Chủ Nhật, 30 tháng 7, 2017


Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
Lectionary: 401

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, "That sounds like a battle in the camp."
But Moses answered, "It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry."
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses' wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, "What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?"
Aaron replied, "Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, 'Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.'
So I told them, 'Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.'
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out."

On the next day Moses said to the people,
"You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin."
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
"Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written."
The LORD answered, "Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
R. (1a) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

AlleluiaJAS 1:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches."

He spoke to them another parable.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened."

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables, 
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

Meditation: What the kingdom of heaven is like
What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God's kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of  men and women who are receptive to God's word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within.
Hidden power of transforming seeds and leaven
Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated - the staple of life for humans.
God's word has power to transforms us
The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield our lives to Jesus Christ and allow his word to take root in our heart, we are transformed and made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?
"Heavenly Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersA small seed produces a great tree, by John Chrysostom (347-407 AD)
"Therefore he brought forward the similitude of this herb, which has a very strong resemblance to the kingdom of heaven. It indeed is 'the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.'
Thus he meant to set forth the most decisive sign of its greatness. 'Even so then shall it also be with respect to the gospel,' he says. For his disciples were weakest of all and least of all. Nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, it has grown and been unfolded in every part of the world." 
(excerpt from the  THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 46.2)

(Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34; Psalm: 106)

KEY VERSE: "It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants" (v 32).
TO KNOW: Through his parables, Jesus revealed the full mysteries of the reign of God that had "lain hidden from the foundation of the world" (Ps 78:2). The parables of the mustard seed and yeast taught his followers about the paradoxical nature of God's reign, which Jesus described as having amazing growth from insignificant beginnings. Though very tiny, the mustard seed grew into a luxuriant plant where birds could find a home in its branches. In like manner, a tiny bit of leaven hidden in an enormous amount of flour (50 lbs.) expanded the dough to produce enough bread to feed a hundred people. God's kingdom is a process. Although a Christian's work may seem unimportant, even a small effort moves the kingdom toward its fulfillment.
TO LOVE: Do I encourage the modest efforts of other Christians?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to be untiring in my labor for your kingdom.

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, priest

Born in 1491 at Loyola, Spain, Ignatius was wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna in 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life. During his recuperation the only books he had access to were The Golden Legend, a collection of lives of the saints, and The Life of Christ. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him. Upon his recovery he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim's robe. He journeyed to Rome and the Holy Land where he worked to convert Muslims. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on 15 August 1534. He then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuit order. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death. The Jesuits today have over 500 universities and colleges, 30,000 members, and teach over 200,000 students each year. "Teach us to be generous, good Lord; teach us to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing we do Your will." - Prayer, Ignatius of Loyola 

Monday 31 July 2017

St Ignatius Loyola.
Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34. Psalm 105(106):19-23. Matthew 13:31-35.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good — Psalm 105(106):19-23.
‘I will speak to you in parables …’
In this pair of parables that reflect his hearers’ life experience, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to the tremendous growth potential of a tiny mustard seed and to the capacity of yeast to permeate a large amount of flour.
From a work perspective, the former relates to the agricultural pursuits of his male audience and the latter to the domestic activities of his female audience.
Both parables call to mind the song, ‘From little things big things grow’.
Moreover, both imply that Jesus’ saving message is directed to all humankind and that we, his disciples, have a role in disseminating it.
Dear Lord, be present to me in all that I do and, as I grow in your love, may I also help others to grow in faith.


On July 31, the Universal Church marks the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Spanish saint is known for founding the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, as well as for creating the “Spiritual Exercises” often used today for retreats and individual discernment.

St. Ignatius was born into a noble family in 1491 in Guipuzcoa, Spain. He served as a page in the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella.

He then became a soldier in the Spanish army and wounded his leg during the siege of Pamplona in 1521. During his recuperation, he read “Lives of the Saints.” The experience led him to undergo a profound conversion, and he dedicated himself to the Catholic faith.

After making a general confession in a monastery in Montserrat, St. Ignatius proceeded to spend almost a year in solitude. He wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises” and then made a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land, where he worked to convert Muslims.

St. Ignatius returned to complete his studies in Spain and then France, where he received his theology degree. While many held him in contempt because of his holy lifestyle, his wisdom and virtue attracted some followers, and the Society of Jesus was born.

The Society was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540, and it grew rapidly. St. Ignatius remained in Rome, where he governed the Society and became friends with St. Philip Neri.

St. Ignatius died peacefully on July 31, 1556. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

The Jesuits remain numerous today, particularly in several hundred universities and colleges worldwide.

On April 22, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI presided over a Eucharistic concelebration for the Society of Jesus. He addressed the fathers and brothers of the Society present at the Vatican Basilica, calling to mind the dedication and fidelity of their founder.

“St. Ignatius of Loyola was first and foremost a man of God who in his life put God, his greatest glory and his greatest service, first,” the Pope said. “He was a profoundly prayerful man for whom the daily celebration of the Eucharist was the heart and crowning point of his day.”

“Precisely because he was a man of God, St Ignatius was a faithful servant of the Church,” Benedict continued, recalling the saint's “special vow of obedience to the Pope, which he himself describes as 'our first and principal foundation.'”

