Posted by: livingscripture | June 23, 2021

Alive in Jesus

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

23 JUNE  2021  Wednesday 12

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 thorn bushes, 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.” (Mt 7: 15-20)

How shall I live this Word?  

The Teacher, as a good Semite, son of a culture that speaks with images, in today’s Gospel passage, uses three metaphors: the door, the way, and the tree. Three elements that recall the journey of our life. Any door that is not the love of the Father and of others leads to perdition. The good way is Jesus Christ Himself who said, “I am the way!” By following this path we can become good trees that bear fruit in every season. Our existence can be like a plant that rises from the earth to the sky and is filled with strength to face the cold of winter or the heat of summer. But the good tree par excellence is the tree of the Cross which gives rise to all our resurrections after death due to the difficulties and anxieties of life.

Today, let’s allow ourselves some time for prayer and reflection on our daily life and ask ourselves, “What wood am I made of? What is the nature of my tree? What are the fruits that the Spirit can help me produce in myself?

The Voice of  a Biblist

The good tree par excellence is the tree of the cross, from which hangs the ripe fruit of God’s love. Grafted onto Him, we too make the same good and abundant fruit. “I am the true vine and my Father is the winemaker. Every branch that does not bear fruit in Me, He removes, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have proclaimed to you. Remain in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself if it does not remain on the vine, neither can you, if you do not remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in them bears much fruit.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 22, 2021

The GOLDEN RULE

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

22 JUNE  2021  Tuesday 12

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.” (Mt 7: 6/12-14)

How shall I live this Word?  

The ‘Golden Rule’ is the name attributed to the principle taught by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount and which we find in today’s Gospel, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus knew the human heart and its selfishness. The golden rule of Jesus gives us a model according to which naturally selfish people can calibrate their actions, treat others as you would like to be treated.

Jesus brilliantly sums up the entire Old Testament in this single principle, taken from Leviticus 19:18: “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”  A Biblical scholar notes, “Once again we understand the fact that people naturally love their ego and the commandment uses this human defect as a starting point for how to treat others.”

What is interesting to note about the Golden Rule is that no other religious or philosophical system provides for it. The Golden Rule of Jesus is not the ‘ethics of reciprocity’ commonly accepted by non-Christian moralists. Jesus’ commandment has a subtle but very important difference. Eastern religions say: “avoid doing”; Jesus says: “Do it”! Eastern religions say that it is enough to keep one’s negative behavior under control; Jesus says to look for ways to act positively.”

The commandment to love is what separates Christian ethics from that of any other religion. In fact, the support that the Bible gives to love includes the radical commandment to love even one’s enemies. This is unheard of in other religions. Loving one another … it is wonderful, but “as I have loved you”, that is, with the same infinite love with which the Father loves me! This is impossible with our strength alone. It is necessary to welcome the love of Jesus in faith and life in order to be able to pour it out on others.

The Voice of  Charles de Foucauld

My God, make me understand the silent signs hidden in things and teach me the gospel of the road.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 21, 2021

Stop judging!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

21 JUNE  2021  Monday 12

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. 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.” (Mt 7: 1-5)

How shall I live this Word?  

Luigi Maria Epicoco, a young theologian and writer appreciated by the Pope and by many who follow his lectio, opens the commentary on today’s Gospel with some words from which we feel challenged: “Who among us would not want a better world? Who among us would not want to wake up in the morning and live in a world where hatred, wars, social injustices, pollution no longer exist? Well, know that all this is possible only if you understand where to start. Many attempts to change the world have failed simply because we have tried to change the world around us not understanding that the biggest contribution we could make to change is first and foremost ourselves.” In fact, the first condition for   good community coexistence is to begin   ourselves not to judge the brother or the sister, that is, to eliminate the preconceptions that prevent transparent coexistence. What does this mean concretely? The Gospel gives us a very practical example and asks us, “Why do you notice  the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your won eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter from your eye’, while the wooden beam is in your eye? Hypocrite,  remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” In hearing this sentence we usually think of the Pharisees who despised the people considering them ignorant. In reality, the phrase of Jesus serves us all. In the family, in the community, in the workplace it is easy for us to judge others and highlight what is wrong or simply what is not according to our tastes. Be careful though. Jesus Himself tells us that with the same yardstick, with the same measure with which we judge others, we ourselves will be judged.

The Voice of  Silvano Fausti, Biblist

Love does not judge, but it does not lack discernment. Charity must be ‘discreet’, it discerns situations, actions, reactions to see what helps the other here and now the most. Throwing the truth at another without preparing for acceptance leads to the plagiarism of those who welcome it and to the hardening of those who do not accept it. Doing so is neither respect for the truth nor for the other!

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 20, 2021

Have faith in Jesus

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

20 JUNE  2021  Sunday 12

WORD of the DAY 

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. 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?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” (Mk 4: 35-41)

How shall I live this Word?  

