Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Reflections, November 2016

01 November, Tuesday
Readings: Rev7:2-4, 9-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12
Solemnity: All Saints

Today, we celebrate the solemnity of all the saints; it is to look at those who already have the inheritance of eternal glory. They are those who wanted to live the grace of adopted sons, who left to the mercy of the Father giving life every moment of their lives, every fibre of their hearts. The Saints contemplate the face of God and rejoice full of this vision. They are the brothers that the Church offers us as models because, sinners like everyone, they all agreed to being encountered by Jesus, through their desires, their weaknesses, their suffering, and also their sorrows. This bliss that gives them their share in the life of the Holy Trinity is a result of overabundance that the blood of Christ has purchased. Despite the nights, through constant purifications that love requires to be true love, and sometimes beyond all human hope, they all wanted to burn themselves in love and disappear so that Jesus was gradually everything in them. It is Mary, Queen of all Saints, who tirelessly brought them to this way of poverty, it is after her that they have learned to get around as a free gift of the Son; It is with her that they currently live, and in the Father’s bosom.

02 November, Wednesday
Readings: Isa 25:6-9; Rom 5:5-11; Lk 7:11-17
Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed

For us Christians, death is the eternal transit that is the true birth, that for all eternity we celebrate once and forever the day when the Lord calls us to be part of his eternal Kingdom in the holy Paradise. Today, on the annual commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, we as believers reflect on the meaning of life, rather than on the meaning of death, because death, despite being a biological fact, natural, actually it is not about the human being, because, according to the spiritual and immortal soul, one is not subject to eternal death and if one goes through bodily death there is also a final resurrection. In short, death is not the last act of an individual human and personal history, but the beginning of a new life, the life of communion with God. And we in this day of reflection and prayer for our dead brothers , those closest to us by bonds of affection and of blood, to those unknown and forgotten by all, we praise the Lord who has opened, through his death on the Cross and resurrection the gap to a blessed eternity. Today we celebrate our Passover, one of the true passages from death to life.

03 November, Thursday
Readings: Phil 3:3-8; Lk 15:1-10
Justice Day

It is not easy today to recognize the need of conversion. The education and catechesis give it a try. The invitation to conversion is indirectly launched since the shepherds are afraid that churches are even more deserted. Even in our private lives, often, we close our eyes to the mistakes of the brothers, because we do not want to risk losing them. The illusion of not guilty imprisons Christians also. But approve or excuse goes against the whole biblical tradition, beginning with the Old Testament prophets to the preaching of the last apostle. But that is not all: this pastoral trend has not a realistic spiritual support or a basis in catechesis. It is rare that man is happy as when she responds to the conversion. “Neither do I condemn you, go and from now on sin no more” (Jn 8:11). What could give us a deeper joy of the return to the Father who loves us, who is already waiting for us and gives us his forgiveness without asking anything in return? If the sense of sin and conversion tends to disappear altogether from the pastoral messages, you have to search for the reason in the society around us, which is turned away from God. Only those who are touched by the majesty and holiness of God become conscious of sin, in oneself and in others. The conversion then becomes key word, not only because it allows men a foretaste of eternal happiness, but also because God rejoices. When Jesus speaks of ‘heaven’ (Lk 15:7), actually he alludes to God. And in the court of heaven (Lk 15:10) pours a joy to know that many Christians do not know the intensity and depth. This Gospel passage is really good news. Who does not forget about it, can never lose hope, in whatever situation! And this good news will encourage more men to follow Jesus to the lost sheep to announce the mercy of God so that God will have joy.

04 November, Friday
Readings: Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 16:1-8
Memoria: St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop

A good shepherd is an excellent gift to the Church; like St. Charles Borromeo has been for the Church of Milan. Consecrated bishop at the age of 25, this young man, who lived in ease and in honor of his rank, he gave his all to the service of his people, lavishing wealth and health by supporting efforts and extreme penance, which will certainly shortened life. He advocated with energy and patience the application of the Council of Trent, with the constant concern to train holy and zealous priests. The love of Jesus crucified was for him the model and continuous encouragement. He was the man of prayer, of tears, of penance understood not as heroic work but as mysterious participation, passionate in the sufferings of Christ, on coming into the sin of the world, almost to the heart burst and division soul. Today we pray in a special way for our pope, true good shepherd fearless and heedless of himself, which multiplies the trips, speeches, that welcomes everyone, announcing with courage and frankness the truth of the Gospel in every situation and at every point in the world.

05 November, Saturday
Readings: Phil 4:10-19; Lk 16:9-15

The first words of the Gospel today derive a moral parable of the unfaithful. Jesus asks us to use the money and wealth well. The very term ‘mammon’, a Greek and a Hebrew origin, is linked to the idea of ​​‘faithful’, ‘rely on’. The wealth must be used for ‘eternal dwellings’. Only then, as Jesus teaches the disciples, the hope that we entrust to the unequal wealth will produce like fruit eternity and fidelity. So when the Lord speaks of the true riches, you do not want to erase the difference between what belongs to me and that, instead, belongs to you. The goods of others shall not in any case be removed from them. The eschatological perspective is remembered not because in our relations with earthly riches reign in some ways arbitrary, but because money can have a man fascinating for power. Gospel passage appeal to material possessions has nowadays a force rarely achieved in the past. This is probably a consequence of our economic system. Only caution we can preserve the danger of a new slavery. Not to mention that all television networks, all speakers drive men to yield to new needs and to seek satisfaction with the purchase of material goods. This market constantly stimulates our materialistic attitudes. A trend which, moreover, is confirmed by philosophical theories like “I am what I own” by Jean-Paul Sartre.

“You cannot serve God and mammon.” Let us be cautious that money may not lead us astray, even from God. Money should become the means to do justice and charity. Service to the poor will help us to come close to the presence of God.

06 November, Sunday
Readings: 2 Macc 7:2, 9-14; 2 Thess 2:16-3:5; Lk 20:27-38

After the Pharisees and scribes there appear new enemies of Jesus in the form of the Sadducees. They belonged to an aristocratic set of priestly families. They denied the resurrection from the dead and wanted to trap Jesus. They were concerned that the influx of crowds to Jesus could turn into political turmoil that Romans would be brutally suppressed. Therefore they sought to limit the influence on the public life of Jesus. For this purpose, they told a story of their invention on the seven brothers and the wife to ridicule Jesus and the belief in the resurrection. In fact, the derision turned against opponents of Jesus. In fact, Jesus shows that the future world is not an extension of this, says that death will be overcome and that those who will be raised in the life of God and no longer be submissive the biological laws of this world. In the discussion to follow, based on Exodus (Ex 3:6), the book that the Sadducees held sacred, Jesus presents a biblical argument about eternal life: “God is not God of the dead,” and it would be if Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they might not live longer. But they live and give glory to God. This also means that only those who live for God really live. God invites all men to his Father’s house; because he wants us all benefit with him the fullness of life in immortality.

