Posted by: livingscripture | May 4, 2016

Sixth Wednesday of Easter

 

From the Word of the Day

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.   (John 16: 12-15)

  How should we live this Word   holyspirit[1]

Easter, with its Mystery of Death and Resurrection, has revealed Jesus’ immense love for us.  Easter has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit who guides us to all Truth, that is, introduces us into the understanding of this great Love.  “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth”, but not because Jesus is a ‘half truth’.  Jesus is the Truth.  The Spirit’s task is to take us by the hand and introduce us into this Truth, making more and more understandable the things Jesus said that we have not understood because we were not yet ready to understand!

We will never finish understanding in our heart, the Word of Jesus, of seeing it alive, of actualizing it, and accomplishing it in our life today.  This is possible only in the measure in which the Spirit dwells in us and readies us to be like Jesus.  Only in this way can our humanity grow and enable us to taste and understand the Word with more awareness.  When Love enters the heart, it opens it to a loving understanding.

Come within me, Holy Spirit, into my heart and my intelligence.  Grant me Your intelligence so that I may know the Father in meditating on the Word of the Gospel.  Grant me Your ardor that even today, exhorted by Your Word, I may seek You in the events and persons that I meet.  Grant me Your wisdom that I may relive and judge what I have lived today in the light of Your Word.  Grant me perseverance so that I may patiently penetrate God’s message in the Gospel.  Grant me Your trust so that I may know from now how to be in mysterious communion with God as I await to immerse myself in Him in eternal life where His Word will finally be unveiled and fully accomplished.

The Voice of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Author of the Little Prince

We can see well only with our heart; the essential is invisible to the eyes.

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | May 3, 2016

Sixth Tuesday of Easter – Feast of Philip & James, Apostles

 

From the Word of the Day

Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
(John 14: 6-14) 

 How should we live this Word imagesCA0PVXCT

 “Show us the Father”.  Philip’s desire is our deepest longing.  Our souls seek God’s face.  We need nothing other than to see the Father because only in Him can we recognize ourselves!  But Jesus tells us, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”!

The face of the human Jesus is the Face.  The Gospel manifests Jesus, Face of the father.  This is the Christian revelation.  However, Jesus as man has suggested another way to overcome ourselves and encounter God’s face.  It is not an alternative, but in continuity: the face of our sisters and brothers.  We are called to recognize in their face the Face of Jesus in which shines forth the Face of the Father!  May Jesus never have to say to us what He said to Philip, “Have I been with you so long a time and you still do not know me?”

Lord, help me to go out of myself to be able to recognize You in my sisters and brothers and see in their faces and in their eyes God’s light. 

The Voice of Pope Francis 

Yes, dear young people, the Lord wants to meet you; wants to let Himself be seen by you.  You may ask me, how?  Even St. Teresa of Avila, born in Spain 500 years ago, asked her parents the same thing when she was little, “I want to see God”.  Then she discovered the way of prayer as ‘an intimate relationship of friendship with the One who loves us”.  This is why I ask you, “Do you pray?”  Do you know that you can speak with Jesus, with the Father, with the Holy Spirit the way you speak with your friend? And not with just any friend, but with your best and most faithful friend!  Try it with simplicity.  You will discover what a farmer of Ars said to the Pastor of his town: when I am in prayer before the Tabernacle, “I look at Him and He looks at me”.  (Pope Francis’s message for the XXX World Youth Day 2015)

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Posted by: livingscripture | May 2, 2016

Sixth Monday of Easter

 

 

From the Word of the Day

All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.  They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.  I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you.    (John 16: 1-4)

 How should we live this Word   Cross 1

Jesus had predicted the unmerited hatred toward Him and the Cross.  Soon after, it would be a time of confusion for the Apostles.  There then be reflection and guarding in the heart of the Word Jesus had given them in abundance, in confidence, and in the intimate farewell discourse.  It is the way that the community of the disciples will follow to understand the Cross as victory over evil, the salvation of humankind, and the Glory of God.  He knows that without His Presence we are fragile and cannot resist the temptation to despair, to be scandalized and thus He warns us.

He knows that His way of living is not of this world, even if it is the most human, and His logic is a logic paid for with the Cross!  He knows this and He tells us, but He also leaves us free to choose which God/god to serve, to worship and this choice is the litmus test to understand which God/god we believe in.

