Posted by: livingscripture | June 27, 2018

Twelfth Wednesday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Wednesday June 27, 2018

     Week Twelve of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.    (Matthew 7: 17-18)

 

 How shall I live this Word?

 

The tree metaphor clearly refers to the life of each one of us. The fruits we can produce depend exclusively on what we are deep within ourselves. If we keep bad thoughts we cannot express good deeds. On the other hand, if we have a good heart, our relationships will be expressed in welcome and mercy towards ourselves and others. Once again, the Teacher leads us to visit the depths of our being and to understand what kind of tree we are. The task of Christians, therefore, is to discern their life, their emotions, their feelings and cut out what is not going to give space to the sprouts of good that will become tasty fruit.

In prayer we ask the Lord Jesus to guard us and make us grow as a good tree that gives fruits of peace.

 The Voice of Cardinal Maria Martini

The only way to “make Church” is to make ourselves servants of one another, and the first apostolic technique is the goodness of heart among us.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 26, 2018

Twelfth Tuesday in Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Tuesday June 26, 2018

     Week Twelve of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.     (Matthew 7: 13-14)

 

 How shall I live this Word?

To better understand the golden rule of life, the synthesis of the Law and the Prophets, Jesus uses plastic images such as the road and the gate. The gate is that opening “where the separation wall leaves the gate to communion”. To do good is difficult after sin, but that gate which is narrow and difficult to overcome at the beginning opens on the great and luminous road that leads to life. On the contrary, the wide and the spacious gate and road are elements that indicate one’s own comfort, what one likes, not realizing that to reach the joy and the space of the wide road, it is necessary “to go through the heart of the Son, the knowledge of His love, of His crucified flesh “.

Lord Jesus, give me the courage and the strength to undertake the holy journey and to enter the narrow gate of Your will.

 The Voice of St. Jerome

Love the Scriptures and wisdom will love you.  Love her tenderly and she will guard you; honor her and you will receive her caresses.  Let her be for you like your necklace and your earrings.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 25, 2018

Twelfth Monday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Monday June 25, 2018

     Week Twelve of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.  For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.  (Matthew 7: 1-3)

 

 How shall I live this Word?

The Master is peremptory: “Do not judge!” On the fact of expressing negative evaluations towards others, He uses the present imperative. There is no way out. Do not judge! It is the order that Jesus gives us to live our relationship with our sisters and brothers with the love of God. One must not judge for two reasons: first, my judgment weighs negatively on the other and conditions it so much that it causes it to be as I see it.  Secondly, what I judge in another is directed towards me, and I find myself, perhaps without knowing it, becoming the way I see the other. On the contrary, the Lord Jesus asks us to have a positive gaze, to grasp the gifts that He himself has bestowed on my  brother or sister; to thank Him for how much good I can perceive in their life.

In my prayer, I will ask the Lord: “Give me pure eyes that can perceive the beauty and good will of those around me”.

 The Voice of Silvano Fausti

There is no need to judge anyone.  I will ask the Lord, “Grant me pure eyes that are able to perceive the beauty and good will of those around me”.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 24, 2018

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Sunday June 24, 2018

     Week Twelve of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.  The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.  (Luke 1: 66) How shall I live this Word?

The forerunner was born, the greatest of among those born of woman. Prodigies are announced around his birth. The voice runs among the neighbors, who ask questions about his destiny. “What will this child be?”. The evangelist Luke anticipates what will happen for the birth of Jesus.

This is not an isolated fact, but an event that involves the community of the mountainous region of Judea. People, faced with prodigious facts, are taken by fear and keep in their hearts the thoughts, happy and tremendous at the same time of the closeness of the sacred: “And truly the hand of the Lord was with him”. The story of Luke goes beyond the facts that are seen, grasps the invisible, and invites us to go further with the eyes of faith.

In my prayer today, I will ask God with the voice of the psalmist, “Lord, I seek Your face.  Let Your face shine on me and I will be blest”.

