Posted by: livingscripture | March 4, 2021

TRUST in the LORD ALONE

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

March 4, 2021 

Second Thursday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds. (Jer  17: 10)

How shall I live this Word?  

It is a Lenten homily by Pope Francis that we propose as a comment on the words of Jeremiah. Today’s first reading (Jeremiah 17: 5-10) begins with a curse: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings.” Also “in other passages of the Bible there is the same curse, perhaps with other words”, such as: “Cursed is the man who trusts in himself”. The person who trusts only in his own strength is always defined as ‘cursed,’ because he carries a curse within himself. Instead, the Pope continued, remarking on the ‘the contrast’, “blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord”, because – as we read in Scripture – “He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes,  its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.”

 Therefore, “the word of God today teaches us that only in the Lord is our sure trust: other trusts are useless, they do not save us, they do not give us life, they do not give us joy”. Indeed, “they give us death, drought.” Later, in the commentary, the Pope asked himself: “Why is the man cursed who trusts in human beings, in himself? Because that trust makes him look only to himself; he closes  in on himself, without horizons, without open doors, without windows.”  Thus he ends up being “a man closed in on himself” and “will have no salvation”, because “he cannot save himself.”

Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my thoughts. See if there is a wicked path in me; lead me along an ancient path! (Ps 138: 23-24)

The Voice of  Pope Francis

There is a word ‘more than magical’, capable of opening ‘the door of hope that we do not even see’ and returning one’s name to those who have lost it for having trusted only in themselves and in human strength. This word is ‘Father’ and must be pronounced with the certainty of hearing the voice of God who answers us by calling us ‘child’.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 3, 2021

Understanding Jesus

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

March 3, 2021 

Second Wednesday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew  20: 17- 19)

How shall I live this Word?  

Jesus and his disciples are going up to Jerusalem. It is an uphill road not only physically, but also spiritually. The hour of the Passion is approaching. The  discourse the Teacher has to give to His chosen ones is very difficult.  That is why he ‘takes them aside’ and speaks to them of the torture and death He will have to face in Jerusalem. But His very close and intimate followers do not understand what is happening. Suffering does not agree with their idea of ​​the Messiah. At this point, the request from the mother of Zebedee’s children rings out of tune and out of context. She wants to get the  first place in the Kingdom of God for James and John. Even the mother, like the disciples, not only does not understand the drama of Jesus’ message about His coming passion and death, but she speaks to the personal ambitions of her children. When Jesus insists on service and self-giving, they continue to ask for first places in the Kingdom. Despite living together with Jesus for several years, they have not renewed their way of seeing things. They look to Jesus with the gaze of always, of the past. They want a reward for following Him. These same misunderstandings and tensions existed in the communities of Matthew’s time and still exist today in our communities. Jesus reacts firmly: “You do not know what you are asking!” The Teacher sees with the clarity of the prophet what is about to happen to Him. He wants to communicate this inner vision of His that anguishes Him, but He finds Himself facing the wall of incommunicability. His own still cannot think about the mystery of the cross.”

Do not forsake me, O LORD; my God, be not far from me! Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my salvation! (Ps 37: 22-23)

The Voice of  Cardinal Martini

The evangelist seems to want to encourage us by saying that it took the apostles some time to understand. Jesus was loved by them, He was in their midst, indeed He went ahead of them, and they could not but follow Him. They feel an intense attraction for Him, but in terms of truly understanding the heart of the mystery there was still a long way to go and the journey was extremely tiring.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 2, 2021

LIVE the WORD of GOD

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

March 2, 2021 

Second Tuesday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

“As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew  23: 8- 12)

How shall I live this Word?  

In the Gospel according to Matthew, after several clashes and disputes between the Teacher and the scribes, priests, Pharisees during His last stay in Jerusalem, Jesus gives a long discourse. It is a question of reproaches against those who have contradicted Him, undermined Him. Those who will persecute Him and make Him die by handing Him over to the pagans. The words of Jesus are very harsh and unusual. The Teacher, usually rich in mercy, this time speaks bluntly to those who proclaim the Lord’s commands, but act in the opposite way. Hence the grave warning: “Practice  and observe everything they tell you, but do not act according to their actions, because they speak but do not do what they preach.”

 From these words we understand how these leaders of the people do not listen deeply to the Word of God, but only preach it, without experiencing the difficult realization of what it requires. However, these reproaches should not be applied in general, but should be repeated especially for those who perform a teaching role in the Church. And also to us, simple Christians, who are called to proclaim the Gospel with our lives.  The warning of the Lord Jesus is thus addressed: “Whoever is greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” This is the humility of those who, when proclaiming the Word of God, do not place themselves above it, but are the first to let themselves be judged and converted by it.”

Look upon me, answer me, Lord, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death, Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed.”   (Ps 13: 4-5)

The Voice of  a Monk

What distinguishes an authentic servant of the Word is the extent to which he himself becomes its first listener.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 1, 2021

FORGIVENESS

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

March 1, 2021 

Second Monday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”    (Luke  6: 36- 38)

How shall I live this Word?  