Today’s Gospel offers us a very human picture of the life of Jesus and of the disciples. It is the sunset of a heavy day. The Teacher spoke for a long time from a boat near the lakeshore and is now very tired. Jesus says “Let us cross to the other side.” His disciples sense His need to rest. Then “they took Jesus with them in the boat just as He was.” After a short time, a wind storm breaks out on the lake, throwing water into the boat. But Jesus is so tired that, despite the danger, He continues to sleep in the stern, on a pillow. It is not the storm, but the desperate cry of the disciples that awakens Jesus. “Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?” The situation is desperate and He continues to sleep. This deep sleep is not just a sign of great fatigue. It is also an expression of the peaceful trust He has in God. But as soon as He awakes, He calms the sea, scolds the wind, and turning to the disciples He says: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They do not know what to answer and ask themselves, “Who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?” Jesus seems like a stranger to the disciples! Despite having lived with Him for a long time, they don’t really know what He is like. Who is He? With this question in mind, the communities even today, continue to read the Gospel. There in the sacred and at the same time simple and vital pages one finds, little by little, that answer that reveals the Teacher.

And it is precisely for this reason that Pope Francis repeatedly tells us to read the Gospel, to keep it in our pocket, above all to keep it in our heart. The more we go into the reading, the more we understand that the essence of the Lord Jesus is Love, life, He who does not leave us orphans and who overcomes fear and death.

The Voice of  Ermes Ronchi, Theologian

God is present, but in His own way; He wants to save me, but He does it by asking me to use all my abilities, all the strength of my heart and intelligence. He does not intervene in my place, but together with me. He does not exempt me from the crossing, but He accompanies me into the darkness. He does not guard me from fear, but in the fear. Just as He did not save Jesus from the cross, but on the cross. Our entire existence can be described as a dangerous crossing, a passage to the other shore, that of an adult, responsible, good life.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 19, 2021

Seek God…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

19 JUNE  2021  Saturday 11

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Mt 6: 24-34)

How shall I live this Word?  

For some  it can be a risk, for some  it is reality to spend one’s life in a continuous, whirling breath of urgencies that cannot be avoided. Often it is like this for us too: faster than time, life flows as worry, as anxiety, as fear of not ‘being up to’ situations, situations that are increasingly difficult, pressing. Spending even just a minute in front of the Word of God has a liberating effect, even in this respect. It stops the inexorable passing of the hours, forces me to reflect, puts me in crisis to the point of surrender, in the face of the truth that Christ reminds me. Perhaps I did not know it, perhaps it escaped me … How much grace enters today through these words of Jesus, which want to purify our heart by urging it to unification. Do not get lost, my heart! Do not cling to what passes, to what wears out, to what weighs you down and prevents you from looking at the sky, where the children of the Kingdom fly high, looking at the fields that ripen for the good season.

Today I want to overshadow a commitment that I thought was urgent, but maybe it isn’t. Instead, I will spend more time in contemplation…

The Voice of  Leo Tolstoy, Author

People are devising everything possible, with the exception of that one thing that can save them, or that, even if it could not save them, could at least alleviate their situation, and which consists precisely in stopping at least for a moment and not continuing to  increase one’s misfortunes with one’s wrong actions.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 18, 2021

Live in CHRIST-LIGHT!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

18 JUNE  2021  Friday 11

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.” (Mt 6: 19-23)

How shall I live this Word?  

Very often we Christians too, in the concreteness of facts, behave like pagans, under the guise of faith we admit and justify the pursuit of our particular interests. For Christ to be truly formed in us, there is a need for every area of our life to be clothed with the newness of the Gospel, for the light of the Word of God to enter even where the dim light of our well-being pleases and comforts us. Let us not delude ourselves that the ‘foreign body’ clouding our sight is a small speck! … We will not be wrong at all in thinking instead that it is a beam, and that there is still something to be done to clear the field of vision. We therefore take care to purify our wrong inclinations, what is at the root of our sins, that indulgent orientation to evil that keeps us accumulating, rather than freeing us to give.

Today in prayer I want to find the courage to ask the Lord for the grace to be completely freed from my attachment to sin, which is the place from which all my disappointments and failures start..

The Voice of  Ephraim di Nisibis, Church Father

The sunrise marks the beginning of mortal activity. Grant, O Lord, that the day that does not know the end persist in our minds. Give us to see in ourselves the life of the resurrection, and let nothing distract our spirit from Your joys. Impress in us, O Lord, the sign of this day that does not begin from the sun, infusing us with a constant search for You.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 17, 2021

OUR FATHER…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

17 JUNE  2021  Thursday 11

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This is how you are to pray:

‘Our Father who art in heaven,  hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Mt 6: 7-15)

How shall I live this Word?  

