Posted by: livingscripture | October 20, 2017

28th Friday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

October 20, 2017

28th Friday of Ordinary Time

 

 

WORD of the DAY

 

  Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot.  He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees. “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.  I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more.  I shall show you whom to fear.   Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.  Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows”.          (Luke 12: 1-7)

How shall I live this Word?

In today’s Gospel, Luke again has Jesus repeating to His disciples to be on their guard against the ‘leaven of the Pharisees’, that is their hypocrisy.  It is a review of the last passage on which we commented about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

The leaven of the Pharisees consisted in their ambiguous way of living and acting that was neither clear nor limpid, but obscure and hidden.  The words of the Pharisees led the listener into a world of subtle lies and appearances, where the cunning always found a way to ignore them and have his own conscience at peace. Jesus warns about them, inviting his disciples to have the courage of the truth, not to be afraid to openly proclaim His message, because in the end everything will be revealed.  The invitation to have courage is followed by the motives that justify it:

-the certainty of being in the arms of a Father who loves us and takes care of us, far more than the sparrows in the skies: “Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!”;

– the certainty that human beings cannot do anything to take away real life;

– the certainty that persecution is also an occasion in which the Spirit of God becomes present with His power;

– the certainty of the prize in the future world.

We ask You, Lord, keep us far from all hypocrisy that stops us from reaching Your Light!   

The Voice of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr 

Get rid of the bad leaven that is old and sour and transform it into the new leaven that is Jesus Christ…It is out of place to profess Jesus Christ and Judaize. 

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 19, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Morning Offering.
Morning Offering

OCTOBER 19, 2017

“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.”
— St. Gianna Molla

  MEDITATION OF THE DAY

“Above all, it is necessary to ask of God every morning the gift of perseverance, and to beg of the Blessed Virgin to obtain it for you, and particularly in the time of temptation, by invoking the name of Jesus and Mary as long as the temptation lasts. Happy the man who will continue to act in this manner, and shall be found so doing when Jesus Christ shall come to judge him. ‘Blessed is that servant, whom, when his Lord shall come, he shall find so doing’ (Matt. 24:46).”
— St. Alphonsus De Liguori
Posted by: livingscripture | October 19, 2017

28th Thursday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

October 19, 2017

28th Thursday of Ordinary Time

 

 

WORD of the DAY

 

  Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed.   Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building.   Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!  Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.         (Luke 11: 47-52)

How shall I live this Word?

Luke’s Gospel today contains one of the harshest and severest pages of the New Testament that shakes us and makes us think.  It regards the words Jesus undoubtedly said in various contexts and locations and here placed in the home of a Pharisee.  Keeping in mind the phrases that precede this and are not cited, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees’ hypocrisy, which confuses the meticulous rigor of external observance with true faith and trusting reliance on God. More specifically, Jesus reproaches two forms of hypocrisy: only external observance to the detriment of the interior engagement of the heart; and the observance of secondary and peripheral precepts at the expense of the great commandment of love of God and others. It is not a matter of having the dish clean but of giving to the poor what it contains.

Jesus also reproaches the Pharisees for their vanity. In fact, it is because of vanity that they pay careful and meticulous attention to the exterior and completely neglect the interior: clean outside, but dirty inside!

Another rebuke is addressed to the doctors of the Law: they raised monuments to the prophets and for this felt that they were more righteous than their fathers, who instead had killed them. But here too it is all hypocrisy: at the time of Jesus, the scribes revered the prophets because they were now emptied of their moral authority and distant. If they had lived in the present time, they would have killed them. The proof is that they will also kill Jesus because he presented himself with the authority of the true prophet of God.

A last rebuke: cunning in the interpretation of Law and morality, which makes religious observance complicated, if not impossible, especially for the simple and the little ones, by burdening them with unbearable weights (Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter).

These harsh words of Jesus addressed to the Pharisees should lead us to a serious examination of conscience to see if even our heart harbors some pharisaic attitude so that we can root it out firmly.  St. Jerome had to admonish the Christians of his times as seen below. 

The Voice of St. Jerome

 Woe to us to whom the vices of the Pharisees have been handed down.