07 November, Monday
Readings: Tit 1:1-9; Lk 17:1-6

Today’s gospel is part of ‘Some Sayings of Jesus’ from Luke. These sayings include about Scandal, forgiveness and faith. Jesus warns the persons who are the source of scandal. Scandalize means leading others to confusion of good and evil, away from what God expects; bringing about the fall of one’s brother is even more serious than falling or deceiving themselves. Let us examine ourselves: am I scandalous person? If so, that attitude is to be completely eliminated from us. That is what Jesus tells us. As we are weak humans, let us realize that with the help of God we can resist the evil and the temptations. We have a responsibility not to judge others, and to seek to forgive unconditionally. This is what the faith demands from us. But faith is not a matter of quantity: the essential is that it is, even in embryo, our trust in Christ, our momentum toward him, our desire for him.

Promise: In a context where not only as individuals but also as communities and societies people hurt each other, we are all called to be ambassadors of mercy, forgiveness and healing. Lord, make me today an instrument of peace and reconciliation, and my thoughts, words and actions reflect your merciful and forgiving presence in the world (Ave).

08 November, Tuesday
Readings: Tit 2:1-8, 11-14; Lk 17:7-10

No one will deny the fact that the sayings of Jesus in today’s gospel describe accurately the relationship between people, masters and servants. Jesus wants us his disciples who would be ready to serve others without seeking any reward. Jesus never demands from us something he has not done. Jesus was the master of every one of us and the whole universe. But, he is in the midst of the people ‘as one who serves’ (Lk 22:27). He washed the feet of his apostles to give us the example (cf. Jn 13:15). Announced God’s mercy, compassion and humility and thus expresses his love that reaches us. Jesus lived according to the will of the Father. His preaching always centred on the kingdom of God. Let us make our lives more meaningful by doing what is expected of us from God. Let us do the will of God in our lives. Let us pray, Lord, take away from our soul all traces of our ego and fill us with your love and the attitude of service.

09 November, Wednesday
Readings: Ezek 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 or 1 Cor 3:9-11, 16-17; Jn 2:13-22
Feast: Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

When the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312, he donated to Pope the Lateran palace, which he had built for his wife Fausta Celio. In 320, he added a church, the church of the Lateran, the first and dignity of all the churches of the West. It is considered the mother of all churches. Consecrated by Pope Sylvester on November 9, 324, with the Basilica of the Holy Savior name, it was the first ever to be publicly consecrated church. During the twelfth century, because of its baptistery, which is the oldest in Rome, it was dedicated to St. John the Baptist; hence the current name of Basilica is St. John Lateran. For more than ten centuries, the Popes had their residence in its vicinity, and within its walls were held two hundred and fifty councils, including five ecumenical. Partially destroyed by fire, war and neglect, it was rebuilt under Pope Benedict XIII and was again consecrated in 1726.

With the Lateran basilica, the Christians could finally worship and celebrate publicly Christ the Saviour. That was built to honor the Savior of the world, and was the symbol of victory; tangible sign of the spiritual temple which is the heart of the Christian, urges to give glory to the one who became flesh and who died and rose again, he lives in eternity. The anniversary of its dedication, originally celebrated only in Rome, it is commemorated now by all the communities of the Roman rite.
This feast must renew in us the love and attachment to Christ and to his Church. The mystery of Christ, who came “not to condemn the world, but to save the world” (Jn 12:47), should inflame our hearts, and the witness of our lives completely dedicated to serving the Lord and our brothers will remind the world the power of love of God, better than they can do in a stone building.

Promise: Let us always respect and uphold the dignity of our own bodies and those of the others and love a meaningful and fulfilling life.

10 November, Thursday
Readings: Philem 7-20; Lk 17:20-25
Memoria: St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

The question Jesus asked his disciples puts continually to us, to commit ourselves to contemplate more deeply, to deepen its mystery: “Who do you say that I am?” St. Leo the Great, who became Pope in the fifth century, said with bright faith Christ’s divinity and his humanity: Christ, the Son of the living God and Son of Mary, a man like us. He has not accepted, so to express ourselves, which shortened the mystery, either in one direction or another and the Council of Chalcedon has sought a formula that preserves all revelation. God has revealed Himself to us in the Son, and the Son is a man who has lived among us, suffered, died, was resurrected. “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb 1:1). And speaking through the prophets God had desired his presence: “If you would rend the heavens and come down!” Isaiah exclaimed. And God came down, is made present in the Son: “God has spoken to us by a Son.”

Promise: Let us not fall prey to the false teachers and their promises for material gains. Let us pray for the wisdom and discernment to follow the teaching of the servants of God: bishops, priests, religious and the laity.

11 November, Friday
Readings: 2 Jn 1:3-9; Lk 17:26-37
Memoria: St. Martin of Tours - Bishop

Martin of Tours as soldier and catechumen, revealed his evangelical charity giving half cloak to a poor benumbed by cold. After Baptism began under the leadership of Hilary (339) and founded a monastery (360), the first in the West. Ordained a priest and bishop of Tours (372) became an apostle of rural populations with the help of the great monks of the monastery in Tours. He joined the group to communicate the Gospel by incessant social elevation of farmers and shepherds. His figure has fundamental importance in the history of the Church under the aspect of pastoral, liturgical and monastic. Saint very popular and the first confessor martyr to be venerated with liturgical rite.

The Gospel today invites us to live according to God’s will and not to ignore God’s will designs for us. We are busy making money forgetting about the human dignity and destiny. For many of us, pleasure has become the most important! We never try to eliminate violence, corruption and injustices that destroy human dignity. God invites us to be other-centred.  Jesus says, “Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it” (Lk 17:33).

Promise: Let us not be deceived by the falsity of the world by hold on to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

12 November, Saturday
Readings: 3 Jn 1:5-8; Lk 18:1-8

Prayer is important in our life; it is the heart and soul of our Christian life; it communicating with God. It is our spiritual life. It nourishes and sustains our human soul; it is in prayer, that we encounter God and find meaning and fulfillment of our life. In today’s Gospel tells us the need to pray continually and never lose heart. He tells us the parable of the poor widow who persistently asks the judge to do justice for her. We should have perseverance in our prayer. God will come to our help and grant us whatever we need in our life. Let us remember in our prayer also others who are in difficulty. Prayer enables us to establish the right relationship with God and thus with one another. We can take to God all our life in prayer.