 The Voice of Pope Francis

A Christian cannot think about her/his mission on the earth without conceiving it as a journey of holiness because this  ‘this is in fact God’s will, your sanctification”.  Every saint is a mission, is a project of the Father to reflect and incarnate an aspect of the Gospel in a determined time in history.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 23, 2018

Eleventh Saturday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Saturday June 23, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.  But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.  Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.  

 (Mt 6: 26-30/ 33-34)

 

How shall I live this Word?

Meditating on the beautiful passage of today’s Gospel, I said to myself that we should read it more often, especially in times of trouble and discouragement, when we may struggle to get to sleep and resort to sleeping pills and tranquilizers! The basic message that Jesus offers to all of us “people of little faith” is fundamental, and tells us that we are not alone and orphans, thrown into this world by chance, but that there is a Father-Abba who takes care of us and does not let us lack what is needed: ​​”If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?“.

There is a verb that crosses the whole passage of this Gospel: “to worry” (merimnàn), which is not only to worry, to work, but to live in anxiety and anguish. It is a way of life that manifests a wrong relationship with things, with life, and with God. The error lies not in looking for food, clothes, and basic goods, but in overestimating them, believing that they are the only ones to solve the problems of life and that give security and serenity to life. Jesus relies on trust in the Father. Anxiety is a way of life that is not proper for the disciple and betrays the lack of trust and filial abandonment of people of little faith.

One who welcomed and lived fully the meaning of this Gospel passage throughout his life was the holy Pope John XXIII. The text below, can be had via the Internet, by clicking on “Decalogue of Pope John”: I leave it in its entirety to meditation and especially to the imitation of each one in our lives. 

The Voice of Pope John XXIII Decalogue

Only for today will I firmly believe, despite the contrary appearances, that God’s good Providence deals with me as if no one else existed in the world “.

“In a particular way I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness”.

“I can well do, for twelve hours, what would scare me if I thought I had to do it all my life”.

And it ends precisely with the quotation from the last verse of our Gospel passage: “Sufficient for the day is its own evil” (Mt 6:34).

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 22, 2018

Eleventh Friday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Friday June 22, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.        (Mt 6: 21-23)

 

How shall I live this Word?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus mentions the two most important organs of our body: the heart and the eye and attributes to the latter an interesting (simple) adjective. “The lamp of the body is the eye; so if your eye is simple (haplous), your whole body will be bright, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be dark.”  The heart and the eye refer to each other and play a related function in our body, in intimate interdependence of each other. The eye presides over physical illumination and turns out to be the most expressive synthesis of the whole person. “The eye is the mirror of the soul”, says popular wisdom. The heart presides over inner and spiritual discernment. The one communicates the enlightened reality to the other: that which the eye contemplates passes to the heart, and that which is pointed out by the heart is to be reflected clearly in the eye. For this circularity between eye and heart, in the “unified” and “simple” person, everything is order, light, and transparency, everything is true, genuine, and authentic. Thus it happens that the “yes” and the “no” pronounced with the lips correspond truly and exactly to those pronounced in the interior (Mt 5:37). The non-simple heart (diplous, double) and the bad eye (Mt 6, 22) are exterior signs of an inner laceration, of an incomplete total adherence to Christ and therefore a sign of a spiritually schizophrenic personality.

The simple person does not get distracted by what is secondary, marginal, superficial;  is not lost in frills, in shallowness and banality, but goes directly to the essential: progressively reduces life to the essential, puts God at the center of existence and revolves everything around this “center” aspiring to direct all of self exclusively towards God “with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength” (Dt 6: 5). St. Gregory the Great states it stupendously and concisely: “The simple God simplifies the one in whose heart He dwells. The one who participates in the life of God becomes simple “(Moralia XV, 6). Simplicity involves a patient work of simplifying one’s life. It is in fact to purify, remove, drop the accessory, eliminate the opacity, focus on the essential, evacuate all the idols.

