Thứ Tư, 8 tháng 7, 2020


Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 386

Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.
My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.
Responsorial Psalm80:2AC AND 3B, 15-16
R. (4b) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken.
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
AlleluiaMK 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
GospelMT 10:7-15
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your wordsC
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, please go here.

Meditation: Freely have you received - freely give
Do you believe that the Gospel has power to change your life and the lives of others? Jesus gave his disciples a two-fold commission to speak in his name and to act with his power. The core of the Gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom (or reign) of God is imminent! What is the kingdom of God? It is that society of men and women who freely submit to God and who honor him as their Lord and King. In the Lord's prayer we pray for God to reign in our lives and in our world: May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Doing the works which Jesus did
Jesus also commissioned his disciples to carry on the works which he did - bringing the healing power and mercy of God to the weary and oppressed. The Gospel has power to set people free from sin, sickness, fear, and oppression. The Lord Jesus will free us from anything that keeps us from loving him and our neighbor with joy and confidence.

Sharing generously what God has given to each one of us
Jesus said to his disciples: Freely you have received, freely give. What they have received from Jesus they must now pass on to others without expecting a favor in return, whether it be in the form of a gift or payment. They must show by their attitude that their first interest is in serving God, not receiving material gain. They must serve without guile, full of charity and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God's kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must travel light - only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them - in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting special privileges or reward. "Poverty of spirit" frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God's provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.

Support the work of the Gospel with your resources
Secondly, Jesus said: the worker deserves his sustenance. Here we see a double-truth: the worker of God must not be overly-concerned with material things, but the people of God must never fail in their duty to give the worker of God what he or she needs to sustain themselves in the Lord's service. Do you pray for the work of the Gospel and do you support it with your material and financial resources?

Jesus ends his instructions with a warning: If people reject God's invitation and refuse his word, then they bring judgment and condemnation on themselves. When God gives us his word there comes with it the great responsibility to respond. Indifference will not do. We are either for or against God in how we respond to his word. God gives us his word that we may have life - abundant life in him. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. God shares his word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and simply to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the Gospel by word and example to those around you?
"Lord Jesus, may the joy and truth of the Gospel transform my life that I may witness it to those around me. Grant that I may spread your truth and your light wherever I go. "

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe gift of power to reign with the Lord, by Hilary of Poitiers (315-367 AD)
"All the power possessed by the Lord is bestowed upon the apostles! Those who were prefigured in the image and likeness of God in Adam have now received the perfect image and likeness of Christ. They have been given powers in no way different from those of the Lord. Those once earthbound now become heaven-centered. They will proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, that the image and likeness of God are now appropriated in the company of truth, so that all the holy ones who have been made heirs of heaven may reign with the Lord. Let them cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out devils. Whatever impairment Adam's body had incurred from being goaded on by Satan, let the apostles wipe away through their sharing in the Lord's power. And that they may fully obtain the likeness of God according to the prophecy in Genesis, they are ordered to give freely what they freely have received (Matthew 10:8). Thus a gift freely bestowed should be freely dispensed." (excerpt from commentary ON MATTHEW 10.4)


(Hosea 11:1-4, 8c-9; Psalm 80)

KEY VERSE: "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give" (v. 8).
TO KNOW: Jesus sent forth the twelve apostles he had chosen to announce the arrival of God's reign. The reign of God would be revealed by healing the sick, raising the dead, and driving out evil. The Twelve received God's gift without meriting it; therefore, they must share this gift freely with others. As the apostles went forth, they were to trust in God's providence, taking only the essentials, and depending upon the generosity of others to support them. Those who accepted the gospel of Jesus would be blessed. If the message was rejected, the blessing would return to the giver. The apostles must disassociate themselves from these unbelievers and leave it to God to pronounce judgment on them.
TO LOVE: Am I generous in sharing the gifts that I have been given?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to proclaim your gospel with courage.

Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs

Augustine Zhao Rong was a soldier. He escorted Blessed John Gabriel Dufresse to Beijing, China during his missionary work. Once baptized, he was sent to the seminary and then ordained a priest. Augustine worked in the Su-Tchuen province. He was arrested for his faith and work, and died in 1815 due to poor conditions in prison. Augustine was one of 120 Martyrs of China that were canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000 on the Feast of Saint Thèrése of Lisieux, patron of missions. The Pope said that "the Church wanted to recognize these martyrs as examples of courage … and thus to honor the noble Chinese people for their fidelity to the Catholic faith." These martyrs died between 1648 and 1930. Of the 120 Chinese martyrs, 87 were natives, and the remaining 33 were foreign missionaries who served in China.

Thursday 9 July 2020

St Augustine Zhao Rong & Cc
Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved – Psalm 79(80):2-3, 15-16. Matthew 10:7-15.
‘As you go, proclaim this message: ‘’The kingdom of Heaven has come near.”’
Lord, you seem so matter-of-fact as you send me on my mission: take no money, no spare clothes, not even a bag. You want me ‘to travel light’ indeed. You ask me to let go of all my props and refuges – everything that I rely on to give me identity, command respect, protect me from need, and rely only on your promise. I’m really scared, and you think I’ll have peace to give away when I enter the homes of strangers, and even peace to take away with me if they don’t welcome me and your message? You smile at me. You say nothing. My soul within me longs for such freedom, my heart for such courage. The journey begins with a single step…

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions
Saint of the Day for July 9
(d. 1648 – 1930)
Stained glass window of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and companions | The Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception | photo by hugo poon
Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions’ Story
Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China’s relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly.
The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Eighty-seven of them were born in China, and were children, parents, catechists, or laborers, ranging in age from nine years to 72. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests. The 33 foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Society of Jesus, Society of St. Francis de Sales (Salesians), and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese soldier who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse of the Paris Foreign Mission Society to his martyrdom in Beijing. Not long after his baptism, Augustine was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.
Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized together in Rome on October 1, 2000.

