Posted by: livingscripture | October 20, 2018

28th Saturday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Saturday October 20, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  (Luke 12: 10)

 

How shall I live this Word?

Recognize or deny? Talk against or curse? This page of the Gospel scrutinizes the potentials of language: with words we express thoughts, emotions, feelings, therefore much of our soul, our spirit.  When words are missing, they are replaced by gestures, postures, distances. But when they are there, they actually leave a mark and define us. Luke tells us how Jesus emphasized this in relation to the profession of faith, to the reception of His person in our life.  We can use words to recognize or deny Jesus. We can even speak against Him, without denying Him, perhaps because we are angry and searching for  His mercy.

But if we come to deliberately and consciously reject the prophetic Spirit that is in the actions and teaching of Jesus, we reject the encounter with the merciful and saving action of the Father. This is an attack on the Trinity, which we can call blasphemy. Sometimes it is summarized in words (the colorful blasphemies that live on the lips of many), but above all it manifests itself, even silently, in the atheist’s choice to do without God. Perhaps,  all seasoned with religious aspects that conceal blasphemy.

Refusing migrants the opportunity to live better in countries other than their own, distorting reality by demagoguery, cultivating violence and vulgarity as methods and instruments of power, perhaps while flaunting rosary beads or a Bible in our hands, is blasphemy against the Spirit.

Lord, give us the wisdom and courage of the first apostles to resist and fight in times when the blasphemies against the Spirit are softly whispered and exchanged for beneficial prayers!

 The Voice of Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! I will sing of your majesty above the heavens with the mouths of babes and infants.

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 19, 2018

28th Friday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Friday October 19, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees.

 “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.  (Luke 12: 2)

 

How shall I live this Word?

Jesus defines hypocrisy as the yeast of the Pharisees. The yeast is that pinch of substance added to the dough to make it grow in volume.  Hypocrisy, even in small doses, emphasizes the situations in which it is used and creates environments that are impossible for life and the development of healthy relationships. It destroys trust, darkens the virtues, leaving them to be mistaken for their opposite, giving the language enough ambiguity to destroy real communication. It undermines relationships and does not allow us to know each other or even to know ourselves. It is impossible to build a community with hypocrites. Moreover, hypocrisy can be the distinctive trait of a person for a long time but hidden hypocritical things will not be hidden forever. Hypocrisy does not tell what is false, but rather it hides the truth and by not telling it, tries to deny it. But Jesus, who is also the truth, and the Spirit, wh0 is also truth present everywhere, will reveal sooner or later what we want to hide.

Lord, we suffer a lot from living in a hypocritical way. Help us not to be hypocrites. Help us to give value, sense, and meaning to the things we say and how we say them.

 The Voice of Maurizio Gronchi, Pastor

 Among the many colorations of hypocrisy, the most marked identifies with insincerity and reticence, with that attitude of studied caution in speaking, which some appreciate by regarding it as prudence, wisdom, diplomacy.  If it did not have a positive though ambiguous social confirmation, hypocrisy would be openly branded as a vice, but instead it is credited as a virtue for its ability, for its simulation. Anyone who can suspend a discourse before a word or a particularly strong expression, who avoids the trap set by a direct question that provokes a clear stance, usually receives approval, together with a suspicious evaluation of cunning. Precisely because of the ambiguity from which it comes and to which it tends  arousing complicity, hypocrisy is easy to define and difficult to recognize.

 

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 18, 2018

28th Thursday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Thursday October 18, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

 (Luke 10: 1-3)

 

How shall I live this Word?

This mandate is inserted in the chapter of the missionary discourse of Luke the Evangelist. The disciples’ awareness must consider how much the mission entrusted to them has something impossible and risky. Being like lambs in the midst of wolves is the metaphor that translates this. Luke summarizes in this sentence many of his experiences: fear for life in front of angry, powerful, irritated crowds and stormy seas. Yet, they do not hide or change nature and candidly proclaim Christ and Him crucified and risen.

Lord, we pray for and entrust to You the many Christians who are persecuted for the faith today: like lambs in the midst of wolves, they bear witness to their faith at the risk of  their life and show us how to live the Gospel more intensely.

 The Voice of St. Augustine

 But although a single wolf is usually enough to upset a large flock, the sheep that had been sent among innumerable wolves went there without fear, because the one who sent them did not abandon them. Well, why should they have feared to go among the wolves when the Lamb who had conquered the wolf was with them?

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 17, 2018

28th Wednesday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Wednesday October 17, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too. (Luke 11: 45) 

 

How shall I live this Word?

Jesus continues his preaching without mincing words, denouncing attitudes and behavior that are atheistic, but clothed in religiosity. He addresses the Pharisees and highlights how this rampant atheism is evident, and that injustice also arises from their actions.

A group of Pharisees, even doctors of the Law, are offended and express it saying how Jesus is attacking men of God.

Jesus does not stop and responds to the declaration of offense, highlighting another unjust aspect of the presumed men of God: interpreting the Word of God in a moralistic way, translating it into a thousand precepts to be respected and emptying it of life and meaning.

