mercoledì 25 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 20:20-28 (alternate reading: Matthew 13:1-9)
We seem to have an unquenchable thirst for fame and recognition, and for authority and power to rule our own lives and the lives of others. Should we be surprised to see the disciples of Jesus thirsting for power, authority, and position? James and John, the sons of Zebedee, urged their mother to strike a deal with Jesus, their Master. They wanted the distinction of being in the highest position of authority and power, next to Jesus, of course! When Jesus called the twelve apostles to be his inner circle of disciples who would rule on his behalf, he did the unthinkable! He taught contrary to their understanding of power and position, by reversing the order of master and servant, lord and subject, first and last!
Jesus wedded authority with love, position with sacrifice, and service with humility. Authority without love is brutish and self-serving. Position without respect and concern for the subordinate is demeaning and rude. And service without generosity and sacrifice is cheap and unkind. Those who wish to rule in God's kingdom must be prepared to sacrifice — not just some of their time, money, and resources — but their whole lives and all that they possess!
martedì 24 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 12:46-5
God did not intend for us to be alone, but to be with others. He gives us many opportunities for developing relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Why does Jesus seem to ignore his own relatives when they pressed to see him? His love and respect for his mother and his relatives is unquestionable. Jesus never lost an opportunity to teach his disciples a spiritual lesson and truth about the kingdom of God. On this occasion when many gathered to hear Jesus he pointed to another higher reality of relationships, namely our relationship with God and with those who belong to God.
lunedì 23 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 12:38-42Jesus gave a rather stern warning to his generation when they demanded a sign from him. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded "signs" from God's messengers to authenticate their claims. Jesus faulted them for one thing: spiritual adultery. The image of adultery was often used in the scriptures for describing apostasy or infidelity towards God. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims, he says in so many words that he is God's sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person.
Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God's Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus' birth that he was "destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed" (Luke 2:34- 35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all – his resurrection on the third day.
domenica 22 luglio 2007
Today we celebrate the feast of St.Magdalena. I wish all the sisters who hold the name of Magdalena. I wish specially Sr.Magdalena from Trebic vice minister of SFO Fraternity. May the Good Lord bless her and give her to be in his love.
Scripture: Luke 10:38-42
Jesus loved to visit the home of Martha and Mary and enjoyed their warm hospitality. In this brief encounter we see two very different temperaments in Martha and Mary. Martha loved to serve, but in her anxious manner of waiting on Jesus, she caused unrest. Mary, in her simple and trusting manner, waited on Jesus by sitting attentively at his feet. She instinctively knew that what the Master most wanted at that moment was her attentive presence. Anxiety and preoccupation keep us from listening and from giving the Lord our undivided attention. The Lord bids us to give him our concerns and anxieties because he is trustworthy and able to meet any need we have. His grace frees us from needless concerns and preoccupation.
The Lord Jesus desires that we make a place for him, not only in our hearts, but in our homes and in the daily circumstances of our lives as well. We honour the Lord when we offer to him everything we have and everything we do.
sabato 21 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 12:14-21
In everyone's life there are key moments or turning points on which the whole of one's life hinges. The mounting confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus was such a decisive event and crisis. The religious leaders became intolerant of Jesus because of their prejudice. Nothing that Jesus would do or say from this point on would be right in their eyes. They conspired, not simply to oppose Jesus but to eliminate him. Jesus met this defiance with courage and determination to do his Father's will. He used the crisis to teach his disciples an important lesson for God's way to success and victory. The only way to glory in God's kingdom is through the cross - the cross of suffering and humiliation which Jesus' endured for our sake and for our salvation. We, too, are called to take up our cross daily - to die to sin, selfishness, strife, envy, hatred, and retribution and to lay down our lives in humble service and love for others - just as Jesus did for our sake.
