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CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: 3rd Sunday of Lent (C)Sunday, March 24, 2019Jesus comments on the events of the dayHow to interpret the signs of the timesLuke 13:1-91. Opening prayerLord 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.2. Readinga) A key to the reading:The text of the third Sunday of Lent puts before us two different but related facts: Jesus comments on the events of the day and He narrates a parable. Luke 13:1-5: At the people’s request, Jesus comments on the events of the day: the massacre of pilgrims by Pilate and the massacre at the tower of Siloam where eighteen people were killed. Luke 13:-9: Jesus tells a parable about the fig tree that bore no fruit.As you read, it is good to note two things: (i) see how Jesus contradicts the popular interpretation of what is happening (ii) see whether there is a connection between the parable and the comment on the events of the day.b) A division of the text to help with the reading:Luke 13:1: The people tell Jesus about the massacre of the GalileansLuke 13:2-3: Jesus comments on the massacre and draws a lesson from there for the peopleLuke 13:4-5: To support His thinking, Jesus comments on another eventLuke 13:6-9: The parable of the fig tree that did not bear fruitc) Text:Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!" And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’"3. A moment of prayerful silenceso that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.4. Some questionsto help us in our personal reflection.a) What struck or pleased you most in this text? Why?b) What was the popular interpretation of these two events?c) How does Jesus disagree with the popular interpretation of the events?d) What is the meaning of the parable? Is there a connection between the parable and the comments on the events?e) What is this text’s message for us who have to interpret the signs of the times today?5. For those who wish to go deeper into the themea) The literary and historical context of then and now:Luke writes his Gospel about 85 A.D. for the Christian communities in Greece. Generally, he follows the narrative in Mark’s Gospel. Here and there he introduces some minor differences or changes some words so as to adapt the narrative to his purpose. Apart from Mark’s Gospel, Luke also consults other books and has access to other sources: eye witnesses and ministers of the Word (Lk 1:2). All the material that is not found in Mark, Luke organizes into a literary form: Jesus is on a long journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. There is a description of the journey in Luke 9:51 to 19:28 and this includes ten chapters or one third of the Gospel!In these chapters, Luke constantly reminds his readers that Jesus is on a journey. He rarely tells us where Jesus is, but he lets us know clearly that Jesus is traveling, and that the end of the journey is Jerusalem where He will die in accordance with what the prophets had foretold (Lk 9:51,53,57;10:1,38;11:1;13:22,33;14:25;17:11;18:31,35;19:1,11,28). And even after Jesus reaches Jerusalem, Luke goes on talking of a journey to the center (Lk 19:29,41,45; 20:1). Just before the journey begins, on the occasion of the Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah on the mountain, the journey to Jerusalem is considered as an exodus for Jesus (Lk 9:31) and as an ascension or climbing up to heaven (Lk 9:51). In the Old Testament, Moses had led the first exodus liberating people from Pharaoh’s oppression (Ex 3:10-12) and the prophet Elijah went up to heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Jesus is the new Moses who comes to liberate people from the oppression of the law. He is the new Elijah who comes to prepare the coming of the Kingdom.The description of Jesus’ long journey to Jerusalem is not just a literary device to introduce the material proper to Luke. It also reflects the long and arduous journey that the communities in Greece were going through in their daily lives in Luke’s time: passing from a rural world in Palestine to a cosmopolitan environment in the Greek culture at the edges of the great cities of Asia and Europe. This passage or inculturation was marked by a strong tension between the Christians from Judaism and the new converts who came from other ethnic and cultural groups. Indeed, the description of the long journey to Jerusalem reflects the painful process of conversion that people connected to Judaism had to make: to leave the world of the observance of the law that accused and condemned them, to go towards a world of the gratuitous love of God to all peoples, to the certainty that in Christ all peoples meld into one before God; to leave the closed world of a race to go towards the universal