Promise: Let us pray for justice in the world. Let us pray for the gift of perseverance in our prayer.

13 November, Sunday
Readings: Mal 3:19-20; 2 Thess 3:7-12; Lk 21:5-19
XXXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time
World Communication Day

The disciples admire the architecture of the Jerusalem temple. The eyes of Jesus will go further: he sees the destruction of Jerusalem, natural catastrophes, the signs from heaven, the persecutions of the Church and the appearance of false prophets. They are manifestations of the decomposition of the old world marked by sin and the birth pangs of a new heaven and a new earth. In all the pressures and extortions exerted on the Church, we should not see some grim tragedy, because they purify our faith, our hope and comfort. We have many opportunities to witness to Christ. Otherwise the world would not know his Gospel or the power of his love. But a greater danger is upon us: there are the false prophets who pretend to be Christ or who speak in his name. Taking advantage of unrest and upheaval caused by history, the false prophets earn their ideologies, their pseudo-scientific ideas about the world and their pseudo-religions. The real coming of Christ will instead be so obvious that no one will doubt. Jesus encourages his disciples of every age to remain at his side until the end. He will turn all the misery, all the failures and even a martyr’s death and glorious resurrection in adoration.

World Communication Day: To communicate means to create a healthy, free and fraternal close relationship with others. The silence to listen to God and the world we choose to communicate with others are very important.

14 November Monday
Rev 1:1-4; 2:1-5; Lk 18:35-43

Faith in Jesus heals us and brings us wholeness and salvation. Jesus listens to the people who cry to him in faith. In today’s gospel, the blind beggar cries to Jesus, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me”. People scolded him and ordered him to keep quiet. But Jesus listens to his cry of faith. The blind beggar was a man of faith and believed in Jesus and so he could transform his life. He did not ask Jesus for money but asked for the favour of sight for his eyes. His faith his great in Jesus; he calls Jesus as ‘Son of David’ whereas the people called “Nazarene’. We need to be aware and recognize of the presence of Jesus, his power to heal and restoration. He brings both physical and spiritual wholeness. We need to surrender ourselves completely to Jesus; and surely we will be transformed by the healing power of Jesus.

15 November Tuesday
Rev 3:1-6, 14-22; Lk 19:1-10

Today’s gospel speaks about Zacchaeus who wanted to see Jesus and transform his life. Zacchaeus means clean and pure; but he was a tax-collector, an agent of Roman oppression and so was called sinner in the society. His job made him a rich man but physically and morally, he was small in stature. He was hated by his own people. He heard about Jesus healing the blind man in Jericho and was curious to see Jesus. It is another occasion where we come to know that Jesus knows every person by name and knows every heart. Jesus looked at Zacchaeus, called him by name and visited his house. We need to appreciate the great desire of Zacchaeus that he wanted to see Jesus. Together with his desire, Zacchaeus made an effort to see Jesus. His desire and efforts were born out of faith. This leads him to conversion. Now he is really clean and pure. Do you want happen this transformation in your life? Then have faith in Jesus, come to him and he will do the rest together with your efforts.

16 November Wednesday
Rev 4:1-11; Lk 19:11-28

“Our talents are the gifts that God gives to us… What we make of our talents is our gift back to God.” The parable in today’s gospel reminds us that it is God who gives us the talents and the abilities. We need to thank God for every gift, beginning with our gift of life. And remember, these talents are not for personal wealth and gaining admiration. God gives these talents to develop and use for the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Let us not become lazy by hiding our talents and abilities; let us make the best use of them; where there is a will, there is a way; trust in God. Let us not be disappointed in times of difficulties and the moments of confusion. The Lord is with us at all times. Let us pray to God that he may help us to rediscover the gifts and talents that we have and given by God Himself and we may use and share them to all for the glory of God.

17 November Thursday
Rev 5:1-10; Lk 19:41-44

Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city; he shed tears over it and said, “If you too had only recognized on this day the way to peace! But in fact it is hidden from your eyes! The city of Jerusalem signifies the word ‘peace’! Jesus is sad that he is not recognized by the people as the Messiah and the prince of peace. His numerous attempts were met with firm resistance and arrogance. Their minds were closed to the peace that the prince of peace offers. Jesus feels the rejection. Dear friends, we too often times close our eyes and hearts to this reality; the reality that Jesus alone can give us the true peace and happiness. We always cry there is no peace in our homes and in our relationships, because there is no Jesus in our homes and relationships. Let us pray that God may open our hearts and allow him to reign in us.

18 November, Friday
Rev 10:8-11; Lk 19:45-48

“My house shall be house of prayer.” Gospel of Like is the gospel of prayer. Jesus is upset seeing the temple which is turned into a market place, buying and selling. Jesus wanted to maintain serenity and sanctity in the temple so that it is suitable for prayer, to converse with God, the Father. Jesus makes it clear that our churches are the places where we experience God in prayer, and so he invites us to maintain silence and serenity in our churches. Let us not desecrate the churches. Jesus himself was cleansing the temple by chasing away the money changers and those busy trading there. But, the chief priests and the scribes and the leaders of the people, meanwhile were seeking to put Jesus to death.

At the same time let us not confine ourselves to the material churches alone. Church is the body of Christ. We are God’s temple; we are God’s dwelling places. Let us respect ourselves, others and live a life of holiness and worthy of God.

19 November, Saturday
Rev 11:4-12; Lk 20:27-40

Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees did not believe in the resurrection. They wanted to question Jesus regarding the resurrection. Their intention was to trap Jesus with the debate on the issue. Jesus draws the attention that our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. He led them to the deeper understanding of what life in and with God is. We often speak of heaven but none of us give a clear sense of it. St. Paul says, “What no eye has seen, not ear heard, not the human heart conceived, what God has prayed for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). The Bible tries to explain it with images and symbols. What is important for us is to live in faith. God loves us unconditionally. He continues to love us even our passing from this world. We have a life even after our death. We will be alive with God.

Let us live our present life here on earth loving God and one another and be assured that we will live with God, thereafter.

20 November, Sunday
2 Sam 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
XXXIV Sunday in Ordinary Time
Solemnity of Christ the King

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King; Jesus is the king of kings and he is the king of our lives. He is not like the other kings of this world. He established his kingdom by sacrificing his life. He forgave his enemies from the cross. His kingdom is of peace, joy, love and happiness. Christ the king died for the sin of each of us and of the world. He brought salvation for the whole world and so his kingdom is for the whole world. Today’s gospel reflects about the heavenly kingship of Jesus. His kingship is a kingship of obedience, of humility, of servanthood and of suffering and sacrifice for the salvation of all humanity. We have two options: to insult Christ the king like the unrepentant thief on the cross or accept Jesus as our king like the other thief who asked Jesus to remember him when he comes to his kingdom.