The Voice of the Great St. Francis of Assisi

The Saint practiced personally with special care and loved in others holy simplicity, daughter of grace, true sister of wisdom, mother of justice. Not that he approves any kind of simplicity, but only that for which God suffices and for which everything else does not count … It is the simplicity that in all divine laws leaves the tortuous words, ornaments and tinsel, as well as ostentation and curiosity of those who want to get lost, and seeks not the rind, but the marrow, not the shell, but the core, not many things, but the very, the highest and stable good … For this, in the Lauds he composed concerning the virtues , he says: “Hail, oh queen wisdom, may the Lord save you with your sister, pure and holy simplicity.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 21, 2018

Eleventh Thursday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Thursday June 21, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

 WORD of the DAY 

In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  “This is how you are to pray:  Our Father in heaven… (Mt 6: 7-10)

 

How shall I live this Word?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, our one and true Teacher, gives us a masterly lesson on prayer. First of all, in the negative: He teaches us that praying does not consist in wasting many words with God regarding our various needs, “because your Father knows what things you need before you ask Him.” Praying does not consist in the vain attempt to bend God to our unrealistic desires or to try to reassure Him in our regard, because God is not a “father-master”, rather He is a genuine Father who truly loves His children, even before all their needs.

In fact, Jesus was very concerned about the prayer of His disciples. He wanted them to pray always, insistently and that their prayer be authentic, limpid, transparent, humble, and tenacious.

And now let us pause for a moment on the first word of the prayer taught by Jesus to His disciples: “Father”. It is truly unusual and surprising. ‘Father’ is not one of the many names and attributes of God, like the Immense, the Eternal, the Uncreated … but it is His Proper Name by antonomasia. To say Father, Jesus used a term of His mother tongue, the Aramaic (Abba), which should be translated into English with ‘Dad’ and which expresses all the filial intimacy that flows from the contemplation of the Son before the Heavenly Father.

The first word of the Our Father is therefore already a first proclamation that places us at the center of Christian prayer par excellence, because in it is already contained, as seed, in every prayer.

The good news that God is Abba and that we are His children is liberating and there is enormous comfort. It means that at the origin of our being there was neither chance nor destiny, but a free decision of a Father full of a total, personal love, and of absolute gratuitousness. We are therefore neither slaves nor orphans, but we are immensely and forever, only beloved children. And this is a huge comfort!

Today, throughout the day, I will pause to meditate and pray deeply and simply the Our Father of Jesus, this wonderful prayer, “which is the breviary of the whole Gospel” (Tertullian). 

The Voice of Theophilus of Antioch, Ancient Greek Bishop  

If I call Him Father, I say all there is to say about Him.

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 20, 2018

Eleventh Wednesday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Wednesday June 20, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

“[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them;  otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.  When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others.  Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.  When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you”.                             (Mt 6: 1-6)

 

How shall I live this Word?

Every time I meet today’s Gospel, I am more and more impressed by the very real expressions used by Jesus to express His thoughts. He does not use the arid, pedantic, and detached way of the preacher or the doctor of the law. No! Jesus chose a very concrete, picturesque form, full of exuberant images, suitable for striking the imagination. For example: “When you give alms, do not play the trumpet in front of you …”. I believe that not even in the time of Jesus there was someone who played the trumpet in giving alms! Or the other elastic expression: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. It is really a very lively language, where the two hands are personified, as if they were two people who live side by side, but who do not have to know anything about each other!

Before continuing our meditation on the Gospel passage, it should be remembered that the figure of the “Pharisee” traced by Jesus, rather than describing a historical figure, is the personification of the degeneration of true religiosity. Let’s try to briefly sketch the picture of these two opposing and antithetical characters:

– The first, the “Pharisee”: performs any good work to get noticed; when he gives alms, he plays the trumpet to draw attention to himself; when he prays, he stands at the center of the synagogue to be seen …

– The second, the true disciple: when he does a good work, he almost hides himself from everyone’s eyes; when he gives alms, his left does not know that his right is doing; when he prays, he closes himself in the secret of his room.  In short: according to Jesus we must seek only the reward of God, not that of humans; it is necessary to act in secret, in the interior of the heart and not be a spectacle. The one who took this lifestyle seriously is Jesus himself, according to the statement below.

