Posted by: livingscripture | June 30, 2015

Thirteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.  They came and woke him saying, ‘Lord, save us!  We are perishing!’  He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’  Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.  The men were amazed and said, ‘What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?’.”

(Matthew 8: 23-27)

How should we live this Wordstilling the sea

 Fear and trust are two sentiments present in our heart.  Fear blocks; trust makes us walk.  If one grows, the other diminishes, and vice versa.  Fear comes from the knowledge of our limitations and relies on our own abilities.  Trust comes from the knowledge that God is our Father and counts on what He can do.  Limitations that lean on trust are the place of faith, the place of abandonment.  We cry out, “Save us!”   We touch the depths of our creature status and we are freed from our desire to save ourselves by our own strength.  Jesus slept for us and He awakened for us, to put us in place!  In the risen Jesus, the One who awoke, our fear is conquered and we are given our true identity again.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will place all my trust in Jesus.

Lord, free me from the desire to save myself and let me lean on You.  Save me from my pettiness and give me a martyr’s heart that knows how to love You.  Let me forget myself.  May Your Spirit fill me with Your Presence and Your strength.

 The Voice of John Kennedy

 God, I abandon myself into Your hands. Turn and turn this clay in Your hands as a potter.  Give it the shape You want and then break it, if You wish.  Ask; order what You want me to do.  Raised, humiliated, persecuted, misunderstood, calumniated, unconsoled, suffering, useless…nothing remains for me to say, after the example of Your Mother, but “Be it done to me as You say.”  Give me love par excellence.  Love for the cross but not for heroic crosses that could nourish my self-love, but those crosses that are repugnant.  The crosses that we meet every day in contradictions, failures, wrong judgments, coldness, rejection, being despised by others; in illness and bodily defects; in darkness of mind and in silence and aridity of heart.  Only then will You know that I love You, even if I do not know it.  This is enough for me.

Posted by: livingscripture | June 29, 2015

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

From the Word of the Day

“But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”.  Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you.”

(Matthew 16: 15-17)

How should we live this WordPeter & Paul

 After some time living together, we are at a crossroads.  Jesus humbly asks His disciples what they have understood about Him; what they think of Him!  To be recognized is the fundamental desire of love that reveals itself.  It is the need to be recognized in the truth of His Person!

The personal response to this question is the measure of the disciple.  Christianity is not a theology, but a relationship.  The Christian is the one who lives and grows in relationship with Jesus.  Peter responds personally to the question with a profession of faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.    Thus, his faith becomes the key that opens the Kingdom of God.

To Peter who says, “You are”, Jesus responds “Blessed are you”, and a dialogue begins between them.  Deep knowledge grows and mercy is experienced.  The ‘primacy of Peter’ is born from the trust of a heart that knows how to see ‘beyond’, in a special gift of the discovery of God’s gift.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I too will repeat Peter’s affirmation with conviction and love during the day.  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Peter!  We continue to pray for him in his successor, Pope Francis.  Continue to help him, calling him blessed so that this beatitude will guarantee his rapport with You.  Give us respect and docility, love and fidelity toward him so that the Church, Your Spouse, may praise and witness to You without fear!

 The Voice of Pope Francis

 The witness of the Apostle Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God.  This distances every fear and makes us free from all slavery and every worldly temptation.  Peter experienced that God’s fidelity is greater than our denials…Peter shows us the way – confide in Him who knows us entirely; confiding not on our ability to be faithful, but on His everlasting fidelity…”

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 28, 2015

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who has touched my clothes?’  But his disciples said to Jesus, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’  And he looked around to see who had done it.  The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling.  She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.  He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction’.”

(Mark 5: 30-34)

How should we live this Wordwoman w hemorrage

 “Who touched me?”  There were many people around Jesus, but only one woman touched Him!  Great was the trust and certainty of this woman regarding her healing.  The only condition was to be able to touch Him, even if only the hem of His garment.  She was a woman totally concentrated on Jesus, so much so as to ‘draw power from Him’ and enter into dialogue with Him.

Centering our heart and mind on Jesus and giving Him our life are the conditions to be healed deeply by Him and become His disciple.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to center my life on Him at every moment so that I may live in Him and He may live in me.

Lord Heal me!  Save my sick soul and restore harmony to my interior turmoil!  Help me to return to You and increase my faith!

