Posted by: livingscripture | May 29, 2015

Eighth Friday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.  Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it.  When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs.  And he said to it in reply, ‘May no one ever eat of your fruit again!’ and his disciples heard it… Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.  Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look!  The fig tree that you cursed has withered’.”                    (Mark 11: 12-14/20-21)

How should we live this Wordfig tree 2

 Bethany means ‘house of the poor’.  It is the place which Jesus leaves to go to Jerusalem, to the Temple.  There is a fig tree that is luxuriant and green, but only in appearance.  Jesus requests fruit but it bears no fruit!  It is not by chance that it is a fig tree, the tree under which, according to rabbinic tradition, the devoted remain to meditate on the Torah.  Without fruit, the tree is like the Temple.  Jesus makes the fig tree dry up and become sterile.  This is the curse that comes to those who do not open their heart to the blessing of the Messiah.  Those who do not see and do not accept the freedom of Jesus are destined to become naked and have their sterility seen.

Jesus always produces life when He passes.  This is why with Him we are fruitful and without Him we are sterile.  If we remain united to Him, we will produce much fruit.  Remaining in Him is the gesture of the poor person who accepts, keeps, believes, and becomes His disciple.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I shall cling to Jesus and ask Him to make me bear fruit pleasing to Him.

Lord, let me remain united to You so that I may bear the fruit You desire.

The Voice of St. Paul

You will certainly say that the branches have been cut so that I could be grafted there!  Well…but they have been cut because of their lack of faith, while you remain grafted to the faith.  Do not become proud, but fearful! In fact, if God did not spare the natural branches, much less will He spare you!  (Romans 11: 19-21)

Posted by: livingscripture | May 28, 2015

Eighth Thursday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Dayblind man

“Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”   Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”  So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.   “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”   “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”

(Mark 10: 46-52)

How should we live this Word

 This is Jesus’ last miracle in Mark’s Gospel.  It is about a blind man who asks to see.  Jesus hears him and opens his eyes and he immediately begins to follow Him along the road.

Only those who recognize their poverty and blindness have the possibility of following Jesus.  Only those who acknowledge that all comes from God and know from the depths of their desperation how to cry out for help.  They will hear the voice of Jesus who opens new horizons, restoring hope and dignity.  Only those who cry out their need for mercy and forgiveness are able to go to Jerusalem with Jesus.  To see means to believe.  To see means to receive the gift of God in the Son of Man Crucified.  Bartimaeus becomes our model of a disciple – the one who throws off his mantle and, with humility, is aware that all comes from God and returns to Him.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will cry out to Jesus to help me see and embrace Him every moment of my life.

Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!

The Voice of Benedict XVI

The blind man was someone who had lost his wealth and his miserable condition was well known by the people.  He was not only blind, but had to beg.  This is why Mark wanted to record only his miracle because his recuperation of sight had great resonance in contrast to the terrible misfortune that had happened to this blind man.  St. Augustine tells us that this interpretation makes us think and invites reflection on the fact that there are many riches in our life that we can lose and not only material ones.  The blind man can represent so many people today who have lost the riches of the faith and have distanced themselves from God, considering Him no longer relevant to life.  They have fallen from a high dignity, that of being a Christian. They have lost a sure orientation in life and have often become beggars seeking life’s meaning.

Posted by: livingscripture | May 27, 2015

Eighth Wednesday of Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“Jesus summoned them and said to them, ‘You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.  But it shall not be so among you.  Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’.”                     (Mark 10: 42-45)

How should we live this Wordhealing a child

 To be the greatest…to be the first!  Jesus does not mortify this aspiration of human nature; rather, He channels it into His logic of life.  Jesus suggests that we carefully avoid the world’s glory, “It shall not be so among you!”  He shows us how to be first and how to become great; by placing ourselves at the service of others, giving of ourselves without expecting a return, in the pure gift of self.  Thus, there exists a hierarchy of values even in the Kingdom, but it is a hierarchy that differs from that of the world.  In the world, a servant is considered as the last; here he is the first.  The service lived by Jesus, and first of all by Him, becomes for Christians the master road of life, a life of freedom, an alternative way to that of the world.  In Jesus, we no longer live according to the criteria of an arrogant ‘me first’, but as servants of God and of His people.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to instill in me an understanding of true greatness and the desire to pursue it in Him.