territory of humanity. This is also the journey of our lives. Are we capable of transforming the crosses of life into an exodus of liberation?b) A commentary on the text:Luke 13:1: The people inform Jesus of the massacre of the Galileans.Like today, people pass on comments on the events that happen and want to hear comments from those who can form public opinion. That is why some people went to Jesus to tell Him of the massacre of some Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. It was probably the assassination that took place on Mount Gerazim, which was still a place of pilgrimage and where people went to offer sacrifices. This event underlines the ferocity and stupidity of some Roman rulers in Palestine who provoked the religious sensibility of the Jews through irrational actions such as this.Luke 13:2-3: Jesus comments on the massacre and draws a lesson for the people. Asked to give an opinion, Jesus asks: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than any others that this should happen to them?” Jesus’ question reflects the popular interpretation common then: suffering and violent death are punishment from God for some sin committed by that person. Jesus’ reaction is categorical: “They were not I tell you. No!” He denies the popular interpretation and transforms the event into an examination of conscience: “unless you repent you will all perish as they did”. In other words, unless there is a real and proper change, the same massacre will overtake all. Later history confirmed Jesus’ foresight. The change did not take place. They were not converted and forty years later, in 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Many people were massacred. Jesus saw the gravity of the political situation of His country. On the one hand, there was the ever heavier and unbearable Roman domination. On the other, there was the official religion, which was growing more and more alienated without understanding the importance of the faith in Yahweh in the lives of the people.Luke 13:4-5: In support of His thinking, Jesus comments on more than one event. Jesus takes the initiative of commenting on another event. A blizzard causes the tower of Siloam to crumble and eighteen people are crushed by the stones. People thought that it was “a punishment from God!” Jesus’ comment is: “No, I tell you, but unless you repent you will all perish as they did”. His concern is to interpret events in such a way that God’s call to change and conversion becomes transparent. Jesus is a mystic, a contemplative. He reads events in a different way. He can read and interpret the signs of the times. For Him, the world is transparent, revealing the presence and call of God.Luke 13:6-9: The parable of the fig tree that bears no fruit. Jesus then tells the parable of the fig tree that bears no fruit. A man had planted a fig tree in his vineyard. For three years the tree bore no fruit. So he says to his vinedresser: “Cut it down”. But the vinedresser replies: “Leave it one more year….it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down”. We do not know whether Jesus told this parable immediately after His comments on the massacre and the crumbling of the tower of Siloam. It was probably Luke who placed this parable here, because Luke sees a connection between the comments on the events and the parable of the fig tree. Luke does not say what this connection is. He leaves us to discover this. What meaning does Luke see? I shall dare to give an opinion. You may discover another meaning. The owner of the vineyard and of the fig tree is God. The fig tree represents the people. Jesus is the vinedresser. The owner of the vineyard has grown tired of looking for fruit from the fig tree and finding none. He decides to uproot the tree. Thus there will be more room for another plant that may bear fruit. The chosen people were not producing the fruit that God expected. He wants to pass on the Good News to the pagans. Jesus is the vinedresser who asks that the fig tree be spared a little longer. He will redouble His efforts to obtain a change and a conversion. Later in the Gospel, Jesus recognizes that His redoubled efforts have borne no result. They will not be converted. Jesus mourns the lack of conversion and weeps over the city of Jerusalem. (Lk 19:41-44).c) Further information:A short history of the popular resistance against the Romans in Jesus’ timeIn this Sunday’s Gospel, Luke makes clear allusions to the repression of the Roman legions against the popular resistance of the Galileans. Hence we give a schematic overview of the popular resistance of Judeans against the Roman domination. Over the years this resistance grew deeper and took root in the faith of the people. Here is an outline that runs parallel with Jesus’ life:i) From 63 to 37 before