 The Voice of David Maria Turoldo

 Lord, I sing only for You, to rise up to You where Your are, my infinite joy.  My tears are turned into joy when I begin to invoke You, and enjoy only You, fearful height.  I am Your shadow.  I am deep disorder and my mind is the obscure light of the height of darkness that seeks You, inaccessible Light; my heart, a shell pining for Your echo, is anxious, O Infinite Silence.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 27, 2015

Twelfth Saturday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Daytrinityicon[1]

“The Lord appeared to Abraham by the Terebinth of Mamre, as Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.  Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.  When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground, he said, ‘Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past your servant.  Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.  Now that you have come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.”  The men replied, ‘Very well, do as you have said’.”

(Genesis 18: 1-5)

How should we live this Word

 This text of the first reading of the Liturgy today is known by the Eastern Fathers as the ‘hospitality of Abraham’.  The Terebinth of Mamre is a theological place besides being a geographical one, located intimately in the life of our Father in the faith, Abraham, and of the first patriarchs.  As we see, the Biblical text alternates the plural and the singular.  This enigmatic alternation creates a certain ‘alone’ of mystery that has led some Eastern Fathers to see in it a first, distant pre-announcement of the mystery of the Trinity.  We can recall the famous icon of the Trinity of the iconographer Rublev, where the three Divine Persons are represented by three angels under the Terebinth of Mamre.

The world of Abraham, that of Jesus, and our world of today are very different, and yet the value of hospitality is worth reconsidering more deeply, also because it has become an overpowering and burning reality in our times.  It deals with going from ‘hostility’ to ‘hospitality’.  Today in particular, we are called to make possible the passage from ‘enemy’ to ‘guest’.

We are therefore invited to reconsider the value and the implications of hospitality, knowing that God first is the one who gives us hospitality and is also the one who asks to be welcomed in our brothers and sisters.  This is offered to and asked of all true Christians.  It requires an intelligent love guided by faith.  It is important to recognize it is He who welcomes us and, therefore, we enter into the various works of hospitality beginning with our personal rapport with Him.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I shall ask Jesus to open my heart to welcome the stranger and help in any way I can.

Wise and merciful Father, give us a heart that is humble and meek to listen to the word of Your Son that still resounds in the Church gathered in His name and to receive Him and welcome Him as our guest in the person of our sisters and brothers.

 The Voice of St. Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism

All the guests that come to the monastery are to be received as Christ because one day He will say to us, “I was a stranger and you took me in”.  The guests who arrive or depart are to be greeted with the deepest humility: the head inclined, the body prostrate to the ground, adoring in them the Christ who is truly received.  (Rule # 53)

Posted by: livingscripture | June 26, 2015

Twelfth Friday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, ‘Lord if you wish, you can make me clean’.  He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said ‘I will do it.  Be made clean.’  His leprosy was cleansed immediately.  Then Jesus said to him,  ‘See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”     (Matthew 8: 1-4)

How should we live this Wordhealing lepers

 The stupendous miracle of the cure of a leper is the passage of today’s Gospel.  In order to understand all the importance of this gesture worked by Jesus in regard to this poor leper who is touched by Him, it is enough to cite a passage from Leviticus: “the Leper who has wounds will wear torn clothes, with his head uncovered, and veiled to his upper lip.  He will go along crying out, ‘Impure! Impure!’  He will be impure as long as he is sick.  He is impure.  He will remain alone and live outside the camp’ (Cf. Leviticus 13: 45-46).

Therefore, the leper is one impure, struck by God and by others.  He is the cause of impurity for those who meet him and is forced to live outside of society.  He is no longer a man like others but is reduced to a human larva cast out by everyone.  It is in this context that the Gospel account acquires special meaning.  Jesus touches one who is untouchable!  The Kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus does not consider barriers of pure and impure.  It goes beyond!  There no longer exist people to welcome and people to throw away.

Before the faith-filled, humble plea of that unhappy man prostrate before Him, enclosed in that, “If you wish, you can make me clean”, what comes to the fore is the condescending response of the Savior: “I do will it.  Be made clean”.  And He touched him!

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ponder this scene and ask Jesus to help me to be willing to ‘touch’ the neediest by opening my heart to them and doing all I can for them.

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me a sinner.  Just say one word and touch me, and I will be healed from all my leprosy!

 The Voice of Common Preface VIII of the Liturgy

In His mortal life, Christ Your servant and our Redeemer, passed by blessing and healing those who were imprisoned by evil.  Even today, as the Good Samaritan, He comes close to every person burdened in body and spirit and pours on their wounds the oil of consolation and the wine of hope.  Because of this gift of Your grace, even the night of suffering opens onto the Easter light of Your Crucified and Risen Son.

