Thứ Hai, 7 tháng 8, 2017

AUGUST 08, 2017 : MEMORIAL OF SAINT DOMINIC, PRIEST

Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
Lectionary: 408

Reading 1NM 12:1-13
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses on the pretext
of the marriage he had contracted with a Cushite woman.
They complained, "Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks?
Does he not speak through us also?"
And the LORD heard this.
Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth.
So at once the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and Miriam,
"Come out, you three, to the meeting tent."
And the three of them went.
Then the LORD came down in the column of cloud,
and standing at the entrance of the tent,
called Aaron and Miriam.
When both came forward, he said,
"Now listen to the words of the LORD:

Should there be a prophet among you,
in visions will I reveal myself to him,
in dreams will I speak to him;
not so with my servant Moses!
Throughout my house he bears my trust:
face to face I speak to him;
plainly and not in riddles.
The presence of the LORD he beholds.

Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant Moses?"

So angry was the LORD against them that when he departed,
and the cloud withdrew from the tent,
there was Miriam, a snow-white leper!
When Aaron turned and saw her a leper, he said to Moses,
"Ah, my lord! Please do not charge us with the sin
that we have foolishly committed!
Let her not thus be like the stillborn babe
that comes forth from its mother's womb
with its flesh half consumed."
Then Moses cried to the LORD, "Please, not this! Pray, heal her!"

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense;
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned;
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
That you may be justified in your sentence,
vindicated when you condemn.
Indeed, in guilt was I born,
and in sin my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not off from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

AlleluiaJN 1:49B
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.

The following text may be substituted, 
especially in Year A when the above Gospel is read on Monday.

Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?
They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal."
He summoned the crowd and said to them, "Hear and understand.
It is not what enters one's mouth that defiles the man;
but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one."
Then his disciples approached and said to him,
"Do you know that the Pharisees took offense
when they heard what you said?"
He said in reply, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted
will be uprooted.
Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.
If a blind man leads a blind man,
both will fall into a pit."


Meditation:  "It is I - have no fear"
Does the Lord Jesus seem distant when trials or adversity come your way? It was at Jesus' initiative that the disciples sailed across the lake, only to find themselves in a life-threatening storm. Although they were experienced fishermen, they feared for their lives. While Jesus was not with them in the boat, he, nonetheless watched for them in prayer. When he perceived their trouble he came to them on the sea and startled them with his sudden appearance. Do you look for the Lord's presence when you encounter difficulty or challenges?
Fight fear with faith
This dramatic incident on the sea of Galilee revealed Peter's character more fully than others. Here we see Peter's impulsiveness - his tendency to act without thinking of what he was doing. He often failed and came to grief as a result of his impulsiveness. In contrast, Jesus always bade his disciples to see how difficult it was to follow him before they set out on the way he taught them. A great deal of failure in the Christian life is due to acting on impulse and emotional fervor without counting the cost. Peter, fortunately in the moment of his failure clutched at Jesus and held him firmly. Every time Peter fell, he rose again. His failures only made him love the Lord more deeply and trust him more intently. 
The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty. Do you rely on the Lord for his strength and help? Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us. When calamities or trials threaten to overwhelm you, how do you respond? With faith and hope in God's love, care and presence with you?
"Lord Jesus, help me to trust you always and to never doubt your presence and your power to help me. In my moments of doubt and weakness, may I cling to you as Peter did. Strengthen my faith that I may walk straight in the path you set before me, neither veering to the left nor to the right".
Daily Quote from the early church fathersWelcoming the Lord Jesus with expectant faith and humility, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"While human praise does not tempt the Lord, people are often ruffled and nearly entranced by human praise and honors in the church. Peter was afraid on the sea, terrified by the great force of the storm. Indeed, who does not fear that voice: 'Those who say you are happy place you in error and disturb the path of your feet' (Isaiah 3:12 Vulgate translation)? And since the soul struggles against the desire for human praise, it is good for it to turn to prayer and petition amid such danger, lest one who is charmed by praise be overcome by criticism and reproach. Let Peter, about to sink in the waves, cry out and say, 'Lord, save me!' The Lord reached out his hand. He chided Peter, saying, 'O man of little faith, why did you doubt?' - that is, why did you not, gazing straight at the Lord as you approached, pride yourself only in him? Nevertheless he snatched Peter from the waves and did not allow him who was declaring his weakness and asking the Lord for help to perish." (excerpt from SERMON 75:10)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 8, MATTHEW 14:22-36 or 15:1-2, 10-14
(Numbers 12:1-13; Psalm 51)