Highlighting the need for “an intense spiritual and cultural training,” Pope Benedict called upon the Society of Jesus to follow in the footsteps of St. Ignatius and continue his work of service to the Church and obedience to the Pope, so that it's members “may faithfully meet the urgent needs of the Church today.” 

Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, July 31, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
God our Father and protector,
without you nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings you have given to the world.
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 13,31-35
Jesus put another parable before them, 'The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air can come and shelter in its branches.'
He told them another parable, 'The kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.'
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: I will speak to you in parables, unfold what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.

3) Reflection
• We are meditating on the Discourse of the Parables, the objective of which is that of revealing, by means of comparisons, the mystery of the Kingdom of God present in the life of the people. Today’s Gospel presents to us two brief parables, the mustard seed and the yeast. In these Jesus tells two stories taken from daily life, which will serve as terms of comparison to help the people to discover the mystery of the Kingdom. When meditating these two stories it is not necessary to try to discover what each element of the stories want to tell us about the Kingdom. First of all, one must look at the story itself, as a whole and try to discover which is the central point around which the story was constructed. This central point will serve as a means of comparison to reveal the Kingdom of God. Let us try to discover which is the central point of the two parables.
• Matthew 13,31-32: The parable of the mustard seed. Jesus says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed” and then immediately he tells the story: a mustard seed which is very small is cast into the ground; being very small, it grows and becomes larger than other plants and attracts the birds which come and build their nests on it. Jesus does not explain the story. Here applies what he said on another occasion: “Anyone who has ears to hear, let him hear!” That is, “It is this. You have heard, and so now try to understand!” It is up to us to discover what the story reveals to us about the Kingdom of God present in our life. Thus, by means of this story of the mustard seed, Jesus urges us to have fantasy, because each one of us understands something about the seed. Jesus expects that the persons, all of us, begin to share that which each one has discovered. Now, I share three points that I have discovered on the Kingdom, beginning with this parable: (a) Jesus says: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed”. The Kingdom is not something abstract, it is not an idea. It is a presence in our midst (Lk 17,21). How is this presence? It is like the mustard seed: a very small presence, humble, which can hardly be seen. It is about Jesus, a poor carpenter, who goes through Galilee, speaking about the Kingdom to the people of the towns. The Kingdom of God does not follow the criteria of the great of the world. It has a different way of thinking and of proceeding. (b) The prophecy evokes a prophecy of Ezekiel, in which it is said that God will take a small twig of the cedar and will plant it on the mountain of Israel. This small twig of cedar “will bring forth branches and will bear fruit and will become a magnificent cedar. Under it all the birds will live, every kind of birds will rest under it. All the trees of the forest will know that I am the Lord, who humiliated the tall tree and exalted the low one; I dry the green tree and make the dry tree come to life. I the Lord have spoken and I will do it” (Ez 17,22-23). (c) The mustard seed, even if very small, grows and gives hope. Like the mustard seed, in the same way the Kingdom has an interior force and it grows. How does it grow? It grows through the preaching of Jesus and of the disciples in the towns of Galilee. It grows up until today, through the witness of the community and becomes good news of God which radiates light and attracts persons. The person, who gets close to the community, feels welcomed, accepted, at home, and builds in it her nest, her dwelling. Finally, the parable leaves in the air a question: who are the birds? The question will receive an answer later, in the Gospel. The text suggests that it is a question of the pagans who will be able to enter into the Kingdom (Mt15,21-28).
• Matthew 13,33: The parable of the yeast. The story of the second parable is the following: A woman took a bit of yeast and mixed it with three measures of flour, till it is leavened all through. Once again, Jesus does not explain, he only says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast...” Like in the first parable, it is up to us to discover the significance which this has for us today. The following are some points which I have discovered and which have made me think: (a) What grows is not the yeast, but the dough. (b) It is a question of something of a house, well known to a woman in her house. (c) The yeast is mixed up with the pure dough of flour, and contains something fermented. (d) The objective is to have all the dough fermented, and not only one part. (e) The yeast is not an end in itself but serves to make the dough grow.
• Matthew 13,34-35: Why Jesus speaks in parables. Here, at the end of the Discourse of the Parables, Matthew clarifies the reason which urged Jesus to teach the people using the form of parables. He says that it was in order that the prophecy would be fulfilled which said: "I will open the mouth to use parables; I will proclaim hidden things since the creation of the world”. In reality, the text that has been quoted is not of a prophet, but rather it is a Psalm (Ps 78,2). For the first Christians the whole of the Old Testament was a great prophecy which announced in a veiled way the coming of the Messiah and the fulfilment of the promises of God. In Mark 4,34-34, the reason which urged Jesus to teach the people by means of parables was to adapt the message to the capacity of the people. With these examples taken from the life of the people, Jesus helped the persons to discover the things of God in the life of every day. Life then became transparent. He made them perceive that what was extraordinary in God is hidden in the ordinary and common things of daily life. People understood the things of life. In the parables they received the key to open them and to find in them the signs of God. At the end of the Discourse of the Parables, in Matthew 13,52, as we shall see later, another reason will be explained why Jesus chose to teach with parables.

4) Personal questions
• Which point of these two parables did you like best or which struck you more? Why?
• Which is the seed that without being aware has grown in you and in your community?

5) Concluding Prayer
I will sing of your strength,
in the morning acclaim your faithful love;
you have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge when I was in trouble. (Ps 59,16)