Lord, grant that Your Spirit may help me to enter into Your logic of service as You teach it.

The Voice of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Where God is, love is.  And where there is love, there is always service.

Posted by: livingscripture | May 26, 2015

Eighth Tuesday of Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Dayall saints 3

“Peter began to say to Jesus, ‘We have given up everything and followed you.’  Jesus said, ‘Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in the present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.  But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first’.”                     (Mark 10: 28-31)

How should we live this Word

 Here we find accomplished Jesus’ affirmation, “What is impossible for humans is not impossible for God!  Because everything is possible for God”!  Near Jesus, that is, in Jesus we live God’s measure, the pure and super-abundant gift.  It is only due to the Gospel and to Jesus that it is possible to live the vow of poverty because with Jesus’ logic of life, He suggests that we give rather than possess and share rather than amass treasure.  The result of giving and sharing is multiplication so that all may be satisfied.  Today, Jesus reminds us that when we are in dire straits, or any straits, the way out is to give fully because we only have what we give and we have it superabundantly.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to give me His Spirit so that I may live a life of giving and sharing that is so pleasing to Him.

Lord, help me to be grateful each day for every little thing that I receive, the gift of Your overflowing Love.

The Voice of St. Philip Neri

Throw yourself into God.  Throw yourself into God, and know that if He wants something from you, He will make good on all you want to do.

From the Word of the DayMary

“Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!’  The disciples were amazed at his words.  So Jesus again said to them in reply, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God’.  They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, ‘Then who can be saved?’  Jesus looked at them and said, ‘for men it is impossible, but not for God.  All things are possible for God’.”  (Mark 10: 23-27)

How should we live this Word

 Why must Christians be poor if they want to say they are following Jesus?  This seems to be an essential condition for His followers to enter the Kingdom of God!  Yes, to follow Jesus we need to choose poverty!  It is a poverty that is expressed in an attitude of deep welcome, an attitude dear to Jesus, that of children!  It means to receive the gift of God; to receive the gift of the moment, with simplicity and trust, without trusting in ourselves, thinking we can save ourselves by ourselves.

This is not only difficult for rich people, but for everyone, because no one is naturally disposed to be in an attitude of simple reception of God’s gratuitous gift.  We must learn to receive, to welcome, to make room in our heart and mind, letting them be filled with God’s Love.  This may seem to be a passive choice, but it hides great strength and a strong will.  This is poverty; freeing ourselves from ourselves, from our plans, from our dependencies, from our desire to save ourselves by our power.  It means receiving all of life as God’s gift.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will abandon myself to Jesus, trusting Him totally every moment of my life.

Into Your hands O Lord, I entrust my spirit!

 

The Voice of Don Bosco

Trust Mary and you will see what miracles are.

Posted by: livingscripture | May 24, 2015

PENTECOST SUNDAY

From the Word of the Daydb_43-Pentecost[1]

 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”  (John 15: 26-27)

 “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.  He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.  Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.   (John 16: 12-15)

How should we live this Word

 Pentecost is here!  It is the time of the Church!  It is the time of witnessing, guided by the Spirit who continues to teach us about Jesus and lead us to the whole truth.  The Spirit helps us to say ‘Jesus’ in our life situations, in our problems that are both different and the same as that of the first disciples.  The Spirit helps us to find the Truth in our hearts and make it become whole in us and for us in all our life events. Now is our time as believers!

How consoling it is to hear repeated to us that we are not alone in our daily life; the Consoler is with us, making all things possible and helping us to carry our burdens.  In all this, the Spirit of Truth glorifies Jesus and the Father, because all belongs to the Spirit and we do too.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will invite the Holy Spirit deeper into my being to be my constant guide and help.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and light in us the fire of Your Love!  Come Holy Spirit; come through Mary, our Powerful Helper!

