Posted by: livingscripture | January 29, 2023

Blessed are…you

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 29, 2023  

Fourth SUNDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.  (Matthew 5: 1-12)

“How shall I live this Word?  

Even before dwelling on the beatitudes, what strikes us are the eyes of Jesus open on the people in front of Him. He understands the pain, the tears, the iniquities, the possibilities, the limitations, which mark the life of those who follow Him. In the history of salvation, God sees the suffering of the oppressed people and sends His Son as liberator who enters into the painful events of humanity. In fact, the mysterious discourse that Jesus entrusts to His disciples is centered precisely on calling blessed those who evidently did not concretely experience beatitude, but the opposite of it. Jesus doesn’t promise something that will just happen, but says that right in this time, while everything seems adverse and unsustainable, a bliss is hidden, a profound sense of things that converts the things themselves from misfortunes to favorable graces. It is the paradox of perceiving oneself liberated precisely in what apparently seem like obstacles to us. It is discovering the joy at the bottom of the pain, the gratitude even in the difficult reality of the disease. Strength and courage in tribulation. Accepting the beatitudes seriously, then, is not simply learning a new moral law, but it means observing with transfigured eyes what we experience today in our lives. They are the eyes of faith that support us in seeing what the eyes of naked reason fail to glimpse.

O God, who promised the joy of your kingdom to the poor and humble, grant your Church to follow her Master and Lord with confidence on the path of the evangelical beatitudes.”

The Voice of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Author

Beatitude is access to a point of view that unifies the Universe.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 28, 2023

Walk by Faith!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 28, 2023  

Third SATURDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.  
(Hebrews 11: 1/8)

How shall I live this Word?  

Through this passage, Saint Paul highlights the faith of Abraham, who as we know put into practice what God told him (cf. Genesis 12). Therefore, it is important to listen to him as we mentioned last Tuesday. We must listen and obey, trust and entrust oneself to Him, an act of faith-trust. Faith is not based on certainties linked to our human calculations, but on a relationship of trust that makes us hope against all hope (cf. Romans 4:18), towards what is not seen (v.1). Abraham proved it to us and we must learn from him, “he obeyed when he left” (v 8), for this very reason he is our father in faith (cf. Romans 4:18). Learning not with just a desire, but with a commitment that is nourished by the Christian community we frequent and by prayer.

In our prayer, let us use the words of the apostle Luke 17:6: “Lord increase my faith.”

The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI Lenten Message 2011

By meditating on and interiorizing the Word of God to live it daily, we learn a precious and irreplaceable form of prayer.  Attentive listening to God that continues to speak to our heart, nourishes the journey of faith that we began on the day of our Baptism.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 27, 2023

Persevere in Prayer…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 27, 2023  

Third FRIDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

You need endurance

to do the will of God

and receive what he has promised.

(Hebrews 10: 36)

How shall I live this Word?  

In order for God’s will to be done, it is very important to listen to Him, as we wrote on Tuesday again with reference to chapter 10 of the Letter to the Hebrews, but today St. Paul underlines that we must also be persevering, assiduous, constant. This invitation is not a prerogative of Saint Paul, who repeats it several times in his letters. In the Gospels, we often find the reference to perseverance without forgetting that the descent of the Holy Spirit took place in a community persevering in prayer (cf. Acts 1: 14). All the spiritual masters highlight this aspect, and what do we do? In life we are often caught up in so many problems, worries, etc. but if we want to do the will of the Lord, we must decide to dedicate time to listen to Him, not only when we need it or feel like it. We need an inner discipline that is sometimes undermined. Hence the importance of not living the faith in solitude. In order not to waste the grace of God, we must live it together with others also to support each other in perseverance.

Lord, help me in humility so that I can support and be supported to persevere in prayer.

The Voice of Pope Francis General Audience – 11 November 2020

Jesus has given us the example of continuous prayer practiced with perseverance. His dialogue with the Father in silence and recollection, is the fulcrum of His mission.  The Gospels also narrate His exhortations to His disciples to pray insistently, without tiring. The Catechism reminds us of the three parables contained in Luke’s Gospel that underline this characteristic of the prayer of Jesus (cf. CCC 2613).

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 26, 2023

The mission is made fruitful through love.

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 26, 2023  

Third THURSDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

The Lord appointed seventy- two others

whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place

he intended to visit.    (Luke 10: 1)

How shall I live this Word?  

If we consider ourselves disciples of Jesus, we are invited to bear witness to His teachings, as we wrote yesterday, and as witnesses we are also invited to go wherever He is going. He wants to meet all men and women so He sends us ahead to prepare the ground, but it is He who acts, not us. This helps us reduce our spiritual pride when we think that we are converting people with our activism. We must be humble like the Baptist, ‘but the one who comes after me is stronger than me whose sandal laces I am not worthy to untie’. (cf. Gospels of: Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:7; and Luke 3:16). In addition to being humble, we must bear witness to His commandment, that we love each other as He has loved us (cf. John 15:12). Only if we act with at least one other person, can we purify our human love and make it ever more similar to that of Jesus and demonstrate how much we are His disciples (cf. John 13:35). Once again, the Lord invites us to be humble and to act together with others to learn meekness (cf. Matthew 11:29), never alone.

