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Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:56

Lectio Divina: Matthew 24:42-51

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



Father,

help us to seek the values

that will bring us enduring joy in this changing world.

In our desire for what You promise

make us one in mind and heart.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 24:42-51



Jesus said to his disciples: "Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."



3) Reflection



• The Gospel today speaks about the coming of the Lord at the end of time and exhorts us to be watchful. At the time of the first Christians, many people thought that the end of this world was close at hand and that Jesus would return afterwards. Today many  think that the end of the world is close at hand. Therefore, it is well to reflect on the meaning of vigilance, of watchfulness.

• Matthew 24:42: Watch. “So stay awake! Watch, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.” Concerning the day and the hour of the end of the world, Jesus had said, “But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father!" (Mk 13:32). Today, many people are concerned about the end of the world. Have you seen, when walking through the streets of the city, that it is written on walls: “Jesus will return!” And how will this coming be? After the year 1000, basing themselves on the Gospel of John, people began to say (Rev 20:7): “1000 years have gone by, but 2000 will not pass by!” This is why, as the year 2000 approached, many were worried. There were even some people who were anguished because of the proximity of the end of the world, so much so that they committed suicide. Others, reading the Apocalypse of John, were even able to foretell the exact hour of the end. But the year 2000 came and nothing happened. The end of the world did not arrive! The declaration “Jesus will return” is often used to frighten people and oblige them to belong to a given church! Others, because they have waited so long and have speculated so much concerning the coming of Jesus, are not aware of His presence among us, in the most common things of life, in the facts of every day.

• The same problems existed in the Christian communities of the first centuries. Many people of the communities said that the end of this world was close at hand and that Jesus would return. Some of the community of Thessalonica in Greece, basing themselves on the preaching of Paul, said: “Jesus will return!” (1 Thess 4:13-18; 2 Thess  2:2). And this is why there were even people who no longer worked because they thought that the coming of the end was so close at hand, within a few days or a few weeks, so, “Why work, if Jesus will return soon?” (cf. 2 Thess 3:11). Paul responded that it was not as simple as they imagined. And to those who had stopped working he said, “Anyone who does not want to work, has no right to eat!” Others remained looking up at the sky, waiting for the return of Jesus in the clouds (cf. Acts 1:11). Others rebelled because He delayed coming back (2 Pet 3:4-9). In general the Christians lived in the expectation of the imminent coming of Jesus. Jesus was coming to carry out the Final Judgment to end the history of this world and to inaugurate a new phase of history, the new Heaven and the new Earth. They believed that this would take place within one or two generations. Many people would still be alive when Jesus appeared again, glorious in Heaven (1Thess 4:16-17; Mk 9:1). Others, tired of waiting, would say: “He will never come back!” (2 Pet 3).

• Up until now the coming of Jesus has not happened! How can this delay be understood? It is because they are not aware that Jesus has already returned and lives in our midst: “I am with you always, till the end of time.” (Mt 28:20). He is already at our side, in the struggle for justice, for peace, for life. The fullness has not as yet been attained, but a guarantee of the Kingdom is already in our midst. This is why we expect with a firm hope the full liberation of humanity and of nature (Rm 8:22-25). While we wait and struggle, we say with certainty, “He is already in our midst” (Mt 25:40).

• Matthew 24:43-51: The example of the householder and his servants. “Consider this: if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house.” Jesus says this very clearly. Nobody knows anything regarding the hour: "Concerning this day and this hour, nobody knows anything, neither the angels, or the Son, but only the Father.”

What is important is not to know the hour of the end of this world, but rather to be able to perceive the coming of Jesus, who is already present in our midst in the person of the poor (cf. Mt 25:40) and in so many other ways and events of our daily life. What is important is to open our eyes and to keep in mind the commitment of the good servant of whom Jesus speaks in the parable.



4) Personal questions



• On which signs do people base their belief that the end of the world is close at hand? Do you believe that the end of the world is close at hand?

• How should we respond to those who say that the end of the world is close at hand? What is the force which impels you to resist and to have hope?

• Our Creed says “He will come again to judge...” yet Jesus says He “is in our midst”. How do you reconcile these two statements?

• In English, and perhaps in many languages, the phrase “my world” means my life and what is in it. By using this more personal interpretation of the word “world”, can greater meaning be found in the use of the idea of “end of the world” than just thinking about the entire planet?



5) Concluding Prayer



Day after day I shall bless You, Lord,

I shall praise Your name for ever and ever.

Great is Yahweh and worthy of all praise,

His greatness beyond all reckoning. (Ps 145:2-3)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-27
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:55

Lectio Divina: Matthew 23:27-32

Written by


Ordinary Time 



1) Opening prayer



Father,

help us to seek the values

that will bring us enduring joy in this changing world.

In our desire for what You promise

make us one in mind and heart.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 23:27-32



Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.' Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!"