Christ: A popular revolt without any clear direction. In 63 before Christ, the Roman Empire invaded Palestine and imposed a peasant tribute. From 57 to 37, in just 20 years, six rebellions broke out in Galilee! The people, aimless, followed anyone who promised to liberate them from the Roman tribute.ii) From 37 to 4 before Christ: Repression and dislocation. This is the time of the government of Herod, called The Great. He is the one who killed the innocents in Bethlehem (Mt 2:16). Brutal repression prevented any kind of popular manifestation. Herod thus promoted the so-called Pax Romana. This peace gave the Empire a certain economic stability, but for the oppressed people it was the peace of a cemetery.iii) From 4 to 6 after Christ: Messianic revolutions. This is the period of Archelaus’ government in Judea. On the day he took power, he massacred 3000 people in the Temple square. The revolution exploded all over the country, but it was aimless. The popular leaders at this time were seeking for motives connected with ancient tradition and presented themselves as messianic kings. The Roman repression destroyed Seforis, the capital of Galilee. Violence was the mark of Jesus’ childhood. In the ten years of Archelaus’ government, He saw Palestine go through one of the most violent periods of its history.iv) From 6 to 27: Zeal for the law: A time for revision. In the year 6, Romulus deposed Archelaus and transformed Judea into a Roman Province, decreeing a census so as to make sure that the tribute was paid. The census produced a strong popular reaction inspired by Zeal for the Law. This Zeal (hence the term zealots) urged people to boycott and not pay the tribute. This was a new form of resistance, a kind of civil disobedience that spread like a repressed fire under embers. However, Zeal had a limited vision. The "zealots" ran the danger of reducing the observance of the Law to opposition to the Romans. It was precisely during this period that Jesus grew in awareness of His mission.v) From 27 to 69: The prophets reappear. After these 20 years, from 6 to 26, the revision of the aim of the journey appears with the preaching of the prophets who represented a step forward in the popular movement. The prophets called the people together and invited them to conversion and change. They wanted to reform history from its origins. They gathered the people in the desert (Mk 1:4), to begin a new exodus, proclaimed by Isaiah (Isa 43:16-21). The first was John the Baptist (Mt 11:9; 14:5; Lk 1:76), who drew many people (Mt 3:5-7). Soon after, Jesus came on the scene and was considered by the people to be a prophet (Mt 16:14;21:11,46; Lk 7:16). Jesus, like Moses, proclaimed the New Law on the mountain (Mt 5:1) and nourished the people in the desert (Mk 6:30-44). Like the fall of the walls of Jericho towards the end of the forty years in the desert (Is 6:20), so also, Jesus proclaimed the fall of the walls of Jerusalem (Lk 19:44; Mt 24:2). Like the prophets of old, Jesus proclaimed the liberation of the oppressed and the beginning of a new jubilee year (Lk 4:18-19), and asked for a change in the way of life (Mk 1:15; Lk 13:3.5).There are other prophets after Jesus. That is why revolution, messianism and zeal continue to exist simultaneously. The authorities of the time, Romans and Herodians, as also priests, scribes and Pharisees, all concerned with the security of the temple and the nation (Jn 11:48) and with the observance of the law (Mt 23:1-23), could not see the difference between prophets and other popular leaders. For them they were all the same. They mistook Jesus for a messianic king (Lk 23:2.5). Gamaliel, the great doctor of the law, for instance, compared Jesus with Judas, leader of the revolutionaries (Acts 5:35-37). Flavius Josephus himself, the historian, mistook the prophets for "thieves and impostors". Today we would say that they were all "good for nothing"!6. Praying Psalm 82 (81)God warns human authoritiesGod takes His stand in the divine assembly,surrounded by the gods He gives judgment.‘How much longer will you give unjust judgmentsand uphold the prestige of the wicked?Let the weak and the orphan have justice,be fair to the wretched and the destitute.‘Rescue the weak and the needy,save them from the clutches of the wicked.‘Ignorant and uncomprehending,they wander in darkness,while the foundations of the world are tottering.I had thought, "Are you gods,are all of you sons of the Most High?"No! you will die as human beings do,as one man, princes, you will fall.’Arise, God,judge the world,for all nations belong to You.7. Final PrayerLord 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 who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-24032019 … See MoreSee Less
Oh my goodness……… and I thought last week’s one was hard work!!!!!!
stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_24032019Come and join us today for Sunday Mass at St Swithun’s RC Church Southsea tomorrow. Mass Times at 8:30am , 10:15am (family mass followed by Sunday School) and 1pm (Mass in Polish)We wish you all a blessed and peaceful Sunday – Father Marcin Drabik … See MoreSee Less
3 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Luke 15:1-3.11-32Saturday, March 23, 2019Season of Lent1) Opening prayerFaithful Father, You are our Godof grace, mercy and forgiveness.When mercy and pardonsound paternalistic to modern ears, make us realize, Lord,that You challenge us to face ourselvesand to become new people,responsible for our destinyand for the happiness of others.Make us responsive to Your lovethrough Christ Jesus our Lord.2) Gospel Reading – Luke 15:1-3, 11-32Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." So to them Jesus addressed this parable. "A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’"3) Reflection• Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel includes the following information: The tax collectors and sinners were all crowding around to listen to Him and the Pharisees and Scribes complained saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Lk 15:1-3). Luke presents these three parables which are bound together by the same theme: the lost sheep (Lk 15:4-7), the lost drachma (Lk 15:8-10), the lost son (Lk 15:11-32). This last parable constitutes the theme of today’s Gospel.• Luke 15:11-13: The younger son’s decision. A man had two sons. The younger one asks for the part of the estate which will be his. The father divides everything between the two and each receives his part. To receive the inheritance is not any merit of ours. It is a gratuitous gift. The inheritance of the gifts of God is distributed among all human beings, whether Jewish or Gentiles, whether Christians or non-Christians. All receive something of the inheritance of the Father, but not all take care of it in the same way. The younger son leaves and goes to a distant country and squanders his money on a life of debauchery, getting away from the father. At the time of Luke, the elder one represented the communities which came from Judaism, and the younger represented the gentile communities. Today, who would be the younger and who the elder?• Luke 15:14-19: The disillusionment and the will to return to the father’s home. The need to find some food makes the young man lose his freedom, and he becomes a farm worker and takes care of the pigs. This was the condition of life of millions of slaves in the Roman Empire at the time of Luke. The situation in which he finds himself makes the young man remember how he was in his father’s home. Finally, he prepares the words which he will say to his Father: “I no longer deserve to be called your son! Treat me as one of your hired men!” The hired man executes the orders and fulfills the law of servants. The younger son wants to fulfill the law as the Pharisees and the Scribes of the time of Jesus wanted (Lk 15:1). The missionaries of the Pharisees accused the Gentiles who were converted to the God of Abraham (Mt 23:15). At the time of Luke, some Christians who converted from Judaism submitted themselves to the yoke of the Law (Gal 1:6-10).• Luke 15:20-24: The joy of the father when he meets his younger son again. The parable says that the younger son was still a long way off from the house, but the father saw him, and ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him. The impression given by Jesus is that the Father remained all the time at the window to see if his son would appear around the corner. According to our human way of thinking and feeling, the joy of the father seems exaggerated. He does not even allow his son to finish his words. Nobody listens! The father does not want his son to be his slave. He wants him to be his son! This is the Good News which Jesus has brought to us! A new robe, new sandals, a ring on his finger, the calf, the feast! In the immense joy of the encounter, Jesus allows us to see how great the sadness of the father is because of the loss of his son. God was very sad and the people now become aware of this, seeing the immense joy of the father because of the encounter with his son! It is joy shared with all in the feast that he has prepared.