Thứ Tư, 2 tháng 8, 2017

AUGUST 02, 2017 : WEDNESDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 403

Reading 1EX 34:29-35
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant
while he conversed with the LORD.
When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses
and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become,
they were afraid to come near him.
Only after Moses called to them did Aaron
and all the rulers of the community come back to him.
Moses then spoke to them.
Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him,
and he enjoined on them all that the LORD
had told him on Mount Sinai.
When he finished speaking with them,
he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him,
he removed the veil until he came out again.
On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel
all that had been commanded.
Then the children of Israel would see
that the skin of Moses' face was radiant;
so he would again put the veil over his face
until he went in to converse with the LORD.

Responsorial PsalmPS 99:5, 6, 7, 9
R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

AlleluiaJN 15:15B
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."


Meditation: "Joy of finding hidden treasure and pearl of great price"
What do you most treasure and how do you keep it secure? In a peasant community the best safe was often the earth. The man in the parable "went in his joy" to sell everything. Why? Because he found a treasure worth possessing above everything else he had. He did not, however, have enough to buy the treasure. Fortunately, he only needed enough money to buy the field. In a similar fashion, God offers his kingdom as incomparable treasure at a price we can afford! We can't pay the full price for the life which God gives us; but when we exchange our life for the life which God offers, we receive a treasure beyond compare.
Searching for the greatest treasure of all
The pearl of great price also tells us a similar lesson. Pearls in the ancient world came to represent the supremely valuable. Jesus remarked that one should not cast pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). Why would a merchant sell everything for a peerless pearl? No doubt because he was attracted to what he thought was the greatest treasure he could possess.
Discovering heavenly treasure
Discovering God's kingdom is like stumbling across hidden treasure or finding the one pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of God we receive the greatest possible treasure - the Lord himself. Selling all that we have to obtain this incomparable treasure could mean many things - our friends, job, our "style of life", what we do with our free time. Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure.
In this parable what does the treasure of the kingdom refer to? It certainly refers to the kingdom of God in all its aspects. But in a special way, the Lord himself is the treasure we seek. If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty (Job 22:22-23).  Is the Lord the treasure and delight of your heart?
"Lord Jesus, reveal to me the true riches of your kingdom. Help me to set my heart on you alone as the treasure beyond compare with any other. Free my heart of any inordinate desires or attachment to other things that I may freely give to you all that I have in joy and gratitude for all that you have given to me. May I always find joy and delight in your presence."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersFinding the pearl of great price, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
"Now among the words of all kinds that profess to announce truth, and among those who report them, he seeks pearls. Think of the prophets as, so to speak, the pearls that receive the dew of heaven and become pregnant with the word of truth from heaven. They are goodly pearls that, according to the phrase here set forth, the merchant seeks. And the chief of the pearls, on the finding of which the rest are found with it, is the very costly pearl, the Christ of God, the Word that is superior to the precious letters and thoughts in the law and the prophets. When one finds this pearl all the rest are easily released. Suppose, then, that one is not a disciple of Christ. He possesses no pearls at all, much less the very costly pearl, as distinguished from those that are cloudy or darkened." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 18.8)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, MATTHEW 13:44-46
Weekday

(Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99)

KEY VERSE: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field" (v 44).
TO KNOW: Jesus told his disciples parables to help them understand the meaning of God's reign and the zeal with which it must be pursued. In the parable of the buried treasure, there was great joy in the discovery that made the man was willing to give up everything to make the treasure his own. Nothing else really mattered. The irony was that the treasure was found unexpectedly when he was going about his daily business. In the parable of the priceless pearl, Jesus' point was that the effort to search for and attain the kingdom of God was of inestimable worth and nothing could be compared to it. Jesus' followers had come to value the kingdom as a precious treasure that would last for all eternity. Because they discovered its true worth, they willingly sacrificed everything for its attainment.
TO LOVE: Is my sight set on the treasure of the kingdom or the riches that the world offers?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to value your kingdom above all else. ​


Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop

Eusebius was made lector in Rome, where he lived for some time, probably as a member or head of a religious community. Later he came to Vercelli, and in 340 was unanimously elected bishop of that city by the clergy and the people. He received episcopal consecration at the hands of Pope Julius I on 15 December, of the same year. According to the testimony of Saint Ambrose, Eusebius was the first bishop of the West who united monastic with clerical life. He led a common life with the clergy of his city modeled upon that of the Eastern cenobites (a monastic tradition that stresses community life). For this reason the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine honor him along with Saint Augustine as their founder. 


Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, priest

Peter Julian Eymard had a strong Eucharistic devotion. On the feast of Corpus Christi, 1845, he had a powerful experience that changed the course of his life. While carrying the Blessed Sacrament in Lyons, he felt an intense attraction to Christ in the Eucharist and resolved to “bring all the world to the knowledge and love of our Lord; to preach nothing but Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ eucharistic.” He founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856, and the lay Servants of the Blessed Sacrament in 1858 and a sister congregation for women. Although Peter's work encountered a series of setbacks, his vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people dedicated to spiritual values anticipated many of the renewals brought about by Vatican Councils I and II. 