The People’s Republic of China and the Roman Catholic Church each have well over a billion members, but there are only about 12 million Catholics in China. The reasons for that are better explained by historical conflicts than by a wholesale rejection of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Chinese-born martyrs honored by today’s feast were regarded by their persecutors as dangerous because they were considered allies of enemy, Catholic countries. The martyrs born outside China often tried to distance themselves from European political struggles relating to China, but their persecutors saw them as Westerners and therefore, by definition, anti-Chinese.
The Good News of Jesus Christ is intended to benefit all peoples; today’s martyrs knew that. May 21st-century Christians live in such a way that Chinese women and men will be attracted to hear that Good News and embrace it.


Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, July 9, 2020
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 10,7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: "As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those suffering from virulent skin-diseases, drive out devils.
You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the labourer deserves his keep.
'Whatever town or village you go into, seek out someone worthy and stay with him until you leave.
As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, may your peace come upon it; if it does not, may your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. In truth I tell you, on the Day of Judgement it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town."
3) Reflection
• The Gospel today presents the second part of the sending out of the disciples.  Yesterday we have seen that Jesus insists in directing them first toward the lost sheep of Israel.  Today, we see the concrete instructions to carry out the mission.

• Matthew 10, 7: The objective of the mission: to reveal the presence of the Kingdom. “Go and announce the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand”.  The principal objective is that of announcing that the Kingdom is close at hand.  This is the novelty which Christ brings to us.  For the other Jews there was still a long time before the coming of the Kingdom. It would have come only after they would have done their own part.  The coming of the Kingdom depended, according to them, on their effort. For thePharisees, for example, the Kingdom would be attained only after the perfect observance of the Law.  For the Essences, when the country would have purified itself. But Jesus thinks in a different way. He has a different way of reading the facts of life. He says that the hour has already arrived (Mk 1, 15). When he says that the Kingdom is close at hand or that the Kingdom is already among us, in our midst, he does not mean to say that the Kingdom was just arriving at that moment, but that it was already there, independently of the effort made by the people. What they all expected was already present among the people, gratuitously, but the people did not know it, nor perceived it (cf. Lk 17, 21). Jesus is aware of this, because he sees reality with different eyes. He reveals and announces to the poor of his land this hidden presence of the Kingdom in our midst (Lk 4, 18). It is the mustard seed which will receive the rain of his word and the warmth of his love.  

• Matthew 10, 8: The signs of the presence of the Kingdom: accept the excluded. How should the presence of the Kingdom be announced? Only through words and discourses? No! The signs of the presence of the Kingdom are above all concrete gestures or acts, done gratuitously: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out the devils. You received without charge, give without charge”.  This means that the disciples should accept within the community those who have been excluded. This practice of solidarity criticizes both the religion and society which exclude, and indicates concrete solutions.    

• Matthew 10, 9-10: Do not take anything for the journey. Contrary to other missionaries, the disciples of Jesus should not take anything: “Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or a spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the labourer deserves his keep”. This means that they have to trust in the hospitality of the people.  Because the disciples who go without anything, taking only peace (Mk 10, 13), show that they trust the people.  It is certain that they will be welcomed, that they will be able to participate in the life and the work of the people of the place and that they will be able to survive with what they will receive in exchange, because the labourer deserves his keep.  This means that the disciples should trust in sharing. By means of this practice they criticize the laws of exclusion and recover the ancient values of community living together.  

• Matthew 10, 11-13: To share peace in the community. The disciples should not go from house to house, but should seek persons of peace and remain in that house. That is, they should they in a stable manner.  Thus, through that new practice, they criticise the culture of accumulation which characterized the politics of the Roman Empire, and they announced a new model of living together. Once all these requirements were respected, the disciples could cry out: The Kingdom of God has arrived! To announce the Kingdom does not mean, in the first place, to teach truths and doctrine, but lead toward a new fraternal manner of living and of sharing starting from the Good News which Jesus has brought to us: God and Father and Mother of all men and women.  

• Matthew 10, 14-15: The severity of the menace.  How is such a severe menace to be understood? Jesus has brought us something completely new. He has come to rescue the community values of the past: hospitality, sharing, communion around the table, acceptance of the excluded.  That explains the severity against those who reject the message. Because they do not reject something new, but their own past, their own culture and wisdom! The objective of the pedagogy of Jesus is to dig out from the memory, to recover the wisdom of the people, to reconstruct the community, to renew the Covenant, to reconstruct life.  

4) Personal questions
• Today, how can we put into practice the recommendation not to take anything for the journey when going to a mission?
• Jesus orders to seek for persons of peace, so as to be able to remain in their house. Today, who would be a person of peace to whom to address oneself in the announcement of the Good News?

5) Concluding Prayer
God Sabaoth, come back, we pray,
look down from heaven and see,
visit this vine;
protect what your own hand has planted. (Ps 80,14-15)

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