Thứ Tư, 2 tháng 8, 2017

AUGUST 03, 2017 : THURSDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 404

Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
On the first day of the first month of the second year
the Dwelling was erected.
It was Moses who erected the Dwelling.
He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars,
and set up its columns.
He spread the tent over the Dwelling
and put the covering on top of the tent,
as the LORD had commanded him.
He took the commandments and put them in the ark;
he placed poles alongside the ark and set the propitiatory upon it.
He brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil,
thus screening off the ark of the commandments,
as the LORD had commanded him.

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.

Responsorial PsalmPS 84:3, 4, 5-6A AND 8A, 11
R. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines 
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to the disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old."
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.


Meditation: Trained for the kingdom of heaven
What can a story of a dragnet and a great catch of fish tell us about God's kingdom? The two most common ways of fishing in Jesus' time was with a casting-net (or hand-net) which was thrown from the shore and the drag-net or trawl which was let down or cast into the waters from a boat. As the boat moved through the waters the dragnet was drawn into the shape of a great cone which indiscriminately took in all kinds of fish and flotsam and jetsam swept in its path. It usually took several men to haul such a net to shore.
Reward and judgment at the end of the age
What is Jesus' point here? Just as a drag-net catches every kind of fish in the sea, so the church acts as God's instrument for gathering in all who will come. Just as the drag-net does not or cannot discriminate, so the church does not discriminate between the good and the bad, the useless and the useful. God's kingdom is open to all who will accept and believe. But there will come a time of separation, at the close of the age when the Lord Jesus returns again and sends out his angels who will separate the good and the bad and then send them to their respective destinations. Our duty in this present age is to gather in all who want to become citizens of God kingdom here on earth as well as in heaven above.
The Lord Jesus, when he comes again at the end of this age, will give to those who chose to follow his way of truth and righteousness, and to those who rejected him and his merciful word of truth and goodness, the reward and destiny they chose to pursue in this present life. God freely offers the treasure of his kingdom to all who will believe in him and follow his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior. Do you hunger for God and for his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy?
Trained for the kingdom of heaven
What is the point of Jesus' parable about a "scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 13:52)? Jewish scribes were specially devoted to the study and practice of the Word of God entrusted to Moses (the first five books of the Bible) and in instructing others in how to live according to God's commandments and way of holiness. In the Old Testament Ezra was called "the ready scribe of the law of the God of heaven" (Book of Ezra 7:6,21). He received this title because he "had prepared his heart to seek the law of the L
ORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" (Ezra 7:10). Ezra's heart was set on the kingdom of heaven because he revered God's word and he taught others through example and instruction to love and obey God's word.
The old and new treasure of God's word
Why does Jesus compare a "trained scribe" with a "householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old" (Matthew 13:52)? Some people love to store up old prized possessions along with their newly acquired prizes. Others are eager to get rid of the old to make room for the new. So why does Jesus seem to emphasize keeping the old along with the new? Why not replace the old, especially if the new seems to be better or more useful? Wouldn't a person want to throw away an old pair of shoes and replace them with a new pair - especially if the old pair became well-worn or torn beyond repair? But, who in his right mind would throw away an old precious jewel or some old gold coins simply because they were ancient and maybe tarnished a bit? Precious gems and gold do not lose their value with age! Like choice vintage wine they increase in value. 
Jesus' parable of the "old" and the "new" certainly points to the "older covenants" which God made with his covenanted people of the Old Testament, beginning with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with Moses on Mount Sinai, and with King David - the precursor of the Messiah (Psalm 89:3 and Psalm 110:1). Jesus' parable also points to the "new covenant" which he came to establish through the shedding of his blood on the cross and the anointing of his Holy Spirit who seals the new covenant on the day of Pentecost. Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Covenant but to fulfill it. The Lord calls us to treasure all of his word - all of his commandments, promises, precepts, and teaching (Psalm 119:14,72,127,162). Do you promise to keep all of God's commands? The Lord gives strength, blessing, and joy to those who treasure all of his word.
We would be impoverished today if we only possessed the treasures of the word of God in the "Old Testament" Scriptures or if we only knew the treasures of the "New Testament" Scriptures. Both the Old and New Testament Scriptures are given by the same eternal Father, inspired by the same eternal Holy Spirit, and fulfilled by the same eternal Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and who was sent from heaven to take on human flesh for our salvation (John 1:1-3,14).
Unity of the Old and New Testaments
There is a profound unity between the Old and New Testaments. Both are divinely inspired by one and the same Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfills the Old - the two shed light on each other. The Old Testament prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ as the redeemer of all who would be saved through his sacrifice on the cross. The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. That is why Jesus interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures for his disciples and explained how he came to fulfill what was promised and foreshadowed in the Old (Luke 24:27). That is why we read the Old Testament in the light of Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Do you revere the word of God in the Scriptures - both old and new - and see their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ?
"Lord Jesus, may your word take deep root in my heart and transform my way of thinking, discerning, and acting. May your Spirit open my ears to hear and understand the word of God in the Scriptures that I may revere and treasure both the Old and the New Testaments which God has prepared for all who desire to enter his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Help me to be a diligent student and faithful disciple of your word."