• Luke 15:25-28b: The reaction of the older son. The older son returns from his work in the fields and finds that there is a feast in the house. He refuses to enter. He wants to know what is happening. When he is told the reason for the feast, he is very angry and does not want to go in. He thinks that he is in the right. He does not like the feast and he does not understand the why of his father’s joy. This is a sign that he did not have great intimacy with the father, in spite of their having lived in the same house. In fact, if he had had this intimacy, he would have noticed the father’s sadness for the loss of his younger son and would have understood his joy when the son returned. Those who live in a state of anxiety about the observance of the Law of God run the risk of forgetting God himself! The young son, even being far away from home, seemed to know the father better than the older son who lived with him. The younger one had the courage to go back home to his father, while the older one no longer wants to enter the the father’s house. He does not realize that the father, without him, will lose his joy, because he, the older son, is son as much as the younger one!• Luke 15:28a-30: The attitude of the father and the older son’s response. The Father goes out of the house and begs the older son to come inside. But the son answers, “All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property, he and his loose women, you kill the calf we had been fattening.” The older son also wants feast and joy, but only with his own friends, not with his brother and much less with his father. He does not even call his own brother “brother,” but rather “this son of yours,” as if he were no longer his brother. And he, the older brother, speaks about prostitutes. His malice makes him interpret his younger brother’s life in this way. How many times does the older brother misinterpret the life of the younger brother. How many times do we misinterpret the life and the practices of others! The attitude of the father is the contrary! He accepts the younger son but does not want to lose the older son. Both of them form part of the family. One cannot exclude the other!• Luke 15:31-32: The father’s final response. Like the father who does not pay attention to the arguments of the younger son, in the same way he does not pay attention to those of the older son. He says, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours, but it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found!” Was the older son really aware that he was always with his father and found in his presence the reason for his joy? The father’s declaration – “All I have is yours!” also includes the younger son who has returned! The older brother does not have the right to make a distinction, and if he wants to be the father’s son, he has to accept the father as he is and not as he would like him to be! The parable does not say what was the older brother’s final response. It is up to the older son, who we are, to give it!• The one who experiences the gratuitous and surprising eruption of the love of God in his life becomes joyful and wishes to communicate this joy to others. The salvific action of God is a source of joy: “Rejoice with me!” (Lk 15:6,9). And from this experience of God’s gratuitousness the sense of feast and joy emerges (Lk 15:32). At the end of the parable, the father asks them to be happy and to celebrate, to feast. The joy is threatened by the older son, who does not want to enter the house. He thinks he has the right to joy only with his own friends and does not want to share joy with all the members of the same human family. He represents those who consider themselves just and observant, and who think that they do not need any conversion, just like the keepers of the Law in Jesus’ time.4) Personal questions• What is the image of God that I have had since my childhood? Has it changed as I changed, and why?• With which of the two sons do I identify with: the younger one or the older one? Why?• This parable has references to communities (Pharisees/Gentiles) as well as to individuals. Do those references apply today?5) Concluding PrayerBless Yahweh, my soul,from the depths of my being, His holy name;bless Yahweh, my soul,never forget all His acts of kindness. (Ps 103:1-2)#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-23032019 … See MoreSee Less
What a very comprehensive analysis of each party in this parable!!!