3) Reflection



• These two last "Alas for you..." which Jesus pronounced against the doctors of the law and the Pharisees of His time, take again and strengthen, the same theme of the two "Alas for you..." of the Gospel of yesterday. Jesus criticizes the lack of coherence between word and practice, between what is interior and what is exterior.

• Matthew 23:27-28: The seventh, "Alas for you..." against those who are like whitewashed tombs. "You appear upright on the outside, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. The image of “whitewashed sepulchers” speaks for itself and needs no commentaries. Jesus condemns those who have the fictitious appearance of upright persons, but who interiorly are the total negation of what they want to appear  to be.

• Matthew 23:29-32: The eighth "Alas for you...’" against those who build the sepulchers of the prophets and decorate the tombs of the upright, but do not imitate them. The doctors and the Pharisees said: “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our ancestors’ day”. Jesus concludes saying: The people who speak like this “confess that they are children of those who killed the prophets”, then they say “our fathers”.  Jesus ends by saying,” Very well then, finish off the work that your ancestors began!” In fact, at that moment they had already decided to kill Jesus. In this way they were finishing off the work of their ancestors. 



4) Personal questions



• These two other expressions of "Alas for you..." are but two reasons for being criticized severely by Jesus. Which of these is in me?

• Which image of myself do I try to present to others? Does it correspond, in fact, to what I am before God? 



5) Concluding Prayer



How blessed are all who fear Yahweh,

who walk in His ways!

Your own labors will yield you a living,

happy and prosperous will you be. (Ps 128:1-2)




Lectio Divina:
2020-08-26
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:53

Lectio Divina: Matthew 23:23-26

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



Father,

help us to seek the values

that will bring us enduring joy in this changing world.

In our desire for what You promise

make us one in mind and heart.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 23:23-26



Jesus said: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean."



3) Reflection



• The Gospel today presents two other times when this expression is used: “Alas for you...” Jesus speaks against the religious leaders of His time. The two uses today denounce the lack of coherence between word and attitude, between exterior and interior. Today we continue our reflection which we began yesterday.

• Matthew 23:23-24: The fifth “Alas for you...” is against those who insist on  observance and forget mercy. “You pay your tithe of mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and fidelity.” This fifth “Alas for you...” of Jesus is against the religious leaders of that time and can be repeated against many religious of the following century even up to our time. Many times, in the name of Jesus, we insist on details and forget mercy. For example, Jansenism reduces lived faith to something arid, insisting on the observance and penance which led people away from the way of love. The Carmelite Saint Therese of Lisieux grew in the Jansenist environment which marked France at the end of the XIX century. Beginning from a personal painful experience, she learned how to reclaim the gratuitous of love of God, a force which should animate the observance of the norms from within, because, without love, the observance makes an idol of God.

• Matthew 23:25-26: The sixth “Alas for you...” is against those who clean things on the outside and are dirty inside. “You clean the outside of the cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus criticizes those who observe the letter of the law and transgress the spirit of the law. He says, "You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, ‘You shall not kill, and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.’ But I say to you anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court. Anyone who calls his brother ‘fool’ will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him ‘traitor’ will answer for it in hell fire. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say this to you, if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:21-22, 27-28). It is not enough to observe the letter of the Law. It is not sufficient not to kill, not to rob, not to commit adultery, not to swear in order to be faithful to what God asks of us. The one who observes fully the law of God is the one who, besides observing the letter, goes deeply to the root and pulls out from within “the desires of extortion and intemperance” which may lead to murder, theft, and adultery. The fullness of the law is realized in the practice of love.



4) Personal questions



• There are two declarations of “Alas for you...”, two reasons to receive criticism from Jesus. Which of these two applies to me?

• Observance and gratuity: Which of these applies to me?

• Do these admonitions paint for me a bigger picture of not only avoiding sin, but of internal purification and a life of virtue?



5) Concluding Prayer



Proclaim God’s salvation day after day,

declare His glory among the nations,

His marvels to every people! (Ps 96:2-3)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-25
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:52

Lectio Divina: St. Bartholomew, Apostle

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



Father,

help us to seek the values

that will bring us enduring joy in this changing world.

In our desire for what You promise

make us one in mind and heart.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - John 1:45-51



Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth." But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this." And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."



3) Reflection



• Jesus returned to Galilee. He met Philip and called him telling him, “Follow Me!” The purpose of the call is always the same: to follow Jesus. The first Christians sought to preserve the names of the first disciples, and some they even kept their family names and the name of their place of origin. Philip, Andrew and Peter were from Bethsaida (Jn 1:44). Nathanael was from Cana. Today many forget the names of the people who were at the origin of their communities. To remember the names is a way of preserving the identity.



• Philip meets Nathanael and speaks to him about Jesus: “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote, Jesus, son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Jesus is the one to whom all the history of the Old Testament refers.