 Lord, defend us from fundamentalism and moralism that distance us from faith and make us see life and creation with evil eyes.

 The Voice of Pope Francis

 Today I would like to pause to consider this special relationship that Jesus has with the crowd. People follow Him and listen to Him because they feel that He speaks in a different way, with the authority that comes from being authentic and coherent, without ambiguity and ulterior motives. There is joy and happiness when listening to the Master. People bless God when Jesus speaks, because His speech includes everyone, addressing them persons and makes them the people of God. You have noticed that only the scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus accuses of hypocrisy, always ask: “To whom do You say this? Do You say that for us? By saying this You offend us too!”.   The people do not ask these questions; on the contrary, they want the Word to be for them.  They know that it is a Word that does good, that heals, improves, purifies those who say, “this is for me”.

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 16, 2018

28th Tuesday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Tuesday October 16, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?  But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11: 41)

 How shall I live this Word?

The gospel of Luke in these days becomes really severe. His is a struggle against religion when it is emptied of faith and remains a fake and deformed mask destined to cover perversion and hypocrisy.

The question here is between pure and impure, a fundamental distinction for a religion that exists only by separating and excluding. The provocation of Jesus obliges getting rid of the boundaries that determine this quality. That practice which gives purity makes the good accessible only to the person who has exercised that practice. To remove this separation wall makes it possible to see that that good belongs to everyone, for everyone, in favor of everyone, and must be shared.

 Lord, help us not to fear what is impure.  Help us to go beyond appearances, encountering the other as the temple of Your presence.  Then all will be pure.

 The Voice of Luigino Bruni

 Western civilization has been built around the idea of ​​wealth and development understood as accumulation of things and as growth. This principle of quantity was then married to the ancestral belief that purity and perfection are at the top and imperfection at the bottom; that the impure has to do with the earth and with the hands, and the pure with the sky. That the spirit is superior because it is not matter, it is not a body. And so the works that touch the earth and use the hands are low, impure, base, while those who use the intellect are noble, high, spiritual, holy. This archaic vision of the good life as “growing upwards” has traversed the whole Bible almost unscathed, despite the hard struggle that the prophets, the wisdom books, and Jesus have made against it.

 

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 15, 2018

St. Teresa of Avila

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Monday October 15, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

St. Teresa of Avila

 WORD of the DAY 

 This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.  (Luke 11: 29)

 

How shall I live this Word?

The search for signs sometimes seems to characterize the search for God. But when the sign does not arrive? God is not there? Research is not synonymous with understanding. Probably God does not care to be “understood”, which literally means understood, circumscribed, defined, enclosed in a container. The sign always closes a meaning in a signifier. God’s infinite being, His being beyond time and space does not allow Him this. Yet He Himself has chosen to define Himself in a body, in a time, and the incarnation of Christ is the only authentic sign of God. Every other sign is deemed by God to be idolatry, invention, imagination.

Jesus cries out against those people who are looking for signs, animated by a kind of challenge to God: “If you would amaze us”! He defines them as evil, animated by evil, persecutors. And He promises them only the sign of Jonah: He, preaching to the Ninevites (not Jews), obtained their conversion. So the words of Jesus, the new Jonah, will be received and will move to conversion the pagans, the Gentiles, though not immediately, nor all the Jews, who will continue to look for signs of the Messiah, even though they have Him right before their eyes!

 

Lord, grant that each of us may accept the gift of Your Incarnation, and assume it as the spirituality of our life, without the need of other signs that indicate God.

 The Voice of Pope Francis

There is a serious disease that threatens Christians today: the  ‘Jonah syndrome’, the one that makes you feel perfect and clean as though you had just come out of a dry cleaner, as opposed to those we judge as sinners and therefore doomed to get by on their own, without  our help. Jesus, on the other hand, reminds us that to save ourselves, it is necessary to follow “the sign of Jonah”, that is, the mercy of the Lord.

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 14, 2018

28th Week of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Sunday October 14, 2018

Twenty-eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” …He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”  Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me”. (Mark 10: 17-30)

 How shall I live this Word?

This page of the Gospel can illuminate the situation of each of us and that of all men and women who seek eternal life with sincerity and authenticity.

We all want to be happy. We all want to live forever. We all want to love and to be loved. Well, Jesus tells us that if we want to be happy now and always, that if we want to have eternal life, it is necessary to renounce all that separates us from God, especially the goods of this world. Jesus demands the recognition of God as absolute Value and Good, before which everything else is relative and therefore can be ignored. Here is the first great choice to make: to give God the primacy that corresponds to Him and live therefore only to do His will.

Of course, it is not easy to understand and live this requirement, especially because we live in a world and in a society where the economy has become the absolute value and money a real idol. On the contrary, the conviction that the rich are happy, and the poor are wretched is increasingly widespread. Precisely for this reason the word of God invites us to ask for the gift of the spirit of “wisdom”, which reveals to us the true meaning of things and teaches us where ‘true’ wealth is found, which is certainly not in gold, in silver, or in the bank accounts that we can possess, but in loving others and sharing what we are and have.