Comment by Pope Francis of 21 September 2016

“I wonder: are Jesus’ words realistic? Is it really possible to love as God loves and be merciful like Him? We ask ourselves: What does it mean for disciples to be merciful? This is explained by Jesus with two verbs: ‘forgive’ and ‘ give’. In fact, forgiveness is the pillar that supports the life of the Christian community, because it shows the gratuitousness of the love with which God first loved us.

The Christian must forgive! But why? Because he was forgiven. Forgiveness is the first pillar; giving is the second pillar. “Give and gifts will be given to you […] for the measure with which you measure, will in return be measured out to you.”  Merciful love is therefore the only way to go. How much we all need to be a little more merciful, not to gossip about others, not to judge, not to ‘pluck’ others with criticism, envy, jealousy. We must forgive, be merciful, live our life in love, and give.”

Help us, O God, our salvation, for the glory of Your Name; free us and forgive our sins because of Your Name.  (Ps 26: 78)

The Voice of  M. Thurian, Monk

Those who are not able to forgive are not able to love.

Posted by: livingscripture | February 28, 2021

Jesus transfigures us

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

FEBRUARY 28, 2021 

Second Sunday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.    (Mark  9: 2- 3)

How shall I live this Word?  

Jesus has recently communicated for the first time, the imminence of His passion and death. This announcement confused the minds of the disciples, especially of Peter who had reacted strongly enough to take a heavy reproach from the Teacher who had identified him with the tempter: “away from me, Satan”. The transfiguration of Jesus will help the disciples to overcome the trauma of the Cross. He climbs to a high mountain, together with Peter, James, and John. Up there, alone, and in silence, they see Moses and Elijah appear. The high mountain evokes Mount Sinai, where in the past, God had manifested His will to the people, handing over the law. The white robes remind us of Moses’ dazzling face when he talks to God on the Mountain and receives the law. Elijah and Moses, the two major authorities of the Old Testament, speak with Jesus. Moses represents the Law, Elijah, the prophecy. It is therefore clear that the Old Testament, both the Law and the prophecy, already taught that for the Servant Messiah, the path to glory had to pass through the cross.  But the disciples seem not to hear and not to see, they are afraid of the cross. Peter would like to stop the present moment. He would like to stay on the mountain, make three tents that ensure a life of peace. A transfigured life where there is light, “shining, dazzling white clothes”. At the end of the vision, Jesus asks for silence on the event of glory they witnessed, but He still finds misunderstanding. The disciples, like us too many times, are unable to accept that the path of suffering passes through the Cross, but leads to the resurrection.

Your face I seek, O Lord, do not hide Your face from me.  (Ps 26: 8-9)

The Voice of  a Poet

The face of God / that my darkness desires / the face of God / who will be able to tell me? It is an altar /. Perhaps with the eyes of a child / hidden by too many stars. Maybe with the eyes of a child / Bright as snow / will we finally be able to grasp / the face of God?

Posted by: livingscripture | February 27, 2021

Love as God loves

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

FEBRUARY 27, 2021 

First Saturday of Lent

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 and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”          (Matthew 5: 43- 48)

How shall I live this Word?  

To those who have the courage, patience, and good fortune to listen to Jesus more closely, to those who can listen to His voice with all sincerity and an open heart, to those who do not fall into the illusion of believing that they already know everything and continue to climb the impervious paths of the “Sermon on the Mount”, the secret of the Christian faith is transmitted.  It is recognizing oneself as a child of God and not god; brothers/sisters, and not enemies. Only in those who accept this as a gift, and not as a conquest, does the gift become effective, it becomes a leaven that makes us mature, makes us leavened, grown but without swelling. It is the gift of the Word: truth that transfigures our humanity inclined to remain on the ground. Yes, in life there will always be some enemy, our mind always gives birth to rivals – real or potential – against whom to guard ourselves. But our real adversaries are not these people in flesh and blood (let’s name the names …), but the passions, the unresolved conflicts, the dissatisfactions that make war on our soul. True courage lies in challenging ourselves, rather than others, letting ourselves be loved by the Father who is in heaven.

I retrace those episodes of my life in which I felt hurt, hated, mistreated, insulted, laughed at … Remembering those people, with a name and surname, I present them to God, I pray for them, and ask  God to open ways of reconciliation and of peace for everyone.

The Voice of  Carlo Acutis, Blessed

Our goal must be Infinity. If God possesses our heart, we too will possess Infinity.

Posted by: livingscripture | February 26, 2021

Be righteous in God’s eyes

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

FEBRUARY 26, 2021 

First Friday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples:  “I tell you,  unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”               (Matthew 5: 20- 26)

How shall I live this Word?  

Today’s word speaks to us of an ‘adversary’: as if to say that the Christian life is a battle, a bitter contest against an enemy. Only the word of God gives it flesh and bones, body and soul: it is the scribe or the Pharisee who, well disguised, lurks within us. An enemy’s will, which knows of Pharisees and legalism, which tries to inject us with the deadly poison of respectability. It whispers to us to compromise our relationship with God, so as to make it harmless, superficial, and undemanding. Against it we are called to ‘overcome’, to deny the convenience of adapting to a moral facade, good for silencing our conscience. We are called to ‘more’, in obedience before which we cannot be satisfied, we cannot be quiet, and we must be courageously critical of ourselves so that we can become capable of loving others with our heart. Salvation lies in welcoming, in building bridges, in looking beyond.

