Thứ Sáu, 4 tháng 8, 2017

AUGUST 05, 2017 : SATURDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 406

Reading 1LV 25:1, 8-17
The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
"Seven weeks of years shall you count–seven times seven years–
so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet resound;
on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo
throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred
by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you,
when every one of you shall return to his own property,
every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee,
you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.

"In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor
or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee
shall you purchase the land from your neighbor;
and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops,
shall he sell it to you.
When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more;
when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less.
For it is really the number of crops that he sells you.
Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.
I, the LORD, am your God."

Responsorial PsalmPS 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
The earth has yielded its fruits;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

AlleluiaMT 5:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 14:1-12
Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, "This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him."

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
"It is not lawful for you to have her."
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
"Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was distressed, 
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.


Meditation: Herod's reaction to John the Baptist
Do you ever feel haunted by a past failure or a guilty conscience? King Herod, the most powerful and wealthy man in Judea, had everything he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God. Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to rebuke Herod for his adulterous relationship with his brother's wife. He ended up in prison because of Herodias' jealousy. Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded. Now his conscience is pricked when he hears that all the people are going to Jesus to hear his message of repentance and to see his mighty works. Herod is now haunted by the thought that the prophet he murdered might now be raised from the dead!
A sign of vanity and cowardice
Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin. Herod's power and influence was badly flawed. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. Where do you get the strength of will and heart to choose what is right and to reject what is bad?
God is our help and our strength
The Lord Jesus gives grace and help to the humble, to those who acknowledge their weaknesses and their sinfulness, and who look to God for his mercy and pardon, wisdom and strength. His grace and pardon not only frees us from a guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in every area of our lives, in our thoughts and intentions as well as our words and actions.
Fight fear with faith
God's grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise good with evil. Do you rely on God's grace and help to choose his way of holiness and to reject whatever would weaken your faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ?
"Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son Jesus that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of hardship and temptation."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersIntegrity is a hardship for the morally corrupt, by Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD)
"John aroused Herod by his moral admonitions, not by any formal accusation. He wanted to correct, not to suppress. Herod, however, preferred to suppress rather than be reconciled. To those who are held captive, the freedom of the one innocent of wrongdoing becomes hateful. Virtue is undesirable to those who are immoral; holiness is abhorrent to those who are impious; chastity is an enemy to those who are impure; integrity is a hardship for those who are corrupt; frugality runs counter to those who are self-indulgent; mercy is intolerable to those who are cruel, as is loving-kindness to those who are pitiless and justice to those who are unjust. The Evangelist indicates this when he says, "John said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have the wife of your brother Philip.'" This is where John runs into trouble. He who admonishes those who are evil gives offense. He who repudiates wrongdoers runs into trouble. John was saying what was proper of the law, what was proper of justice, what was proper of salvation and what was proper certainly not of hatred but of love. And look at the reward he received from the ungodly for his loving concern!" (excerpt from SERMONS 127.6-7)
[Peter Chrysologus, 400-450 AD, was a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena in the 5th century] 


SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, MATTHEW 14:1-12
Weekday

(Leviticus 25:1, 8-17; Psalm 67)

KEY VERSE: "This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him" (v 2).
TO KNOW: As Jesus' reputation spread, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great and the ruler of Galilee, heard of the marvelous deeds that Jesus had performed. Herod feared that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead. The king had imprisoned the prophet because of his courageous stance against the ruler's illicit marriage (Lv 18:16, 20:21). Herod wanted to kill the popular prophet, but he was afraid that his death would cause the people to revolt. At Herod's birthday party, he promised his step-daughter that he would grant her any request if she would dance for his guests. Prompted by her mother Herodias, the girl asked for John's head as her reward. Like the prophets before him, John was murdered for proclaiming the truth of God.
TO LOVE: What are the important issues for which I need to take a stand?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to speak out against the injustices that I see.

Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Rome

The most important church in the city of Rome is dedicated to Our Lady, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. It was erected around the year 352, during the reign of Pope Liberius (352-366). According to legend, a member of an aristocratic family and his wife were childless. They prayed that the Blessed Mother might intercede for them so that they would have an heir to bequeath their wealth. They were favored with a dream in which Our Lady appeared to them on the night of August 4-5. She requested that they build a church in her honor on the Esquiline hill. The sign to accompany this dream was that the exact location would be marked out in snow. The Basilica has been called Our Lady of the Snows in commemoration of the miraculous snowfall. Pope Sixtus III (432-440) rebuilt and embellished the basilica. From the seventh century onward, it was referred to as Saint Mary the Great (Major).


Saturday 5 August 2017

Dedication of St Mary Major.
Leviticus 25:1, 8-17. Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5, 7-8. Matthew 14:1-12.
O God, let all the nations praise you! — Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5, 7-8.
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. 
‘This is John the Baptist himself: he has risen from the dead.’
It takes a lot of courage to speak truth to power, as John the Baptist did. He paid for that with his life.
While working with other Sisters in Adelaide, Mary MacKillop heard disturbing stories about a priest who was allegedly abusing children. She went public, telling Fr Tennison Woods, who reported this to the Vicar General. The priest was sent to Ireland, where he continued to work. Another priest swore vengeance and worked on Bishop Shiel to destroy the Josephites.
When Mary would not change central government, she was excommunicated. She and 51 other sisters were turned out on the streets with no money and nowhere to go. Mary supported and encouraged the sisters in exile. The Jesuits supported her.
Jesus, help me to trust you, whatever happens.

BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE

The greatest desire and prayer of Blessed Frederic Janssoone was to help others come closer to God. His ministry as a Franciscan help him to do that, and took him to many places, from Europe, to the Holy Land and then to North America, where he died.
He was born in Flanders in 1838 as the youngest of 13 children in a wealthy farming family. Frederic was nine when his father died, and he dropped out of school to work as a traveling salesman in order to help support his family. His mother died when he was 23. He completed his studies and then entered the Franciscans. He was ordained in 1870, and served as a military chaplain during the Franco-Prussian War.
He was then sent to the Holy Land, where he reinstated the Stations of the Cross in the streets of Jerusalem, built a church in Bethlehem, and negotiated an accord among the Roman, Greek and Armenian Christian churches concerning the sanctuaries of Bethlehem.
He first came to Canada in 1881 on a fundraising tour, but eventually moved permanently to the country seven years later. He helped to develop the popular shrine of Our Lady at Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. He wrote biographies of the saints, newspaper articles and sold religious books door to door.
He died of stomach cancer in Montreal in 1916 and is buried in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, a city close to the Marian shrine he helped to develop. Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic in 1988.


LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 14,1-12
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, August 5, 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 14,1-12
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus and said to his court, 'This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.' Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. For John had told him, 'It is against the Law for you to have her.' He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked. Prompted by her mother she said, 'Give me John the Baptist's head, here, on a dish.' The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.
John's disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