• Nathanael asks, “From Nazareth? Can anything good come from that place?” His  question probably shows that there was some of the rivalry which existed among the small villages of the same region: Cana and Nazareth. Besides that, according to the official teaching of the scribes, the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, in Judah. He could not come from Nazareth in Galilee (Jn 7:41-42). Philip gives the same answer which Jesus had given to the other two disciples: “Come and see for yourself!” It is not by imposing, but rather by seeing, that people are convinced. Once again the same way: to meet, to experience, to share, to witness, to lead toward Jesus!



• Jesus sees Nathanael and says, “Truly, here is an Israelite in whom there is no deception.” Then He declares that He already knew him when he was under the fig tree. How could Nathanael be an “authentic or true Israelite” if he did not accept Jesus as the Messiah? Nathanael “was under the fig tree.” The fig tree was the symbol of Israel (cf. Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10; 1 Kg 5:5). An authentic Israelite is the one who knows how to detach himself from his own ideas when he perceives that they are not in agreement with God’s plan. The Israelite who is not ready to bring about this conversion is neither authentic nor honest. Nathanael is authentic. He was waiting for the Messiah according to the official teaching of the time (Jn 7:41-42,52). This is why at first, he did not accept a Messiah coming from Nazareth. But the encounter with Jesus helped him to understand that God’s plan is not always as people imagine or desire it to be. He recognizes and acknowledges his deception or mistake. He changes his idea, accepts Jesus as Messiah and confesses, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel !” Nathanael’s confession is only the beginning: The one who will be faithful will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. He will experience that Jesus is the new bond of union between God and us, human beings. It is Jacob’s dream which has become a reality (Gen 28:10-22).



4) Personal questions



• Which title of Jesus that pleases you the most? Why?

• Have you had an intermediary between you and Jesus?



5) Concluding prayer



Upright in all that He does,

Yahweh acts only in faithful love. (Ps 145:17)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-24
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:50

Lectio Divina: The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

may we love You in all things and above all things

and reach the joy You have prepared for us

beyond all our imagining.



We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - Luke 1:26-38



In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, 11 and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. 



3) Reflection



• Today is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. The text of the Gospel on which we meditate describes the visit of the angel to Mary (Lk 1:26-38). The word of God comes to Mary not through a biblical text, but rather through a profound experience of God, manifested in the visit of the angel. In the New Testament, often the Angel of God is God Himself. It was thanks to the meditation on the written Word of God in the bible that Mary was able to recognize the living Word of God in the visit of the angel. The same thing happens today with God’s visits in our life. The visits of God are frequent, but due to a lack of assimilation and meditation of the written Word of God in the bible, we are not aware of God’s visit in our life. God’s visit is so present and so continuous that, many times, we do not perceive it and, because of this, we lose a great opportunity to live in peace and with joy.



• Luke 1:26-27: The word enters into our life. Luke presents the people and the places: a virgin called Mary, betrothed to a man called Joseph, of the House of David.



Nazareth was a small city in Galilee. Galilee was on the periphery. The center was Judah and Jerusalem. The angel Gabriel was sent by God to this young virgin who lived on the periphery. The name Gabriel means God is strong. The name Mary means loved by Yahweh or Yahweh is my Lord.



The story of God’s visit to Mary begins with the expression “In the sixth month.” It refers to the “sixth month” of the pregnancy of Elizabeth, a relative of Mary: a woman of a certain age, who needs help. Elizabeth’s concrete need serves as a background to the whole episode. It is found at the beginning (Lk 1:26) and at the end (Lk 1:36, 39).



• Luke 1:28-29: Mary’s reaction. The angel had appeared to Zechariah in the temple. The angel appears to Mary in her house. The Word of God reaches Mary in the environment of her daily life. The angel says, “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favor! The Lord is with you!” These are words similar to those which were said to Moses (Ex 3:12), to Jeremiah (Jer 1:8), to Gideon (Judg 6:12), to Ruth (Ruth 2:4) and to many others. These words open the horizon for the mission which these people of the Old Testament had to carry out in the service of the people of God. Deeply disturbed by this greeting, Mary tries to understand what it means. She is realistic; she uses her head. She wants to understand. She does not simply accept any apparition or inspiration.



• Luke 1:30-33: The angel’s explanation. “Do not be afraid, Mary!” This is always the first greeting of God to human beings: do not be afraid! Immediately after that, the angel recalls the great promises of the past which will be realized through the son who will be born from Mary. This son must receive the name of Jesus. He will be called the son of the Most High and in Him, finally, the Kingdom of God promised to David, which all were anxiously awaiting, will be realized. This is the explanation which the angel gave to Mary so that she would not be afraid.



• Luke 1:34: New question asked by Mary. Mary becomes aware of the important mission which she is about to receive, but she continues to be realistic. She does not allow herself to be transported by the greatness of the offer and looks at her condition. “But how can this come about? I have no knowledge of man.” She analyses the offer according to criteria that we, human beings, have available. Because, humanly speaking, it was not possible that this offer of the Word of God would be realized at that moment.



