Posted by: livingscripture | June 29, 2022

Who do you say that I am?

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Wednesday 29 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time

SAINTS PETER AND PAUL

WORD of the DAY 

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “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, Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so, I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”                         (Matthew 16: 13-19)

How shall I live this Word?  

On the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the liturgy presents us with the episode of Peter’s confession according to the evangelist Matthew. The characteristic of this story is the long praise, absent in the parallel versions of Mark and Luke, that the Master addresses to Simon, not yet renamed Peter, for having answered the question about His identity well, “Who do you say that I am?”  By saying: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the fisherman of Capernaum demonstrates that he has an open spirit, capable of welcoming the revelation of the Father. On His part, Jesus, although aware of the fact that Peter does not really know the meaning of what he affirms, appoints him as the first Pope in the history of the Church.

How much good this story does to us. The Lord seeks in His disciples not the ability to understand everything without error and with perfect faith, but the openness of heart and mind towards His person and His Word.

Lord, through the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul, help us to fight the closure and pride that prevent us from listening to your Word that illuminates and fills us with meaning. So be it!

The Voice of Pope Francis   Angelus 29 June 2021

“Looking at the lives of Peter and Paul, an objection may arise, both were witnesses, but not always exemplary. They were sinners! Peter denied Jesus and Paul persecuted Christians. But here is the point, they also gave testimony of their falls. Saint Peter, for example, could have said to the Evangelists, “Do not write down the mistakes I have made.” …. But no, his story comes out naked, it comes out raw from the Gospels, with all his miseries. So does St. Paul, who in his letters tells about his mistakes and weaknesses. This is where the witness begins, from the truth about himself, from the fight against his own duplicity and falsehood. The Lord can do great things through us when we are not careful to defend our image, but we are transparent with Him and with the others.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 28, 2022

DO NOT BE AFRAID

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Tuesday 28 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time

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 shall I live this Word?  

Jesus sleeps peacefully while all the unleashed elements of nature risk precipitating the situation and determining, in addition to the sudden stop of the crossing, also the end of those who are making it.

In the midst of the upheavals of life, the desire to wake Him up for Him to intervene spontaneously arises. Jesus, awakened from sleep, reconstitutes the momentarily disturbed harmony with His Word and asks the disciples, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?”

Here, this is our problem, not being able to activate the sense of faith in the midst of the many crises that history presents to us!

Lord, we who thought you were asleep, wake up our faith, increase it, so that we can continue to sow the Gospel in the great and small difficulties we are experiencing, and continue the journey of life with faith, hope, and love. So be it!

The Voice of Pope Francis   Discourse 27 March 2020

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith yet?” The beginning of faith is knowing that we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient, alone; alone we sink. We need the Lord like the ancient sailors navigating with the stars. We invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to Him, so that He may overcome them. Like the disciples, we will experience that, with Him on board, there is no shipwreck. Because this is the strength of God, to turn everything that happens to us to good, even bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God, life never dies.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 27, 2022

Follow Jesus…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Monday 27 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other shore. A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8: 18-22)

How shall I live this Word?  

Many times in the Gospel, Jesus orders the disciples to go to the other shore. Beyond the strict, literal meaning that can be given to this indication, I believe that there is in it an invitation addressed to the disciples to follow their Master with the attitude of one who continually sets in motion, trying to orient, in always a new way, the journey. More or less what the scribe who wishes to follow Jesus will have to do but also the disciple who asks to be able to bury his parent before following Him. The first, if he is truly interested in discipleship, must be willing to question his own certainties and understand that only in essentiality and humility is it possible to learn something more than the mystery of God, man, and the world. The second, if he really wants to enter into an ever-deeper relationship with the Master, he will have to reconsider, without taking it for granted, his own scale of priorities. Being willing to question beliefs and priorities, choosing essentiality and growing in humility are essential conditions for the disciples of Jesus.

Jesus, Divine Master, help us to live the beatitude of the poor in spirit to be Your true disciples! So be it!

The Voice of St. John Paul II – Homily 10 December 2000

Intellectual knowledge of Christ and His Gospel is not enough. To believe in Him, in fact, means to follow Him. For this we must go to the school of the Apostles, of the Confessors of the faith, of the Saints of all times, who have contributed to spreading and making the name of Christ loved through the witness of a life spent generously and joyfully for Him and for others.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 26, 2022

Journey with Jesus…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Sunday 26 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.                    (Luke 9: 51-56)

How shall I live this Word?  