The Voice of the One Teacher

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest.  (Mt 11: 29)

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 19, 2018

Eleventh Tuesday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Tuesday June 19, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

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

(Matthew 5: 43-48)

 How shall I live this Word?

Without a doubt, today’s text of Jesus’ word, together with that of yesterday, represents one of the most difficult and most sublime pages of the whole Gospel. “But I say to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven”. This precept and the others of the discourse of the Mountain, sound to the mentality of today as unsettling, unreal, impossible. How is it possible with such precepts to live in today’s society and maintain a minimum of ‘civil’ order? Human law has tried to do this by drawing up the ancient and famous Code of Hammurabi (2nd millennium BC), where the ‘law of talon’ is promulgated: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But the whole of human history that came later proved this a total failure.

The role of Jesus and His disciples is certainly not to manage the ‘politically correct’ order of human society, but to bring into the very heart of it a flash of light, a premonitory sign of what will one day be the other Kingdom, because “the figure of this world passes” (1 Cor 7:31). The Kingdom, where God will be all in all and His Love will flood the universe, is the merciful Love who never reciprocates evil with evil, but to evil always responds with good, overcomes evil and cancels it, transforming the human heart from the inside.

Only the strength of God can truly overcome evil. It is a power that is called “Mercy”, which can often seem in the eyes of this world as destabilizing. However, it is the only one to illumine the earth, this our “flower bed that makes us so fierce” (Paradise XXII, 151).

In this week I will pledge myself generously to banish from my heart every spirit of contention, violence, intolerance, and instead I will be ‘merciful like the Father’.

 The Voice of Pope Francis

We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: Merciful like the Father. The evangelist reports the teaching of Jesus who says: “Be merciful as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). It is a program of life as demanding as it is full of joy and peace”. (Misericordiae vultus”, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, 13).

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Posted by: livingscripture | June 18, 2018

Eleventh Monday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Monday June 18, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

 WORD of the DAY 

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

 

 How shall I live this Word?

Today’s text of Matthew’s Gospel, together with the passage of tomorrow which is its continuation, is part of the famous “Discourse of the mountain” that is the essence of the moral message of Jesus.

Unfortunately, in our human nature is inscribed an ancient law that sounds like this: every evil action against us must correspond to another appropriate reaction of the same order (“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”). It is not easy, not to say impossible, to free ourselves from this rigid mechanism that makes us only ‘reactive’ and not free in front of others. How can we free ourselves from this infernal chain that makes us all enemies? This is precisely the meaning of the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “But I tell you not to oppose the wicked; in fact, if someone slaps you on the right cheek, you can turn the other one too”.

Turning the other cheek is not at all a sign of weakness, as one might think at first sight, but on the contrary, it is a sign of an ‘other’ force, superior, the only one capable of blocking the chain of reactions. In a world like ours where the logic of opposing dominates and lives by the mechanisms of reaction, it is important to do something different to break the short circuit of unstoppable evil.

The evangelical discourse of Jesus is deliberately provocative, because the Master wants us to understand that the measure of divine love is the excess, the excess-exaggeration of the Agape, and this goes beyond any human rule of what is ‘politically correct’.

I invite you to make our own the beautiful liturgical prayer given below.

 The Voice of the Liturgy, Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation

With the power of the Spirit you act in the heart of hearts,

So that enemies open to dialogue, opponents shake hands,

and peoples meet in harmony.

For your gift, Father, the sincere search for peace extinguishes disputes,

love wins over hatred, and revenge is disarmed by forgiveness “.

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