Wednesday 2 August 2017

St Peter Faber SJ; St Eusebius of Vercelli; St Peter Julian Eymard.
Exodus 34:29-35. Psalm 98(99): 5‑7, 9. Matthew 13:44-46.
Holy is the Lord our God — Psalm 98(99): 5‑7, 9.
In the week approaching the feast of St Mary MacKillop, we look at the life of Australia’s first saint through the lens of the daily Gospel stories. As you contemplate the daily Gospel reading, reflect on Mary’s story, and consider how your own faith journey can be enriched by her example. 
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.’
People must have thought Mary MacKillop mad when she decided to start a religious order of Sisters who would go to the margins to teach poor children. Inspired by God and the vision she shared with her mentor and friend Fr Julian Tennison Woods, she abandoned other dreams and dedicated her life to God and to the poorest in Australian society.
Senior Australian of the Year, Anne Gardiner AM OLSH, lives with the Tiwi people on Bathurst Island. At a time when religious women were more restricted, Mary dreamed that her Sisters would live among people in outback regions, sharing their poverty and isolation, and making education possible for their children.
Jesus, inspire people to follow you closely and share your mission of love and care for others.

ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD

St. Peter Julian Eymard, whose feast the Church celebrates on August 2, helped many Catholics - both clergy and laypeople - to rediscover the importance of the Eucharist. He is also considered a pioneer in involving laypeople more actively in the life of the Church.
Peter Julian Eymard was born near Grenoble, France, in 1811. He had wanted to enter the priesthood as a youth, but his father forbade him because he wanted Peter Julian to take over the family business.
Finally, at the age of 18, he was permitted to join the Oblate novitiate. However, he became very ill, so ill that he was sent back home to die. However, Peter Julian made a remarkable recovery and entered the seminary once again after his father passed away. He was ordained to the diocesan priesthood in 1834, but later joined the Marists.
In 1851, he answered a call to establish a community of men dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration, called the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Its mission was to promote the importance and significance of the Eucharist. The congregation also worked with the poor and helped them to prepare for first Communion. The founder died in 1868 and was canonized in 1962.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 13,44-46
Lectio Divina: 
 Wednesday, August 2, 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
Jesus said to his disciples: 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.
'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.
3) Reflection
• The Gospel today presents two brief parables from the discourse of the Parables. Both are similar to each other, but with significant differences to clarify better determinate aspects of the Mystery of the Kingdom, which the parables are revealing.
• Matthew 13,44: The parable of the treasure hidden in the field. Jesus tells a very simple and brief story which could happen in the life of any person. He says: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field; someone finds it and hides it again, then he goes off with great joy, he sells everything he owns and buys the field”. Jesus does not explain, he only says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is similar to a treasure hidden in a field”. In this way he urges the listeners to share with others what this story has aroused in them. I share some points that are discovered: (a) The treasure, the Kingdom, is already found in the field, in life. It is hidden. We go through the field and step over the plants without being aware. (b) The man finds the treasure, just out of chance. He did not expect to find it, because he was not looking for it. (c) Seeing that it is a question of a very important treasure, what does he do? He does what we all would do in order to take possession of the treasure. He goes and he sells everything that he has and he buys the field. And, thus, together with the field he obtains the treasure also, the Kingdom. The condition is to sell everything! (d) If the treasure, the Kingdom, is already in my life, then an important aspect of life begins to have a new value. (e) In this story, what dominates is gratuity. The treasure is found by chance, independently of our programmes. The Kingdom comes! And we must draw the consequences and not allow this moment of grace to go by without bearing fruit.
• Matthew 13,45-46: The parable of the merchant of fine pearls. The second parable is similar to the first one, but with an important difference. Let us try to discover it. The story is the following: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value, he goes off and sells everything he owns and buys it”. I share some points that I have discovered: (a) it is the story of a merchant of pearls. His profession is to look for pearls. This is the only thing that he does in his life: to look for and to find pearls. Looking, he finds a pearl of great value. Here the discovery of the Kingdom is not just by chance, but it is the fruit of a long search. (b) The merchant of pearls knows the value of the pearls, because many persons would like to sell him the pearls that they find. But the merchant does not allow himself to be deceived. He knows the value of his merchandise. (c) When he finds a pearl of great value, he goes and sells everything which he owns and buys the pearl. The Kingdom is the greatest value.
• Summarizing the teaching of the two parables. Both of them have the same objective: to reveal the presence of the Kingdom, but each one reveals it in a diverse way: through the discovery of the gratuity of God’s action in us, and through the effort and the search which each human being makes to discover always better, the sense of his/her life.
4) Personal questions
• A hidden treasure: have I found it sometimes? Have I sold everything in order to be able to buy it?
• To look for pearls: which is the pearl that you are looking for and you have not as yet found?
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)