Thus, it happens that we kill or we are killed; we discriminate or are discriminated; we exclude or are excluded in the name of a god.  But these things happen where God is not present; where there is no Love, but only evil.  There is ignorance, the negation of the Love of the Father and the Son.  Ignoring the Father is equivalent to failing to recognize ourselves as His children and the others as our sisters and brothers.

The Voice of Pope Francis 

Today we are witnesses of those who kill Christians in the name of God because they are unbelievers according to them.  This is the Cross of Christ: “They do this because they have known neither the Father nor me”.  Jesus says, “What happened to me will happen to you as well – persecutions, tribulations – but do not be scandalized.  The Holy Spirit will guide us and help us understand”.

A Christian who does not take seriously this martyr dimension of life has not yet understood the road that Jesus has taught us: the road of daily martyrdom; the martyrdom road of defending human rights; the martyrdom road of defending children; of mothers and fathers who protect their family; the martyrdom road of many sick people who suffer for love of Jesus.  We all have the possibility of continuing this Easter fruitfulness on this road of martyrdom, without falling away.

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | May 1, 2016

Sixth Sunday of Easter

 

 

From the Word of the Day

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.  Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.   “All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.   “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.                                 (John 14: 23-29)

 

 How should we live this Word   image037-praise

When someone loves, they do not find it hard to live what the friend says or asks for; it is a logical consequence!

The word of the beloved has a special flavor, that of good, of affection, of trust.  Jesus tells us this, “If you love me, obey my teaching”.  The Word asks us to live Him, to be one thing with Him, and He will open us to the presence of the Father who enters, with the Word made life, into the heart of those who love His Son, as into His own house and they become His dwelling place.  With Jesus, we too can say, “We are not alone because the Father is with us”.

Our happiness comes from the God who dwells in us, in our heart.  Inhabited by the Father and the Son we are full of the gift of the Spirit, of the Love that exists among them.  The Spirit has the task to remind the heart of the Word.  The Spirit becomes our memory, our Teacher who teaches us to penetrate the meaning of the Word.  “The advocate will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said”.  He will help us to live today as God’s children in the Son, of risen ones in the Risen One, of witnesses of Love and in Love! 

The Voice St. Teresa of Avila, Carmelite Mystic 

O Holy Spirit, You unite my soul to God: move it with ardent desires and light it with the fire of Your love.  My God and my Creator, is it possible that there are those who do not love You?  I did not love You for a long time.  Forgive me, Lord.  O Holy Spirit, grant that my soul may belong totally to God and serve Him without any personal interests, but only because He is my Father and He loves me.  My God and my All, is there anything else that I can desire?  You alone are enough for me.  Amen.

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Posted by: livingscripture | April 30, 2016

Fifth Saturday of Easter

 

From the Word of the Day

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.    (John 15: 18-21) 

 How should we live this Word community

 We are still on the theme of Jesus’ farewell address but now there is a brusque beginning and a change of scene that presupposes something not said before: the confusion of a community that confesses Christ and has been persecuted.  Now, what the Teacher declares to His disciples goes for every Christian community tested because of its faith and, therefore, it goes for us and our community today as well.  The precious word that Jesus leaves as a heritage to the Christians of the third millennium as well, and which cannot be forgotten, is the word ‘persecution’.  “Remember the words I spoke to you…the servant is not greater than his master”.  Jesus warns His disciples that they will be hated and persecuted, but at the same time, He assures them that this hatred of the world and its persecution is  the place in which the witness of the Spirit will be shown and theirs as well.  ‘World’ in this context has a negative value, representing all the hostile powers that are opposed to the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation centered in Christ.  This is the world that hates Christ.

Jesus also gives an ulterior meaning.  He does not limit Himself to predict the world’s hatred, but explains it and unmasks its hidden roots.  He does all this so that the disciples will know and will not be scandalized and become discouraged when it all happens.  Persecution is part of Salvation History; it is the Way of the Cross that continues.  The world hated Christ and it will continue to hate His disciples.  The reason for this is the difference of origin: the disciples are not from the world; even though they are in the world…they do not belong to it.  Thus, the world’s hatred is not a reason for scandal, but rather a clear and unmistakable sign of belonging to Christ.

Persecution was an experience that accompanied the primitive Church, calling forth a deep series of reflections, both theological and spiritual, beginning with an ancient text of the mid-second century which is cited below. 