The ‘Our Father’, summa of every prayer and concrete model of prayer that Jesus Himself left us, reminds us of a ‘scientific’ truth: the mutual dependence that binds us all. No one can claim to be completely free from others, but there is truly an identity that unites us all. Same origin, same family, same respiratory system. Without choice, we breathe the same air. Just as we need bread, so we need to hold each other’s hand more or less concretely. If we want joy, we cannot take it away from those around us, but we must recognize it as a good that is inevitably to be shared. If we want to be accepted and be successful, we must accept and allow the others to achieve their happiness before me.

Today I will make a preferential choice of silent prayer, in front of the Tabernacle, where I can meet the One who knows me even before I speak.

The Voice of  Fr. Andrea Gallo, Priest on the periphery

If there is one thing that I could never forgive myself, it is not to grant the right to pleasure and the right to non-suffering to everyone I meet.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 16, 2021

Jesus is our compass

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

16 JUNE  2021  Wednesday 11

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”                       (Mt 5: 1-6/16-18)

How shall I live this Word?  

Knowing that it is of a sacred preciousness, we all guard with care and jealousy the most intimate part of our person: a place inaccessible to everyone, sometimes even to ourselves, of which we can hardly say that it exists. The Gospel tells us that even this deep recess of our being is under God’s gaze. God, by appealing to our condescension, can become a welcome guest. Blessed are those who let themselves be enveloped by the love of a God who penetrates where no one can arrive. Blessed those who recognize themselves inhabited by Him. Blessed those who in their heart do not feel judged but welcomed and understood. This luminous awareness of a mysterious, discreet presence of God in our life can give us the strength necessary to react to the conditioning and fascination of a world bound by appearances and vanity.

For my personal prayer today I will choose a biblical phrase and inwardly I will often repeat it to myself, even during the activities of the day, almost assimilating it to the beating of my heart and reminding me of the presence of God.

The Voice of  St. Francis de Sales

Whatever course the ship takes, whether it sails west or east, towards south or north, whatever the wind that pushes it, the compass needle will always be pointing to the beautiful star and the pole. Even if everything were to turn upside down not only around us, but also within us, in spite of everything, forever and constantly, the tip of our heart, our spirit, our superior will, which is our compass, must look non-stop and tend steadily towards the love of God its Creator, Savior, only and supreme good.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 15, 2021

Be perfect…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

15 JUNE  2021  Tuesday 11

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”                            (Mt 5: 43-48)

How shall I live this Word?  

At the apex of the “Sermon on the Mount”, on the mountain where the Beatitudes were proclaimed, are these words of Jesus which invite us to love, not only those who love us, but even our enemies. This is possible only if the will of the Lord becomes the discriminating criterion of my whole life. In fact, no human logic could endorse this contradiction in terms: to love those who have no right to be loved and, what’s more, refuse to be loved. Loving the unlovable is a limit experience of Christianity alone. When my heart, my soul, my mind, my body, all my capacity to love are docilely handed over into the hands of the Lord, then I will be free even for such an arduous undertaking. I will be able to climb the last stretch of the “Sermon on the Mount”, inch by inch, grabbing the concrete opportunities that life will put in front of me.

Today I want to nourish in myself gratitude to God, both for the “friends” who support me on the Christian journey, and for the “enemies” who help me to reach perfection..

The Voice of  Silvano Fausti, Biblist

The difference between heaven and hell is not as great as it appears. Heaven is a splendid banquet and hell too. In the banquet of heaven you have to eat with certain forks, as well as in hell. The difference is that heaven is where one fork feeds the other, hell is where everyone pitches forks at the other and never gets to eat anything.

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Emili

Posted by: livingscripture | June 14, 2021

Think Jesus Thoughts…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

14 JUNE  2021  Monday 11

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”        (Mt 5: 38-42)

How shall I live this Word?  

Jesus calls us to adopt His own point of view, capable of judging people, things, and situations from a ‘high’ position. In fact, how much time and energy do we spend on what is in vain, on what lasts only a few moments, to hold something in our hands that gives us apparent security? We always balance ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of a given situation, we make our own calculations and we commit ourselves only if a ‘profit’ in our favor comes out of the total sum of the expenditure. How high, instead, Jesus soars! He asks us not to sink into the low logic of this monster world. He asks us to relativize everything in view of the greater good. What we do not see, what we do not touch, which seems to escape us is rather the basis of our breath. “What time does not snatch, what rust does not affect,  what makes us endure everything is our life with Him.  It is His “but I tell you …” that overturns our “ego”.

Today, let us be generous with our time for those in need.

The Voice of  Josemarìa Escrivà de Balaguer

We must acquire the divine measure of things, never losing the supernatural point of view and knowing that Jesus also makes use of our miseries to make His glory shine. Therefore, when you feel self-love, tiredness, discouragement, the weight of the passions snaking in your conscience, react promptly and listen to the Master. And do not be afraid of the sad reality that we see in us, because personal weaknesses will accompany us as long as we have life.

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