Daily Quote from the early church fathersA scribe who is trained for the kingdom of heaven, by Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD)
"A scribe is one who, through continual reading of the Old and New Testaments, has laid up for himself a storehouse of knowledge. Thus Christ blesses those who have gathered in themselves the education both of the law and of the gospel, so as to 'bring forth from their treasure things both new and old.' And Christ compares such people with a scribe, just as in another place he says, 'I will send you wise men and scribes' (Matthew 23:34) (excerpt from Fragment 172)

THURSDAY, AUGUST 3, MATTHEW 13:47-53
Weekday

(Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38; Psalm 84)

KEY VERSE: "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old" (v 52).
TO KNOW: In Jesus' day, one method of fishing was with a dragnet, a large square net that was weighted and hung from the side of a boat. The net was drawn into the shape of a cone and the fish were swept into it. The net was then pulled to land, and the worthwhile fish were separated from the useless. Like the story of the weeds among the wheat (v 24-30), it was not the responsibility of Jesus' disciples to judge the actions of others. God would ultimately reveal what was good and what was evil in the world. Jesus' disciples must be like wise scribes who were able to understand things both "new and old." (Some scholars see this as Matthew's personal signature, v 52). As future leaders of the Church, Jesus' disciples must be able to interpret the ancient truths in the light of the gospel. When Jesus was assured that they understood his message, he was ready to move on in his journey.
TO LOVE: Do I submit myself to the teachings of Jesus and the Church?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to discern your truth in everything I hear.
www.togetherwithgodsword.com

Thursday 3 August 2017

St Dominic.
Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38. Psalm 83(84):3-6, 8, 11. Matthew 13:47-53.
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God! — Psalm 83(84):3-6, 8, 11.
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 a dragnet…that brings in a haul of all kinds.’
When Mary MacKillop and her Sisters walked around The Rocks in Sydney, begging for money and food to support the Providence, they encountered crooks and con men, prostitutes and fellow beggars. Reactions to them would have been varied. Some may have mocked these strangely dressed women. Others may have had a grudging admiration and a few, touched by their kindness, may have begun to change their ways.
Mary’s friends and supporters came from everywhere. Rich and poor, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and agnostic, they all became part of Mary’s mission to the poorest. Marists at St Patrick’s Church Hill championed and worked with her.
Jesus, help me to see the people I meet as you see them and to treat them as you would.

ST. NICODEMUS

St. Nicodemus was a secret disciple of Jesus. As a member of the Sanhedrin, he would meet Jesus by night so that the others would not see him with Jesus. Eventually, it was Nicodemus who reminded the Sanhedrin that Jesus had the right to a trial. Together with St. Joseph of Arimathea, he prepared Jesus' body and placed him in the tomb.
Tradition holds that St. Nicodemus was martyred, though no record remains.



LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 13,47-53
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, August 3, 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 13,47-53
Jesus said to the people: 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the sea and brings in a haul of all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen bring it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in baskets and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the upright, to throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. 'Have you understood all these?' They said, 'Yes.'
And he said to them, 'Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old.' When Jesus had finished these parables he left the district.

3) Reflection
• The Gospel today presents the last parable of the Discourse of the Parables, the story of the dragnet thrown into the sea. This parable is found only in the Gospel of Matthew without any parallel in the other three Gospels.

