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Woman, this is your son!

Behold this is your mother!



1. Let us recollect ourselves in prayer - Statio



Come, Holy Spirit, fill our minds with Your light so that we can understand the true meaning of Your Word.

Come, Holy Spirit, en kindle in our hearts the fire of Your love to inflame our faith.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill our being with Your force to strengthen what is weak in us, in our service to God.

Come, Holy Spirit, with the gift of prudence to control our enthusiasm which prevents us from loving God and our neighbor.
 



2. Prayerful Reading of the Word – Lectio



From the Gospel according to John 19:25-27



Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.



3. Ponder the Word - Meditatio



3.1. To understand the Reading



- With your spirit go up to Calvary up to the Cross of Jesus and try to understand what is happening.

- From the passage that you have read, ask yourself what has struck you the most and why.

- What are the sentiments that this brief passage has aroused in you?



3.2. Key for the Reading



Jesus holds His own destiny in His hand



We are in the middle of chapter 19 of John’s Gospel which begins with the scourging, the crowing of Jesus with a crown of thorns, the presentation of Jesus by Pilate to the crowds: “Behold the man” (Jn 19:5), the condemnation to death on the cross, the Way of the Cross and the crucifixion. In the account of the passion according to John, Jesus has control in His hand of His life and of everything which is taking place around Him. And for this reason, for example, we find sentences such as this: “Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and a purple robe” (v. 5), or the words said to Pilate: “You would have no power over Me at all if it had not been given you from above” (v. 11).



The text presented in the daily Liturgy also shows that Jesus not only has control over everything which is happening to Him but also on what is taking place around Him. What the Evangelist describes is very important: “Jesus then, seeing His mother and the disciple whom He loved, said…” (v. 26). The words of Jesus in their simplicity are words of revelation, words with which He wants to express His will: “Behold your son” (v. 26), “Behold your mother” (v. 27). These words of Jesus recall to mind the words of Pilate with which he presented the person of Jesus to the crowds: “Behold the man” (v. 5). Jesus from His throne, the Cross, with His words not only pronounces His will, but also that it is truly His love for us and the fruit of this love. He is the Lamb of God, the Shepherd who gives His life in order to gather all into one  flock, in the Church. 



Near the Cross



In this passage we also find a very important word which is repeated twice when the Evangelist speaks about the mother of Jesus and of the disciple whom He loved. The Evangelist says that the mother of Jesus was “near the Cross” (v. 25) and the disciple whom He loves was “standing near her” (v. 26). This important detail has a very deep Biblical significance. Only the fourth Evangelist says that the Mother of Jesus was near the cross. The other Evangelists do not specify this. Luke says that “All His friends stood at a distance; so also did the women who had accompanied Him from Galilee and saw all this happen” (Lk 23:49). Matthew writes, “And many women were there, watching from a distance; the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after Him. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.” (Mt 27:55-56). Mark says that “There were also some women, watching from a distance. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary who was the mother of James the younger and Joses, and Salome. They used to follow Him and look after Him when He was in Galilee. And many other women were there who had come up to Jerusalem with Him.” (Mk 15:40-41). Therefore, only John stresses that the mother of Jesus was present, not following Him from a distance, but was near the cross together with the other women. Standing up, like a strong woman who has continued to believe, to hope and to have trust in God, even in that most difficult moment. The mother of Jesus is present in the important moment in which “Everything is fulfilled” (v. 30) in Jesus’ mission. Besides, the Evangelist stresses the presence of the mother of Jesus from the beginning of His mission, in the wedding at Cana, where John uses almost the same expression: “The mother of Jesus was there”. (Jn 2:1). 



The Woman and the Disciple



In the wedding at Cana and on the Cross, Jesus shows His glory, and His mother is present in an active way. In the wedding at Cana it is made evident, in a symbolical way, what took place on the cross. During the feast of the wedding Jesus changed the water contained in six jars (Jn 2:6). Number six symbolizes imperfection. The perfect number is seven. For this reason Jesus responds to His mother: “My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). The hour in which Jesus renewed everything was the hour of the cross. The Disciples asked Him: “Lord, has the time come for You to restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). On the cross, with the water and blood, Jesus gives birth to the Church and at the same time the Church becomes His spouse. It is the beginning of the new time. Both at the wedding in Cana and at the foot of the cross, Jesus does not call His mother by her proper name, but calls her with the beautiful title of “Woman” (Jn 2:19, 26). On the cross He is not speaking with His mother moved only by a natural sentiment, of a son toward his mother. The title of “Woman” is a sign that in that moment Jesus was opening His mother’s heart to the spiritual maternity of His disciples, represented in the person of the disciple whom He loved who is always near Jesus, the Disciple who at the Last Supper reclined his head on Jesus’ chest (Jn 13:23-26), the Disciple who understood the mystery of Jesus and always remains faithful to his Master up to the time of His crucifixion, and later on was the first disciple to believe that Christ is risen in seeing the empty tomb and the linen cloths on the ground (Jn 20:4-8), while Mary of Magdala believed that they had taken away the body of Jesus (Jn 20:2). Then, Jesus’ beloved Disciple is the one who believes and remains faithful to His Master in all the trials of his life. The Disciple whom Jesus loved has no name, because he represents you and me, and all those who are His true disciples. The woman becomes the mother of the Disciple. The woman is never called by the Evangelist by her proper name, she is not only the Mother of Jesus, but she is also the Church. John the Evangelist likes to call the Church “woman” or “lady.” This title is found in the Second Letter of John (2 Jn 1:5) and in the Apocalypses: “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant, and in labor, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth”. (Rev 12:1-2). Therefore, the woman is the image of the Mother Church which is in labor to generate new sons for God.



The Mother of Jesus is the perfect image of the Church, spouse of Christ who is in labor to generate new children for her spouse Jesus. 



The Disciples takes the woman to his house



If Jesus has left in the hands of the woman (His mother and the Church) His disciples,  represented in the person of the beloved Disciple, in the same way, He has left in the hands of His disciples, the woman (His mother and the Church). The Evangelist says that Jesus had just seen the disciple whom he loved next to His mother.  He told him, “Behold your mother!” (v. 27).



The Evangelist continues: “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (v. 27). That means that the disciple took the woman as a very dear and valuable person. This again reminds us all that John says in his letter when he calls himself the elder who loves the lady in truth (2 Jn: 1) who prays for her (2 Jn: 5) so that he takes care of her and defends her against the Antichrist, that is, all those who do not know Christ and seek to trouble the children of the Church, the disciples of Jesus (2 Jn 7:10).



The words of verse 27 “And from that hour he took her into his home” reminds us what we also find in the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew. The Evangelist opens his account telling about the vision of the angel which Joseph, the spouse of Mary, had in his dream. In this vision the angel tells Joseph, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 1:20). Matthew begins his Gospel with entrusting Mary and Jesus to Joseph, while John concludes his account with Jesus entrusting His Mother and the Church into the hands of His beloved disciple!



4. Questions to orientate the meditation and the putting it into practice.



- What has struck you most in this passage and in the reflection?

- On the Cross Jesus has given us everything: His life and His mother. And you, are you ready to sacrifice something for the Lord? Are you capable of renouncing your possessions, your likes, desires, etc., to serve God and to help your neighbor?

- “From that hour the disciple took her to his home.” Do you believe that families today continue to follow the example of the disciple whom Jesus loved? What meaning do these words have for your Christian life?



5. Oratio



Canticle of the Blessed Virgin: Luke 1, 46-55



My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;

because He has looked upon the lowliness of His servant.

Yes, from now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is His name,

and His faithful love extends age after age to those who fear Him.

He has used the power of His arm,

He has routed the arrogant of heart.

He has pulled down princes from their thrones

and raised high the lowly.

He has filled the starving with good things,

sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of Israel His servant,

mindful of His faithful love

-according to the promise He made to our ancestors --

of His mercy to Abraham and to His descendants for ever.