• Luke 1:35-37: New explanation by the angel. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.” The Holy Spirit, present in God’s Word since Creation (Gen 1:2), can realize things which seem impossible. This is why the holy One who will be born of Mary will be called Son of God. When today God’s Word is received, accepted by the poor who have no education, something new takes place thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit! Something new and surprising like the son who is born to a virgin or like the son born from Elizabeth, a woman who was already old, of whom everyone said that she could have no children! The angel adds, “And I tell you this too, your cousin Elizabeth is now in her sixth month!”



• Luke 1:38: Mary gives herself. The angel’s response clarifies everything for Mary. She gives herself to what the angel was asking: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord! May it be done to me according to your word.” Mary calls herself servant, handmaid of the Lord. This title comes from Isaiah, who presents the mission of the people not as a privilege, but rather as a service to others (Isa 42:1-9; 49:3-6). Later, the son who was about to be generated at that moment, will define His mission saying, “I have not come to be served, but to serve!” (Mt 20:28). He learns from His mother!



• Luke 1:39: The way that Mary finds to render service. The Word of God reaches Mary and makes her come out of herself in order to serve others. She leaves the place where she was and goes to Judah, at a distance of more than four days journey, in order to help her cousin Elizabeth. Mary begins serving and fulfills her mission on behalf of the People of God.



4) Personal questions



• How do you perceive God’s visit in your life? Have you been visited already? Have you been a visit from God in the life of others, especially for the poor? How does this text help us to recognize God’s visits in our lives?



• The word of God became incarnate in Mary. How is the Word of God taking flesh in my personal life and in the life of the community?



5) Concluding Prayer



Let them thank Yahweh for His faithful love,

for His wonders for the children of Adam!

He has fed the hungry to their hearts' content,

filled the starving with good things. (Ps 107:8-9)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-22
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:49

Lectio Divina: Matthew 22:34-40

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

may we love You in all things and above all things

and reach the joy You have prepared for us

beyond all our imagining.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 22:34-40



When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."



3) Reflection



• The text is enlightened. Jesus is in Jerusalem and precisely in the Temple where a process between Him and His adversaries is taking place, the chief priests and the scribes (20:18; 21:15), between the chief priests and the elders of the people (21:23) and between the chief priests and the Pharisees (21:45). The point of controversy of the debate is: the identity of Jesus or of the Son of David, the origin of His identity, and, therefore, the question regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God. The evangelist presents this plot of debates with a sequence of controversies that present a growing rhythm: the tribute to be paid to Caesar (22:15-22), the resurrection of the dead (22:23-33), the greatest commandment (22:34-40), the Messiah, son and Lord of David (22:41-46). The protagonists of the first three discussions are representatives of the official Judaism who try to place Jesus in difficulty on some crucial questions. These disputes are addressed to Jesus in so far as He is “Master” (Rabbi). This title tells the reader of the understanding that the interlocutors have of Jesus, but Jesus takes this occasion to lead them to ask themselves a more crucial question: the last time they took position concerning His identity (22:41-46).

• The greatest commandment. On the trail of the Sadducees who have preceded, the Pharisees ask Jesus a burning question: which is the greatest commandment? The Rabbis first make evident the multiplicity of the prescriptions (248 commandments), then the question is asked of Jesus regarding which is the most important. Just the same, the Rabbis themselves had created a true survey to reduce them as far as possible: David lists eleven (Ps 15:2-5), Isaiah six (Isa 33:15), Micah three (Mic 6:8), Amos two (Am 5:4) and Habakkuk only one (Hab 2:4). But the intention of the Pharisees regarding their question goes beyond every type of survey; it is a question of the essence itself of the prescriptions. Jesus, in answering, binds together love of God and love of neighbor, so much so as to unite them in only one, but without refusing to give priority to the first one, which subordinates, in a close way, the second one. Thus, all the prescriptions of the Law, all 613, are placed in relationship with this unique commandment: the whole Law finds its significance and foundation in the one of love. Jesus carries out a process of simplification of all the precepts of the law: anyone who puts into practice the only commandment of love does not only observe the law, but also the prophets (v. 40). Just the same, the novelty of the response is not so much the material content as in its realization: in Jesus, the love of God and love of neighbor have their own context, their last solidity. That is to say, that God’s love and love of neighbor, shown and realized in some way in his person, guides man to place himself before God and before others through love. The only commandment in two, God’s love and love for neighbor, become the supporting column, not only of the scriptures, but also of the life of the Christian. 



4) Personal questions



• Is love for God and for neighbor only a vague sentiment, an emotion, a passing motion or a reality that affirms your whole person: heart, will, intelligence and human relationships?

