbelievers and believers it is the heart that receives the seed. 'The wicked one comes,' he says, 'and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.' In the second and third cases, he says, 'That is he who hears the word.' In the explanation of the good ground, he is the one who hears the word. First we must listen, then understand; after understanding, we must bear the fruits of good teaching and yield fruit either one hundredfold, sixtyfold or thirtyfold." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 2.13.23)

FRIDAY, JULY 28, MATTHEW 13:18-23
Weekday

(Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19)

KEY VERSE: "But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it" (v 23).
TO KNOW: Jesus explained the parable of the sower to his disciples. The different types of soil in the parable depicted various responses to the proclamation of God's reign. The seed sown on the pathway represented those who heard the message, the Word of God, but never accepted it in their hearts, and the evil one robbed them of what was sown. The seed sown on rocky ground were those who heard the word with enthusiasm, but quickly fell away when persecution or trials occurred. The seed sown among thorns were those who believed for a while, but the lure of riches and worldly concerns choked out the life of faith. The seed that was sown on fertile soil were those who heard and responded to the message with faith. Their lives would yield abundant fruit.
TO LOVE: What are the seeds of faith that I have planted?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, prepare my heart so that your words will take root and grow.

Friday 28 July 2017

Day of penance.
Exodus 20:1-17. Psalm 18(19):8-11. Matthew 13:18-23.
Lord, you have the words of everlasting life — Psalm 18(19):8-11.
‘Hear the parable of the sower …’
How do I receive the word of God? So that it has no impact? Or so that its impact is forgotten? Or so that it is choked by the rat-race and its thorny ways? Or do I dare to be sweet-smelling, deep, dark soil? Can I be that good soil that, in God’s good time, produces perfect fruits and flowers?
Humus—that rotting mess of organic scraps—is a source of rich life. And when we read that God humbles himself, we should understand that God becomes, literally, humus. Apparently good for nothing but in its warmth, its receptivity, its self-giving and its honesty, humus turns given seed to abundant harvest. Lord, may I become less and less but, with you, more and more.

ST. VICTOR I, POPE

The date of birth of St. victor is unknown, but we do know that he was Pope from 189 to 199.
Victor was a native African, and his father's name was Felix. He is known for having obtained the release of many Christians who had been deported to the mines of Sardinia, and for being the first Pope to celebrate the liturgy and write Church documents in Latin rather than Greek.
He is most famous, however, for decreeing that Easter be universally celebrated on a Sunday, a practice already common in the West, but not so in the East.
He died in 199, possibly from martyrdom.



LECTIO: MATTHEW 13,18-23
Lectio Divina: 
 Friday, July 28, 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 13,18-23
Jesus said to his disciples: 'So pay attention to the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the Evil One comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the seed sown on the edge of the path.
The seed sown on patches of rock is someone who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But such a person has no root deep down and does not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, at once he falls away.
The seed sown in thorns is someone who hears the word, but the worry of the world and the lure of riches choke the word and so it produces nothing.
And the seed sown in rich soil is someone who hears the word and understands it; this is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.'

3) Reflection
• Context. Beginning with chapter 12 on the one side we see there is opposition between the religious heads of Israel, the Scribes and the Pharisees, on the other side, within the crowds who listen to Jesus and are admired because of his marvellous actions, gradually, little by little a group of disciples is being formed, still of uncertain features, but who follow Jesus with perseverance. To twelve of these disciples Jesus has given the gift of his authority and of his power; he has sent them as messengers of the Kingdom, giving them demanding and radical instructions (10, 5-39). Now at the moment when controversy breaks out with his opponents, Jesus recognizes his true kinship, not in the lines of the flesh (mother, brothers), but in those who follow him, listen to him and fulfil the will of the Father (12, 46-50). This last account offers us the possibility to imagine that the audience to whom Jesus addressed his words is two-fold: on the one side the disciples to whom he has given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom (13.11) and who have the possibility to understand them (13, 50) and on the other side the crowds who seem to be deprived of this deep understanding (13, 11.34-36). Before the large crowds which gather together to listen to Jesus is presented, above all, the parable of the sower. Jesus speaks about a seed that falls or not on the earth. Its growth depends on the place where it falls; it is possible that it be hindered so that it cannot bear fruit. This is what happens in the first three types of earth “along the road side” (the ground hardened by the passing of men and animals), “the rocky earth” (formed by rocks), «on the thorns” (it is the earth covered with thorns). Instead, the seed that falls on “good ground” bears excellent fruit even if at different levels. The reader is directed to be more attentive to the yield of the grain than to the gesture of the sower. Besides, Matthew focuses the attention of the listener on the good earth and the fruit that this earth is capable of producing in an exceptional manner.
The first part of the parable ends with an admonition: “Anyone who has ears should listen” (v. 9); it is an appeal to the liberty of the listener. The word of Jesus may remain a “parable” for a crowd incapable to understand; it can reveal “the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” for those who allow themselves to be upset or affected by its force. It is the acceptance of the Word of Jesus that distinguishes the disciples from the indeterminate crowds; the faith of the first ones reveals the blindness of the others and obliges them to look “beyond” the parable.
• To listen and to understand. It is always Jesus who leads the disciples on the right path for the understanding of the parable. In the future through the disciples, it is the Church to be guided in the understanding of the Word of Jesus. In the explanation of the parable the pair of two verbs “to listen” and “to understand” appears in 13, 33: That which has been sown in the good ground is the one who listens to the Word and understands it...” It is in the understanding that the disciple is distinguished, the one who daily listens to the Word of Jesus, from the crowds which, instead, listen to it occasionally.
• Hindrances to understanding. Jesus recalls, above all, the negative response to his preaching on the Kingdom of Heaven given by his contemporaries. Such a negative response is bound to the diverse impediments among them. The earth on the edge of the road; is that transformed by passers by into a trodden road; it is totally negative: “Throw the seeds on the pavement of the street, everybody knows that it serves nothing: the necessary conditions for growth do not exist. And, then people go by, step over it, and ruin the seed. The seed should not be thrown just any place” (Carlos Mesters). Above all, there is the personal responsibility of the individual: to accept God’s Word in one’s own heart; on the contrary, if it falls on a “trodden” heart, which is obstinate because of its own convictions and indifferent, he sides with the evil one who completes that persisting attitude of closeness to the Word of God. Then the rocky earth: If the first impediment was constituted by an insensitive, indifferent heart, now the image of the seed that falls on the rocks, on stones, and among bushes indicates a heart immersed in a superficial and worldly life. Such life styles are energies that prevent the Word of God to bear fruit. They begin to listen, but immediately it is blocked, not only by tribulations and trials that are unavoidable, but also because of the involvement of the heart in concerns and riches. It is a life that is not profound but superficial, worldly, it is similar to instability. The good earth: is the heart that listens and understands the Word; this one bears fruit. Such fruit is the work of the Word in the heart that accepts it. It is a question of an active understanding, that allows itself to get involved by God’s action present in the Word of Jesus. The understanding of his Word will continue to be inaccessible if we neglect the encounter with Him and, therefore, we do not allow it to overflow in us.

4) Personal questions
• Does listening lead to the deep understanding of God’s Word or does it remain only an intellectual exercise?
• Are you a heart that accepts, that is available, docile to attain to a full understanding of the Word?

5) Concluding Prayer
The Law of Yahweh is perfect, refreshment to the soul;
The precepts of Yahweh are honest,
light for the eyes. (Ps 19,7-8)