venerdì 20 luglio 2007
The "Sabbath rest" was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God's goodness and the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. Jesus' disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom. In their hunger, David and his men ate of the holy bread offered in the Temple. Jesus also quoted of the Sabbath work involved in worship in the Temple. This kind of work was usually double the work of worship on weekdays. Jesus then quotes from the prophet Hosea (6:6): I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. While the claims of ritual sacrifice are important to God, mercy and kindness in response to human need are even more important.
giovedì 19 luglio 2007
The Assembly of the International YOUFRA, Barcelona
The Franciscan Youths are from 25 countries
Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30
The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God. Jesus says his yoke is "easy". The Greek word for "easy" can also mean "well-fitting". Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well. We are commanded to put on the "sweet yoke of Jesus" and to live the "heavenly way of life and happiness". Jesus also says his "burden is light". There's a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. "That's a heavy load you are carrying there," exclaimed the man. "He ain't heavy; he's my brother!" responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it's given in love and carried in love.
mercoledì 18 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 11:25-27Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus' prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Jesus' prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Certainly intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his kingdom. Pride is the root of all vice and the strongest influence propelling us to sin. It first vanquishes the heart, making it cold and indifferent towards God. It also closes the mind to God's truth and wisdom for our lives. What is pride? It is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one's own learning and importance.
martedì 17 luglio 2007
BARCELONA: Fr.Mauro gave conference to 1st International Assembly of Franciscan Youth (Youfra) on I GIOVANI E LA FAMIGLIA FRANCESCANA, Vilanova i la Geltrú (Spain), 30th June 2007. It was appreciated by all. Bravo Fr. Mauro.
Scripture: Matthew 11:20-24
Would he issue a warning like the one he gave to Chorazin and Bethsaida? And how would you respond? Wherever Jesus went he did mighty works to show the people how much God had for them. Chorazin and Bethsaida had been blessed with the visitation of God. They heard the good news and experienced the wonderful works which Jesus did for them. Why was Jesus upset with these communities? The word woe can mean calamity, distress, sorrow, misfortune, misery, grief, or wretchedness. It is as much an expression of sorrowful pity and grief as it is of dismay over the calamity and destruction which comes as a result of human folly, sin, and ignorance. Why does Jesus lament and issue a stern warning? The people who heard the gospel here very likely responded with indifference. Jesus upbraids them for doing nothing! Repentance demands change — a change of heart and way of life. God's word is life-giving and it saves us from destruction — the destruction of soul as well as body. Jesus' anger is directed toward sin and everything which hinders us from doing the will of God. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace and loving-kindness, justice and holiness.
lunedì 16 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 10:34 - 11:1Jesus came in peace to reconcile a broken and sinful humanity with an all-merciful and loving God. Jesus also came to wage war, to overthrow the powers and principalities arrayed against God and his kingdom. What are these powers? Jesus describes Satan as the ruler of this world whom he will cast out (John 12:31). The battle Jesus had in mind was not an earthly conflict between nations, but a spiritual warfare between the forces of Satan and the armies of heaven. The scriptures make clear that there are ultimately only two powers or kingdoms — God's kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. John contrast these two kingdoms in the starkest of terms: We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
True love for God compels us to express charity towards our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus declared that any kindness shown and any help given to the people of Christ will not lose its reward. Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for his help. As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he is. Jesus sets before his disciples the one goal in life that is worth any sacrifice and that goal is the will of God which leads to everlasting life, peace, and joy with God.
domenica 15 luglio 2007
Scripture: Luke 10:25-37
For the Jewish believer the law of love was plain and simple: treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself. A Jewish expert in the law wanted to test Jesus and his disciples to see if they correctly understood this basic commandment. He understood "neighbor" to mean one's fellow Jew who belonged to the same covenant which God made with the people of Israel. Jesus agreed with the sincere expert but challenged him to see that God's view of neighbor went beyond his narow definition.