Posted by: livingscripture | June 25, 2015

Twelfth Thursday of Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.  But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.  And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”     (Matthew 7: 24-25)

How should we live this Wordhouse on sand

 Jesus ends His Discourse on the Mountain with the two short parables of the house built on rock and the house built on sand.  Jesus here takes on the attitude of the Teacher who wants to proclaim with the utmost clarity, the fundamental law of His catechetical and educational method, which is the correspondence between saying and doing; between faith and life.  It is not enough to listen to the Word of Jesus.  We must do it, as the Greek text translates it.

We must be diffident of an intellectual concept of the faith that often ends with listening to Jesus’ Words and repeating them, but without letting them penetrate deeply into our heart and then into our daily life.  We can make reference to a good study of this truth through D. Bonheoffer cited below.  He was a great Lutheran theologian who was assassinated at Flossenburg Concentration Camp seventy years ago.  He pauses on the affirmation that he justly calls, ‘grace at a dear price’ that is, ‘the grace that costs your life’.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask myself  if and how I live Jesus’ Word in my daily life.

Lord give Your people the grace to live in veneration and love for Your holy Name so that we may never be deprived of Your guidance as we build our life on the Rock of Your Love.

 The Voice of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran Theologian

Grace at a good price is the mortal enemy of our Church.  Today we fight for the grace at a dear price.  Grace at a good price is grace without following Christ, without the Cross, without the living and incarnate Christ.  Grace at a dear price is the Gospel that we must continue to seek; the gift that we must again ask for; the door that we must always knock on.  It is at a dear price because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is at a dear price because we acquire it at the price of our life.

Posted by: livingscripture | June 24, 2015

Birth of John the Baptist

From the Word of the Day

 

“In those days, Paul said: John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel, and as John was completing his course, he would say, “What do you suppose that I am?  I am not he.  Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet’.”   (Acts 13: 24-25)

How should we live this WordJohn points

 Today’s Liturgy celebrates the solemnity of the birth of St. John the Baptist.  He is the only one, besides Jesus Christ and His Mother, whose birth in the flesh we celebrate in a solemn way and not only his birth into heaven as we do for all the other saints.  This feast has given rise to many folkloristic manifestations during the centuries that sometimes have a flavor more profane than Christian.  We must be attentive to recuperate the Biblical and spiritual dimension of the figure and feast of St. John the Baptist.

Pondering on the second reading from Acts, we see Paul speaking in Pisidia, Antioch that reveals the great personality of the Precursor of Christ. “What do you suppose that I am?  I am not he.  Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’  He is only the witness, and before Christ, he feels even less than a slave.  John does not claim anything for himself and declares that he is ‘only a voice that cries out’ at the service of the Messiah.  The Precursor was only the finger pointed toward the Messiah.  He indicated His presence and then he left and was eclipsed.  John hurried to diminish so that Jesus would grow.  He immersed himself in solitude and disappeared in the extreme witness of martyrdom that shows his faith and permits him to be confirmed as the servant of His Lord.

Loving John the Baptist constitutes an on-going education to be docile and attentive to the coming of Christ into our life.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will meditate on this great saint and his willingness to point the way to Christ.

O Father, you sent John the Baptist to prepare for Christ the Lord a people well-disposed, make Your Church rejoice in the abundant gifts of the Spirit and guide it on the way of salvation and of peace.

 The Voice of St. Peter Damian, Doctor of the Ancient Church

The birth of John the Baptist immediately reminds us of that of Jesus.  The miraculous birth of the Precursor, generated by an elderly father and a barren mother, had no other aim than that of preparing the imminent coming of the Savior.  The friend had to be born before the Spouse; the servant before His Lord; the voice before the Word; the flame before the Sun, the messenger before the Judge; the redeemed before the Redeemer.

Posted by: livingscripture | June 23, 2015

Twelfth Tuesday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Dayjcheart

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.  This is the Law and the Prophets.  Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction and those who enter through it are many.  .”   (Matthew 7: 12-13)

How should we live this Word

 Today’s Gospel brings us the word of Jesus that mirrors the so-called ‘Golden Rule’:  “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.”  It is a well-known law that has reached us today, both in its positive form and in its negative form.  It is widespread in all cultures and religions of the ancient world: Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Hellenism, the Old Testament, and Judaism…to the ancient Fathers of the Church.  Therefore, it deals with a conquest of human thought and is almost like the foundation of the Discourse on the Mountain.  The Teacher of Nazareth tells us that the Golden Rule is acceptable and plausible because it represents the attempt to develop a sensible and rational perspective to arrive at the vertex – the commandment of love formulated by Jesus in its most radical form.