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 18, 2017

Wednesday Ways

#Morning Offering.
Morning Offering

OCTOBER 18, 2017

“Faith and love are like the blind man’s guides. They will lead you along a path unknown to you, to the place where God is hidden.”
— St. John of the Cross

  MEDITATION OF THE DAY

“Therefore, when God gives spiritual comfort, receive it with thanksgiving, but know that it is the bounty of God, not thy merit. Be not puffed up, be not overjoyed, nor vainly presume, but rather be the more humble for this gift and the more cautious and fearful in all thine actions; for this hour will pass away and temptation will follow. When comfort shall be taken away from thee, do not presently despair; but wait with humility and patience for the heavenly visit, for God is able to restore thee a greater consolation. This is no new thing, nor strange to those who have experienced the ways of God: for the great saints and ancient prophets have often felt this kind of variety.”
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 64

AN EXCE

Posted by: livingscripture | October 18, 2017

Feast of St. Luke

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

October 18, 2017

28th Wednesday of Ordinary Time

 

 

WORD of the DAY

 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so, ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.  Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.  Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household’. (Luke 10: 1-5)

How shall I live this Word?

Today we celebrate the feast of Luke the Evangelist and I would like to give some brief details of his most outstanding characteristics.

  • He is the evangelist of the Virgin Mary: it is only through him that we have received the accounts of the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, and Presentation in the Temple.
  • He is the evangelist of the mercy of Jesus because Luke is the one who recounts the precious parable of the Merciful Father.
  • He is the evangelist of charity: only he recounts the parable of the Good Samaritan, and speaks of Jesus’ tender love for the poor, of His being moved to tears by the widow of Naim, and that He wanted to stay at the home of Zacchaeus…

The Gospel passage of today speaks of the sending of the ‘seventy-two disciples on a mission.  Only Luke mentions the number and not only the Twelve reported by Mark and Matthew.  The explicit intention is to show that the mission is not only entrusted to the twelve but also to the vaster circle of disciples.  The task of proclaiming the Gospel is therefore part of the vocation of every true disciple of Christ and must extend throughout the whole earth.

The second one of basic importance is prayer.  From the awareness of the urgency and the vastness of the mission, comes the need for prayer.  Without prayer there is no mission!

The third is a powerful reminder of poverty…bring nothing with you.  The disciple must not be weighed down by too much baggage…the Word is enough!  It is the way of proclaiming it that makes the Gospel credible to the people of our times. 

The Voice of the Liturgy – Collect for the feast of St. Luke

 Lord, our God, who chose St. Luke to reveal to the world with preaching and with writings the mystery of your predilection for the poor, grant that Christians may form one heart and one soul and that all peoples may see your salvation.  Amen

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 17, 2017

St. Ignaius of Antioch

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

October 17, 2017

28th Tuesday of Ordinary Time

St. Ignatius of Antioch

 

 

WORD of the DAY

 Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.    (John 12: 24-26)

How shall I live this Word?

Today is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, a saint dear to me, and I prefer to briefly pause on the Gospel for his feast, cited above.  He is a Bishop of the second century who was being brought to Rome to be sent to the beasts.  The fruit of his journey to martyrdom is the seven letters that the martyr had just enough time to write.  They are letters written with blood that contain the fiery cry of a mystic desiring martyrdom.  These letters, better than any historian, have preserved the living and luminous traits of one of the most outstanding and vigorous personalities of primitive Christianity.

Coming to the passage of John’s Gospel quoted above, we see how it highlights the logic of the “grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies… it produces much fruitand how it summarizes the whole life of Christ.  Thus, the martyr Ignatius defines himself in this way as well, having recourse to symbolism that is very close to the one used by Jesus in the Gospel: “I am the wheat of God ground by the beasts’ teeth, to be the pure bread of Christ”, found in his Letter to the Romans 4: 1.  For the Martyr there exists a mutual and indissoluble link between martyrdom and the Eucharist. He cannot do without the Eucharist, which is the bread of the strong, and the Eucharist cannot do without the martyrdom of witness. Therefore, a Eucharist without martyrdom – not necessarily cruel – would be empty, just as a martyrdom without the Eucharist would be impossible, or at least something other than Christian martyrdom.

Is there not a risk for our eucharists: that they end up remaining devoid of witness?

 The Voice of St. Ignatius in his letter to the Romans 5: 3 and 6: 1

 Have compassion on me!  I know what is useful for me.  Now I begin to be a disciple…fire and cross and struggling with the beasts, lacerations, mutilations of my members, the crushing of my whole body, and the torments of the devil may come upon me, as long as I can join myself to Jesus Christ…It is more beautiful for me to die for Jesus Christ than to reign over the whole earth!  I seek Him who died for us; I desire Him who rose for us.

