Thứ Sáu, 14 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 15, 2017 : Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 388

Jacob gave his sons this charge:
"Since I am about to be taken to my people,
bury me with my fathers in the cave that lies
in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
the cave in the field of Machpelah,
facing on Mamre, in the land of Canaan,
the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite
for a burial ground.
There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried,
and so are Isaac and his wife Rebekah,
and there, too, I buried Leah–
the field and the cave in it
that had been purchased from the Hittites."

Now that their father was dead,
Joseph's brothers became fearful and thought,
"Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us
and now plans to pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!"
So they approached Joseph and said:
"Before your father died, he gave us these instructions:
'You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you
to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers,
who treated you so cruelly.'
Please, therefore, forgive the crime that we,
the servants of your father's God, committed."
When they spoke these words to him, Joseph broke into tears.
Then his brothers proceeded to fling themselves down before him
and said, "Let us be your slaves!"
But Joseph replied to them:
"Have no fear. Can I take the place of God?
Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good,
to achieve his present end, the survival of many people.
Therefore have no fear.
I will provide for you and for your children."
By thus speaking kindly to them, he reassured them.

Joseph remained in Egypt, together with his father's family.
He lived a hundred and ten years.
He saw Ephraim's children to the third generation,
and the children of Manasseh's son Machir
were also born on Joseph's knees.

Joseph said to his brothers: "I am about to die.
God will surely take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land
that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
Then, putting the sons of Israel under oath, he continued,
"When God thus takes care of you,
you must bring my bones up with you from this place."
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten.

Responsorial PsalmPS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7
R. (see Psalm 69:33) Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!

Alleluia1 PT 4:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his Apostles: 
"No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!
"Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father."

Meditation: "Fear him who can destroy soul and body in hell"
What does fear have to do with the kingdom of God? Fear is a powerful force. It can lead us to panic and flight or it can spur us to faith and action. The fear of God is the antidote to the fear of losing one's life. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. O fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want! Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:4,9,11)
Godly fear - reverence for God
What is godly fear? It is reverence for the One who made us in love and who sustains us in mercy and kindness. The greatest injury or loss which we can experience is not physical but spiritual - the loss of one's soul to the power of hell (Matthew 10:28). A healthy fear (godly respect) and reverence for God leads to spiritual maturity, wisdom, and right judgment and it frees us from the tyranny of sinful pride, cowardice - especially in the face of evil, and spiritual deception. Do you trust in God's grace and mercy and do you obey his word?
When Jesus proclaimed the kingdom (reign) of God he met opposition and hostility. Many religious leaders opposed Jesus because they refused to believe that he was the Messiah (God's Anointed One) and that his authority and power came from God. They claimed his power came from Beelzebul - the prince of demons who is also called Satan or the devil. Jesus demonstrated the power of God's kingdom through his numerous signs and miracles and his power to set people free from Satan's harm and deception. 
Choosing for God's kingdom
There are fundamentally only two kingdoms in opposition to one another - God's kingdom of light - his truth and righteousness (moral goodness) and Satan's kingdom of darkness - his power to deceive and tempt people to rebel and do what is wrong and evil. And there are no neutral parties - we are either for God's kingdom or against it. We either choose for Jesus and the kingdom he brings - God's rule of peace and righteousness, or we choose for the kingdom of this world which opposes God's truth and righteousness. That is why Jesus told his disciples that they must expect the same treatment of opposition and hostility if they accept him as their Lord (Messiah) and Master (Teacher). 
There is both a warning and a privilege in Jesus' statement. Just as Jesus had to carry his cross to suffer and die for us, so every disciple of Christ must bear his or her own cross of suffering for Christ and not try to evade it. To suffer for the Christian faith is to share in the work of Jesus Christ. As one Christian hymn states: Lift high the Cross of Christ! Tread where his feet have trod. The Holy Spirit gives us supernatural power, freedom, and grace to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Do you trust in God who gives us the strength and perseverance we need to follow his will and to embrace our cross each day for Jesus' sake?
"Lord Jesus, it is my joy and privilege to be your disciple. Give me strength and courage to bear any hardship and suffering which may come my way in serving you and obeying your will. May I witness to others the joy of the Gospel - the good news of your kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersDo not bewail death - but sin, by Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)
"The gospel is life. Impiety and infidelity are the death of the soul. So then, if the soul can die, how then is it yet immortal? Because there is always a dimension of life in the soul that can never be extinguished. And how does it die? Not in ceasing to be life but by losing its proper life. For the soul is both life to something else, and it has it own proper life. Consider the order of the creatures. The soul is the life of the body. God is the life of the soul. As the life that is the soul is present with the body, that the body may not die, so the life of the soul (God) ought to be with the soul that it may not die."
"How does the body die? By the departure of the soul. I say, by the departure of the soul the body dies, and it lies there as a mere carcass, what was a little before a lively, not a contemptible, object. There are in it still its several members, the eyes and ears. But these are merely the windows of the house; its inhabitant is gone. Those who bewail the dead cry in vain at the windows of the house. There is no one there within it to hear... Why is the body dead? Because the soul, its life, is gone. But at what point is the soul itself dead? When God, its life, has forsaken it... This then we can know and hold for certain: the body is dead without the soul, and the soul is dead without God. Every one without God has a dead soul. You who bewail the dead rather should bewail sin. Bewail ungodliness. Bewail disbelief." (excerpt from SERMON 65.5–7)