 Let us ask the Lord for the grace to seek eternal life, like this young man of whom the Gospel speaks, but to seek it as Peter and the apostles, who were able to renounce everything in order to possess Jesus, His Gospel, and His Kingdom.

 The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI

 The happiness you seek, the happiness you have the right to taste has a name and a face: that of Jesus of Nazareth. Only He gives fullness of life to humanity.

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 13, 2018

27th Saturday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Saturday October 13, 2018

Twenty-seventh Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”  He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11: 27-28)

 How shall I live this Word?

After Jesus has effectively silenced his adversaries and their ridiculous accusations, a woman cries out from the surrounding crowd: “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed!” It was beautiful praise, first to Jesus Himself but also to His mother. This woman is clearly one in the crowd who was amazed by the work that Jesus is doing in contrast to the cynical unbelievers who want to destroy Jesus.

But Jesus changes the words of the woman. “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it!” Greatness in the eyes of God does not lie in the gifts and privileges that have been granted, but in the answer given to God. The true greatness of Mary was precisely her unconditional openness to God’s plan for her!

Mary is the model of the listener, ponders the word, and puts it into practice in her life. But she is also the model of those who reflect on the word of God. This is what we are invited to do with regard to the Word: listening, preserving, putting into practice, meditating. The quality of our life as Christians will depend on the extent to which we are able to combine these four conditions to make the Word fruitful in us.

 Lord Jesus, thank You because you gave us Mary, Your mother, as our mother to teach us to be Your disciples. At her school we will learn to welcome the Word and make it our own so that it becomes flesh in us as it was made flesh in Her.

 The Voice of Pope Paul VI

 The Virgin Mary has always been proposed by the Church for the imitation of the faithful, not because of the type of life she led and much less for the socio-cultural environment in which it took place that today is almost everywhere exceeded; but because in her concrete condition of life, she adhered totally and responsibly to the will of God. “

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 12, 2018

27th Friday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Friday October 12, 2018

Twenty-seventh Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 But he knew their thoughts and said to them: For you say that it is by Beelzebub that I drive out demons… But if it is by the finger of God that [I] drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.    (Luke 11: 15-26)

 

How shall I live this Word?

There is a very profound mystery at work in today’s Gospel. Not the mystery of Jesus or His miraculous exorcism. The mystery is located in the Pharisees. They saw Jesus drive out the demon from the man; they saw the man who had been dumb, talking. And they said: “Jesus expels the demons because He is a devil in person, His power comes from the Prince of the Devils”. How could these deeply religious men look at Christ and see Satan? How could they witness the divine works of Jesus and see them as the works of the devil?

They saw what they wanted to see because of their spiritual blindness. This disease develops because we intentionally falsify spiritual reality, perhaps because we consider it too burdensome and demanding for us. And so we shift our gaze from spiritual reality to comfort, pleasure, power or anything else we crave and know we will lose if we give space to God in our lives.

 We pray for ourselves so that we do not atrophy and lose the faculty of spiritual discernment that God has given us, but that we choose to use it, to perfect it, to exercise it, so as to always recognize the reality of God when it enters our lives.

 The Voice of Pope Francis

 “We will not admit the existence of the devil if we insist on looking at life only with empirical criteria and without a supernatural perspective. … We do not think therefore that the devil is a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure or an idea.”

 

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Posted by: livingscripture | October 11, 2018

27th Thursday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Thursday October 11, 2018

Twenty-seventh Week of Ordinary Time

 WORD of the DAY 

 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him, and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.  I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. (Luke 11: 5-13)

 

How shall I live this Word?

Taken by itself, the parable invites the listener to wonder what he would do in place of the father of the family, woken up at midnight by the insistent friend. From the beginning, Jesus challenged his audience by identifying it with the annoyed man. But He concludes (Lk 11: 8) identifying the listener with the friend who knocks on the door. Luke is interested in those who pray and how they should pray and assures them that God will always end up by filling the hands of those who turn to Him, even if He does it in His own unique way.

Implicitly God is presented by Jesus as an annoyed friend, who will not fail to listen to what his intrusive friend asks him: “If the friend, disturbed during the night in his sleep, does not doubt for a moment to respond to the request of the neighbor who finds himself in difficulty, even if the whole family will wake up to open the door, how much more God “.

  Lord Jesus, pointing out that I can always go to the Father, even at the most untimely hours and with impertinent repetition, you are encouraging me to trust in Him whom I know loves me so that, resting my heart in Him, my failings do not disturb me. Seeing the Father as my friend, I will not be afraid to disturb Him with my worries and apprehensions.

 The Voice of Teresa of Avila, Spanish Church Doctor, Carmelite

 Prayer, in my opinion, is nothing but an intimate relationship of friendship in which we often keep ourselves alone with the Alone, that God whom we know loves us. “

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