• You were created out of love. Are you aware that your fulfillment takes place in God’s love, to love Him with the whole heart, with the whole soul, with the whole mind? Such a love demands a confirmation of charity toward the brothers and sisters and their situation of life. Do you practice this in daily life? 



5) Concluding Prayer



Let them thank Yahweh for His faithful love,

for His wonders for the children of Adam!

He has fed the hungry to their hearts' content,

filled the starving with good things. (Ps 107:8-9)



Lectio Divina:
2020-08-21
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:48

Lectio Divina: Matthew 22:1-14

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

may we love You in all things and above all things

and reach the joy You have prepared for us

beyond all our imagining.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 22:1-14



Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."



3) Reflection



• Today’s Gospel presents the parable of the banquet which we also find in the Gospel of Matthew and of Luke, but with significant differences which stem from each evangelist’s point of view. The background which leads both evangelists to repeat this parable is the same. In the communities of the first Christians, both those of Matthew and those of Luke, the problem of living together between the converted Jews and the converted pagans continued in full force. The Jews had ancient norms which prevented them from eating together with pagans. Even entering into the Christian communities, many Jews kept the ancient custom of not sitting at the same table with pagans. Thus, Peter had conflicts in the communities of Jerusalem because he had entered the house of Cornelius, a pagan, and had eaten with him (Acts 11:3). This same problem existed, though in a different way, in Matthew’s and Luke’s  communities. In Luke’s community, in spite of the differences in race, class and  gender, they had a great ideal of sharing and of communion (Acts 2:42; 4:32; 5:12). For this reason, in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 14:15-24), the parable insists on the invitation addressed to all. The master of the feast, angry and upset because the first guests, who were invited, did not arrive, sends his servants to call the poor, the crippled, the blind, and invites them to participate in the banquet. But there is still place. Then, the master of the feast orders that all be invited, until his house is full. In Matthew’s Gospel, the first part of the parable, (Mt 22:1-10) has the same objective as that of Luke’s Gospel. It says that the master of the feast orders the servants to let the “good and the bad” enter (Mt 22:10). But it the end, he adds another parable (Mt 22:11-14) concerning the wedding garment, which focuses on something specific to the Jews, the need of purity in order to be able to present oneself before God.

• Matthew 22:1-2: The invitation addressed to all. Some manuscripts say that the parable was told for the chief priests and for the elders of the People. This hypothesis can serve as a key for the reading, because it helps one to understand some strange points which appear in the story. The parable begins like this: “The Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding.” This initial statement recalls the most profound hope: the desire of the people to be with God always. Several times the Gospel refers to this hope, suggesting that Jesus, the Son of the King, is the bridegroom who comes to prepare the wedding (Mk 2:19; Rev 21:2, 19:9).

• Matthew 22:3-6: The invited guests do not want to come. The king invites in a more insistent way, but the guests do not want to come. “But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business; and the rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.” In Luke, what prevents them from accepting the invitation are the duties of daily life. The first one says, "I have bought a piece of land and must go to see it;" the second one, "I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out;” the third one, "I have just got married and so am unable to come!" (cf. Lk 14:18-20). According to the norms and customs of the time, those people had the right and even the duty not to accept the invitation they had received (cf. Deut 20:5-7).

• Matthew 22:7: An incomprehensible war! The reaction of the king in the face of the refusal is surprising. “Then the king was furious and he dispatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town.” How is such a violent reaction to be interpreted? The parable was told for the chief priests and for the elders of the people (Mt 22:1), for those responsible for the nations. Jesus had often spoken to them about the need for conversion. He even shed tears over the city of Jerusalem and said, “If you too had only recognized on that day the way to peace! But in fact it is hidden from your eyes. Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all around you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you, because you did not recognize the moment of your visitation.” (Lk 19:41-44). The violent reaction of the king in the parable probably refers to the fact of  Jesus’ foresight. Forty years later, Jerusalem was destroyed (Lk 19:41-44; 21: 6).

• Matthew 22:8-10: The banquet is not canceled. For the third time, the king invites the people. He tells his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those invited were unworthy; go to the main crossroads and invite everyone you can find to come to the wedding.”

Going out on the streets, those servants gathered together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. The bad, who were excluded from participation in worship with the Jews because they were deemed impure, are now invited specifically by the king to participate in the feast. In the context of that time, the bad were the pagans. They also are invited to participate in the wedding feast.

• Matthew 22:11-14: The wedding garment. These verses tell us that the king went into the wedding hall and saw someone who was not wearing a wedding garment. And the king asked, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And he was silent. The story says that the man was bound hands and feet and thrown into the darkness outside. Then the story concludes: “Many are invited but not all are chosen.” Some scholars think that it is a second parable which was added to lessen the impression which one has after the first parable, which speaks about “the good and the bad” who enter into the feast (Mt 22:10). Even if one admits that it is not the observance of the Law which gives us salvation, but rather faith in the gratuitous love of God, that in no way diminishes the need for purity of heart as a prerequisite to be able to appear before God.