Jesus always proclaimed the kingdom in his preaching from the very beginning of his ministry; it was his clear mission: To preach the kingdom of God to the other towns for this purpose I have been sent (Lk 4:44); He taught his disciples to pray, Thy kingdom come (Mt 6:10); He told them, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things will be given to you (Mt 6:33). He asked this mission to continue, as you go, make this proclamation; the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt 10:7). Jesus explained this kingdom with images and parables.  Let us accept Jesus as the King and be part of his kingdom, that alone give us true peace, joy and happiness.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Daily Reflections: 17-31 October 2106

17 October, Monday
Readings: Eph 2:1-10; Lk 12:13-21
Memoria: Ignatius of Antioch

Today we remember St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was filled with immense hope in God. Paul says in Philippians that those without hope intend on worldly things. In Ephesians, Paul attributes the lack of faith to the immorality of the pagan world. Christians are wealthy men and women of great hope and they are the citizens of heaven. In today’s gospel too, Jesus gives us a sure hope, that is, the hope of preserving our lives for the sake of eternal life. St. Ignatius had such courage to have hope in the Lord. He resisted all temptations to withstand all the difficulties in his life. Ignatius said there is living water flowing in him that whispers to him: ‘come to the Father’; the expression of his hope is that the Word of Christ has become a source that gushes him to the Father. He had always great zeal to gain Christ and for this he always sought to be like Christ, even in his passion. In his hope, he runs to embrace martyrdom with great courage. He believed that the victory of martyrdom brings him to glory of being next to Christ. Ignatius shines in our eyes as a saint burning with fervour and love, which makes us ashamed of our attitude in front of small difficulties of our life. We must grow in hope in our sufferings. We must rejoice in our sufferings, because suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

18 October, Tuesday
Readings: 2 Tim 4:10-17; Lk 10:1-9
Feast: Luke, Evangelist

Luke, the evangelist is very dear to us, because he is the evangelist of mother Mary; it is through Luke only we have the Annunciation, the Visitation, the scenes of Christmas, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. He is also the evangelist of the heart of Jesus; it is Luke who reveals the mercy of Jesus in his gospel. The parables of the prodigal son, the lost and found are only found in Luke. He is the evangelist of the charity; he only tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke the Evangelist is therefore of trust, of peace, of joy; in short we can say that he is the evangelist of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles it is he who has found the formula so dear to the Christian community: ‘to form one heart and soul’. And the Christian community, founded on the love of Jesus and also on the love of poverty: only people not attached to worldly things for love of the Lord may be of one heart and one soul.

The gospel of Luke reveals also full of zeal for the mission; he only tells about the sending of the 72 disciples and the details of this mission. This reveals that the disciples are to be the messengers of Christ’s love. As Disciples of Christ, if our love is genuine, it truly brings the fruits of peace, joy and kindness. We need to detach ourselves from the worldly values to proclaim the kingdom of God.

19 October, Wednesday
Readings: Eph 3:2-12; Lk 12:39-48

The gospel prepares in us an attitude of expectation to receive Christ. This expectation is not aimed at the more or less distant that we cannot know, but it makes us turn to the present. The return of Christ is not like a big light that will cast shadows in the present world, but on the contrary He enlightens our present life! The present does not separate us from the one who comes. We are already bound to Christ by doing his will and serving those he has entrusted to us.

Jesus became the servant of all. He asks us in turn to truly serve others as he has shown. Amidst fear, his words remind us how great God’s confidence in us, a trust without reservation that, if not forgotten, elicits this response in the Christian: to imitate Christ himself.

20 October, Thursday
Readings: Eph 3:14-21; Lk 12:49-53

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, on the way to passion to offer his supreme sacrifice and to receive his ultimate baptism. He wants to gather all the people of God who are isolated. Jesus tells his disciples, “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! This fire is an image of God’s judgement. This fire is lit with the total rejection of Jesus. God gives us enough and more time to produce good fruits. But there comes when our time ends and judgement comes. Then the fruitless trees will be cut and thrown away.

Jesus said I came to bring division; it is not that Jesus wants to divide people from each other; on the contrary, Jesus is our peace, he is our reconciliation! But this peace is not the peace of the dead, is not neutrality; Jesus does not bring neutrality and this peace is not a compromise at all costs. To follow Jesus involves renouncing evil, selfishness and choose the good, truth, justice, even when it requires sacrifice and renunciation of one’s interest. Yes, it divides! We know, also that it divides the closest relationships. But let us be attentive that it is not Jesus who divides! He puts the criterion: to live for themselves, or to live for God and for others, to be served, or to serve, to obey the self or to obey God that is the sense in which Jesus is a ‘sign of contradiction’ (Lk 2:34). Which one do I choose?

21 October, Friday
Readings: Eph 4:1-6; Lk 12:54-59

Men do not recognize what is most obvious, that is the certainty that the kingdom of God is near. Yet they know how to look and know that the sea wind brings rain and the wind of the desert brings heat. To get out of this blindness we cannot remain passive, as if the signs of the coming of the kingdom were the miracles that we could watch as spectators. It is rather to recognize the will of God and do it. Christ tells us also clearly what is at the center of God’s will: it is to reconcile with one another on our journey. Forgiveness makes us enter in the truth of Jesus that the kingdom of God is near. In this way we prepare the coming of God. Christ insists and makes us clear that to refuse reconciliation is like to close the doors of the kingdom of God.

Jesus asks us to think with freedom, to reflect to understand what happens. However, the fundamental truth is that alone we cannot! We need the help of the Lord. With the help of God alone, we can understand the signs of the times. The Holy Spirit gives us this gift, namely, the intelligence to understand and not because others tell me what happens. Let us pray that we may understand the coming of the kingdom of God and let nothing prevent us from recognizing it!

22 October, Saturday
Readings: Eph 4:7-16; Lk 13:1-9
Memoria: St. John Paul II

Christ wants the killing of the Galileans and the incident of the tower of Siloam really touch the hearts of men who speak, and while they only want to know whether those who died were punished by God for their great sins. These people shut themselves in their human ideas about God, while Jesus came to open them the way to a true communion with God, in a new life. It is true that they will not find any new explanation to suffering, but will cross the events, even the most cruel, differently, with a different perspective. Jesus suffers not to be understood. Yet it is as the vinedresser, who makes the impossible to save the barren fig tree. He knows that it has to be saved through him what is lost.