6. Contemplatio



Let us adore together the goodness of God who has given us Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as our Mother, and let us repeat in silence:

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

world without end. Amen


Lectio Divina:
2019-07-16
Sunday, 07 March 2010 13:31

Lectio Divina: Matthew 11:25-27

Written by

Ordinary Time 



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

Your light of truth

guides us to the way of Christ.

May all who follow Him

reject what is contrary to the Gospel.

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 11:25-27



At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”



3) Reflection



• Context. The liturgical passage of Mt 11:25-27 represents a turning point in the Gospel of Matthew: Jesus is asked the first questions regarding the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. The first one to ask the first questions on the identity of Jesus is John the Baptist, who through his disciples asks Him a concrete question: “Are You the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?” (11:3). Instead, the Pharisees, together with the scribes, address words of reproach and judgment to Jesus: “Look, Your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath” (12:2). Up until now in chapters 1 to 10, the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven in the person of Jesus did not seem to find any obstacles, but beginning with chapter 11, we find some concrete difficulties. Or rather many begin to take a stand with regard to Jesus: sometimes He is “the object of scandal,” of fall (11:6); “this generation,” in the sense of this human descent, does not have an attitude of acceptance regarding the Kingdom that is to arrive; the cities along the lake are not converted (11:20); concerning the behavior of Jesus a true and proper controversy springs up (chapter 12), and thus they begin to think how to put Him to death (12:14). This is the climate of mistrust and of protest into which Matthew inserts this passage.



Now the moment has arrived in which to question oneself about the activity of Jesus: how to interpret the “works of Christ” (11:2,19)? How can these thaumaturgic actions be explained (11:20,21,23)? Such questions concern the crucial question of Messiah- ship of Jesus, and judge not only “this generation” but also the cities around the lake which have not converted as the Kingdom of Heaven gets closer in the person of Jesus.



• To become small. The most efficacious way to carry out this conversion is to become “small.” Jesus communicates this strategy of “smallness” in a prayer of thanksgiving (11:27) which has a wonderful parallel in the witness rendered to the Father on the occasion of the Baptism (11:27). Experts love to call this prayer a “hymn of rejoicing, exultation.” The rhythm of the prayer of Jesus begins with a confession: “I praise You,” “I confess to You.” Such expressions of introduction render Jesus’ words quite solemn. The prayer of praise that Jesus recites presents the characteristics of an answer addressed to the reader. Jesus addresses Himself to  God with the expression “Lord of Heaven and earth,” that is, to God as creator and guardian of the world. In Judaism, instead, it was the custom to address God with the invocation “Lord of the world,” but they did not add the term “Father,” a distinctive characteristic of the prayer of Jesus. The reason for the praise and the disclosing of God: because You have hidden..., revealed. The hiding referred to the “wise and intelligent” concerns of the scribes and the Pharisees, completely closed up and hostile to the coming of the Kingdom (3:7 ff; 7:29; 9:3,11, 34). The revelation is to the little ones, the Greek term says “infants,” those who cannot speak as yet. Thus, Jesus indicates the privileged audience of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven as those who are not experts of the Law and are not instructed.



What are “these things” that are hidden or revealed? The content of this revelation or hiding is Jesus, the Son of God, the one who reveals the Father. It is evident for the reader that the revelation of God is linked indissolubly to the person of Jesus, to His Word, to His Messianic actions. He is the one who allows the revelation of God and not the Law or the premonitory events of the end of time.



• The revelation of God from the Father to the Son. In the last part of the discourse Jesus makes a presentation of self as the one to whom every thing has been communicated by the Father. In the context of the coming of the Kingdom, Jesus has the role and the mission to reveal the Heavenly Father in everything. In such a  role He receives the totality of power, of knowledge and of the authority to judge. In order to confirm this role, which is so committed, Jesus appeals to the witness of the Father, the only One who possesses a real knowledge of Jesus: “Nobody knows the Son but the Father,” and vice-versa “and nobody knows the Father but the Son.” The witness of the Father is irreplaceable so that the unique dignity of Jesus as Son may be understood by His disciples. Besides, the uniqueness of Jesus is affirmed in the revelation of the Father; the Gospel of John had already affirmed this: “No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made Him known” (1:18). To summarize, the Evangelist makes his readers understand that the revelation of the Father takes place through the Son. Even more: the Son reveals the Father to whom He wants.



4) Personal questions



• In your prayer do you feel the need to express all your gratitude to the Father for the gifts that He has given you in life? Does it happen to you to confess publicly, to exult in the Lord because of the wonderful works that He accomplishes in the world; in the Church, and in your life?

• In your search for God do you rely on your wisdom and intelligence or do you allow yourself to be guided by the wisdom of God? How attentive are you to your relationship with Jesus? Do you listen to His word? Do you assume His sentiments in order to discover His physiognomy of Son of the Heavenly Father?



5) Concluding Prayer



My lips shall proclaim Your saving justice,

Your saving power all day long.

God, You have taught me from boyhood,

and I am still proclaiming Your marvels. (Ps 71:15,17)


Lectio Divina:
2020-07-15
Sunday, 07 March 2010 13:30

Lectio Divina: Matthew 11:20-24

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

Your light of truth

guides us to the way of Christ.

May all who follow Him

reject what is contrary to the gospel.

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 11:20-24



Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the nether world. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”



3) Reflection



• The Discourse on the Mission occupies chapter 10.  Chapters 11 and 12 describe the mission which Jesus carried out and how He did it. The two chapters mention how the people either adhered to Him, doubted the evangelizing action of Jesus, or rejected it.    John the Baptist, who looked at Jesus with the eyes of the past, does not succeed in understanding Him (Mt 11:1-15). The people, who looked at Jesus out of interest, were not capable of understanding Him (Mt 11:16-19). The great cities around the lake, which listened to the preaching of Jesus and saw His miracles, did not want to open themselves up to His message (this is the text of today’s Gospel) (Mt 11:20-24). The wise and the doctors, who appreciated everything according to their own science, were not able to understand the preaching of Jesus (Mt 11:25). The Pharisees, who trusted only in the observance of the law, criticized Jesus (Mt 12:1-8) and decided to kill Him (Mt 12:9-14). They said that Jesus acted in the name of Beelzebul (Mt 12:22-37). They wanted a proof in order to be able to believe in Him (Mt 12:38-45). Not even His relatives supported Him (Mt 12:46-50). Only the little ones and the simple people understood and accepted the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 11:25-30).  They followed Him (Mt 12:15-16) and saw in Him the Servant announced by Isaiah (Mt 12:17-21).



• This way of describing the missionary activity of Jesus was a clear warning for the disciples who together with Jesus and walked through Galilee.  They could not expect a reward or praise for being missionaries of Jesus. This warning is also valid for us who today read and meditate on this discourse on the mission, because the Gospels were written for all times.  They invite us to confront the attitude that we have with Jesus with the attitude of the people who appear in the Gospel and to ask ourselves if we are like John the Baptist (Mt 11:1-15), like the people who were interested (Mt 11:16-19), like the unbelieving cities (Mt 11:20-24), like the doctors who thought they knew everything and understood nothing (Mt 11:25), like the Pharisees who only knew how to criticize (Mt 12:1-45) or like the simple people who went seeking for Jesus (Mt 12:15) and who, with their wisdom, knew how to understand and accept the message of the Kingdom (Mt 11:25-30).



• Matthew 11:20: The word against the cities which did not receive Him. The space in which Jesus moved during those three years of His missionary life was small; only a few square kilometers along the Sea of Galilee around the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin. Only that!  So it was in this very limited space where Jesus made the majority of His discourses and worked His miracles.  He came to save the whole of humanity, and almost did not get out of the limited space of His land.  Tragically, Jesus had to become aware that the people of those cities did not want to accept the message of the Kingdom and were not converted. The cities become more rigid in their beliefs, traditions and customs and did not accept the invitation of Jesus to change their life.  