KEY VERSE: "O you of little faith, why did you doubt" (v 31).
TO KNOW: After the miraculous multiplication of loaves in the wilderness, Jesus revealed that he was victorious over the destructive forces that would threaten the future Church. As the disciples crossed the turbulent sea at night, they were alone in a boat. Suddenly, a storm threatened to engulf them. Jesus came walking on the sea toward them (see Ps 77:20), and he told his terrified disciples not to be afraid but to have courage. At Jesus' command, Peter walked toward him on the water, but when he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. Grasping Peter by the hand Jesus asked, "Why did you doubt?" (v 31). In essence Jesus was saying, "I am Emmanuel ̶ God who is with you" (Mt 1:23). Those who had doubted now declared Jesus to be the "Son of God." The boat tossed about in the storm at sea is a symbol of the Church as it contends with the forces that threaten to capsize it. In the waters of baptism we are saved from sin and death.

TO LOVE: How can I overcome fear and focus on Jesus when I face trials?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to put my trust in you as I face the storms in my life.

Memorial of Saint Dominic, priest

Dominic was born to Spanish nobility of the house of Guzman. His mother was Blessed Joan of Aza who, when pregnant, had a vision that her unborn child was a dog who would set the world on fire with a torch carried in its mouth. A dog bearing a torch in its mouth became a symbol for the Dominicans. Dominic founded the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) in 1215, a group who lived a simple, austere life, and an order of nuns dedicated to the care of young girls. Legend says that when Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission, he received a vision from Our Lady who told him to say the rosary daily, and teach it to all who would listen. Dominic is often credited with the invention of the rosary, but it predates him. There is also a story that Dominic received a vision of a beggar who, like Dominic, would do great things for the Church. Dominic met the beggar the next day, embraced him and said, "You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us." The beggar was Saint Francis of Assisi. 


Tuesday 8 August 2017

Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
Judith 8:11-17, 28-31 / Colossians 3:12-17. Psalm 31(32):1-5, 7-8. Matthew 6:25-34.
Into your hands, O Lord, I entrust my spirit — Psalm 31(32):1-5, 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. 
‘Set your hearts on his kingdom first and his saving justice.’
Mary MacKillop, from an early age, set her heart on God. She initially thought of a penitential form of religious life, but Julian Tennison Woods showed her how her skills as a teacher and leader could be used in following Jesus. Her early experience of providing for her family grounded her and led to a sensible, practical approach.
What was radical, though, was her determination to trust in Divine Providence and to make this a hallmark of the Josephites.
She inspired them to look for the areas of greatest need and to fashion a response out of what was available.
Jesus, this is still radical. Inspire and encourage me to follow you and live in this way.

ST. DOMINIC

On Aug. 8, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Dominic Guzman, who helped the cause of orthodoxy in the medieval Church by founding the Order of Preachers, also known as Dominicans.

“This great saint reminds us that in the heart of the Church a missionary fire must always burn,” Pope Benedict XVI said in a February 2010 General Audience talk on the life of St. Dominic. In his life, the Pope said, “the search for God's glory and the salvation of souls” went “hand in hand.”

Born in Caleruega, Spain around the year 1170, Dominic was the son of Felix Guzman and Joanna of Aza, members of the nobility. His mother would eventually be beatified by the Church, as would his brother Manes who became a Dominican. The family's oldest son Antonio also became a priest.