(Genesis 49:29-32, 50:15-26a; Psalm 105)

KEY VERSE: "No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master" (v 24).
TO KNOW: The remainder of Jesus' missionary discourse in chapter 10 of Matthew's gospel tells the Apostles what they would face as they proclaimed the gospel to the world. Far from promising a mission free from conflict or opposition, he prepared them for hostility. Students were not above their teacher, and slaves could not outrank their master; therefore, as they shared in Jesus’ ministry they would also share in his passion. Though they stood in danger of death, they should not be afraid. Rather, they should fear the evil one who could lead them to eternal destruction. It would be a greater peril to lose one's immortal soul. Jesus reminded his followers of their worth before God. If God was aware of the death of a tiny sparrow, were not their lives worth much more? If the apostles were faithful in their task, Jesus would defend them on the Day of Judgment.
TO LOVE: Holy Apostles, help me to defend the faith when I am opposed.
TO SERVE: Do I remind others of their worth in God's sight?

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of the Church

Bonaventure joined the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor at the age of 22. He studied theology and philosophy in Paris. At age thirty-six, Bonaventure was made General of the Franciscan Order. He emphasized the total dependence of all things upon God, and he wrote guides to mystic contemplation. He also wrote the official life of Saint Francis. Bonaventure spoke at the Council of Lyons, at which he was a papal legate, but died before its close. On hearing of the death, Pope Gregory X, who had appointed him cardinal bishop of Albano in 1273, declared that Bonaventure was "a man of eminent learning and eloquence, and of outstanding holiness." Following in the footsteps of the Franciscan’s founder, St. Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure expressed charity, goodwill and affection toward others. Bonaventure was known as the Seraphic Doctor of the Church because he revealed a warmth toward others as a divine fire.

"Thorns and cross and nails and lance, Wounds, our rich inheritance . . .May these all our spirits fill, And with love's devotion thrill . . .Christ, by coward hands betrayed, Christ, for us a captive made, Christ upon the bitter tree, Slain for man--all praise to thee." --Saint Bonaventure

Saturday 15 July 2017

St Bonaventure.
Genesis 49:29-33; 50:15-26. Psalm 104(105):1-4, 6-7. Matthew 10:24-38.
Turn to the Lord in your need and you will live — Psalm 104(105):1-4, 6-7.
‘It is enough to grow to be like the teacher.’
When someone inspires us or challenges us to change, or to act, there’s a feeling within that we want to become more like them. We want to emulate their qualities of justice and compassion, their courage in speaking out.
It’s not easy to be a disciple in today’s secular world—even to declare, say, that it’s more important to celebrate the Easter liturgies than to participate in the town’s civil celebrations. But if we’re serious about our faith we want to put into practice what we profess and believe.
We have a God who is with us, involved in all the minutiae of our lives, wanting and waiting to empower us. How delighted our God is when we turn to him, not grudgingly, but wholeheartedly.


Today, July 15, marks the feast day of St. Bonaventure, who is called “The Seraphic Doctor” of the Church. St. Bonaventure is known for his leadership of the Franciscans and his great intellectual contributions to theology and philosophy.
St. Bonaventure was born in Bagnorea in Tuscany, Italy. He is widely believed to have been born in the year 1221, although some accounts say 1217.
Sources recount that in his youth, St. Bonaventure was cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. He went on to join the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1243.
After making his vows, he was sent to complete his studies in Paris. He was taught first by Alexander of Hales, an English doctor and Franciscan, and later by John of Rochelle.
While in Paris, he became good friends with St. Thomas Aquinas, with whom he received the degree of Doctor. He also developed a friendship with St. Louis, King of France.
In 1257, St. Bonaventure was chosen to serve as the superior of the Friars Minor. In this position, which he filled for 17 years, he brought peace and order. His impact was so great that today he is sometimes referred to as the second founder of the Franciscans.
Taking on the position after a period of extraordinary expansion for the order, St. Bonaventure worked to preserve a spirit of unity. He calmed the threat of internal dissension that arose over differences in interpreting the message of St. Francis of Assisi. Central to this work was his understanding that the study of philosophy and theology did not oppose the call to poverty that was so central to Franciscan spirituality.
St. Bonaventure proposed a unified and collected text regulating the daily life of the Friars Minor. The text was accepted and ratified in 1260 by the General Chapter of the Order in Narbonne.
Wishing to present an authentic image of the life and teaching of their founder, he zealously collected documents about St. Francis of Assisi and heard testimonies of those who had actually known him. From this information, he compiled a biography of the saint that was adopted as his official biography by the General Chapter of the Friars Minor in 1263.
St. Bonaventure also wrote numerous mystical and ascetical treatises, most famously, “The Soul's Journey into God.”
In 1273, he was appointed by Pope Gregory X as Cardinal and Bishop of Albano. The Pope also asked him to help prepare the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons, an ecclesial event aimed at re-establishing communion between the Latin and Greek Churches.
St. Bonaventure worked to prepare the Ecumenical Council, but never saw its completion. He died on July 15, 1274, while the council was still in session. He was canonized in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.
In his General Audience on March 3, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the life of St. Bonaventure. He called to mind the great works of literature, art, philosophy and theology that were inspired by the Christian faith during the time period in which the saint lived.
“Among the great Christian figures who contributed to the composition of this harmony between faith and culture Bonaventure stands out, a man of action and contemplation, of profound piety and prudent government,” Pope Benedict said.
The Pope called on the faithful to take note of “the central role that Christ always played in Bonaventure's life and teaching,” and to imitate the way in which “the whole of his thinking was profoundly Christocentric.”
"Meditation on Christ in His humanity is corporeal in deed, in fact, but spiritual in mind. . . . By adopting this habit, you will steady your mind, be trained to virtues, and receive strength of soul....Let meditation of Christ's life be your one and only aim, your rest, your food, your desire, your study."  -  St. Bonaventure

Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, July 15, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
through the obedience of Jesus,
your servant and your Son,
you raised a fallen world.
Free us from sin
and bring us the joy that lasts for ever.
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 10,24-33
Jesus said to his disciples: "The disciple is not superior to teacher, nor slave to master. It is enough for disciple to grow to be like teacher, and slave like master. If they have called the master of the house "Beelzebul", how much more the members of his household? 'So do not be afraid of them. Everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops. 'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 'So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of human beings, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.

3) Reflection
• Today’s Gospel presents to us diverse instructions of Jesus on the behaviour that the disciples have to adopt in the exercise of their mission.  What strikes most in these instructions are two warnings: (a) the frequency with which Jesus refers to the persecutions and suffering which they will have to bear; (b) the insistence repeated three times to the disciples not to be afraid.
• Matthew 10, 24-25: Persecutions and sufferings which mark the life of the disciples.  These two verses constitute the final part of a warning of Jesus to the disciples concerning persecutions. The disciples should know that, because of the fact of being disciples of Jesus, they will be persecuted (Mt 10, 17-23). But this should not be a reason for worrying, because a disciple should imitate the life of the Master and share the trials with him. This is part of discipleship.  “A disciple is not greater than the Teacher or a servant than his master; it is sufficient for the disciple to grow to be like his teacher and the servant like his master”. If they called Jesus Beelzebul, how much more will they insult his disciples. In other words, the disciple of Jesus should be worried if in his life there are no persecutions.
• Matthew 10, 26-27: Do not be afraid to say the truth.  The disciples should not be afraid to be persecuted. Those who persecute them, succeed to pervert the sense of the facts and to spread calumnies which change truth into lie, and the lie into truth. But no matter how great is the lie, truth will triumph at the end and will make the lie crumble down. This is why we should not be afraid to proclaim truth, the things which Jesus has taught.  Every day, the means of communication succeed to pervert the meaning of things and the persons who proclaim the truth are considered as criminals; they make the neo-liberal system to appear as just and it perverts the sense of human life. 
• Matthew 10, 28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body. The disciples should not be afraid of those who kill the body, who torture, who strike and cause suffering.  Those who torture can kill the body, but they cannot succeed to kill liberty and the spirit in the body.  They should be afraid, yes, that the fear of suffering may lead them to hide or to deny the truth, and that this will lead them to offend God, because anyone who draws away from God will be lost forever.
• Matthew 10, 29-31: Do not be afraid, but trust in Divine Providence. The disciples should not fear anything, because they are in God’s hands. Jesus orders to look at the birds in the air. Two sparrows are sold for a penny, but not one of them will fall to the ground without the Father wanting.  Every hair on our head has been counted.  Luke says that not one hair falls without our Father wanting it (Lk 21, 18). And so many hairs fall from our head!  Because of this “Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows”. This is the lesson which Jesus draws from the contemplation of nature.
• Matthew 10, 32-33: Do not be afraid to be the witnesses of Jesus. At the end Jesus summarizes everything in this sentence: “If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven; 33: the one who instead will disown me in the presence of human beings, I will disown him in the presence of my Father in heaven”. Knowing that we are in God’s hands and that God is with us, at every moment, we have the necessary courage and the peace to render witness and to be disciples of Jesus. 

4) Personal questions
• Are you afraid? Afraid of what? Why? 
•Have you been persecuted sometimes because of your commitment to announce the Good News of God which Jesus announced to us?

5) Concluding Prayer
Your decrees stand firm, unshakeable,
holiness is the beauty of your house,
Yahweh, for all time to come. (Ps 93,5)