• Matthew 11:21-24: Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum are worse than Tyre and Sidon. In the past, Tyre and Sidon, inflexible enemies of Israel, ill treated the People of God. Because of this they were cursed by the prophets. (Is 23:1; Jer 25:22; 47:4; Ezek 26:3; 27:2; 28:2; Joel 4:4; Am 1:10). And now Jesus says that these cities, symbols of all evil, would have already been converted if in them had been worked all the miracles which were worked in Chorazin and Bethsaida.  The city of Sodom, the symbol of the worst perversion, was destroyed by the anger of God (Gen 18:16 to 19:29). And now Jesus says that Sodom would exist today, because it would have been converted if it had seen the miracles that Jesus worked in Capernaum. Today we still live this same paradox.  Many of us who are Catholics since we were children, have many solid and firm convictions, so much so that we stop reaching for perfection of charity. And in some places, Christianity, instead of being a source of change and of conversion, becomes the refuge of the most reactionary forces of the politics of the country.  



4) Personal questions



• How do I place myself before the Good News of Jesus: like John the Baptist, like the interested people, like the doctors, like the Pharisees or like the simple and poor people?

• Does my city, or my country, deserve the warning of Jesus against Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida?

• If someone, a Christian, already follows Jesus, how does this passage apply? What is the message for them?



5) Concluding Prayer



Great is Yahweh and most worthy of praise

in the city of our God, the holy mountain,

towering in beauty,

the joy of the whole world. (Ps 48:1-2)


Lectio Divina:
2020-07-14
Sunday, 07 March 2010 13:28

Lectio Divina: Matthew 10:34-11:1

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



God our Father,

Your light of truth

guides us to the way of Christ.

May all who follow Him

reject what is contrary to the gospel.

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 10:34-11:1



Jesus said to his Apostles: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household. "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple– amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.



3) Reflection



• In May of last year, the V Conference of Latin American Bishops, which was held in Aparecida in the north of Brazil, wrote a very important document on the theme: “Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life”. The discourse of the mission of chapter 10 of the Gospel of Matthew offers much light in helping to carry out the mission as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ. The Gospel today presents to us the last part of this discourse of the mission.

• Matthew 10:34-36: I have not come to bring peace to the earth but the sword.  Jesus always speaks of peace (Mt 5:9; Mk 9:50; Lk 1:79; 10:5; 19:38; 24:36; Jn 14:27; 16:33; 20:21, 26). How can we understand the statement in today’s Gospel which seems to say the contrary: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; no, I have not come to bring peace but the sword.” This affirmation does not mean that Jesus was in favor of division and the sword. No! Jesus wants neither the sword (Jn 18:11) nor division. He wants the union of all in truth (cf. Jn 17:17-23). At that time, the announcement of the truth that He, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Messiah became a reason of great division among the Jews.  In the same family or community, some were in favor and others were radically contrary. In this sense the Good News of Jesus was truly a source of division, a “sign of contradiction” (Lk 2:34) or, as Jesus said, He was bringing the sword.  In this way the other warning is understood: “I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person’s enemies will be the members of his own household”. In fact, that was what was happening in the families and in the communities: much division, much discussion, the consequence of the announcement of the Good News among the Jews of that time, because some accepted while others rejected. Today the same thing happens. Many times, when the Church renews itself, the appeal to the Good News becomes a ‘sign of contradiction’ and of division.  People who for years have lived comfortably in their routine of Christian life do not want to allow themselves to be bothered by the ‘innovations’ of Vatican Council II. Disturbed by the changes, they used all their intelligence to find arguments in defense of their opinions and to condemn the changes, considering them contrary to what they thought was the true faith.

• Matthew 10:37: No one who prefers father or mother to Me is worthy of Me. Luke gives this same statement, but much more demanding. Literally he says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his sons and brothers, his sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk 14:26). How can this affirmation of Jesus be combined with the other one in which He says to observe the fourth commandment: love and honor father and mother? (Mk 7:10-12; Mt 19:19). (The Greek word used in Luke is μισέω, which has slightly different meaning than how hate is used in English. It’s usage means “to love less”, to denounce (comparatively) between the two. It does not carry the animosity we commonly associate with hate.) However, two observations:  (1) The fundamental criterion on which Jesus insists always is this one: the Good News of God should be the supreme value of our life. In our life there can be no greater value. (2) The economic and social situation at the time of Jesus was such that the families were obliged to close themselves up in themselves. They no longer had the conditions to respect the obligations of human community living together as, for example, sharing, hospitality, invitation to a meal, and the acceptance of the excluded.  This individualistic closing up in self, caused by the national and international situation, produced distortion: (1) It made life in community impossible (2) It limited the commandment “honor father and mother” exclusively to the small family nucleus and no longer to the larger family of the community (3) It prevented the full manifestation of the Good News of God, because if God is Father/Mother we are brothers and sisters of one another. And this truth should be expressed in the life of the community.  A living and fraternal community is the mirror of the face of God. Living together without community is a mirror which disfigures the face of God.  In this context, the request of Jesus, “to hate father and mother” means that the disciples should overcome the individualistic closing up of the small family on itself, and extend it to the community dimension, preferring to communal love to limiting it to familial love. Jesus Himself put into practice what He taught others.  His family wanted to call Him to close Himself up in self. When they told Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside and they are looking for You”, He answered: “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” Looking at the people around Him He said: “Behold, My mother and My brothers. Anyone who does the will of God is My brother, My sister and My mother” (Mk 3:32-35). He extends the family!  This was and continues to be, even today for the small family, the only way to be able to keep and transmit the values which He believes.

• Matthew 10:38-39: The demands of the mission of the disciples. In these two verses, Jesus gives important and demanding advice: (a) To take up the cross and follow Jesus:  Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in My footsteps is not worthy of Me. In order to perceive all the significance and importance of this first advice, keep in mind the witness of Saint Paul: “But as for me, it is not of the question that I should boast at all, except of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal 6:14).  To carry the cross presupposes, even now, a radical drawing away from the sinful system which reigns in the world. (b) To have the courage to give one’s life: “Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for My sake will find it”.  Only the one who in life has been capable of giving himself totally to others will feel fulfilled.  This second piece of advice confirms the deepest human experience; the source of life is in the gift of life. In giving one receives. “If the grain of wheat does not die …”  (Jn 12, 24). 

• Matthew 10:40: The identification of the disciple with Jesus and with God Himself. This human experience of contribution and of the gift received has a clarification, a deepening: “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me: and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me.”  In the total gift of self, the disciple identifies himself with Jesus; there the encounter with God takes place, and God allows Himself to be found by the one who seeks Him. 

• Matthew 10:41-42: The reward of the prophet, of the just and of the disciple. The discourse of the Mission ends with one sentence on reward: “Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person. If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without reward”. In this statement the sequence is very meaningful: the prophet is recognized because of his mission as one sent by God. The upright person is recognized by his behavior, by his perfect way of observing the law of God. The disciple is recognized by no quality or mission, but simply by his social condition of being least among the people. The Kingdom is not made of great things. It is like a very big house which is constructed with small bricks. Anyone who despises the brick will have great difficulty in constructing the house. Even a glass of water serves as a brick for the construction of the Kingdom.

• Matthew 11:1: The end of the discourse of the mission.  When Jesus had finished instructing His twelve disciples He moved from there to teach and preach in their towns.  Now Jesus leaves to put into practice what He has taught. We will see this in  chapters 11 and 12 of the Gospel of Matthew. 



4) Personal questions



• To lose life in order to gain life. Have you had some experience of having felt rewarded for an act of donation or gratuity for others? 

• He who welcomes you welcomes Me, and who welcomes Me, welcomes the One who sent Me. Stop and think about what Jesus says here: He and God Himself identify themselves with you.  



5) Concluding Prayer



How blessed are those who live in Your house;

they shall praise You continually.

Blessed those who find their strength in You,

whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. (Ps 84:4-5)



Lectio Divina:
2020-07-13
Sunday, 07 March 2010 13:27

Lectio Divina: Matthew 10:24-33

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



Father,

through the obedience of Jesus,

Your servant and Your Son,

You raised a fallen world.