The Voice of Diognetus

Christians live their life on the earth, but they are citizens of heaven.  They obey the established laws, but their tenor of life is beyond laws.  They love everyone and they are persecuted by everyone.  They are not known and are condemned.  They are given death and they receive life.  The Jews fight against them as a foreign race and the Hellenists persecute them.  But those who hate them do not know how to give a reason for their hatred. The soul dwells in the body but does not come from the body.  The Christians live in the world, but they do not come from the world.

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Posted by: livingscripture | April 29, 2016

Fifth Friday of Easter

 

From the Word of the Day

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.  All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him…Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.

(Matthew 11: 25-27, 29)

  How should we live this Word Jesus_039_small

On this feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Matthew’s Gospel brings us a rather rare prayer of Jesus.  It deals with an exultant praise of joy, directed to the Father.  The ancient Fathers of the Church called it jubilation, a cry of exultance flowing from the heart of Jesus.

The Teacher of Nazareth knew directly that those who should have recognized the Messiah more easily, the scribes and Doctors of the Law, did not succeed to do this.  On the contrary, Jesus points out that it is the little ones, the poor, and the simple – like His disciples- who understand who Jesus is and follow Him.

Many wise and erudite people in history have tried to meet God or to know Jesus, but in vain, because they have not sought Him on the road that leads to Him; the road of humility and littleness.  Perhaps, we too seek to see Jesus in strong people who are able to transcend the limits of their humanity.  Jesus was not a hero, or a superman.  He was simply a human being who revealed Himself to be God as well, in humiliation, in littleness, and in weakness, that strong weakness of God.  This is why all of Jesus’ strength is in the sweetness and tenderness of His heart: “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart”.

On this feast of St. Catherine, who at the feet of the Teacher, traces out the secure road to meet Jesus; it is the road of our littleness and poverty, of our weakness that entrusts itself totally to His Grace.

I will repeat during the day this prayer of jubilation that comes from the Son’s heart.  

The Voice of Jesus to St. Catherine in a vision

Do you know child, who you are and who I am?  If you would know these two things, you would be blest.  You are what is not; instead, I am who is.  If you have this recognition in your heart, the enemy will not be able to fool you and you will escape from all his temptations.  You will never consent to anything contrary to My commandments, and without difficulty, you will acquire every grace, every truth, every light.

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | April 28, 2016

Fifth Thursday of Easter

 

From the Word of the Day

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.                     (John 15: 9-11)

  How should we live this Word Sacred heart

 Today’s Gospel continues that of the vine and the branches, giving us deeper insight into the connection between the commandments and a joy that is complete.    Jesus leaves to His disciples and to all of us another key word – that of love.  Jesus helps us to see how to live the commandments and to live love.  The journey is traced out by Jesus.  The first undergirds the whole of Christian life, “As the Father has loved Me, I too have loved you”.  This love reaches us without any merit on our part and is greater than our heart.  It envelops us, dilates us, and immerses us without ever forcing our consent.  As the Father and the Son came to dwell in us, in our turn, we dwell in them, in their love.  It is a mutual inhabitation of the Trinity in us and us in the Trinity, through Jesus.  This love comes to us from on high, not only from Jesus whose face and voice we know, but through Jesus, from the Father.  We have received the very love of God, who is eternal life.

Jesus exhorts us to remain in His love.  This is made possible by observing His commandments, thanks to the lymph of love divine that circulates from the vine to the branches.

An unexpected novelty comes at the end of the passage.  It is the motive of joy, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”.  This may seem paradoxical because for the worldly-minded, joy comes from outside, from evasions and diversions.  Instead, the Gospel tells us that joy comes from within the Christian life.  As we follow Christ, no matter how hard it may be at times, there is always joy!

Lord, take my heart and make it Your dwelling place of love and joy, where everyone may find You! 

The Voice of St. Augustine

Christ came above all to make us know how much God loves us and to tell us that we must burn with love for Him who has first loved us; to love our neighbor to obey Him after His example who comes close to us by loving us.