The beginning of Jesus’ ascent towards the place where His existence will tragically find its fulfillment had highlighted a double resistance. There was that of the Samaritans who did not want to welcome Jesus because He was headed for Jerusalem and that of the disciples, in particular of James and of John, who wanted the Lord to punish the Samaritans who did not accept Him. In truth, it is the disciples themselves who do not welcome Jesus who goes to Jerusalem.

It always happens like this. We see, and sometimes we blame, the closure of non-believers towards God, but we do not recognize the non-believer who lives within us.

Lord, come to meet us as the night of doubt advances. Give us the grace of opening our eyes to be able to immerse ourselves ever more deeply in the mystery of your person! So be it!

The Voice of Joseph Ratzinger, Theologian

Both the believer and the unbeliever, each in their own way, share doubt and faith, as long as they do not try to escape from themselves and the truth of their existence. No one can completely escape from doubt, but not even from faith; for one, faith makes itself present against doubt, for the other, through doubt and in the form of doubt.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 25, 2022

Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Saturday 25 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time

IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

WORD of the DAY 

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.                     (Luke 2: 41-51)

How shall I live this Word?  

We must recognize that we have sometimes emphasized Mary of Nazareth and our devotion risks embarrassing her because she was used to step aside to point only to her Son. We point the spotlight on her, instead of silently standing beside her and learning. Could it be for this reason that today’s Gospel passage was chosen to celebrate the feast of a mother’s love? The Gospel of a son who runs away from home, who lingers in his Bar Mitzvah, (ceremony for a boy who has reached religious majority), in that moment when a teenager is questioned about his knowledge of the law and becoming a ‘son of the law’. The scribes are amazed. Jesus knows the Torah well! But the astonished attitude of the parents shows us the mystery of autonomy, of diversity. Mary cannot and never will be at ease with this son and His fame; she will have to respect the mystery, give Him to the world. The experience of every mother, the painful umbilical cut for which a child you have nurtured in your womb for nine months is now a man, that is, someone else. For Mary, it will become a difficult reality and she will soon have to learn to respect the unprecedented diversity of her Son and in this, help Him save the world.

Mary, teach us to love without possessing.

The Voice of Khalil Gibran, Poet

The most beautiful word on the lips of human beings is ‘Mother’.  And the loveliest invocation is, “My Mother”.  She is the source of love, of mercy, of understanding, of forgiveness.  Everything in creation speaks of the Mother.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 24, 2022

I am uniquely loved by Jesus!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Friday 24 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time

MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,           
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”        (Luke 15: 57-3-7)

How shall I live this Word?  

It seems obvious what Jesus says, but the truth is another. No one would put ninety-nine sheep at risk to go in search of a single lost one. What is not taken for granted for us is obvious for God. Each of us is that lost sheep and sooner or later finds ourself lost, therefore it is wonderful to think that we are loved with a love that always risks everything for us. For Jesus, each of us is worth everything. We could ask ourselves why His only and immense joy is to find us, to put us on His shoulder, but the real reason remains a mystery, perhaps because we do not accept being loved without a calculable motivation. Yet, it remains a fact that our life fills Him with joy. If we could only consider being loved in this way, surrendering ourselves in the face of any attempt to necessarily give an explanation. Do we not feel within us the experience of this love that saves our lives and makes each of us unique and unrepeatable?

Jesus, remind us that we are not loved like everyone else. We are loved like no one else ever. Each of us can say that there is not only one God, but that for God, there is always ‘only’ one of me.

The Voice of Helen Keller, Author

The best and most beautiful things of life can neither be seen nor touched.  They must be felt with the heart.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 23, 2022

A new Prophet

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Thursday 23 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time

BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

WORD of the DAY 

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So, they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed. (Luke 7: 57-66/80)

How shall I live this Word?  

Today the Church asks us to stop and contemplate the birth of John who will see his life intimately linked to that of Jesus. The birth of John, in fact, prepares us for the newness of God who becomes man. In the fact of his birth, we find the whole life of John: conversion and announcement. All relatives and friends must convert; they are called to treat the life that is born in a different way from what they used to do. They can no longer give the child the name of Zechariah. John will be other than his father. The people of Israel are called to welcome a prophet different from those who had guided them up to then since the exit from Egypt. And then the announcement, those who went to visit Elizabeth were awed and amazed. “What will this child ever be?” The birth of John heralds new things, heralds a presence of God who this time will become flesh. Let us stop at this nativity and contemplate how Elizabeth and Zechariah are amazed before God, willing to make room for Him in their lives.