Free us from sin

and bring us the joy that lasts for ever.

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 10:24-33



Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”



3) Reflection



• Today’s Gospel presents to us various instructions of Jesus on the behavior that the disciples have to adopt in the exercise of their mission.  What strikes most in these instructions are two warnings: (a) the frequency with which Jesus refers to the persecutions and suffering which they will have to bear; (b) the insistence repeated three times to the disciples not to be afraid.



• Matthew 10:24-25: Persecutions and sufferings which mark the life of the disciples.  These two verses constitute the final part of a warning of Jesus to the disciples concerning persecutions. The disciples should know that, because of  being disciples of Jesus, they will be persecuted (Mt 10:17-23). But this should not be a reason for worry, because a disciple should imitate the life of the Master and share the trials with Him. This is part of discipleship.  “A disciple is not greater than the teacher or a servant greater than his master; it is sufficient for the disciple to grow to be like his teacher and the servant like his master.” If they called Jesus Beelzebul, how much more will they insult His disciples? In other words, the disciple of Jesus should be worried if, in his life, there are no persecutions.



• Matthew 10:26-27: Do not be afraid to tell the truth.  The disciples should not be afraid to be persecuted. Those who persecute them pervert the meaning of the facts and spread calumnies which change truth into lies. But no matter how great the lie, the truth will triumph at the end and will make the lie crumble down. This is why we should not be afraid to proclaim truth, the things which Jesus has taught.  Every day, the means of communication pervert the meaning of things and the people who proclaim the truth are considered as criminals; they make our system appear as just and it perverts the meaning of human life.  



• Matthew 10:28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body. The disciples should not be afraid of those who kill the body, who torture, who strike and cause suffering.  Those who torture can kill the body, but they cannot kill liberty and the spirit in the body.  They should be afraid, yes, that the fear of suffering may lead them to hide or to deny the truth, and that this will lead them to offend God, because anyone who draws away from God will be lost forever.



• Matthew 10:29-31: Do not be afraid, but trust in Divine Providence. The disciples should not fear anything, because they are in God’s hands. Jesus tells them to look at the birds of the air. Two sparrows are sold for a penny, but not one of them will fall to the ground without the Father knowing.  Every hair on your head has been counted.  Luke says that not one hair falls without our Father wanting it (Lk 21:18). And so many hairs fall from our heads!  Because of this “Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” This is the lesson which Jesus draws from the contemplation of nature.



• Matthew 10:32-33: Do not be afraid to be the witnesses of Jesus. At the end Jesus summarizes everything in this sentence: “If anyone declares himself for Me in the presence of human beings, I will declare Myself for him in the presence of My Father in heaven; 33: the one who instead will disown Me in the presence of human beings, I will disown him in the presence of My Father in heaven.” Knowing that we are in God’s hands and that God is with us, at every moment, we have the necessary courage and the peace to render witness and to be disciples of Jesus. 



4) Personal questions



• What are you afraid of?  Why?  

• Have you ever been persecuted  because of your commitment to announce the Good News of God which Jesus announced to us?

• Persecution is not comfortable. There can be many small persecutions throughout a day. Do you ever deny Jesus in little things to make your life more comfortable and not make trouble? How is this important?



5) Concluding Prayer



Your decrees stand firm, unshakable;

holiness is the beauty of Your house,

Yahweh, for all time to come. (Ps 93:5)


Lectio Divina:
2020-07-11
Sunday, 07 March 2010 13:26

Lectio Divina: Matthew 10:16-23

Written by

Ordinary Time 



1) Opening prayer



Father,

through the obedience of Jesus,

Your servant and Your Son,

You raised a fallen world.

Free us from sin

and bring us the joy that lasts for ever.

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 10:16-23



Jesus said to his Apostles: “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”



3) Reflection



• To the community of His disciples, called and gathered together around Him and invested with His same authority as collaborators, Jesus entrusts them with directives in view of their future mission.



• Matthew 10:16-19: Danger and trust in God. Jesus introduces this part of His discourse with two metaphors: sheep in the midst of wolves; prudent as serpents, simple as doves. The first one serves to show the difficult and dangerous context to which the disciples are sent. On the one hand, the dangerous situation is made evident;  on the other, the expression “I send you” expresses protection. Also regarding the astuteness of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove Jesus seems to put together two attitudes: trust in God, and prolonged and attentive reflection on the way in which we should relate with others.



Jesus, then, following this, gives an order that seems at first sight filled with mistrust: “Beware of men...”, but, in reality, it means to be attentive to possible persecutions, hostility, and denouncement. The expression “will deliver you” does not only refer to the accusation in the tribunal, but above all, it has a theological value: the disciples who are following Jesus can experience the same experience of the Master of “being delivered into the hands of men” (17:22). The disciples must be strong and resist in order “to give witness.” The fact of being delivered to the tribunal should become a witness for the Jews and for the pagans. It bears the possibility of being able to draw them to the person and the cause of Jesus and, therefore, to the knowledge of the Gospel. This positive implication is important as a result of witnessing, characterized by credible and fascinating faith.



• Matthew 10:20: the divine help. So that all this may take place in the mission-witness of the disciples it is essential to have the help that comes from God. That is to say, we should not trust our own security and resources, but the disciples, in critical, dangerous, and aggressive situations, found help and solidarity in God for their lives.  The Spirit of the Father is also promised for their mission (v.20). He is the one who acts in them when they are committed to their mission of evangelization and of witnessing. The Spirit will speak through them.



• Matthew 10:21-22: Threat-consolation. Once again the announcement of threat is repeated in the expression “will be delivered”: Brother will betray brother, a father against his son, the sons against the parents. It is a question of a true and great disorder in social relationships, the breaking up of the family. Persons who are bound by the most intimate family relationships – such as parents, children, brothers and sisters – will fall in the misfortune of mutually hating and eliminating one another. In what sense does such a division of the family have to do with witness on behalf of Jesus? Such breaking up of the family relationships could be caused by the diverse attitudes that are taken within the family, regarding Jesus. The expression “you will be hated” seems to indicate the theme of the hostile rejection on the part of the contemporaries and of those He sent. This phrasing can also apply to the larger community, using the sense of the word “brother” as we have done earlier. The community of Israel will find one against another as those following the Good News will be persecuted and rejected by those remaining in the old law. The strong sense of  Jesus’ words find a comparison in another part of the New Testament: “Blessed are you if you are insulted for the sake of Christ’s name, because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, rests upon you. No one of you should suffer as a murderer or thief or evil doer or as a spy. But if one suffers as a Christian, do not blush, because of this name, rather give glory to God.” The promise of consolation follows the threat (v.3). The greatest consolation for the disciples will be that of “being saved,” of being able to live the experience of the Savior, that is to say, to participate in His victories.



4) Personal questions



• What do these pronouncements of Jesus teach us today for understanding the mission of the Christian?

• Do you know how to trust in divine help when you experience conflicts, persecutions and trials?

• In what ways have you been persecuted? Was it for standing with Jesus or was I in the wrong? Did I find strength at any of these times, or did I fold?

• Has the Spirit spoken through you to others?



For further study



In all the day-to-day interactions with others, in business, the market, in school, and in community and family, it is often difficult to discern whether persecutions that day were for His name or our own views and wants, and whether the Spirit did the talking or our own pride did. St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, wrote the Spiritual Exercises to help one discern the action of the Spirit in one’s Life. The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar points out that the Exercises direct one to choosing God’s choice in life, a self-abandonment to God, which is ultimately what today’s Gospel says to do. There are many books on St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, besides his original work, which explain what and how. Take time to read one or more and perhaps practice them.



5) Concluding Prayer



Give me back the joy of Your salvation,

sustain in me a generous spirit.

Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will speak out Your praise. (Ps 51:12,15)


Lectio Divina:
2020-07-10
Ordinary Time
 
1) Opening prayer
Father,
through the obedience of Jesus,
your servant and your Son,
you raised a fallen world.
Free us from sin
and bring us the joy that lasts for ever.
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 10,16-23
Jesus said to his disciples: “Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as snakes and yet innocent as doves. 'Be prepared for people to hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as evidence to them and to the gentiles. But when you are handed over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes, because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.
'Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will come forward against their parents and have them put to death. You will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved.
If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. In truth I tell you, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes.

 

3) Reflection
• To the community of his disciples, called and gathered together around him and invested with his same authority as collaborators, Jesus entrusts them directives in view of their future mission.
• Matthew 10, 16-19: Danger and trust in God. Jesus introduces this part of his discourse with two metaphors: sheep in the midst of wolves; prudent as serpents, simple as the doves. The first one serves to show the difficult and dangerous context to which the disciples are sent. On the one hand, the dangerous situation is made evident in which the disciples sent on mission will find themselves; on the other the expression “I send you” expresses protection. Also regarding the astuteness of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove Jesus seems to put together two attitudes: trust in God and prolonged and attentive reflection on the way in which we should relate with others.
Jesus, then, following this gives an order that seems, at first sight, filled with mistrust: «beware of men...”, but, in reality, it means to be attentive to possible persecutions, hostility, and denouncement. The expression “will deliver you” does not only refer to the accusation in the tribunal but, above all, it has a theological value: the disciples who is following Jesus can experience the same experience of the Master of “being delivered in the hands of man” (17, 22). The disciples must be strong and resist in order “to give witness”, The fact of being delivered to the tribunal should become a witness for the Jews and for the Pagans, it is the possibility to be able to draw them to the person and the cause of Jesus and, therefore, to the knowledge of the Gospel. This positive implication is important as a result of witnessing: characterized by the credible and fascinating faith.
• Matthew 10, 20: the divine help. So that all this may take place in the mission-witness of the disciples it is essential to have the help that comes from God. That is to say that we should not trust our own security and resources, but the disciples in critical, dangerous and aggressive situations, for their lives found help and solidarity in God. For their mission as disciples is also promised the Spirit of the Father (v.20), he is the one who acts in them when they are committed in their mission of evangelization and of witnessing, the Spirit will speak through them.
• Matthew 10, 21-22: Threat-consolation. Once again the announcement of threat is repeated in the expression “will be delivered”: Brother will betray brother, a father against his son, the sons against the parents. It is a question of a true and great disorder in the social relationships, the breaking up of the family. Persons who are bound by the most intimate family relationships – such as parents, children, brothers and sisters – will fall in the misfortune of mutually hating and eliminating one another. In what sense does such a division of the family have to do with the witness in behalf of Jesus? Such breaking up of the family relationships could be caused by the diverse attitudes that are taken within the family, regarding Jesus. The expression “you will be hated” seems to indicate the theme of the hostile acceptance on the part of the contemporaries and of those he sent. The strong sense of the words of Jesus find a comparison in another part of the New Testament: «Blessed are you if you are insulted for the sake of Christ’s name, because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, rests upon you. No one of you should suffer as a murderer or thief or evil doer or as a spy. But if one suffers as a Christian, do not blush, because of this name, rather give glory to God”. After the threat, follows the promise of consolation (v.3). The greatest consolation for the disciples will be that of “being saved”, of being able to live the experience of the Saviour, that is to say, to participate in his victories.

 

4) Personal questions
• What do these dispositions of Jesus teach us today for understanding the mission of the Christian?
• Do you know how to trust on divine help when you experience conflicts, persecutions and trials?

 

5) Concluding Prayer
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
sustain in me a generous spirit.
Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will speak out your praise. (Ps 51,12.15)
Sunday, 07 March 2010 13:22

Lectio Divina: Matthew 10:1-7

Written by

Ordinary Time



1) Opening prayer



Father,

through the obedience of Jesus,

Your servant and Your Son,

You raised a fallen world.

Free us from sin

and bring us the joy that lasts for ever.

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 10:1-7



Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”



3) Reflection



• The second great Discourse: The Discourse of the Mission begins in chapter 10 of the Gospel of Matthew.  Matthew organizes his Gospel as a new edition of the Law of God or like a new “Pentateuch” with its five books.  For this reason his Gospel presents five great discourses or teachings of Jesus followed by a narrative part, in which he describes the way in which Jesus puts into practice what He had taught in the discourses.  The following is the outline:



Introduction: the birth and preparation of the Messiah (Mt 1 to 4)



a) Sermon on the Mount: the entrance door into the Kingdom (Mt 5 to 7)

Narrative Mt 8 and 9

b) Discourse on the Mission: how to proclaim and spread the Kingdom (Mt 10)

Narrative Mt 11 and 12

c) Discourse on the Parables: The mystery of the Kingdom present in life (Mt 13)

Narrative Mt 14 to 17

d) Discourse on the Community: the new way of living together in the Kingdom (Mt  18)

Narrative 19 to 23

e) Discourse on the future coming of the Kingdom: the utopia which sustains hope (Mt 24 and 25)



Conclusion: Passion, death and Resurrection (Mt 26 to 28)



• Today’s Gospel presents to us the beginning of the Discourse on the Mission in which the accent is placed on three aspects: (a) the call of the disciples (Mt 10:1); (b) the list of the names of the twelve Apostles who will be the recipients of the Discourse on the Mission (Mt 10:2-4); (c) the sending out of the twelve (Mt 10:5-7).



• Matthew 10:1: The call of the twelve disciples. Matthew had already spoken about the call of the disciples (Mt 4:18-22; 9:9).  Here, at the beginning of the Discourse on the Mission, he presents a summary: “He summoned His twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to drive them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and all kinds of illness.” The task, or the mission, of the disciple is to follow Jesus, the Master, forming community with Him and carrying out the same mission of Jesus: to drive out unclean spirits, to cure all sorts of diseases and all sorts of illness.  In Mark’s Gospel they receive the same two-fold mission, formulated with other words: Jesus constituted the group of twelve to remain with Him and to send them out to preach and cast out devils” (Mk 3:14-15). 1) To be with Him, that is to form a community, in which Jesus is the center.  2)To preach and to be able to cast out devils, that is, to announce the Good News and to conquer the force of evil which destroys the life of the people and alienates people.  Luke says that Jesus prayed the whole night, and the following day He called the disciples.  He prayed to God so as to know whom to choose (Lk 6:12-13).



• Matthew 10:2-4: The list of the names of the Twelve Apostles. A good number of these names come from the Old Testament.  For example, Simon is the name of one of the sons of the Patriarch Jacob (Gen 29:33). James is the same as Jacob (Gen 25:26). Judas is the name of another son of Jacob (Gen 35:23). Matthew also had the name of Levi (Mk 2:14), who was another son of Jacob (Gen 35:23). Of the Twelve Apostles seven have a name which comes from the time of the Patriarchs.  Two are called Simon; two are called James; two are called Judas; one Levi!  Only one has a Greek name: Philip. This reveals the people’s desire to start history again from the beginning! Perhaps it is good to think about the names which are given today to  children when they are born, because each one of us is called by God by his/her name.  



• Matthew 10:5-7: The sending out or the mission of the twelve apostles to the lost sheep of Israel.  After having given the list of the names of the twelve, Jesus sends them out with the following command: “Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.”  In this one command there is a three-fold insistence on showing that the preference of the mission is for the house of Israel: (1) Do not go among the gentiles, (2) do not enter into the towns of the Samaritans, (3) rather go to the lost sheep of Israel. Here appears a response to the doubt of the first Christians concerning opening up to pagans. Paul, who strongly affirmed the openness to the gentiles, agrees in saying that the Good News of Jesus should first be announced to the Jews and then to the gentiles (Rm 9:1-11, 36; cf. Acts 1:8; 11:3; 13:46; 15:1, 5, 23-29). But then, in the same Gospel of Matthew, in the conversation of Jesus with the Canaanite woman,  openness to the gentiles will occur (Mt 15:21-29).