4) Personal questions



• Who are the persons who are normally invited to our feasts? Why? Who are the people who are not invited to our feasts? Why?

• What are the reasons which today prevent many people from participation in society and in the Church? What are some of the excuses that people offer to exclude themselves from the duty to participate in the community? Are those excuses valid?



5) Concluding Prayer



Do not thrust me away from Your presence,

do not take away from me Your spirit of holiness.

Give me back the joy of Your salvation,

sustain in me a generous spirit. (Ps 51:11-12)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-20
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:47

Lectio Divina: Matthew 20:1-16

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

may we love You in all things and above all things

and reach the joy You have prepared for us

beyond all our imagining.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 20:1-16



Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, 'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.' He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."



3) Reflection



• Today’s Gospel presents a parable which is found only in Matthew’s Gospel. It is not in the other Gospels. Like in all parables, Jesus tells a story about daily elements, daily things of the life of the people. He presents a picture of the social situation of His time, in which the listeners recognize themselves. At the same time, in the story of this parable, there are things which never take place in the reality of the life of the people, because speaking about the master, Jesus thinks about God, about His Father. This is why in the story of the parable the master does things which are surprising which never take place in the daily life of the listeners. In this strange approach of the master, it is necessary to find the key to understanding the message of the parable.

• Matthew 20:1-7: The five times that the landowner goes out to look for laborers. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day and sent them to his vineyard”. This is how the story begins and it speaks for itself and does not need too many comments. In what follows, the landowner goes out four times to call other workers to go and work in his vineyard. Jesus refers to the terrible lack of work at that time. Now some details of the story: (a) the landowner himself goes out personally five times to contract workers. (b) When he contracts the workers, he fixes the salary only for the first group: one denarius a day. To those of nine o’clock in the morning he says: I will give you what is just, fair. With the others, he does not fix anything. He contracted them only to work in the vineyard. (c) At the end of the day, when it was the time to pay the workers, the landowners orders the administrator to carry out this service.

• Matthew 20:8-10: The strange way of fixing the accounts at the end of the day. When it was evening, the landowner of the vineyard told his administrator: Call the workers and pay them, beginning from the last ones to the first ones. Here, at the time of drawing the accounts, something strange takes place which does not happen in normal life. It seems that things are inverted. The administrator begins to pay those who were contracted just an hour before. The salary is the same for all: one denarius, as it was agreed with the first ones who were contracted at the beginning of the day. When the first came, they expected to get more but they too received one denarius each. Why does the landowner act like that? Would you do the same? It is precisely in this surprising gesture of the landowner that the key to understanding this parable is hidden.

• Matthew 20:11-12: The normal reaction of the workers before the strange ways of the landowner. The last ones also receive their salary as those who were contracted first. The story says that these began to grumble against the landowner and said, “The men who came last have done only one hour and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat”. This is the normal reaction of a good sense. I think that all of us would have had the same reaction and would have said the same thing to the landowner. Would we not?

• Matthew 20:13-16: The surprising explanation of the landowner which gives the key to the parable. The response of the landowner is the following: “My friend, I am not being unjust to you. Did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you; have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why should you be envious because I am generous?” These words give the key which explains the attitude of the landowner and indicates the message which Jesus wants to communicate to us: (a) The landowner was not unjust, because he acts according to what he had agreed with the first group of workers: one denarius a day. (b) It is the sovereign decision of the landowner to give to the last ones the same amount that he had agreed upon with those of the first hour. These do not have the right to complain and claim anything. (c) Acting with justice, the landowner has the right to do the good that he wants with the things that belong to him. The worker, on his part, has this same right. (d) The last question touches on the central point: Why should you be envious because I am generous? God is different and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55: 8-9).

• The background of the parable is the circumstance of the time, for Jesus as well as for Matthew. The workers of the first hour are the Jewish people, called by God to work in his vineyard. They bear the weight of the day, from Abraham to Moses, for over one thousand years. Now at the eleventh hour, Jesus calls the gentiles to work in his vineyard and they succeed in having the preference in the heart of God. “Thus the first ones will be last and the last will be first”. 



4) Personal questions



• Those of the eleventh hour arrive. They have advantages and receive priority in regard to entrance into the Kingdom of God. When you wait in line for two hours, and a person arrives, and without saying anything she places herself before you. Would you accept this? Can these two situations be compared? (hint: she places herself, rather than someone higher choosing to place her - does this change things?)

• God’s action surpasses our calculations and our human way of acting. He surprises us and sometimes it is uncomfortable. Has this happened to you in your life? What lessons have you drawn from this? 

• This parable uses "work" and  "workers" to convey its message. Why? Is there also the message that to receive "payment" also requires work? To be a Christian demands work - it is not a passive  existence, but rather an active participation in the work  of God.