 

 

 

Posted by: livingscripture | April 27, 2016

Fifth Wednesday of Easter

 

 

From the Word of the Day

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.                            (John 15: 1-5, 8)

 How should we live this Word vine and branches

Today’s passage is still from Jesus’ farewell discourse in which He gives His spiritual testament to His disciples before leaving this world.  Here Jesus states that He is the vine and they are the branches.  The real vine of Isaiah is Jesus and the Father takes care of His vineyard, pruning the branches so that they will bear abundant fruit. But what is the fruit that Jesus insists upon so much in the Gospel?  The fruit God wants from every believer is that they become disciples of Jesus, as the last line of the passage states.

We become disciples of Jesus because it is a life-long process, part of our journey on this earth that becomes ever more dynamic.

These words of Jesus sound like a prophetic promise given to all the disciples of every epoch and therefore to me and you as well.  However, I must remember that the branches are nothing without the vital lymph that comes from the vine; the vine and the branches form one organism.

We are dealing with a real reciprocal immanence expressed by a characteristic formula and a verb typical of John repeated in this passage seven times.  The verb is ‘remain’ and it erupts in the concise phrase, “Without me you can do nothing”.  This does not negate our capacities but must be understood according to the perspective of the ‘fruit’ that supports the whole context.  It means the disciples must receive Jesus’ work in themselves, which comes first, and to unite it intimately to their own, which comes second, in the one synergy that can produce abundant fruit.

Lord, I want to remain in You so that our fruit will be abundant. 

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

Now I begin to be a disciple.  (He said this on his journey to martyrdom in Rome)

 

 

 

Posted by: livingscripture | April 26, 2016

Fifth Tuesday of Easter

 

From the Word of the Day

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.             (John 14: 27-29)

 How should we live this Word   lwjas0152

These words of today’s Liturgy belong to the ‘farewell discourse’ of Jesus.  They seek to give a glance on the future because they can help the disciples live the present and prepare for tomorrow.  They want to orient the hearts of the disciples to realities greater than the usual routine of each day and offer a deeper understanding of the events that are about to happen.

They constitute the precious spiritual testament left as a heritage by the Lord before His definitive departure.  The words have a special tone because they anticipate the new reality that will lead to the faith witness of those who will remember them.  They are words that are handed over to another Teacher by Jesus, the Holy Spirit, who will teach the community and help them to be recalled in every historical epoch so that they can be lived in a new way, adapted to the needs of the times.

One of the important words we find at the beginning of the Gospel is ‘Peace’.  The gift of Peace is strongly highlighted through its repetition and is not just a simple greeting.  Peace summarizes all the most precious gifts of life and of a person.  Therefore, the Peace that Christ gives cannot be compared in any way to the peace that the world can give, which is the fruit of compromises, of continuous wars, of violence, of hatred, and of oppression.  The King of Peace will never descend to compete with other sovereigns of this world, but will be let Himself be crowned as King on the throne of the Cross.

Today as I pause for silent reflection I will pray to the King of Peace so that He may grant His Church and each of us, the great Messianic gift of Shalom. 

The Voice of the Liturgy 

Lord Jesus Christ, You said to Your apostles, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you”, look not on our sins, but on the faith of Your Church and give us unity and peace according to Your will.  You who live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.

 

 

Posted by: livingscripture | April 25, 2016

Fifth Monday of Easter

 

From the Word of the Day

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.       (Mark 16: 15/ 19-20) 

 How should we live this Word imagesCAZOWKW4

Today is the liturgical feast of St. Mark the Evangelist and we reflect on the passage of his Gospel, which we know now was not in the original text.  However, this takes nothing away from its inspiration since it was part of Tradition since the times of the primitive Church.  It deals with the famous missionary mandate to bring the Gospel to the whole world and to all creatures.  The Father is the One who sends and wills to need other missionaries who are sent by Him.  All Christians are involved in this entrustment since as disciples of Jesus we are all missionaries.  Everyone everywhere has the right to hear the Gospel preached.  We must go out of ourselves in order to preach, leaving aside our personal interests as Pope Francis often reminds us with his famous phrase, ‘the out-going Church’.

The image of this passage ends with Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father since His journey is now ended.  The disciples instead, begin their journey in the world.  The journey of Jesus is perpetuated in the journey of His disciples.  Jesus is not really absent but present through His synergy, in His working with us, in our collaborating together. 

The Voice of the Collect Prayer for St. Mark

 O God, who has glorified Your Evangelist Mark with the gift of apostolic preaching, grant that at the school of the Gospel, we too may learn to follow Christ the Lord faithfully.

 

DB

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