What does Jesus' story tell us about true love for one's neighbor? First, we must be willing to help even if others brought trouble on themselves through their own fault. Second, our love and concern to help others in need must be practical. Good intentions and emphathizing with others are not enough. And lastly, our love for others must be as wide as God's love. No one is excluded. God's love is unconditional. So we must be ready to do good to others for their sake, just as God is good to us.
sabato 14 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 10:24-33
Fear is a powerful force. It can lead us to panic and flight or it can spur us to faith and action. The fear of God is the antidote to the fear of losing one's life. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.O fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want! Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:4,9,11) What is godly fear? It is reverence for the One who made us in love and who sustains us in mercy and kindness. The greatest injury or loss which we can experience is not physical but spiritual — the loss of one's soul to the power of hell. A healthy fear of God leads to spiritual maturity, wisdom and right judgment and it frees us from the tyranny of sinful pride, cowardice — especially in the face of evil, and spiritual deception. Do you trust in God's grace and mercy and submit to his word?
venerdì 13 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 10:16-23
The prophet Isaiah foretold a time when wolves and lambs will dwell in peace (Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25). This certainly refers to the second coming of Christ when all will be united under the Lordship of Jesus after he has put down his enemies and established the reign of God over the heavens and the earth. In the meantime, the disciples must expect opposition and persecution from those who oppose the gospel. Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it?
giovedì 12 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 10:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: Freely you have received, freely give. What they have received from Jesus they must now pass on to others without expecting a favor in return, whether it be in form of a gift or payment. They must show by their attitude that their first interest is in serving God, not receiving material gain. They must serve without guile, full of charity and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God’s kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must travel light — only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them — in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting special privileges or reward. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.
mercoledì 11 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 10:1-7The core of the gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom (or reign) of God is imminent! What is the kingdom of God? It is that society of men and women who submit to God and who honor him as their King and Lord. In the Lord's prayer we pray for God to reign in our lives and in our world: May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus' preaching of God's kingdom was accompanied by signs and wonders. People were healed not only spiritually, but physically as well. Jesus' words are just as relevant today, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We cannot buy heaven; but those who know the love and mercy of Jesus already possess heaven in their hearts! Do you believe in the power of God's kingdom?
When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not think we have nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom.
martedì 10 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 9:32-38
Spiritual, emotional, and physical suffering often go hand in hand. Jesus was well acquanited with individuals who suffered intolerable affliction - whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. A "dumb demoniac" was brought to Jesus by his friends with the hope that Jesus would set him free. These neighbors, no doubt, took pity on this man who had a double impediment. He had not only lost his ability to speak, but was also greatly disturbed in mind and spirit. This was no doubt due to the influence of evil spirits who tormented him day and night with thoughts of despair and hopeless abandonment by God. Jesus immediately set him free from the demon who tormented him and restored his ability to speak at the same time. This double miracle brought wonder to the crowds who watched in amazement. "Nothing like this had ever been done before in the land of Israel!" Whenever people approached Jesus with expectant faith, he gave them freedom from the power of sin and from the forces of evil and darkness.
lunedì 9 luglio 2007
Scripture: Matthew 9:18-26
People in desperate or helpless circumstances were not disappointed when they sought Jesus out. What drew them to Jesus? Was it hope for a miracle or a word of comfort in their affliction? What did the elderly woman who had suffered greatly for twelve years expect Jesus to do for her? And what did a grieving father expect Jesus to do about his lost beloved daughter? Jesus gave hope where there seemed to be no human cause for it because his hope was directed to God. He spoke words of hope to the woman (Take heart, daughter!) to ignite the spark of faith in her (your faith has made you well!). And he also gave divine hope to a father who had just lost a beloved child. It took considerable courage and risk for the ruler of a synagogue to openly go to Jesus and to invite the scorn of his neighbors and kin. Even the hired mourners laughed at him in scorn. Their grief was devoid of any hope. Nonetheless, Jesus took the girl by the hand and delivered her from the grasp of death. In both instances we see Jesus' personal concern for the needs of others and his readiness to heal and restore life. Do you approach the Lord with confident expectation that he will hear your request and act?