Dominic received his early education from his uncle, who was a priest, before entering the University of Palencia where he studied for ten years. In one notable incident from this period, he sold his entire collection of rare books to provide for the relief of the poor in the city.

After his ordination to the priesthood, Dominic was asked by Bishop Diego of Osma to participate in local church reforms. He spent nine years in Osma, pursuing a life of intense prayer, before being called to accompany the bishop on a piece of business for King Alfonso IX of Castile in 1203.

While traveling in France with the bishop, Dominic observed the bad effects of the Albigensian heresy, which had taken hold in southern France during the preceding century. The sect revived an earlier heresy, Manicheanism, which condemned the material world as an evil realm not created by God.

Dreading the spread of heresy, Dominic began to think about founding a religious order to promote the truth. In 1204 he and Bishop Diego were sent by Pope Innocent III to assist in the effort against the Albigensians, which eventually involved both military force and theological persuasion.

In France, Dominic engaged in doctrinal debates and set up a convent whose rule would eventually become a template for the life of female Dominicans. He continued his preaching mission from 1208 to 1215, during the intensification of the military effort against the Albigensians.

In 1214, Dominic's extreme physical asceticism caused him to fall into a coma, during which the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to him and instructed him to promote the prayer of the Rosary. Its focus on the incarnation and life of Christ directly countered the Albigensian attitude towards matter as evil.

During that same year, Dominic returned to Tolouse and obtained the bishop's approval of his plan for an order dedicated to preaching. He and a group of followers gained local recognition as a religious congregation, and Dominic accompanied Tolouse's bishop to Rome for an ecumenical council in 1215.

The council stressed the Church's need for better preaching, but also set up a barrier to the institution of new religious orders. Dominic, however, obtained papal approval for his plan in 1216, and was named as the Pope's chief theologian. The Order of Preachers expanded in Europe with papal help in 1218.

The founder spent the last several years of his life building up the order and continuing his preaching missions, during which he is said to have converted some 100,000 people. After several weeks of illness, St. Dominic died in Italy on August 6, 1221. He was canonized in 1234 by Pope Gregory IX.



LECTIO DIVINA: MATTHEW 14,22-36
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer
Father of everlasting goodness,
our origin and guide,
be close to us
and hear the prayers of all who praise you.
Forgive our sins and restore us to life.
Keep us safe in your love.
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 14,22-36
At once Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he sent the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now some furlongs from land, was hard pressed by rough waves, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea, and when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 'It is a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.
But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, 'Courage! It's me! Don't be afraid.'
It was Peter who answered. 'Lord,' he said, 'if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.' Jesus said, 'Come.' Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink. 'Lord,' he cried, 'save me!'
Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. 'You have so little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?' 32 And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. 33 The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, 'Truly, you are the Son of God.'
Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the local people recognised him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all that were sick to him, begging him just to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were saved.