The Voice of Pope Francis

It is the Spirit Paraclete, the Consoler who gives us the courage to traverse the streets of the world bringing the Gospel!  The Holy Spirit makes us see horizons and urges us toward the peripheries of the world to proclaim the life of Jesus Christ.  Let us ask ourselves if we tend to close in on ourselves, in our group, or if we allow the Holy Spirit to open us to the mission. 

Posted by: livingscripture | May 23, 2015

Seventh Saturday of Easter

From the Word of the Day

 “There are many other things Jesus did, but if they were all written one by one, I think all the books in the world would not be able to contain them.”

 (John 21: 25)

How should we live this WordPENTECOST

 We are at the vigil of Pentecost!  Today’s Word is also the ending of John’s Gospel.  John tells us that Jesus did many more things that the world itself could not hold the books needed to write them down.  Even the things Jesus said and are recounted in the four Gospels have not yet been fully assimilated by us in all their depth.  This is why Jesus, knowing all this, promised to send us His Spirit to teach us.

Jesus prayed to the Father to send us another Paraclete to remain with us forever; the Spirit of truth that the world cannot receive because it does not see Him and does not know Him.  Jesus tells us that we know the Spirit because He is close to us and remains with us.  It is the Spirit who teaches us all things and reminds us of what Jesus said.  (Cf. John 14: 15-17/25-26)

The Spirit reminds not only our minds, but our hearts as well of all that Jesus said in the Gospels.  Let us be docile to the Holy Spirit so that He may truly speak to our minds and hearts on this solemn Feast of Pentecost.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to open me completely to His Holy Spirit each day of my life.

Lord, You have guided Your people from the old to the new covenant, grant that, freed from sin, we may be fully renewed in Your Spirit.  Amen.

The Voice of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher at the Vatican

We give thanks for the light of Christ that He has made shine in our minds through His love that He poured into our hearts, and the healing He brought to our sick bodies…Simply because You are, now and forever, may You be thanked Holy Spirit!

Posted by: livingscripture | May 22, 2015

Seventh Friday of Easter

From the Word of the Day db_41-Feed_my_sheep[1]

“He said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’  Simon Peter answered him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs’.  He then said to Simon Peter a second time, ‘Simon, son of john, do you love me?’  Simon Peter answered him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’  He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’  He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’  Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’  And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’…And when he had said this, he said to him, ‘Follow me’.”

 (John 21: 15-19)

How should we live this Word

 This is Jesus’ last encounter with his Apostle after His Resurrection on the Lake of Tiberius.  It is the second call of Peter and it is again characterized by a final ‘follow Me’.  Jesus last word to Peter in this second call is simply to ask for and give love.  In fact, this is precisely the difference between the first call to a Peter who is yet untried and the second made to a more mature Peter.

By now, the Apostle has reached such a depth of love that is humble and generous, that Jesus can entrust him with the safeguarding of His Church.  The Teacher had also predicted, “Simon, Simon, Satan has passed you like a grain through a sieve.  But I have prayed for you, that you may not waver in your faith.  And when you have returned, confirm your brethren.” (Cf. Luke 22: 31-32)  Peter was saved by Jesus’ prayer and His loving look.

Therefore, it is the great love of the Risen Christ that questions Peter now on Love, arousing secret dynamics in him, truer than his presumption and his betrayal.  Jesus again shows Himself on the Lake of Tiberius as the Savior of Peter’s humanity.  It is a humanity that risked being crushed by his triple denial, of being frustrated and discouraged for the rest of his life.  Jesus, instead, takes him again, awakens him, and rebuilds him.  With the last words, “Follow me”, Jesus reconfirms His call.  Jesus has rebuilt Peter’s vocation on his deepest nature, where the soul and the Creator Spirit’s touch become one.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ponder this scene so full of Jesus’ forgiving love and Peter’s repentance.