Jesus highlights the aspect of repentance; it is a complete and total coming back to God. Am I ready to change my worldly ways and turn to God? Do I make efforts to change my ways, to improve my spiritual life to produce good fruits?

23 October, Sunday
Readings: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk 18:9-14
XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time

The word of the Lord we reflected last Sunday was to persevere in prayer - God will listen to those who persevere in their prayers. The Gospel passage of today also teaches on prayer: we must certainly pray and pray with perseverance. But this is not enough; we need to pray always more and more. And the first ornament of the prayer is the quality of humility, that is, to be convinced of our own poverty, our own imperfection and unworthiness. We learn from the first reading from the book of Sirach that God hears the prayer of the poor, especially the poor in spirit, that is, one who knows and declares without qualities, like the tax collector of the parable.

The prayer of the tax collector, that Jesus approves, not because of its merits, nor by its perfection but by the saving justice of God who, in His love, can compensate the lack of personal merits and this is divine justice that gets to the tax collector, without merits, returns home ‘righteous’ and ‘justified’.

24 October, Monday
Readings: Eph 4:32-5:8; Lk 13:10-17
Memoria: St. Antony Mary Claret - Bishop

The word of Jesus and his teaching is a force for our life. It straightens all that is human and wrong.
It heals all that is opposed to the fullness of life. The sick crippled woman is unable to get up for 18 years and the leader of the synagogue, indignant at the mercy of Jesus, because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath; for different reasons both are closed to experience the joy of praise. The woman is bent over her body, crushed by suffering that prevents her from standing before God. But through his eyes and his word, Jesus lends to her alone, the same attention that the entire assembly lends itself to the Sabbath, and restores her to the joy of living. The ruler of the synagogue is bent by the hardness of his heart. If he were truly standing before God, with unveiled face, perhaps he would have recognized the goodness of God in the healing of this woman? “Hypocrites” Jesus has not addressed only to him. He wishes to dispel any resistance to the fullness in all human hearts. He came to liberate human goodness by what hinders, because love without limits the human being finds God.

25 October, Tuesday
Readings: Eph 5:21-33; Lk 13:18-21

Jesus proclaimed the presence of the kingdom of God. For a Jew of his time listening to him there is nothing greater than the coming of the kingdom of God, because it represents the upheaval of the world that will be the fulfillment of everything.
But then, for those who were listening to Jesus and who were accompanying him, what difference between this evocation of God’s kingdom and the humble condition of Jesus! His words and his gestures are not perhaps out of proportion compared to the intervention of God who must recapitulate the whole history of the universe? Jesus teaches us to see the man who throws his mustard seed in the ground, the woman who hides his leaven in the dough, this is what everybody can see right away. But these gestures do not have the meaning that starting from their results, still hidden: the big tree, the dough.
In the same way, the word of Christ, in appearance humble, it is already the beginning, the inauguration of the kingdom of God. Wherever the Gospel is lived and transmitted, as poorly as it is, it unfolds a force of God capable of the impossible.

26 October, Wednesday
Readings: Eph 6:1-9; Lk 13:22-30

In the Old Testament, the prophets Micah (Mic 3,5ss), Jeremiah (Jer 14:13) and Ezekiel (Ezek 13.16) gave up the use of beautiful pictures to talk about the happiness that awaits us. They continued rather to announce the punishment to call the people to conversion. Their opponents, the heralds of happiness, used a very different language: They have healed the wound of my people, but only carelessly, saying: ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace (Jer 6:14). They reassured, encouraged and deceived people.

Jesus uses a completely different language in preaching. The door of salvation is not wide open. It cannot be sure for those who vaguely do God’s will and those practice injustice. Others will take his place in the kingdom of heaven. The same will happen to those who, not being too ready to listen, thinks he has done his calculations and have good well prepared to enter it: he had reckoned without his host.

Jesus stands definitely on the same line of the Old Testament prophets. It reminds us that we must not forget the sanctity and mystery of God. It is not right for us to think about having God forever on our side because of his undeniable love for us, maybe convenient and reassuring whenever we need him. God remains an unfathomable mystery. And even if we worry the question of the eternal salvation of those who do not know Jesus, or who have not followed clearly, the answer to these speculations cannot make the Word of God does not have any effect. The words of St. Paul remain a stable reference point: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

27 October, Thursday
Readings: Eph 6:10-20; Lk 13:31-35

Already the very name ‘Jesus’ assures us that God is salvation. From the beginning of his life, the titles that are attributed to the son of the Virgin of Nazareth are: Messiah and Saviour (cf. Lk 1:47). They indicate the direction of the being and mission of Jesus. “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow.” So he talks about himself and his mission in today’s Gospel. These are the signs that accompany the Prophet who brings men the Word of God, which lands and saves at the same time.

Jesus wants to gather the children of Jerusalem as a hen gathers her brood under her wings: seeks communion, risk their lives to draw to himself the contemporaries. And when he cries over them (cf. Lk 19:41), it is not about sentimentality: rather it is the expression of that important spiritual struggle he has undertaken for their salvation. He would like to bring them together, as a hen gathers around him his little to warm them, feed them, and protect them. And again, he wants to put into practice the commandments of the effort in the meekness and tilt in attention. He wants to be everything for them, because they are helpless and completely dependent on him. Whatever the cost: the commitment of his person is complete. He risks his own life. The attitude of Jesus and especially his love for us are the same for two thousand years.

Sometimes love is not loved in return. But, if love goes beyond a search for personal fulfillment, even when it is rejected, he does not give up. “It bears all things, believes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13.7). And this precisely shows the love of Jesus Christ and his love becomes tangible. He is joined to the one who says: “And the third day I finish” (Lk 13:32).
Because “dying in Jerusalem” (Lk 13:33) is not his last action. After the cross, the failure with Jesus takes on a new meaning. And the “third day” definitely ensures indestructibly the light of the resurrection.

28 October, Friday
Readings: Eph 2:19-22; Lk 6:12-19
Feast: Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles

The feast of the Apostles gives us the opportunity to have greater awareness of the two essential dimensions of the Church, which is the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, and cannot be one without the other. And illusion to believe they can receive the Holy Spirit without being part of the body of Christ, because the holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and receiving the body of Christ. The Church as the body of Christ also has a visible aspect: why Jesus chose the Twelve and chooses over time their successors, is to form the visible structure of his body, almost the incarnation continuation.

The first reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians expresses these two dimensions. “You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, being the cornerstone, Christ Jesus himself” is the visible aspect of the body of Christ, which is a body with its own structure. And in Christ, “the construction and grows”: each member has its own function and its own place. Paul writes later in the same letter: “And he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors ...” Each received the grace “according to the measure of Christ’s gift”. Even in the First Letter to the Corinthians Paul emphasizes the same concept: “Your bodies are members of Christ ... Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (6:15.19).