3) Reflection
• The Gospel today describes the difficult and tiresome crossing of the sea of Galilee in a fragile boat, pushed by a contrary wind. Between the discourse of the Parables (Mt 13) and of the Community (Mt 18), there is once again, the narrative part (Mt 14 to 17). The discourse of the Parables calls our attention again on the presence of the Kingdom. Now, the narrative part shows the reactions in favour and against Jesus provoked by that presence. In Nazareth, he was not accepted (Mt 13, 53-58) and King Herod thought that Jesus was a sort or reincarnation of John the Baptist, whom he had murdered (Mt 14, 1-12). The poor people, though, recognized in Jesus the one who had been sent by God and they followed him to the desert, where the multiplication of the loaves took place (Mt 14, 13-21). After the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus takes leave of the crowd and ordered the disciples to cross the lake, as it is described in today’s Gospel (Mt 14, 22-36).
• Matthew 14, 22-24: To begin the crossing asked by Jesus. Jesus obliges the Disciples to go into the boat and to go toward the other side of the sea, where the land of the pagans was. He goes up to the mountain to pray. The boat symbolizes the community. It has the mission to direct itself toward the pagans and to announce among them the Good News of the Kingdom also, which was the new way of living in community. But the crossing was very tiring and long. The boat is agitated by the wave, because the wind is contrary. In spite of having rowed the whole night, there is still a great distance left before reaching the land. Much was still lacking in the community in order to be able to cross and go toward the pagans. Jesus did not go with his disciples. They had to learn to face together the difficulties, united and strengthened by faith in Jesus who had sent them. The contrast is very great: Jesus is in peace together with God, praying on the top of the mountain, and the Disciples are almost lost there below, in the agitated sea.
• The crossing to the other side of the lake symbolizes also the difficult crossing of the community at the end of the first century. They should get out of the closed world of the ancient observance of the law toward the new manner of observing the Law of love., taught by Jesus; they should abandon the knowledge of belonging to the Chosen People, privileged by God among all other peoples, for the certainty that in Christ all peoples would be united into one Only People before God; they should get out from isolation and intolerance toward the open world of acceptance and of gratitude. Today also, we are going through a difficult crossing toward a new time and a new way of being Church. A difficult crossing, but which is necessary. There are moments in life in which we are attacked by fear. Good will is not lacking, but this is not sufficient. We are like a boat faced with the contrary wind.
• Matthew 14, 25-27: Jesus comes close to them but they do not recognize him. Toward the end of the night, that is between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus goes to meet the Disciples. Walking on the water, he gets close to them, but they did not recognize him. They cried out in fear, thinking that it was a ghost. Jesus calms them down saying: “Courage! It is me! Do not be afraid!” The expression “It is me!” is the same one with which God tried to overcome the fear of Moses when he sent him to liberate the people from Egypt (Ex 3, 14). For the communities, of today as well as for those of yesterday, it was and it is very important to be always open to novelty: “Courage. It is me!. Do not be afraid!”
• Matthew 14, 28-31: Enthusiasm and weakness of Peter. Knowing that it is Jesus, Peter asks that he also can walk on the water. He wants to experience the power which dominates the fury of the sea. This is a power which in the bible belongs only to God (Gn 1, 6; Ps 104, 6-9). Jesus allows him to participate in this power. But Peter is afraid. He thinks that he will sink and he cries out: “Lord, save me!” Jesus assures him and takes hold of him and reproaches him: “You have so little faith! Why did you doubt?” Peter has more strength than he imagined, but is afraid before the contrary waves and does not believe in the power of God which dwells within him. The communities do not believe in the force of the Spirit which is within them and which acts through faith. It is the force of the Resurrection (Eph 1, 19-20).
• Matthew 14, 32-33:Jesus is the Son of God. Before the waves that come toward them, Peter begins to sink in the sea because of lack of faith. After he is saved, he and Jesus, both of them, go into the boat and the wind calms down. The other Disciples, who are in the boat, are astonished and bowed before Jesus, recognizing that he is the Son of God: “Truly, you are the Son of God”. Later on, Peter also professes the same faith in Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Mt 16,16). In this way Matthew suggests that it is not only Peter who sustains the faith of the Disciples, but also that the faith of the Disciples sustains Peter’s faith.
• Matthew 14, 34-36: They brought all the sick to him. The episode of the crossing ends with something beautiful: “Having made the crossing they came to Gennesaret. When the local people recognized him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all who were sick to him, begging him just to let them tough the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were saved”.

4) Personal questions
• Has there been a contrary wind in your life? What have you done to overcome it? Has this happened sometimes in the community? How was it overcome?
• Which is the crossing which the communities are doing today? From where to where? How does all this help us to recognize today the presence of Jesus in the contrary waves of life?

5) Concluding Prayer
Keep me far from the way of deceit,
grant me the grace of your Law.
I have chosen the way of constancy,
I have moulded myself to your judgements. (Ps 119,29-30)