Thank You, Lord for this Your Apostle!  Peter is so close to us!  Once again, Your Word helps us to see clearly, to purify our faith, and to touch our poverty and fragility.

The Voice of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher at the Vatican

Thank You, Creator Spirit, because You continually transform our chaos into cosmos; because You visit our minds and fill our hearts with grace.

Posted by: livingscripture | May 21, 2015

Seventh Thursday of Easter

From the Word of the Day

 “Lifting his eyes to Heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are one in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

 (John 17: 20-21)

How should we live this Wordcommunity

 Today’s Gospel records Jesus’ ‘Priestly Prayer’, or better yet, His ‘Spiritual Testament’.  Before returning to the Father, Jesus feels the need to open His heart to His Apostles to manifest to them the secrets that lie in the depths of His soul.  The first of these touches us closely and makes our hearts leap with joy and exaltation.  Jesus clearly affirms, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word”.  Thus, we can be sure that He prayed also for us during His earthly life.  This should move us to the depths of our soul.  Before He died, Jesus thought of me and prayed for me!

What is the primary aim of Jesus’ prayer for each of us?  It is that of unity with Him and with the Father, “so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one.”  Jesus wants to introduce us into the infinite current of Love that flows between Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit!

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will prepare myself for Pentecost, asking the Spirit to immerse me in Him, according to Jesus’ prayer, into the current of love that flows from the Father to the Son and the Holy Spirit.

O Father, may Your Spirit come and transform us interiorly with His gifts.  Create in us a new heart so that we may please You and cooperate in Your Plan of Salvation. Amen.

The Voice of Ignatius of Latakia, Contemporary Eastern Bishop

Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant; Christ remains in the past; the Gospel is a dead letter; the Church is simply an organization; authority is domination; mission is propaganda; worship is an evocation; Christian action is a slave morality.  But with the Holy Spirit, the cosmos is raised and is in the birth pangs of the Kingdom; humans struggle against the flesh; Christ is present; the Gospel is the power of life; the Church is the sign of Trinitarian communion; authority is liberating service; the mission is a Pentecost; Liturgy is memorial and anticipation; human activity is divinized.

Posted by: livingscripture | May 20, 2015

Seventh Wednesday of Easter

From the Word of the Day

 “At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood.  I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.”

 (Acts 20: 28-29)

How should we live this WordPope Francis

 The two readings of today’s Liturgy are very beautiful.  They deal with two discourses of departure, of two testaments, that of Paul and that of Jesus.  Today we will refer to the first reading only.

The context is the same as yesterdays; Paul’s farewell to the presbyters.  He leaves them as a spiritual will, the task to be vigilant over themselves and over the flock.  He reminds them of their divine role as those responsible for the Church.  Their duty originates from the Holy Spirit because He is the one who “appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God”.  To them, God entrusts the Church that belongs to God and to the Holy Spirit.  They must be vigilant so that, after his death, savage wolves will not enter and destroy the flock.

As we near Pentecost, we need to pray especially for our Pope Francis, the Bishops, and priests of the whole Church so that the Holy Spirit, who has “appointed them overseers in which to tend the Church of God”, will know how to live their role with full dedication and responsibility, in cordial unity with the Successor of Peter, and above all, with the holiness of their life. They must prevent the savage wolves from entering the Church and devastating the holy people of God, spreading discord and division.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will pray for all Church leaders that they may live holy lives and inspire the People of God.

Merciful Father, grant that Your Church, united in the Holy Spirit, may serve You will full dedication and form one heart and one soul.  Amen!

The Voice of St. Basil the Great, Church Father of the Ancient East

Just as pure and diaphanous bodies become resplendent when a bright ray strikes them, and they diffuse their splendor, so too the souls who carry in themselves the Holy Spirit, illuminated by Him, become spiritual and diffuse their grace on others.  From here comes knowledge of the future, intelligence of the mysteries, understanding of hidden things, distribution of charisms, participation in heavenly life and the choirs of angels, endless grace, dwelling in God, likeness to God, and lastly, the greatest thing we can desire, the divinization of the soul.

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