Lord, help me to destroy my pride so that I can be meek and humble in heart like You.

The Voice of Pope Francis Angelus 3 July 2022

We can elaborate perfect pastoral plans; activate well-done projects; organize the least details. We can convoke crowds and have many means, but if there is no readiness to fraternity, the Gospel mission does not advance.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 25, 2023

Proclaim Jesus with your life!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 25, 2023  

Third WEDNESDAY of Ordinary Time

CONVERSION of ST. PAUL APOSTLE

WORD of the DAY 

Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel
to every creature. (Mark 16: 15)

How shall I live this Word?  

Going around the world is, when we live in one place, relating in a certain way to all the people we meet. In today’s society, the dominant culture is increasingly erasing the presence of God. In this context, people find it more difficult to accept that He intervened in history to free us from our self-centeredness and realize His plan of love, for everyone to live in peace and in joy (cf. Galatians 5:22)

Unfortunately, this estrangement, besides coming from the dominant culture, is also due to our contradictions, hence the need for our continuous conversion to bear witness to the teachings of Jesus. Talking about Him, yes, but above all, showing how much He has changed us.

Help me Lord to transmit Your love in all the environments I frequent to show every creature Your holiness.

The Voice of Pope Francis Homily – St. Paul Outside the Walls 14 April 2013

Let us remember this well. We cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the concrete witness of our life.  Those who listen to and see us should be able to read in our actions what they hear from our mouth and give glory to God! It comes to my mind a counsel that St. Francis of Assisi gave to his brothers.  Preach the Gospel, and it is necessary, also with words.  Preach with your life…witness. The incoherence of the faithful and the Pastors between what the say and what they do, between word and lifestyle threatens the credibility of the Church.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 24, 2023

Familiarity with Jesus in prayer…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 24, 2023  

Third TUESDAY of Ordinary Time

SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES

WORD of the DAY 

First, he says, Sacrifices and offerings,
burnt offerings and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.

These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, Behold, I come to do your will.
He takes away the first to establish the second.  
(Hebrews 10: 8-9)

How shall I live this Word?  

This passage invites us to be careful so that in our religiosity there are no sacrifices or offerings, often with the intimate intention of receiving something in return, as though we are putting coins in one of those vending machines that are found everywhere. The passage takes us back to the first book of Samuel chapter 12 where we read, “Samuel exclaimed, ‘Does the Lord like holocausts and sacrifices as much as obedience to the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to be docile is better than the fat of rams’.” Docility and obedience that invite us to listen to the Lord. The question is, how should we listen to Him? There is only this answer: Bible reading and prayer. Reading to grasp His message, not for culture or to evaluate whether or not we agree with the biblical content. Prayer which is not saying formulas by heart without becoming aware that we are in the presence of the Person to whom they are addressed. If we become aware of Him, our heart will also be involved, whatever form or method of prayer it is. The heart in prayer is fundamental, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates in number 2721 “The Christian tradition includes three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common recollection of the heart.”

Lord, help my humanity so that I can hear Your voice in an intimate relationship of friendship.

The Voice of Pope Francis General Audience 28 September 2022

The secret of the life of the saints is familiarity with and confidence in God that grow in them and makes it ever easier to recognize what is pleasing to Him. True prayer is familiarity and confidence with God.  It is not reciting prayers like a parrot, blah…blah…blah. No.  true prayer is this spontaneity and affection with the Lord. This familiarity overcomes any fear or doubt that His will is only for our good; a temptation that sometimes crosses our thoughts and makes our heart anxious and uncertain or bitter.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 23, 2023

Remember His marvelous deeds!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 23, 2023  

Third MONDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous deeds.

 (Psalm 97 (98)

How shall I live this Word?  

When we pray with these verses, we must also enter into ourselves and remember the wonders that the Lord has done in our lives. Unfortunately, it happens that we have a short memory and we unknowingly move away from Him. These verses take us back to chapter 12 of Exodus: “This day will be a memorial for you; you will celebrate it as a feast of the Lord: from generation to generation, you will celebrate it as a perennial rite.” Yes, it is the exit from the slavery of the people of Israel by the Lord, but also in our lives the Lord has certainly intervened “With a powerful hand and an outstretched arm, because His love is forever. (Psalm 136:12)”. They are interventions that the Lord has made in us and we must always have them present in order not to let them fall into oblivion, an oblivion that subsequently leads us to live the faith in a habitual way and to gradually detach ourselves from Him.

Thank you, Lord, for everything you have done in me. Grant that everything may be in You.

The Voice of Pope Francis Homily 21 April 2016

It is good for the Christian heart to remember my path, my own path: how the Lord has led me here, how He took me by the hand. […] To remember, to be mindful of one’s life, of one’s path, to take up this and do it often. […] Memory brings us closer to God. […] I advise you this, simply remember. […] Memory of the beautiful and great things that the Lord has done in the life of each of us.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 22, 2023

Seek Jesus Together

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 22, 2023  

Third SUNDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?  
(1 Cor 1: 12)

How shall I live this Word?  