29 October, Saturday
Readings: Phil 1:18-26; Lk 14:1, 7-11

In the community of the Church it often happens that some of the faithful pick up quarrels, women are trying to oppose the predominance of men and nobody wants the last place and hence chooses the places of honour and so on. Today’s Gospel is opposed to this spirit of our time and our own experience: the word of Jesus corrects our human nature; our Lord is an example by his life: “By becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:8). And Saint Paul presents the journey of Christ as an example to follow: “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).

Once again, the Gospel and the common sense are in contradiction with each other. But the word and the gestures of Jesus are perfectly clear. He shows how humanity will be saved. We cannot minimize the difficulty to follow. And if someone takes refuge in the comfortable illusion of himself, in ‘wedding’, the one invited will lead to painful self-knowledge. He will deny that the place of honor to which so much will be given to do the banquet of eternal life.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Mary sings of the ‘Magnificat’. A woman praises God because he has overturned the usual order of this world: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” (Lk 1:52). God does not want to keep the man away from the height and from honors. Only, the creature should not try to earn money with his forces, threatening to break the established order by the creator and savior. It must, however, receive them; ensure that this gift is opportunity for praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.

30 October, Sunday
Readings: Wis 11:22-12:2; 2 Thess 1:11-2:2; Lk 19:1-10
XXXI Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jericho was a place of Roman customs administration control. Zacchaeus, the tax collector was the head of the controllers. He had on his conscience not only extortion and regular financial embezzlement among the ‘officers’ of the time, but he was also considered the political and religious traitor, because they collaborated with the hated oppressors of Palestine and, indeed, supported them. We do not know what reasons pushed Zacchaeus in the desire to see Jesus. No one in the crowd of pious Jews makes him front row seat or allows him to get on his roof and therefore Zacchaeus must climb a tree. Seeing him, Jesus, on his own initiative, invites to his house. Zacchaeus is not only full of joy, but Jesus himself is happy to forgive the repentant sinner and to welcome him as a prodigal son. Jesus expresses his joy in these words: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.” Jesus expresses his love and his complete dedication to sinners: it is they who have gone away, yet it is Jesus who has come to search for them.

31 October, Monday
Readings: Phil 2:1-4; Lk 14:12-14

The Gospel is the friendly school. Jesus does not want to stop us from receiving loved ones: relatives, friends, known ones. But in a discourse to the one who invited him, Jesus insists on the gratuitousness of the gift. Those whom we know well, we love and they love us in return, and thus we already have our reward: the affection and esteem of those who belong to our family circle. You must not forget those who are far away by distance or social status (the homeless, immigrants, isolated, etc.). All of them represent the image and status of Christ. It is through our attitude towards them that we will be judged in the ‘resurrection of the just’. And even here, in the latter perspective, it resides gratuity. If we have to translate into gestures the love of our fellow men, it is not to earn a salary later; but it is in response to the grace to be accepted and welcomed by God. In other words, today’s Gospel is a call to live the active life of love. Later, and as of now, there is a reward, to be as sons of the almighty who is good also towards the ungrateful and sinners.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Daily Reflections: 2-16 October 2016

02 October, Sunday
Readings: Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4; 2 Tim 1:6-8, 13-14; Lk 17:5-10
XXVII Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The upright will live by his faithfulness” (Hab 2:4). We, the believers often consider faith as a purely intellectual attitude; we consider faith as mere acceptance of certain truths. That is a faith that translates merely into a theoretical position, without any real impact on life. This imbalance results in the scandal of the cross: the hesitation in front of the difficulties we encounter every day and that are often insurmountable if we are not sufficiently rooted in God. So we revolt with the same defiant reaction and insulting that we discover in the words of the book Habakkuk.

The two brief parables of the Gospel text recall two properties of the faith: the intensity and gratuity. To highlight the value of a little faith, but indeed solid, Christ insists on the effects that can produce: “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, it would obey.” To insist on the faith as a gift of God, he gives the example of the servant who puts the love of his service to provide for his own needs. It is the need of the service of the Gospel that Saint Paul reminds us (1 Tim 1:1), but this same apostle warns us that “the painful work” always find the support of God’s grace.

Like the apostles, let us ask God to increase our faith and be deeply rooted in Christ.

03 October, Monday
Readings: Gal 1:6-12; Lk 10:25-37

A lawyer wanted to test Jesus with a debate asking him, “What is the greatest of the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the law?” And “who is my neighbour?” Jesus directs the conversation so as to clarify what is the most important in the life of his disciples: love of God and the love of neighbour, including enemies. It is the lawyer himself who answers the first question. But still he asks: “And who is my neighbour? For the mentality of the time, the neighbour could be neither the pagan nor the Samaritan, nor anyone else. To the second question, Jesus responds with a parable. The Samaritan does not discuss the complex theological issue; he does not discuss about the man who is half-dead but about the man who reaches out to help. Jesus tells the lawyer “Go and do the same for yourself.” This means that our neighbour is every person who is in need of our help, your love, and your mercy. Let us not ask who is our neighbour, be rather close to those who are out of favor, even if our enemy. The Jews considered the Samaritans apostates. They felt hostility and repugnance towards them, as do the Samaritans to the Jews. Here Jesus unites in love the human family dispersed and divided by the wall of separation (Eph 2:14). Let us not divide among ourselves who are children of God, basing on caste, creed and place…etc.

04 October, Tuesday
Readings: Gal 1:13-24; Lk 10:38-42
Feast: St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon

Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. He received the revelation of Jesus with the simple heart of a child, taking literally all the words of Jesus. Listening to the Gospel passage in which Jesus sends his disciples to proclaim the kingdom, he hear d those words addressed to him, which became the rule of his life. And also to those who followed him he would not give any other rule if not the words of the Gospel, because for him it was all contained in the relationship with Jesus, in His love. The stigmata that he received towards the end of his life are precisely the sign of this intense relationship that identified him with Christ. Francis was always small, would remain small before God and not even accepted the priesthood but remained a simple brother, the smallest of all, for the love of the Lord.
“My yoke is sweet and my burden light.” How much joy in the soul of Francis, poor and rich all around, who welcomed all creatures with brother’s heart, that love of the Lord felt sweet! In his letter to the Galatians, St Paul gives us the opportunity to better understand some aspects of this yoke with two expressions that seem contradictory but are complementary. The first is: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” St. Francis had understood at the beginning of his conversion. He told at the end of life: “As I am in sin, it seemed too bitter to see lepers, but the same Lord led me among them and I exercised mercy with them.”  St. Paul continues, “Each one will carry his own burden.” It would seem contrary to the first, but in the context the meaning is clear: this is not to judge others, to be full of understanding for all, not to impose on others our ways of seeing and doing, to look at their defects and not to take occasion by the faults of others to impose on people burdens that are not according to the mind of the Lord. Saint Francis was concerned about this and writes in his Rule: “Do not be considered first among brothers”: be humble; “You never consider yourself masters.” 