• The sending out of the Apostles to all peoples. After the Resurrection of Jesus, there are several episodes on the sending out of the Apostles not only to the Jews, but to all peoples. In Matthew: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe everything which I have commanded.  And I will be with you until the end of time” (Mt 28:19-20). In Mark: “Go to the entire world, proclaim the Good News to all creatures. Those who will believe and will be baptized will be saved; those who will not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:15). In Luke: "So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that in His name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this” (Lk 24:46-48; Acts 1:8) John summarizes all in one sentence: “As the Father has sent Me, so I also send you!”  (Jn 20:21).



4) Personal questions



• Have you ever thought about the meaning of your name? Have you asked your parents why they gave you the name that you have? Do you like your name?

• How has your name influenced who you have become and how your life was formed?

• Jesus calls the disciples. His call has a two-fold purpose: to form a community and to go on mission.  How do I live this two-fold purpose in my life?



5) Concluding Prayer



Seek Yahweh and His strength,

tirelessly seek His presence!

Remember the marvels He has done, His wonders,

the judgments He has spoken. (Ps 105:4-5)


Lectio Divina:
2020-07-08
Friday, 05 March 2010 22:14

Lectio Divina: 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Written by

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man

Between the two only a closed door

Luke 16: 19-31 



1. Opening prayer



Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit to help us to read the scriptures with the same mind that You read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, You helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of Your sentence and death.



Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection. 

Create silence in us so that we may listen to Your voice in creation and in
  the scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May Your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, may experience the force of Your resurrection and witness to others that You are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of You, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed the Father to us and sent us Your Spirit. Amen. 



Lucas 16,19-31



2. Reading



a) A key to the reading:



In this 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Liturgy places before us the parable of the poor Lazarus, sitting before the door of the rich man. This parable is a faithful mirror, in which is mirrored not only the situation of the society at the time of Jesus, but also our society of the XXI century. The parable is a strong and radical denunciation of this situation, because it clearly indicates that God’s way is contrary to that. In the parable there are three persons: the poor man, the rich man and Father Abraham. The poor man has a name, but does not speak. He hardly exists. His only friends are the little dogs which lick his wounds. The rich man does not have a name, but speaks always and insists. He wants to be right, but he does not succeed. Father Abraham is the father of both of them, and loves both, and he calls the rich man who is in hell, but he does not succeed in making the rich man change his opinion and experience conversion. During the reading try to be very attentive to the conversation of the rich man with Father Abraham, to the arguments of the rich man and to the arguments of Father Abraham.



b) A division of the text to help in the reading:



Luke 16:19-21: The situation of both in this life.

Luke 16:22: The situation of both in the other life.

Luke 16:23-26: The first conversation between the rich man and Abraham.

Luke 16:27-29: The second conversation between the rich man and Abraham.

Luke 16:30-31: The third conversation between the rich man and Abraham.



c) Text:



Jesus said to the Pharisees: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"



3. A moment of prayerful silence



that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life. 



4. Some questions



to help us in our personal reflection.



a) Which point of the text pleased you most and what struck you most? Why?

b) Compare the situation of the poor man and of the rich man before and after death. What is their situation before death? What changes in the situation of the poor man and of the rich man after death?

c) What separates the poor man from the rich man before death? What separates the rich man from the poor man after death?

d)
In the conversation between the rich man and Father Abraham, what does the rich man ask and what is Abraham’s response?

e)
In this parable, the situation changes only after death. Would it be that Jesus wants to tell us that during life the poor have to bear everything in order to be able then to merit Heaven? What do you think?

f) There are some people who, like the rich man of the parable, expect miracles in order to be able to believe in God. But God asks us to believe in Moses and in the prophets. And I, toward which side does my heart tend: toward the miracle or toward the Word of God?

g) How do I treat the poor? For me, do they have a name? 



5. For those who wish to deepen more into the theme



a) Context:



i) In the Gospel of Luke, from Chapter 9 (Lk 9:51), we are accompanying Jesus on His journey toward Jerusalem. Here in chapters 15 and 16, as to say, we reach the summit, the center of the journey, from where it is possible to see the road that has already been covered and that which still has to be covered. Or, that is, that on the summit of the hill, or in the center of the Gospel, we perceive with greater clarity the two principal themes which go through the Gospel of Luke, from beginning to end. In chapter 15, the parable of the father with his two sons reveals to us the tenderness and the mercy of God who accepts all. Now chapter 16 presents to us the parable of the poor Lazarus to reveal the attitude that we should have before the problem of poverty and of social injustice.



ii) Every time that Jesus has something important to communicate, He narrates or tells a parable; He creates a story which mirrors the reality of the people. Thus, during the reflection on visible reality, He leads those who listen to discover the invisible appeals of God, present in life. A parable is made to make people think and reflect. This is why it is important to be attentive even to small details. In the parable on which we are meditating, there are three persons: Lazarus, the poor man, the only one who does not speak; the rich man without a name, who speaks to ask for favors; Father Abraham, who, in the parable, represents the thought of God. The rich man without a name represents the dominating ideology of the government of the time. Lazarus represents the excruciating cry of the poor at the time of Jesus, of the time of Luke and of all times.



b) Commentary on the text:



Luke 16:19-21: The situation of the rich man and of the poor man.

Here we have the two extremes of society: on the one hand, the aggressive richness; on the other, the poor without any resources, without any rights, covered with ulcers and wounds, impure, with nobody to accept him, to receive him, except the little dogs which lick his wounds. What separates both of them is only a door: the closed door of the house of the rich man. On his part there is no acceptance, no pity for the problem of the poor man who is before his door. But in the parable, the poor man has a name, while the rich man does not. The name of the poor man is Lazarus, which means God helps. 

Through the poor God helps, the rich and the rich man could have his name written in the Book of Life. The rich man does not accept to be helped by the poor man, because he continues to keep the door closed. This beginning of the parable, which describes the situation, is a faithful mirror of what happens in the time of Jesus and of Luke. It is also the mirror of what happens today!



Luke 16:22: The change revealed by the truth which was hidden. 

“Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The rich man also died and was buried”. In the parable, the poor man dies before the rich man. This is a warning for the rich. Up to the time when the poor man was before the door, alive, it is still possible for the rich man to be saved. But after the poor man dies,  the rich man also dies. Today, millions of poor people die, victims of the geopolitics of the rich countries. 

The poor man dies and is carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The embrace of Abraham is the source of life, from where is born the People of God. Lazarus, the poor man, belongs to the People of God, forms part of the People of Abraham , from which he is excluded because he was at the door of the rich man. The rich man, who thinks that he is a son of Abraham , also dies and is buried. But he does not go toward the embrace of Abraham, because he is not a son of Abraham!

The introduction of the parable ends here. Now begins the revelation of its meaning, through three conversations between the rich man and Father Abraham.



Luke 16:23-26: The first conversation between the rich man without a name and Father Abraham.

The parable is like a window which Jesus opens for us on the other side of life, the side of God. It is not a question of Heaven. It is a question of the true side of life discovered only by faith and that the rich man, without faith, does not perceive. The dominating ideology prevents him from discovering it. And it is only in the light of death that the ideology disintegrates in the mind of the rich man, and that the true value of life appears to him. On God’s part, without the ideology and the deceiving propaganda of the government, their luck will be changed: The rich man suffers, the poor man is happy. The rich man, in seeing Lazarus in Abraham’s embrace asks that Lazarus give some relief to his suffering. In the light of death, the rich man discovers that Lazarus is his only possible benefactor. But now it is too late! The rich man without a name is a Jew (or Christian), is “pious”, knows Abraham, and calls him Father. Abraham responds and calls him son. That means, in reality, this word of Abraham is addressed to the rich who are alive. In so far as being alive, they also have the possibility of becoming sons of Abraham, if they open the door to Lazarus, to the poor man, to the only one who in God’s name can help them. For the rich man, closed up in his suffering, salvation consisted of a drop of water which Lazarus could give him. In reality, for the rich man, salvation does not consist in Lazarus giving him a drop of water to refresh his tongue, but rather, that he himself, the rich man, open the closed door of his house and enters into contact with the poor man. It is only in this way that it will be possible to overcome the great abyss which separates him.