Today I will ask for the courage to give up cultivating in my heart a desire for vengeance, for revenge, for contention. I will humble myself before the Lord, adoring Him in the Host who for love of me made Himself small, made Himself bread, fragile, offered, broken.

The Voice of  George Bernanos, Author

To be holy, what bishop would not give up his ring, miter and crosier; which cardinal would not give up his purple; which pontiff his white habit, his waiters, his Swiss Guards, all his temporal patrimony? The whole great apparatus of wisdom, strength, discipline, majesty, and magnificence of the Church is nothing if holiness does not animate it … Holiness, in fact, is an adventure. It is the only possible adventure.

Posted by: livingscripture | February 25, 2021

Pray with confidence

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

FEBRUARY 25, 2021 

First Thursday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.  This is the law and the prophets.”                                    (Matthew 7: 7 – 12)

How shall I live this Word?  

“Ask”, “seek”, “knock”… Three indispensable and decisive actions in our life of faith. These are the attitudes to have towards the Lord. They indicate full awareness, maturation of desire that becomes action, insistence almost to the point of stubbornness. If only one of these pieces were missing, the prayer would be incomplete, weak, debased; the gear of the Christian life would be jammed, defective.

They are three actions united by the condition of being before God, aware, well present to ourselves and to Him, without running away in the moments when the door seems to remain closed. God is the master of the house, He has called us today around a word that leads us back to the questions of our deepest ‘self’, to the usual questions, even more urgent today: “what am I looking for?”, “What am I asking?”, ” to what extent am I willing to risk? ” … Today I don’t want to answer through intermediaries: I will speak directly with God. It is time to welcome, it is time to trust, it is time to know how much power is placed in our hands, if only we want it.

Today, I will spend some intense moments of Adoration before Jesus in the Eucharist, abandoning myself to the Spirit. I ask that He be the one to speak in me, to move in me, to stir up the not yet aware desire, to sigh that prayer that I still cannot formulate.

The Voice of  Gregory of Nazianzus, Church Father

What is foreign to the will does not last.

Posted by: livingscripture | February 24, 2021

JESUS is the SIGN

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

FEBRUARY 24, 2021 

First Wednesday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus 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?  

The wickedness for which Jesus reproaches His contemporaries is not material for the initiation of a judicial procedure, as we would do by claiming legitimate rights. It is the heartfelt cry of the One who has made Himself sincerely in solidarity with His people, and demonstrates that He is so to the end. He wants to give them a heart capable of knowing God (Jer 24,7). That wickedness, of which we too can feel accused, is still an unconscious guilt, it is the inability to recognize Jesus for what He is, to welcome His salvation. Jesus feels upon Himself the evil that only He, for now, can see, our sin, the sin of the world, the vanity, the pettiness of every creature. Not even today does a bitter reproach come from the mouth of Jesus, but rather, the compassionate lament for a people who, despite their outward closeness, did not understand His true feelings. It is the disapproval that expresses the distance between His and our feelings, between His and our intentions. It is the voice of the One who prophesies about His death and proclaims the truth so that His interlocutors may one day repent. Only Jesus knows how to read our history with truth, judging it from a point of view superior to ours, and  above all, without condemning it.

Today I will try to accept willingly that inattention, that rudeness, that wrong suffered in a given circumstance, refraining from the instinct to judge the other and allowing myself to be comforted by the thought that the Lord, for love of me, has suffered much more than what I can imagine.

The Voice of  Pope Paul VI

Fidelity to modern human beings is demanding and difficult, but it is necessary if you want to be completely faithful to the message. It is neither servility nor mimicry, but courageous preaching of the Cross and the Resurrection, with the confident certainty that this message has its resonance also in the heart of modern human beings.

Posted by: livingscripture | February 23, 2021

Our Father…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

FEBRUARY 23, 2021 

First Tuesday of Lent

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. (Matthew 6: 7 – 15)

How shall I live this Word?  

We are different from pagans not because we recite a prayer authenticated by the Church, formulated exactly with a lot of ‘nulla osta’, as if a sequence of words could save us in a magical way. What differentiates us is the fact that this prayer is so different from one thought or written by any human. Every time we recite it, we are amazed, impressed by its distance from our way of thinking. We almost want to smile, disenchanted, we feel overwhelmed.  

We realize these words do not belong to us, or at least they do not yet belong to us completely. Yes, this is normal: otherwise they would be our words, and not those of Jesus. It is He who gives us the guarantee of the truth. His words are not ours, but God’s, backed up by the testimony of One who knew what He was saying. In the moment in which the recitation of the Our Father becomes ‘babbling’ for us too, we would be like the pagans, lavish with words but detached from life.

Today I choose a phrase or a word of the “Our Father”, and in reciting it I stop at it, I pause and I make those words resonate within me. I wonder why they struck me; I let myself be transformed.

The Voice of  Pope Francis 

Real wisdom presupposes an encounter with reality.

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