• Matthew 13,47-48: The parable of the dragnet cast into the sea. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast into the sea and brings in a whole haul of all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then sitting down; they collect the good ones in baskets and throw away those that are no use”. This story is well known by the people of Galilee who live around the lake. This is their work. The story shows clearly the end of a day of work. The fishermen go fishing with only one purpose: to cast the net and to catch a great number of fish, to haul the net ashore and to choose the good fish to take home and to throw away those that are no good. Describe the satisfaction of the fishermen, at the end of the day of a day, being very tired having worked hard. This story must have brought a smile of satisfaction on the face of the fishermen who listened to Jesus. The worse thing is to arrive to the shore at the end of the day without having caught anything (Jn 21,3).

• Matthew 13,49-50: The application of the parable. Jesus applies the parable, or better still gives a suggestion in order that persons can discuss and apply the parable to their life: “This is how it will be at the end of time, the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the upright, to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth”. How are we to understand this blazing furnace? These are very strong images to describe the destiny of those who separate themselves from God or who do not want to know anything about God. In every city there is a place where to throw the garbage every day. There is a permanent furnace nourished every day by the garbage of every day. The garbage place in Jerusalem was located in a valley called geena, where, at the time of the kings, there was a furnace even to sacrifice to the false gods of Molok. For this reason, the furnace of geenabecomes the symbol of exclusion and of condemnation. God is not the one who excludes. God does not want the exclusion and the condemnation of anyone; he wants that all may have life and life in abundance. Each one of us excludes himself/herself.

• Matthew 13,51-53: The end of the discourse of the Parables. At the end of the discourse of the Parables, Jesus concludes with the following question: "Have you understood these things?” They answered: “Yes”. And Jesus finishes the explanation with another comparison which describes the result which he wants to obtain through the parables: “Well, then, every Scribe who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old”.
Two points to clarify:

(a) Jesus compares the doctor of the law to the father in the family. What does the father of the family do? “He brings out from his treasure new things and old things”. Education at home takes place through the transmission to the sons and daughters of what the parents have received and learnt along the time. It is the treasure of the family wisdom where the richness of faith is enclosed, the customs of life and many other things that the children learn with time. Now Jesus wants that in the community the persons who are responsible for the transmission of faith be as the father in the family. Just like the parents are responsible for the life of the family, in the same way, these persons who are responsible for the teaching should understand the things of the Kingdom and transmit it to the brothers and sisters in the community.

(b) Here there is the question of a doctor of the law who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom. Therefore, there were doctors of the law who accepted Jesus, and saw in him the one who revealed the Kingdom. Is this what happened to a doctor when he discovers the Messiah in Jesus, the Son of God? Everything which he has studied to be able to be a doctor of the law continues to be valid, but it receives a deeper dimension and a broader purpose. A comparison can clarify what has just been said. In a group of friends one shows a photo, where one sees a man with a severe face, with his finger up, almost attacking the public. Everybody thinks that it is a question of an inflexible person, demanding, who does not allow for any intimacy. At that moment a young boy arrives, he sees the photo and exclaims: “He is my father!” The others look at him and comment: “A severe Father, true?” He answers: “No, and no! He is very affectionate. My father is a lawyer. That photo was taken in the tribunal, while he was denouncing the crime of a great landowner who wanted a poor family to abandon their home where they had lived for many years! My father won the cause. And the poor family remained in the house!” All looked at him again and said: “What a pleasant person!” Almost like a miracle the photo enlightened from within and assumed a different aspect. That very severe face acquired the features of great tenderness! The words of the son, the result of his experience of being the son, changed everything, without changing anything! The words and the gestures of Jesus, result of his experience as a Son, without changing a letter or a comma, enlightened from within the wisdom accumulated by the doctor of the law. And thus, God who seemed to be so far away and so severe acquired the features of a good Father and of enormous tenderness!

4) Personal questions
• Has the experience of Son entered in you and changed your look, making you discover the things of God in a different way?

• What has the Discourse of the Parables revealed to you about the Kingdom?

5) Concluding Prayer
Praise Yahweh, my soul!
I will praise Yahweh all my life,
I will make music to my God as long as I live. (Ps 146,1-2)