05 October, Wednesday
Readings: Gal 2:1-2, 7-14; Lk 11:1-4
Memoria: Maria Faustina Kowalska

Love is the essence, the center of Christian life and prayer is its breath. Jesus, after speaking about the commandment of love, he speaks of prayer. The most important request of the Lord’s Prayer consists of these words: “Your kingdom come.” These words have the main theme of the preaching of Jesus and his action. Whoever does the will of God and is committed to spreading His kingdom on earth, can ask for the daily bread, which is the symbol of the Eucharistic bread, and the symbol of the nourishment that all those saved will eat at the common table, in the house of the Father. Now, each of us is a sinner and liable to God, and completely dependent on His mercy. God forgives us, but it requires that we must show the mercy that we received from God to others, the mercy that knows how to forgive. Aware of the risks, let us ask God to guide us through all the trials and all temptations. Let us earnestly pray that when the kingdom of God comes, all our human aspirations will be met, our questions answered, and we will be free from all dangers. The Lord’s Prayer is the synthesis of the Gospel, and summarizes, in question form, the whole of Revelation. That’s why it became the official prayer of the Church, the model and source of all other prayers.

Promise: Let us surrender to God and be committed to His kingdom.

06 October, Thursday
Readings: Gal 3:1-5; Lk 11:5-13
Memoria: Bruno / Bl. Marie-Rose Durocher

Jesus not only encourages us that we should ask our heavenly Father for whatever we need, but he firmly assures us that our prayers will be surely answered. If our friends make a request for a help, even though it is difficult sometimes, even though we are indifferent to them, because of their continued request, we try to help them; then think about how much more God will hear our prayer and help us because he is our friend. And the more our prayers are pressing and stubborn, the more He will listen to us. He will never be angry with us even when we bother him. It is hard to find a friend like that. Jesus assures us that God is just such a friend. God hears our prayers not only because he is a friend, but also because he is our Father. However, he does not always give all we ask, because He has a better offer to give us: the Holy Spirit never denied to anyone who so request. This gift of the Spirit contains all other goods to which man aspires. In him they are satisfied our desires, even the most secret ones. In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us to persevere in prayer and makes a wonderful image of God our Father and Friend.

07 October, Friday
Readings: Acts 1:12-14; Lk 1:26-38
Memoria: Our Lady of the Rosary

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This reminds us of the first words of the prayer, ‘Hail Mary’, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you’. We repeat many times when we pray the Rosary. It is one way to put ourselves in the presence of Mary and at the same time the presence of the Lord, because, “the Lord is with you”. The prayer of Holy Rosary is to remain in a simple way with Mother Mary, reliving with her the mysteries of Jesus’ life, all the mysteries of our salvation.

The mysteries of the Rosary are one unit, and it is important to know that in every joyful mystery we are at the root of all the glorious mysteries and even sorrowful, as a way to reach the glory.
We ask Our Lady to help us understand deeply the unity of the mystery of Christ, for it can be implemented in its various aspects in all the events of our lives. I quote about the prayer of the Rosary, from a Benedictine magazine: “God says, pray your Rosary and do not stop to listen to the fools who say it is an outdated devotion and destined to die. I know what pity is, no one can say that I do not understand, and I tell you that I like the Rosary, when it is prayed or recited well. The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Marys, the mysteries of my Son that are meditated; it is I who have given them. This prayer I tell you is like a ray of Gospel, no one will change. I like to say the Rosary which is simple and humble, as were my Son and his Mother.”

Let us pray the rosary with great respect and devotion. It is more apt to pray two decades without hurry than to pray all five decades in a hurry. We need to be in the presence of Mary and Jesus while we pray the holy Rosary.

8 October, Saturday
Readings: Gal 3:22-29; Lk 11:27-28

The baptized person can fall again, because of one’s sin, the bondage of Satan. We learn today that this danger does not threaten the one who, following the example of Mary who listens and puts into practice the word of God announced by Jesus. Every mother is happy and proud of their children. As we understand the exclamation of the woman in the crowd about Jesus, “Blessed the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you!” but Jesus replied, “More blessed still are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!” Jesus completes his wish by placing it above the family ties that bind him to Mary. Whoever observes the word of God, receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, which unites to Jesus and God, the heavenly Father, with stronger relations than familial. This is why Jesus designates as “blessed” to those who hear his words and observe or practice them. This blessing is first of all applies to his mother, who is the best among his disciples. Jesus’ response contains the praise of Mary. Since Mary is, after Jesus, the most attentive to the word of God and faithful in putting it into practice, here precisely lies her greatness, and not only in her maternity. In the context of today’s Gospel, Mary is seen as the servant of the Lord who hears and believes.

9 October, Sunday
Readings: 2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Tim 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19
XXVIII Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's gospel reading teaches us to be thankful to God always. We need, first of all, to realize all the good things that the Lord is doing in our lives. Very often we forget this and don't express our gratefulness to God. Jesus heals all the ten lepers who cried out loud for the help, but there was only one who realized that he should come back to thank Jesus for the wonderful healing and cleansing. The other nine continued ahead to meet the high priest in the temple, as Jesus told, to confirm that they are healed and be accepted into the society. They just followed the rituals, but the Samaritan who returned to Jesus was more spontaneous to thank Jesus.
Most often, our prayers and actions are mechanical without knowing the real meaning of what we pray and what we do. We give just importance to the rituals what we have to do. But we need to be spontaneous.  Our prayers should be spontaneous.  We need to realize that we need God as our help. We need to have faith in him and cry to him for help. It is our faith in God that heals and cleanses us.

Promise: While thanking God for all the wonderful things he has done in our lives, let us be more spontaneous in our spiritual lives.

10 October, Monday
Readings: Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1; Lk 11:29-32

God is loving and his love is unconditional.  He continues to love us. We are all part of this loving covenant which God himself made with us. We need to experience God's love in our day today life. Instead we look for signs and wonders. God sent his only son Jesus into this world as the biggest sign of his love and salvation. 
Jesus is our salvation. He lived and taught us who God is. Let us accept Jesus as God's Son and the redeemer of the world. Let us not always look for some signs to prove that God loves us. Let us believe that he always loves us.