3) Reflection
•Today’s Gospel describes the way in which John the Baptist was the victim of corruption and of the arrogance of the government of Herod. He was killed without a process, during a banquet of the king with the great of the kingdom. The text gives us much information on the time in which Jesus lived and on the manner in which power was used by the powerful of that time.
• Matthew 14,1-2. Who is Jesus for Herod. The text begins by informing about the opinion which Herod had of Jesus: "This is John the Baptist himself, he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him”. Herod tries to understand Jesus starting from the fear which assailed him after murdering John. Herod was very superstitious and hid his fear behind the ostentation of his riches and of his power.
• Matthew 14, 3-5: The hidden cause of the murdering of John. Galilee, the land of Jesus, was governed by Herod Antipas, the son of King Herod, the Great, from the year 4 BC until the year 38 AD, after Christ. Forty-three years in all! During the time of the life of Jesus, there were no changes of government in Galilee! Herod was the absolute Lord of everything, he did not render an account to anyone, he did whatever passed through his mind. Arrogance, lack of ethics, absolute power, without control from the people! But the one, who commanded in Palestine since the year 63 before Christ, was the Roman Empire. Herod, in Galilee, so as not to be dismissed, tried to please Rome in everything. Above all, he insisted on an efficient administration which would bring riches to the Empire. His concern was his own promotion and his security. For this reason, he refrained from any type of subversion. Matthew says that the reason for murdering John was because he had denounced Herod, because he had married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Flavio Joseph, a Jewish writer of that time, says that the true reason for the imprisonment of John the Baptist was the fear of Herod that there would be a popular revolt. Herod like to be called the benefactor of the people, but in reality he was a tyrant (Lk 22, 25). The denunciation of John against Herod was the drop that caused the glass to overflow: “It is against the Law for you to have her”. And John was put in prison.
• Matthew 14, 6-12: The plot of the murderer. An anniversary and a festive banquet, with dances and orgy! Mark says that in the feast were “the great of the court, the officials and the important people of Galilee” (Mk 6, 21). This is the environment in which the murdering of John the Baptist is planned. John, the prophet, was a living denunciation of that corrupt system. This is why, he was eliminated with the pretext of a problem of personal revenge. All this reveals the moral weakness of Herod. So much power accumulated in the hands of one man incapable to control himself! In the enthusiasm of the feast and of the wine, Herod makes a promise by oath to Salome, the young dancer, daughter of Herodias. Superstitious as he was, he thought that he had to maintain this oath, and respond to the caprice of the girl; and because of this he ordered the soldier to bring the head of John on a tray and give it to the dancer, who then gave it to her mother. For Herod, the life of his subjects was worthless. He disposes of them as he disposes of the staircases in his house!
The three characteristics of the government of Herod: the new Capital, large estates, and the class of functionaries:
a) The New Capital. Tiberiade was inaugurated when Jesus was only 20 years old. It was called like that in order to please Tiberius, the emperor of Rome. It was inhabited by the lords of the earth, the soldiers, the policemen, the unscrupulous judges (Lk 18, 1-4). The taxes and the products of the people were channelled toward it. It was there that Herod made his orgy of death (Mk 6, 21-29). Tiberiades was the city of the palaces of the King, where those who wore soft, delicate dresses lived (cf. Mt 11, 8). It is not known by the Gospels that Jesus entered this city.
b) The large estates. Scholars say that during the long government of Herod, the large estates grew causing harm to community property. The Book of Henoch denounces the lords of the land and expresses the hope of the little ones: “And then the powerful and the great will no longer be the lords of the land”. (Hen 38,4). The ideal of ancient times was the following: “Each one will peacefully sit under his vine and nobody will frighten them” (1 Mac 14,12; Mi 4,4; Zc 3,10). But the politics of the government of Herod made this ideal impossible.
c) The class of functionaries. Herod created a whole class of functionaries faithful to the project of the King: the Scribes, the merchants, the lords of the land, the officers of the market, the tax collectors, the militia, the policemen, the judges, the local heads,. In every village there was a group of persons which supported the government. In the Gospels, some Pharisees appear together with the Herodians (Mk 3, 6; 8, 15; 12, 13), and that shows the alliance between the religious power and the civil power. The life of the people in the villages was very controlled, both by the government and by the religion. Much courage was necessary to begin anything new, as John and Jesus did! It was the same thing as attracting to self the anger of the privileged ones, both from the religious and the civil powers.

4) Personal questions
• Do you know any persons who died victims of corruption and domination of the powerful? And here among us, in our community and in the Church, are there victims of authoritarianism and of the abuse of power?
• Herod, the powerful, who thought he was the lord of life and death of people, was a coward before the great and a corrupt flatterer before the girl who danced. Cowardice and corruption marked the exercise of the power of Herod. Compare all this with the exercise of religious power and civil orgy, in the different levels of society and of the Church.

5) Concluding Prayer
The humble have seen and are glad.
Let your courage revive, you who seek God.
For God listens to the poor,
he has never scorned his captive people. (Ps 69,32-33)