Lord, wonder is what allows us to disagree, like Elizabeth, and to declare with renewed firmness, like Zacharias, that truly all that emerges in our history is your grace and your mercy.

The Voice of Khalil Gibran, Poet

And if you could keep the wonder of your heart in the face of the daily miracles of your life, your suffering will seem no less wonderful than your joy.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 22, 2022

Be God’s tender mercy for others…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Wednesday 22 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7: 15-20)

How shall I live this Word?  

Jesus has always distanced Himself from an attitude that is widespread in every form of religiosity: the risk of being tied to the exterior, of making the adventure of discipleship a job, the passion of conversion and new life into an image. The solution that Jesus proposes to the disciples is to look at the fruits, a simple way to be able to measure our faith and our pastoral care. We might therefore ask ourselves what has changed in our lives over the years by recognizing the transformation that the Word of Jesus brings about if we allow it. Really great people can be seen from small gestures. The yardstick of our lives, of our family or community, is not efficiency but love, not profit (not even spiritual) but the joy that comes from knowing that we are loved. This alone allows us to be far from worldly logic, to convert our hearts to His tenderness and mercy.

Help us understand, Lord, the value of words and gestures that always and in any case follow the criterion of love for You, for ourselves, for our neighbor, in everyday life.

The Voice of Albert Einstein, Scientist

The value of a person resides in what they are able to give and not in what they are able to take.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 21, 2022

Enter life through the Narrow Gate

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Tuesday 21 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
“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.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7: 6/ 12-14)

How shall I live this Word?  

We are called to judge ourselves and others as God does to us: with kindness and authenticity. The disciples, before judging others, look to their own limitations, recognize the beam that prevents them from seeing well … But, at the same time, they know how to distinguish those around them well. We are called to be authentic and frank, welcoming and available, simple but also prudent and vigilant in order to remain realistic. There are people with whom it is impossible to speak effectively about God. Others who do so only in a polemical and provocative spirit. Others who hide behind the faith so as not to see their own fragility and the path of growth they should face. It is certainly not easy to juggle prudence and availability, but it is possible and necessary if we look at a narrow door that makes us grow in the evangelical spirit, without becoming insignificant or uselessly naïve.

Lord, make us aware that there are margins of response to grace that depend on ourselves and that we can close ourselves in our own false certainties, in our own pride, even when Your love shows us possible new horizons, a beyond to put out into the deep.

The Voice of Theodor Adorno, Sociologist

Freedom does not consist in choosing between white and black, but in escaping this prescribed choice.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 20, 2022

SHOW MERCY…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Monday 20 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.” (Matthew 7: 1-5)

How shall I live this Word?  

Fr. Oreste Benzi often said that persons are not their mistakes. Not judging in today’s Gospel does not mean turning off the intelligence of reasoning and avoiding condemning evil. This mistake would be worse than the first. It is called indifference. The indifferent is the one who thinks that since millions of others do their part, it is useless to do their part, so nothing will change, neither for worse nor for better. Indifference cancels responsibility and will, except to accuse all. The Christians of whom the Gospel speaks are responsible for their own acts and those of others. But you have to stop judging these. We cannot identify sin with the sinner, a person with their error; or rather, we must always give the sinner the possibility to redeem self from sin.

This means not to judge. Sometimes there is the risk that Christians, with their psychology of ‘Doctors of the Law’, extinguish what the Holy Spirit lights up in the heart of someone who stands on the threshold, who begins to feel nostalgia for God. What is really serious in the life of a Christian? It is serious to judge others with intransigence and hatred; it is serious and hypocritical to condemn others with force and severity because they commit acts that often the very one who condemns does in turn. It is even more serious if sinful behaviors become a means of blackmail, of power, of complicity, to the point of waging common battles against ‘others’ deemed as enemies. Whoever does not judge will not be judged; whoever gives mercy will get mercy.

Lord, convert our hearts to mercy in order to give our brothers and sisters a witness of Your tenderness and mercy.

The Voice of Plutarch, Philosopher

God is the hope of the strong, and not the excuse of the cowardly. We are all mixed up with weaknesses and mistakes: forgiving each other our nonsense is the first law of nature.

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