This text helps us not to differentiate ourselves with arrogance from others for our personal way of living the faith. Unfortunately, in society and in the Church, there are always conflicts that can lead to divisions. But if this is on a social level, it is also in us when we believe that our path is the best; it is unique and better but only and exclusively for us. It is this aspect that we sometimes forget when we internally compare ourselves to others by inadvertently putting ourselves above them. We are all on the way towards a single goal, union with God in Jesus, even if the paths are considerably different and sometimes opposite. Jesus Himself invites us to avoid certain comparisons and St. John brings it back to us in his Gospel in chapter 21: “Jesus answered him,” If I want him to stay until I come, what does it matter to you? You follow me.” It is precisely on this aspect that we must focus our attention: to follow Him according to His grace and placing the utmost commitment to what is reported, again in the Gospel of St. John, in chapter 13: “I give you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Lord, help me welcome and love everyone in You without separating myself from those You love.

The Voice of Pope Francis Ecumenical Discourse 17 January 2022

Let us remember that we are journeying not as possessors, but as seekers of God. Therefore, we must go forward with humble patience and always together, to support each other, because this is what Christ desires.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 21, 2023

Let us be ‘out of our mind’ for JESUS!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 21, 2023  

Second SATURDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this, they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
(Mark 3: 20 -21)

How shall I live this Word?  

“He is out of His mind.” How many times do we hear or use this expression, more or less truthful, attributed to people who are incapable of reasoning, of controlling themselves due to strong emotions, of anger; to people who express harsh words, of rage. Today we hear this sentence attributed to Jesus. The verse tells of such a crowd so large that it did not allow Jesus and His disciples even to eat. Of someone who manages to catalyze the attention of a crowd so large that you can think or say that he is out of his mind? And if he’s out of His mind, what is that crowd? Some verses preceding this, heard on Thursday, say: “Indeed He had healed many, so that all who had some ailments threw themselves at Him to touch Him. The unclean spirits, when they saw Him, threw themselves at His feet shouting, “You are the Son of God!” He heals the sick and casts out demons. Where is His madness? Is it perhaps through madness that one can perform miracles and heal the possessed?

Certainly, those poor disciples did not know how to behave since Jesus said and did things that no one was used to either seeing or hearing. They had to continually justify His words and His actions, but He didn’t get upset, because He was profoundly free and above all this. He didn’t react to people’s rumors, but He went ahead in His mission by accomplishing the Father’s plan. Yes, one can then say: Jesus is “out of His mind”, because He completely empties Himself to make room for the other. Love leads to losing oneself for the Other. But this is not easy to accept. Especially when someone shows us how to do it with simplicity and immediacy.

By this “being out of His mind” that Jesus teaches us, is what gives us true joy, the one that arises in giving more than in receiving, which fills the heart of those who lose their life for love of the other.

Today we celebrate the memory of Saint Agnes: a twelve-year-old girl who suffered martyrdom to defend her virginity during the persecution of Christians under Diocletian. She was “out of her mind”!

Of how many men and women can we still say today that they are “out of their mind” for the Lord Jesus! Are we among them?

O Father, give us the grace to be “outside of our mind” like Jesus!”

The Voice of Joseph Moscati, Saint

Persevere in love for the truth, to the God who is truth itself, to all the virtues so that you may live your profession as a mission.

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Posted by: livingscripture | January 20, 2023

We are all loved by Jesus.

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

JANUARY 20, 2023  

Second FRIDAY of Ordinary Time

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.                (Mark 3: 13-19)

How shall I live this Word?  

“…He called to Himself those He wanted”. He called the ones He wanted. It is almost natural to ask ourself, why only twelve? And the others? The number twelve represents the twelve patriarchs, the twelve tribes of Israel, that is, all the people. These twelve represent all of us. The expression ‘Those He wants’ indicates those He loves. And Jesus loves everyone and in these twelve He calls everyone. As in the twelve patriarchs of Israel there are all the people who come after, as in the Father there are all His children who will come after, so these twelve represent each of us, called because we are loved. Everyone can then recognize themselves in the twelve called apostles. And among them we have all sorts of people, even a traitor!

Called to be with Him and to go preach. And what makes being together possible? The fact that Jesus is there, that they are beside Jesus and belong to Jesus. He called them to Himself can in fact be translated as “He made them His.”

Being close to and being with Jesus is the condition for living fraternity and the mission. The disciples don’t always understand what happens, like we do. They experience this absolute bewilderment of feeling close and very distant, however they continue to be with the Teacher, understanding that they cannot preach anything if they are not close to Him, otherwise they risk preaching themselves. Let us remember that we are all called because we are all loved.

Lord, remind me of the truth of Your Words, “Without Me you can do nothing!”

The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI

Underlining the intrinsic relationship between the Eucharist and mission also makes us rediscover the ultimate content of our proclamation. The more alive the love for the Eucharist is in the heart of the Christian people, the clearer will be the task of the mission: to bring Christ. Not just an idea or an ethic inspired by Him, but the gift of His own person.”   

(Sacramentum Caritatis)

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