In Abraham’s response, the truth of the four curses appears before the rich man: (Lk 6: 24-26).

But alas for you who are rich: 

you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have plenty to eat now: 

you shall go hungry. 

Alas for you who are laughing now: 

you shall mourn and weep.

Alas for you when everyone speaks well of you! 

This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.



Luke 16:27-29: The second conversation between the rich man and Abraham

The rich man insists, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers!” The rich man does not want his brothers to suffer the same torment. “Send Lazarus!” Lazarus, the poor man, is the only true intermediary between God and the rich. But the rich man, during his life was not concerned for the poor Lazarus. He is concerned about himself and his brothers. He was never concerned about the poor! It is like the older son of the “Parable of the Father with two sons” (Lk 15:25-30). The older one wanted to have a feast with his friends, and not with his brother who had been lost. Abraham’s response is clear: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them!” They have the bible! The rich man had the bible. He knew it even by heart. But he never became aware that the bible had something to do with the poor who were at his door. The key to understanding the meaning of the bible and of salvation is poor Lazarus, sitting at the door of the rich man!



c) Extending the information:



Because of the unjust social context at the time of Jesus:



In the year 64 B.C. the Romans invaded Palestine and imposed upon the people a very heavy tax. The scholars estimate that more or less half of the family income was destined to pay the taxes, the taxes of the Roman government. Besides, Rome made a geopolitical reorganization in the region. Before the Roman invasion, the whole region, from Tyre to Sidon up to the frontier with Egypt, was governed by the Asmonei, the prolongation of the Maccabees. After the invasion, only three regions remained under the government of the Jews: Judea, Pereira and Galilee. In order to be able to maintain the control on dominated peoples with a minimum of sacrifice and at their own expense, the Romans were the Sadducees, the elders, some publicans and some of the priests. Thus, all this change brought about by the Roman invasion caused almost all the Jews who were living in the other territories of that region to migrate toward Judea and Galilee. The consequence of this: the population was doubled in Judea and in Galilee and the family income diminished by half. The result: on the one hand, progressive impoverishment, unemployment, begging, extreme poverty; on the other, exaggerated enrichment of the local population, supported by the Romans. The faithful picture of this situation is expressed in the parable of  poor Lazarus and of the rich man who had no pity.



Final Reflection around the parable



The rich man who has everything and who closes himself up in himself, loses God, loses the richness, loses life, loses himself, loses his name, loses everything. The poor man who has nothing, has God, gains life, has a name, gains everything. The poor man is Lazarus; he is “God helps”. God comes to us in the person of the poor man sitting at our door, to help us overcome the insurmountable abyss created by the rich who have no heart. Lazarus is also Jesus, the poor Messiah and servant, who was not accepted, but whose death radically changed all things. And in the light of the death of the poor man, everything changes.



The place of torment is the situation of the people without God. Even if the rich man thinks that he has a religion and faith, he does not know how to be with God because he does not open the door to the poor man, as Zacchaeus did (Lk 19:1-10). 



6. Prayer of a Psalm



Psalm 15 (14): Yahweh, who can find a home in Your tent?



Yahweh, who can find a home in Your tent, 

who can dwell on Your holy mountain?



Whoever lives blamelessly, 

who acts uprightly, 

who speaks the truth from the heart,

who keeps the tongue under control, 

who does not wrong a comrade, 

who casts no discredit on a neighbor,

who looks with scorn on the vile, 

but honors those who fear Yahweh, 

who stands by an oath at any cost,

who asks no interest on loans, 

who takes no bribe to harm the innocent. 

No one who so acts can ever be shaken. 



7. Final Prayer



Lord Jesus, we thank You for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May Your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice what Your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, Your mother, not only listen to but also practice the Word. You live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.


Lectio Divina:
2019-09-29
Friday, 05 March 2010 22:13

Lectio Divina: 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Written by

 The parable of the unfaithful steward

Fidelity to God as the only Lord

Luke 16:1-13



1. Opening prayer



Lord, my Father, today I bring before You my weakness, my shame, my distance from You; I no longer hide my dishonesty and infidelity, because You know and see everything, in depth, with the eyes of Your love and compassion.



I ask You, good Doctor, pour on my wound the balm of Your Word, of Your voice which speaks to me, calls me and teaches me. Do not take away Your gift, who is the Holy Spirit: allow Him to breathe on me, as a breath of life, from the four winds; that He envelops me as a tongue of fire and inundates me as water of salvation; send Him to me from Your holy Heaven, as the dove of truth, to announce, today also, that You are and that You wait for me, that You take me with You, after all, as on the first day, when You shaped me and created and called me. 



Lucas 16, 1-13



2. Reading



a) To insert the passage in its context:



This evangelical pericope belongs to the great section of the narration of Luke which includes the long journey of Jesus towards Jerusalem; it opens in Lk 9:51 to end in Lk 19:27. This section, in turn, is subdivided into three parts, as three stages in the journey of Jesus, each one of which is introduced by an annotation almost like a repetition: “Jesus resolutely turned His face towards Jerusalem” (9:51); “Through towns and villages He went teaching, making His way to Jerusalem” (13:22); “…on the way to Jerusalem He was traveling in the borderlands of Samaria and Galilee” (17:11); to reach the conclusion in 19:28: “When He had said this He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem”, when Jesus enters the city.



We find ourselves in the second part, from Lk 13:22 to 17:10 which includes diverse teachings, which Jesus offers to His interlocutors: the crowds, the Pharisees, the scribes, and the disciples. In this unity, Jesus enters into dialogue with His disciples and offers them a parable to indicate which is the correct use of the goods of this world and how our own life should be wisely administered, inserted in a filial relation with God. Then follow three “sayings” or secondary applications of the same parable in diverse situations, which help the disciples to make space for the new life in the Spirit, which the Father offers them.



b) To help in the reading of the passage:



vv. 1-8: Jesus tells the parable of the wise and shrewd steward: a man, accused of his excessive greed, which has become unbearable, who finds himself in a decisive and difficult moment in his life, but who succeeds in using all his human resources to turn to good his clamorous failure. Just like this son of the world has known how to discern his own interests, so also the children of light have to learn to discern the will of love and the gift of their Father, to live like Him.

v. 9: Jesus makes us understand that also dishonest and unjust richness, which is that of this world, if used for the good, as a gift, leads to salvation.

vv. 10-12: Jesus explains that the goods of this world are not to be demonized, but rather are to be understood for the value which they have. They are said to be “minimum”, they are “the little” of our life, but we are called to administer them faithfully and attentively, because they are a means to enter into communion with the brothers and sisters and therefore, with the Father.

v. 13: Jesus offers a fundamental teaching: there is only one and unique end in our life and this is God, the Lord. To seek to serve any other reality means to become slaves, to bind ourselves to deceit and to die even now.



c) The text:



Jesus said to his disciples, "A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, 'What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.' The steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.' He called in his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, 'How much do you owe my master?' He replied, 'One hundred measures of olive oil.' He said to him, 'Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.' Then to another the steward said, 'And you, how much do you owe?' He replied, 'One hundred kors of wheat.' The steward said to him, 'Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.' And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. "For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon."



3. A moment of prayerful silence



I accept the silence of this moment, of this sacred time of encounter with Him. I who am poor, without money, without possessions, without house and without my own strength, because nothing comes from me, but everything comes from Him. It is His. I allow myself to be taken in by His richness of compassion and of mercy. 