In the meantime, let us accept from Jesus this invitation that is clear and simple; to do the good to others that we desire others do to us and never do evil, as we desire it not be done to us.  It is a very clear norm of simple natural honesty that is inscribed in the heart of every person on this earth and is the first step that leads to the more demanding way of the new commandment brought by Jesus.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I shall ponder this Golden Rule and verify how I am living it.

Lord, grant that Your people may always live in veneration and in love for Your holy name so that we may never be deprived of Your guidance that is established on the rock of Your love.

 The Voice of the Didache, Most Ancient Patristic Document

There are two ways; one of life and one of death; but there is a great difference between them.  The way of life is this: First, you will love the God who created you; second, you will love your neighbor as yourself.  All that you do not want done to you, do not do to others.

Posted by: livingscripture | June 22, 2015

Twelfth Monday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Dayjesus14

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.  For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.  Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?  You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first: then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”   (Matthew 7: 3-5)

How should we live this Word

 Jesus’ words contained in today’s Gospel are aimed at branding a sin that is very common and widespread, not only in His times, but for Christians of our times as well.  The Pharisees often judged others with the self-assurance of those who feel they are superior and different from common mortals, as in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in the temple.  They easily condemned every exterior sin, without minimally considering the interior attitude.  Moreover, they did not see their egotistical and proud self because they were blinded by the heavy wooden beam that separated them from others and even from God.

We are all prone to judge and when we do it often, we commit a grave sin.  In the very realistic and vivid language as used by Jesus, it is as though we place a wooden beam in our eyes that blinds us both in regard to ourselves and in regard to our sisters and brothers.  The Lord, instead, invites us to be merciful, to be in solidarity, to share.  When there is this attitude of goodness, this readiness to take on the burdens of others, we no longer judge or criticize.  We help each other!

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask the Lord to convert my heart and purify my eyes so that I may remove the wooden beam from my eyes and see clearly as He sees.

Lord, that I may see as You see and be merciful as You are merciful!

 The Voice of Pope Francis – Homily on June 23, 2014

Those who judge are mistaken because they take the place of God.  They not only err, they also confuse.  They are so obsessed by what they want to judge, by that person, that the splinter does not let them sleep!   I want to get rid of that splinter!  And they are not aware of the wooden beam they have…Those who judge are defeated; they end badly, because the same measure will be used to judge them.

Posted by: livingscripture | June 21, 2015

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.  Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.  They woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’  He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’ The wind ceased and there was great calm.  Then he asked them, ‘Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith’?”   (Mark 4: 37-40)

How should we live this Wordcalms the sea

 Today, Mark’s Gospel recounts the famous episode of the ‘tempest on the sea’ that reminds us of the many small and big ‘tempests’ that often strike the boat of our life.  During these difficult situations, we too can have doubts and feel that Jesus has forgotten us, that He is sleeping.  Then, our faith also begins to vacillate and fear overtakes us.  When this happens, we need to ask ourselves how we look at the sorrowful events in our life.  Do we see them with real faith or with the eyes of the current mentality or lost in ourselves?  It is really a lack of faith when we view these things as a curse against us and every difficulty as an insurmountable mountain.

We need to keep in mind and fixed in our heart the last words of Jesus that close Matthew’s Gospel, “Behold, I am with you forever, until the end of the world”.  (Mt. 28: 20)  Let us awaken Jesus who is always present in our boat with our faith and our total confidence in Him.  Then our boat will never sink!

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will cling more tightly to Jesus present in me and call on Him at every moment, in sufferings and in joys.

Lord, grant that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of you guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love.

 The Voice of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Every time that Christ sleeps in the boat of our life, when our lazy repose makes Him sleep in us, the tempest rages with all the power of its winds…it is truly a great tempest, powerful, and threatens us on every side, assailing us with a terrifying and destructive hurricane.  But, as we have said, Jesus is asleep in our boat.   Let us awaken Him with our faith.  Let us shake Him, not with gestures of desperation, but with works of mercy; awakening Him, not with anxious cries, but with spiritual hymns and with persevering tears.

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