5) Concluding Prayer



Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life.

I make my home in the house of Yahweh

for all time to come. (Ps 23:6)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-19
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:45

Lectio Divina: Matthew 19:23-30

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

may we love You in all things and above all things

and reach the joy You have prepared for us

beyond all our imagining.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 19:23-30



Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, 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." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."



3) Reflection



• The Gospel today is the immediate continuation of yesterday’s Gospel. It gives  Jesus’ commentary regarding the rich young man’s negative reaction.



• Matthew 19:23-24: The camel and the eye of the needle. After the young man leaves, Jesus comments on his decision: “In truth I tell you, it is hard for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Two observations concerning this affirmation of Jesus: a) the proverb of the camel and of the eye of the needle was used to say that something was impossible and unthinkable, humanly speaking. b) The expression “that someone rich enters the kingdom of Heaven” is a question, in the first place, not of entrance into Heaven after death, but of entering into the community around Jesus. And even now this is true. It is very difficult for the rich to enter and to feel at home in the communities which try to live the Gospel according to Jesus’ standards and which try to be open to the poor, the migrants and to those excluded by society. However, this does not also mean that riches bring their own temptations which distance the person from God.



• Matthew 19:25-26: The disciples’ fear. The young man had observed the commandments, but without understanding the reason for the observance. Something similar was happening with the disciples. When Jesus called them, they did exactly the same thing which Jesus had asked the young man: they left everything and followed Jesus (Mt 4:20,22). But they were astonished at Jesus’ remark concerning the impossibility for someone rich to enter the Kingdom of God. This was a sign that they had not understood well the response which Jesus had given to the rich young man: “Go, sell all you possess, give it to the poor and then come and follow Me!” If they had understood, they would not have been so surprised by the requests of Jesus. When wealth or the desire for riches occupies one’s heart and one’s outlook on life,  one does not understand the meaning of life and of the Gospel. God alone can help! “This is impossible for man, but for God all is possible!”



• Matthew 19:27:  Peter’s question. The background of the disciples’ misunderstanding appears in the question asked by Peter: “Look, we have left everything and have followed You. What are we to have then?” In spite of the beautiful generosity of abandoning everything, they still have the old mentality. They have abandoned everything in order to get something in exchange. They still had not grasped  the meaning of service and gratuitousness.



• Matthew 19:28-30: Jesus’ reply. "In truth I tell you, when everything is made new again and the Son of Man is seated on His throne of glory you yourselves will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of My name will receive a hundred times as much and also inherit eternal life. Many, who are first, will be last, and the last, first.” In this response, Jesus describes the new world, the foundation of which had been laid by His work and that of the disciples. Jesus stresses three important points: (a) The disciples will sit on twelve thrones next to Jesus to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Rev 4:4). (b) In exchange they will receive many things which they had abandoned: houses, brothers, sisters, mother, children land and will inherit eternal life. (c) The future world will be the reverse of the present world. There, the last ones will be the first ones and the first ones will be the last ones. The community around Jesus is the seed and the manifestation of this new world. Even today the small community of the poor continues to be the seed and manifestation of the Kingdom.



• Every time that in the history of the people of the Bible a new movement arises to renew the Covenant, it begins by re-establishing the rights of the poor, of the excluded. Without that, the Covenant will not be reconstructed. This is the sense and the reason for the insertion of the community of Jesus into the midst of the poor. It draws from these roots and it inaugurates the New Covenant.



4) Personal questions



• To abandon houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, fields, for the sake of Jesus: how does this take place in your life? What have you already received in exchange? What are you expecting?

• Today, the majority of poor countries are not of the Christian religion, while the majority of the rich countries are. How can the saying that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle be applied today?



5) Concluding Prayer



Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death

I should fear no danger,

for You Lord, are at my side.

Your staff and Your crook are there to soothe me. (Ps 23:4)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-18
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 03:44

Lectio Divina: Matthew 19:16-22

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

may we love You in all things and above all things

and reach the joy You have prepared for us

beyond all our imagining.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 19:16-22



A young man approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.



3) Reflection



• The Gospel today speaks to us about a young man who asks Jesus which is the way to eternal life. Jesus indicates to him the way of poverty. The young man does not accept Jesus’ proposal because he is very rich. A rich person is protected by the security of the riches which he possesses. He has difficulty opening the hand of his security. Attached to the advantages of his goods, he lives only to defend his own interests. A poor person does not have this concern. But there are some poor people who have the mentality of the rich. Often the desire for riches creates in the poor a great dependence and renders them slaves of consumerism, because they seek riches everywhere. They no longer have time to dedicate themselves to the service of neighbor.