4. Some Questions



a) Like any Christian I am also an “administrator” of the Lord, the rich man of our existence, the only one who possesses goods and riches. What is it that regulates my thoughts daily and, consequently, my daily choices, my actions, my relations?

b) Life, goods, the gifts which my Father has given me, these infinite riches, which are worth more than any other thing in the world, am I wasting them, am I throwing them away like pearls to the pigs? 

c) 
The unfaithful steward, but wise and shrewd, suddenly changes his life, changes relations, calculations, thoughts. Today is a new day. It is the beginning of a new life, regulated according to the logic of remission, of pardon, of distribution: do I know that true wisdom is hidden in mercy? 

d) “Either you will love one or will love the other…” Whose servant do I want to be? In whose house do I want to live? Together with whom do I want to live my life? 



5. A key for reading



* “Who is the steward of the Lord?



Luke, in the parable, uses the term “administrator or steward” or “administration” seven times, and thus it becomes the key word of the passage and of the message that the Lord wants to give me. Then, I try to look in scripture for some traces, or a light which will help me to understand better and to verify the administration that the Lord has entrusted to me in my life.



This reality is repeated in the Old Testament several times , especially referring to the royal richness or to the richness of the city or of the empires: in the Book of  Chronicles, for example, it is spoken about the administrators of King David (1 Chr 27:31; 28:1) and the meeting of administrators of the kings and the princes also in the Book of Esther (3:9), Daniel (2:49; 6:4) and Tobit (1:22). It is a totally worldly administration, linked to possessions, to money, to wealth, to power; therefore, bound to a negative reality, such as accumulation, usurpation, violence. It is, in one word, an administration which ends, which is short-lived and deceitful, no matter if it is recognized that this is also, in a certain way, necessary for the good functioning of society. The negative aspects, or the positive, come from their use and not from the objects themselves.



The New Testament, on the other hand, immediately introduces me into a diverse dimension, higher, because it concerns the things of the spirit, of the soul, those things which do not end, do not change with the change of time and of people. Saint Paul says, “Each one should consider himself as Christ’s servant, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. In such a matter, what is expected of stewards is that each one should be found trustworthy” (1Cor 4,1 ff), and in Peter: “Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these varied graces of God, put it at the service of others” (1 Pet 4:10). Therefore, I understand that I am also an administrator of the mysteries and of the grace of God, through the simple and poor instrument, which is my own life; in it I am called to be faithful and good. But this adjective “good”, is the same which John uses referring to the Shepherd, to Jesus: “kalòs” that is, beautiful and good. Why? Simply, because He offers His life to the Father for the sheep. This is the unique, true administration which is entrusted to me in this world, for the future world.



* What is the shrewdness of the administrator of the Lord?



The passage says that the master praises his dishonest steward, because he acted with “astuteness” and he repeats the word “shrewd”, a bit later. Perhaps a more correct translation could be “sage”, that is “wise”, or “prudent”. It is a wisdom that results from an attentive, deep thinking, from reflection, from study and the application of the mind, of affection for something which is of great interest. As an adjective this term is found, for example, in Mt 7:24, where true wisdom is shown of the man who builds his house on rock and not on sand, that is, the man who bases his existence on the word of the Lord or also in Mt 25, where he says that the virgins who had the oil for their lamps were wise, so that they will not be taken over by darkness, but who know how to wait always with invincible, incorruptible love, for their Spouse and Lord, when he returns. Therefore, this steward is wise and prudent, not because he takes advantage of others, but because he has known how to regulate and transform his life according to the measure and the form of the life of his Lord: he has committed himself totally, with his whole being, mind, heart, will, desire in imitating the one he serves.



* Dishonesty and injustice



Another word which is repeated many times is “dishonest”, “dishonesty”; the steward is said to be dishonest and thus also rich in injustice. Dishonesty is a characteristic which can corrode the being, in big things, in the great, but also in the small. The Greek text does not precisely use the word “dishonest”, but the “administrator or steward of injustice”, “richness of injustice”, and “unjust in the minimum”, “unjust in much”. Injustice is a bad distribution, not impartial or just, not balanced; it lacks harmony, it lacks a center which will attract all energy, all care and intent to itself; it causes fractures, wounds, pain over pain, accumulation on one side and lack of all on the other. All of us, in some way, come into contact, with the reality of injustice, because it belongs to this world. And we feel dragged on one and other side; we lose harmony, balance and beauty; and we cannot deny it because it is like that. The Gospel precisely condemns this strong lack of harmony, which is accumulation, to keep things aside, to increase them continually, possession and it shows us the way to obtain healing, which is a gift or giving, sharing, to give with an open heart, with mercy, like the Father does with us, without getting tired, without becoming less or poor.



* And, what is mammon?



The word mammon appears in the whole Bible, in this chapter of Luke in (vv. 9,11, and 13) and in Mt 6:24. It is a Semitic term which corresponds to “riches”, “possession”, “gain”, but it becomes almost the personification of the god-money which men serve very foolishly, slaves of that “unquenchable greed, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5). Here everything becomes clear; it is full light. Now, I know well which is the question which I still have, after the encounter with this Word of the Lord: “I, whom do I want to serve?” The choice is only one, unique, and concrete. I keep in my heart this colossal, marvelous and sweet verb, the verb “to serve” and I ponder it, and I draw from it all the substance of truth which it contains. The words of Joshua to the people come to my mind: “If serving Yahweh seems a bad thing to you, today you must make up your minds whom you do mean to serve!” (Josh 24:15). I know that I am unjust, that I am an unfaithful administrator, foolish. I know that I have nothing, but today I choose, with everything that I am , to serve the Lord. (cf. Acts 20:19; I Thess 1:9; Gal 1:10; Rom 12:11). 



6. A Moment of Prayer: Psalm 49



Reflection of Wisdom on the heart 

which finds its riches in the presence of God



 Blessed are you who are poor: 

the kingdom of God is yours.



Hear this, all nations, listen, all who dwell on earth,

people high and low, rich and poor alike!

My lips have wisdom to utter, 

my heart good sense to whisper.

I listen carefully to a proverb; 

I set my riddle to the music of the harp. 



Why should I be afraid in times of trouble? 

Malice dogs me and hems me in.

They trust in their wealth, 

and boast of the profusion of their riches.

But no one can ever redeem himself 

or pay his own ransom to God,

the price for himself is too high; it can never be

that he will live on for ever 

and avoid the sight of the abyss. 



For he will see the wise also die 

no less than the fool and the brute, 

and leave their wealth behind for others.

In prosperity people lose their good sense, 

they become no better than dumb animals.

But my soul God will ransom from the clutches of Sheol, 

and will snatch me up. 



Do not be overawed when someone gets rich, 

and lives in ever greater splendor;

when he dies he will take nothing with him, 

his wealth will not go down with him.

Though he pampered himself while he lived

- and people praise you for looking after yourself -

he will go to join the ranks of his ancestors, 

who will never again see the light. 



“God wants a gratuitous love, that is, a pure love…God fills the hearts, not the strongbox or coffer. What are riches good for if your heart is empty?” (St. Augustine). 



7. Closing Prayer



Lord, thank You for this time spent with You, listening to Your voice which spoke to me with love and infinite mercy; I feel that my life is healed only when I remain with You, in You, when I allow You to take me. You have taken in Your hands my greed, which renders me dry and arid, which closes me up, and makes me sad and leaves me alone; You have taken my insatiable avarice, which fills me with emptiness and pain; You have accepted and taken upon Yourself my ambiguity and infidelity, my tired and awkward limping. Lord, I am happy when I open myself to You and show You all my wounds! Thank You for the balm of Your Word and of Your silence. Thank You for the breath of Your Spirit, which takes away the bad breath of evil, of the enemy. 

Lord, I have robbed.  I know it.  I have taken away what was not mine. I have buried it, I have wasted it; from now on I want to begin to return, to give back, I want to live my life as a gift always multiplied and shared among many. My life is a small thing, but in Your hands it will become barrels of oil, measures of grain, consolation and food for my brothers and sisters.

Lord, I have no other words to say before such great and overflowing love. That is why I do only one thing: I open the doors of the heart and with a smile, I will accept all those whom You will send to me… (Acts 28:30).


Lectio Divina:
2019-09-22
Page 221 of 237

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