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 16, 2017

Monday Spiritual Meds

Morning Offering.
Morning Offering

OCTOBER 16, 2017

“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
— St. Francis of Assisi

  MEDITATION OF THE DAY

“I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy.”
— St. Faustina Kowalska
Posted by: livingscripture | October 16, 2017

28th Monday in Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

October 16, 2017

28th Monday of Ordinary Time

 

 

WORD of the DAY

While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.  Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.  At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here.  At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.    (Luke 11: 29-32)

How shall I live this Word?

Today’s Gospel presents us Jesus in controversy with the men of his generation, whom he calls “evil,” because of their disbelief and continual febrile search for “more striking” and convincing signs than those offered to them by the Teacher of Nazareth.  But He refuses this claim and replies that “no sign will be given, except the sign of Jonah.” In Luke, unlike Matthew, the sign of Jonah is not the resurrection, but the preaching of Jesus, His Gospel, His Word.

The search for other signs by this incredulous generation was just an excuse to refute the Teacher’s pressing invitation to convert their heart. Jonah, in fact, came to Nineveh by resonating with God’s invitation to raise awareness of the imminent judgment and the last chance of conversion. Just like the proclamation of Jesus. But He is rejected, though He is greater than Jonah, while the Ninevites welcomed the Prophet’s word without asking for any other signs. Even the queen of the south came from afar to hear the word of Solomon, the king celebrated for his wisdom. Instead, “this evil generation” rejects Jesus who is wiser than Solomon.

At this point we ask: why does this generation reject the light? Guilt is certainly not from the light: light shines and enlightens everyone. The blame is on the eye of the soul that is blinded and immersed in darkness. John will repeat the same concept at the end of the dialog with Nicodemus:

Light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness more than the light, for their works were wicked” (John 3: 19).

This generation is also ours in the third millennium, all of us need to let ourselves always be enlightened by the Word of Jesus, without looking for other signs and words.

We meditate and pray this vibrant aspiration which blossomed from the heart of the holy Bishop of Milan, Ambrose.

The Voice of St. Ambrose of Milan

   Christ is everything for us. If you want to cure a wound, He is a doctor, if you’re feverish, He is the fountain; if you are oppressed by iniquity, He is justice: if you need help, He is power; if you fear death, He is life; if you desire heaven, He is the way; if you are fleeing the darkness, He is light; if you are looking for food, He is nourishment ” (Ambrose, De virginitate, 99)

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 15, 2017

Little steps to God

Morning Offering.
Morning Offering

OCTOBER 15, 2017

“Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God’s will.”
— St. Francis de Sales

  MEDITATION OF THE DAY

“Love proves itself by deeds, and how shall I prove mine? … I can prove my love only by scattering flowers, that is to say, by never letting slip a single little sacrifice, a single glance, a single word; by making profit of the very smallest actions, by doing them all for love. I want to suffer and even rejoice for love, for this is my way of scattering flowers.”
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 4-5

AN EXCERPT FROM

The Story of a Soul

Posted by: livingscripture | October 15, 2017

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

October 15, 2017

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

 

WORD of the DAY

 A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.” Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business…Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.  Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find… The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.   But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’  But he was reduced to silence.   Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’  Many are invited, but few are chosen. (Mt 22: 4-5; 8-9;10-13)

How shall I live this Word?

Today’s parable is a bit disturbing.  The behavior of this king seems strange and we do not understand why the invited guests decline the invitation to this wedding feast and continue to go about their business!  The invited guests are all of us who are not able to understand the value, the joy of participating in the wedding banquet, but interiorly react with the comment “I have other things to do!”  We can individuate two categories of people who see God as an uncomfortable intruder who comes to disturb our life.

  • There are the indifferent, those who have no time for God because they always have so many urgent and serious things to do. They think they are self-sufficient and have no need of God.  They are not even aware that their life lived in this way has no real joy, gratuity, love, precisely what God would want to give them by inviting them to His feast.
  • Then there are those who have been educated in a kind of Jansenistic spirituality of the past and perceive God as a ‘killjoy’. These are people who in their Christian formation have met persons who presented their Christian life as made exclusively of sacrifices, renouncement, mortifications, duties; a Christian life without joy, without festivity.  These think that to be a Christian means to sell everything without then finding any treasure!  They are very calculating and little evangelical in their religiosity.  They are annoyed by an austere God who wants to take value and joy from life, so they keep Him at a distance.

Which category of people do we belong to?  The Gospel of this Sunday wants to make us glimpse and desire the goodness and beauty of a God revealed to us by Jesus in His Gospel which is feastivity and invites us to joy.

The Voice of St. Clement of Alessandria

   The whole of Christian life is a holy feast!

 

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