We need to give this love to others as we receive from God. Let us pray as St. Francis of Assisi prayed: where there is hatred, let me sow love.

11 October, Tuesday
Readings: Gal 5:1-6; Lk 11:37-41

Jesus is the guest of the Pharisee at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Jesus sat at table without the ritual cleansing before the dinner. This scandalized the Pharisee. Pharisees were very strict in following the letter of the law, in order to ensure that they are superior to others. Jesus tells, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.” Jesus speaks not of the mere physical cleansing but the cleanness of heart, which is more important to God; purity and charity of heart, is more important. We have to give away what is inside! We need to clean our minds and hearts – from greed, pride, enmity, wickedness, unfaithfulness, cheating, lies, evil thoughts…etc. When our hearts are full of love, mercy and compassion, then there is no place for greed, pride…etc. We need to realize that God alone is holy and all glory to him alone.

God does not measure a person by his external gestures, but by how they come from inside, as they are the manifestations of what is inside. God does not love masks, does not accept devotional gestures, if they do not come from the heart. Then, my friends, let us observe the rules, let us pray as we were taught, but, first of all, let us give alms, which is more profound! Today we need to examine our conscience and our life. Do I judge others and find fault with them? First of all, I need to check myself, how am I living! Is my heart pure? Let us pray to God to purify our hearts and cleanse our minds.

12 October, Wednesday
Readings: Gal 5:18-25; Lk 11:42-46

We listen today the bitter and severe words that Christ spoke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Today these words are addressed to us too. Let us examine ourselves how much truth there is in these words of Jesus? Paying tithing meant to recognize our dependence on God. God does not need our wealth, because everything belongs to him. Instead, we need to return to do justice and love.

The inner death is much more frightening than physical death; because the spiritual death has eternal consequences. It is scaring to be the ‘tombs’ while living; because we need to still change a lot, while there is negative in us. How to get out of this situation? Return to live is to respond to Christ’s call and his call is to do justice and live in love.

It is very easy to be judges of others. It is easy to point out to others their mistakes and their shortcomings. Instead, when it comes to ourselves, we justify ourselves: we find for us the most flexible rules, with numerous loopholes and reserves to justify our behaviour. Christ said that we are all equal before God. We must learn to measure both us and others with the same rules, those of Christ.

13 October, Thursday
Readings: Eph 1:1-10; Lk 11:47-54

After Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes (Lk 11:42-46), Jesus warns the doctors of the law and castigates their hypocrisy. The teachers of the law are accused of proclaiming themselves the holders of the knowledge of God, confusing the knowledge of God with their own views and their own interests. We must, therefore, be careful not to limit and not to hinder the propagation of the word of God and his message.

The comparison of Jesus with the Israel authorities has its origin in the Old Covenant, which continues today in the time of the Church. The Old Covenant has the destiny of every prophet, being a victim of violence of their own people. The history of Israel can be summarized as follows: on the one hand, God sent his prophets to teach men the way of salvation; the other side, the people put to death the prophets (Lk 4:24-28; 20:2-5).

The Gospel passage allows us to see that the disciples of Jesus did not suffer in vain for their martyrdom, since this has reached its climax with Jesus Christ at Easter. He sends his apostles (now the preachers and Christians) to spread his word and the world continues to persecute them and to reject them.

14 October, Friday
Readings: Eph 1:11-14; Lk 12:1-7

Among the advice and recommendations that Christ gave us, today we especially treasure his exhortation not to be afraid. We know very well that the fear can paralyze our human activity. Jesus says, ‘do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more’, and he continues ‘fear instead who can condemn us to eternal death!’ It is natural that every man is afraid of death. Christ draws attention to the consequences of this life for the future life. We must not be afraid of losing this earthly life in order to gain eternal life. We should be very careful and try to see this eternal perspective at all times of life. For God, every man is a unique being. To save man from eternal death, God sends his Son as the eternal saviour. That is the reason why we should not be afraid, instead have faith and trust in him; but at the same time, we should always be vigilant, because there are enemies to hinder our eternal happiness.

15 October, Saturday
Readings: Eph 1:15-23; Lk 12:8-12
Memoria: St. Theresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

St. Teresa is known Doctor of the Church, because she could express the secrets of spiritual life and explain them to others, speaking from the abundance of her heart formed by the Holy Spirit. They look like the theological treatises, but a lively conversation with a woman full of God; she tells how she met God on all the streets to found the Carmelites, and thus lived an intense spiritual life. As St. Paul says in Rom 8:26 she also affirms that it is the Spirit that helps us in our weakness, intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words; this ‘spiritual’ life of Theresa unites her to the holy Trinity. The genuine and Christian prayer in us is an activity of God and is from the Holy Spirit. It transforms us and unites us to God.

The Spirit is given to us through the Son Jesus; it is through the Word of Jesus that we receive the Holy Spirit; our heart becomes good heart because it lives in the Trinity; the good man draws good things from his heart. We cannot pretend that our heart is good: the coming of the Holy Spirit into our hearts brings the life of God and transforms, so that we can extract from the Spirit the treasures or good things. St. Theresa of Avila has opened her heart to the full force of the divine life that came to her by Christ and by the Spirit, and that threw toward God and from this heart full of God, she lived her spiritual life and by her writings and her exemplary life, entrusted this spiritual treasure to the successive generations.

Let us ask the Lord the same confidence of St. Teresa of Avila and open our hearts to the Holy Spirit that comes from Jesus and leads us to the Father.

16 October, Sunday
Readings: Ex 17:8-13; 2 Tim 3:14-4:2; Lk 18:1-8
XXIX Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus points that this world is divided into two realities: that of the oppressors, godless and heartless and that of the oppressed without protection. He discovers a shame: the social sin, stronger than ever and as old as the man – social injustice; and Jesus analyses the naivety in the depths of a parable from which he teaches the lesson to the world.

In the parable of the widow and the unjust judge, the woman cries to God her anguish in a prayer full of faith and hope, without resentment, tenaciously serene and without discouragement, with the confidence that her prayer will be heard by a God who is the judge and who becomes the father of the fatherless and the comforter of widows.

On the other hand, Jesus himself takes a position, revolting like a man transforming power on this desert land of all godliness, through the personal response of his own suffering, dying, in a shameful judgment, without defense and without fault. Even he is heard, surrenders blindly to his Father, from his cross, which brings liberation. His only strength comes from the power of acceptance, for sure, but prophetic, complainant. He asks us, from his cross: when I return to you will I find all this faith, praying in the revolt?

Let us earnestly pray to God to give us faith and especially perseverance in our prayer.