• Matthew 19:16-19: The commandments and eternal life. A person approaches Jesus and asks Him, “Master, what good deed should I do to possess eternal life?” Some manuscripts say that it was a young man. Jesus responds abruptly, “Why do you ask Me about what is good? There is One alone who is good!” Then He responds to the question and says, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The rich young man reacts and asks, “Which commandments?” Jesus very kindly enumerates the commandments which the young man already knew: “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor father and mother; love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus’ response is very significant. The young man had asked what to do to obtain eternal life. He wanted to live close to God! But Jesus recalls only the commandments which refer to respect for the life close to others! He does not mention the first three commandments which deal with  relationship with God. According to Jesus, we will be well with God only if we are well with our neighbor. It is not worth  deceiving oneself. The door to reach God is our neighbor.

In Mark, the question of the young man is different: “Good Master what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good, but God alone.” (Mk 10:17-18). Jesus turns the attention from Himself toward God, because what is important is to do God’s will, to reveal the project of the Father.

• Matthew 19:20: What is the use of observing the commandments? The young man responds, “I have always observed all these things. What more do I need to do?” What follows is strange. The young man wanted to know the way which leads to eternal life. Now, the way of eternal life was and continues to be this: to do God’s will, expressed in the commandments. In other words, the young man observed the commandments without knowing for what purpose. If he had known it, he would not have asked the question. It is like for many Catholics who do not know why they are Catholics. “I was born a Catholic, and this is why I am Catholic!” It is as if it was a custom!

• Matthew 19:21-22: Jesus’ proposal and the young man’s response. Jesus answers, “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven; then come follow Me.” But on hearing these words the young man went away very sad because he was very rich. The observance of the commandments is only the first degree of a stairway that goes beyond, much farther and much higher. Jesus asks more! The observance of the commandments prepares people to be able to reach the point of giving oneself completely to the neighbor. Mark says that Jesus looked at the young man with love (Mk 10:21). Jesus asks for very much, but He asks for it with much love. The young man did not accept  Jesus’ proposal and goes away “because he was very rich.”

• Jesus and the option for the poor. A two-fold slavery marked the situation of the people at the time of Jesus: the slavery of the politics of Herod, supported by the Roman Empire and maintained by a whole system which was well organized for exploitation and repression, and the slavery of the official religion, maintained by the religious authority of the time. For this reason the clan, the families, the community, were disintegrating and the majority of the people were excluded, marginalized, homeless, without either a religion or a society. So, for this reason, there were various movements which, like Jesus, tried to build up life in communities: Essenes, Pharisees and, later on, the Zealots. But in Jesus’ community, there was something new which made it different from the other groups: the attitude concerning the poor and the excluded. The communities of the Pharisees lived separated. The word “Pharisee” meant “separated.” This was the attitude concerning the poor and the excluded. The communities of the Pharisees lived separated from the impure people. Some Pharisees considered the people ignorant and damned (Jn 7:49) in sin (Jn 9:34). They could learn nothing from the people (Jn 9:34). On the contrary, Jesus and His community lived in the midst of people who were excluded, considered impure; tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes, lepers (Mk 2:16; 1:41; Lk 7:37). Jesus recognizes the richness and the values which the poor possess (Mt 11: 25-26; Lk 21:1-4). He proclaims them blessed, because the Kingdom is theirs, of the poor (Lk 6:20; Mt 5:3). He defines His mission in this way: “To announce the good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). He Himself lives poorly. He possesses nothing for Himself, not even a stone  to lay His head on (Lk 9:58). And to anyone who wants to follow Him, who wants to live like Him, He orders that that person  choose either God or money! (Mt 6:24). He orders His followers to choose the poor, as He proposed it to the rich young man! (Mk 10:21). This different way of accepting the poor and of living with them is a sign of the Kingdom of God.



4) Personal questions



• Can a person who lives concerned about his wealth or with acquiring the goods which the propaganda of consumerism offers free himself from all this in order to follow Jesus and live in peace in a Christian community? Is this possible? What do you think?

• What does this mean for us today: “Go, sell all you possess and give it to the poor?” Is it possible to do this concretely? Do you know anybody who has actually done this for the Kingdom?



• Let us say you own a kitchen with pots and pans and stove, and its cost was not small. You use this kitchen to feed your family, or the poor, or some in the community. If you didn’t have this kitchen, you couldn’t do this. How does Jesus’ advice to the young man apply to you to sell your pots, pans and kitchen? Which is the greater good?



• Continuing the kitchen question, if you also purchased the food and gave it away, this is obviously a certain good. What if you only used the kitchen to provide “cooking” for people who brought their own food (offering your time and resource)? Or if you sold your cooked food “at cost”? Or if you charged only enough for a small salary for your “service” to the community? What if you made a profit while doing this? At what point(s) does the picture change? Why?



5) Concluding Prayer



Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

In grassy meadows He lets me lie down.

By tranquil streams He leads me to restore my spirit.

He guides me in paths of saving justice

as befits His name. (Ps 23:1-3)


Lectio Divina:
2020-08-17
Page 216 of 236

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