4 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Matthew 21:33-43.45-46Friday, March 22, 20191) Opening prayerGod, we do not want to die;we want to live.We want to be happybut without paying the price.We belong to our times,when sacrifice and suffering are out of fashion.God, make our life worth living.Give us back the age-old realization,that life means to be bornagain and again in pain,that it may become againa journey of hope to You,together with Christ Jesus, our Lord.2) Gospel reading – Matthew 21:33-43,45-46Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, AHe will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, ADid you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.3) Reflection• The text of today’s Gospel forms part of a greater whole which includes Mathew 21:23-40. The chief priests and the elders had asked Jesus by what authority He did those things (Mt 21:23). They considered themselves the custodians of everything and they did not want anybody to do things without their permission. Jesus’ answer is divided into three parts: 1) He, in turn, asks them a question because He wants to know, in their opinion, if John the Baptist was from heaven or from earth (Mt 21:24-27); 2) He then tells them the parable of the two sons (Mt 21:28-32); 3) He tells them the parable of the vineyard (Mt 21:33-46), which is today’s Gospel.• Matthew 21:33-40: The parable of the vineyard. Jesus begins as follows: “Listen to another parable: There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard, he fenced it around, dug a winepress in it and built a tower.” The parable is a beautiful summary of the history of Israel, taken from the prophet Isaiah (Is 5:1-7). Jesus addresses Himself to the chief priests, to the elders (Mt 21:23) and to the Pharisees (Mt 21:45) and He gives a response to the question which they addressed to Him about the origin of His authority (Mt 21:23). Through this parable, Jesus clarifies several things: (a) He reveals the origin of His authority: He is the Son, the heir; (b) He denounces the abuse of the authority of the tenants, that is of the priests and elders who were not concerned and did not take care of the people of God; (c) He defends the authority of the prophets, sent by God, but who were killed by the priests and the elders; (d) He unmasks the authority by which they manipulate the religion and kill the Son, because they do not want to lose the source of income which they have accumulated for themselves throughout the centuries.• Matthew 21:41: The sentence which they give to themselves. At the end of the parable Jesus asks: “Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They are not aware that the parable was speaking precisely of them. This is why, with the response that they give, they decree their own condemnation: “The chief priests and the elders of the people answered: ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him at the proper time’.” Several times Jesus uses this same method. He leads the person to tell the truth about himself, without knowing that he is condemning himself. For example, in the case of the Pharisee who condemns the young woman, considering her a sinner (Luke 7:42-43), and in the case of the parable of the two sons (Mt 21:28-32).• Matthew 21:42-46: The sentence given by themselves was confirmed by their behavior. From the clarification given by Jesus, the chief priests, the elders and the Pharisees understand that the parable is about them, but they do not convert. Rather, they keep to their own plan to kill Jesus. They will reject “the cornerstone.” But they do not have the courage to do it openly because they fear the reaction of the people.• The diverse groups which held the power at the time of Jesus. In today’s Gospel three groups appear, which, at that time, governed: the priests, the elders and the Pharisees. Then, some brief information on the power which each of these groups and others had is given:a) The priests: They were the ones in charge of the worship in the Temple. The people paid the Temple a tithe and other taxes and offerings. The High Priest occupied a very important place in the life of the nation, especially after the exile. He was chosen and appointed from among the three or four aristocratic families who possessed more power and riches.b) The elders or the Chief Priests of the People: They were the local leaders in the different villages of the city. Their origin came from the heads of the ancient tribes.c) The Sadducees: they were the lay aristocratic elite of society who wanted to maintain a priestly caste. Many of them were rich merchants or landlords. From the religious point of view they were liberal in their willingness to incorporate Hellenism into their lives. They did not accept the changes supported by the Pharisees, for example, faith in the resurrection and the existence of angels.d) The Pharisees: Pharisee means “separated.” They believed in the Oral Law handed down from Moses and that through the perfect observance of the Law of purity, people would succeed in being pure, separated and holy as the Law and Tradition demanded! Because of the exemplary witness of their life according to the norms of the time, their moral authority was widespread in the villages of Galilee.e) Scribe or doctor of the Law: They were the ones in charge of teaching. They dedicated their life to the study of the Law of God and taught people what to do to observe all the Law of God. Not all the Scribes belonged to the same line. Some were united with the Pharisees, others with the Sadducees.4) Personal questions• Have you sometimes felt that you were unduly controlled or misunderstood? What was your reaction? Was it the same as that of Jesus?• If Jesus returned today and told us the same parable, would it be as relevant? What would the reaction be from society and on a personal level?5) Concluding prayerAs far as heaven is above the earth,so strong is the faithful love of the Lord for those who fear Him.As far as the east is from the west,so far from us does He put our faults. (Ps 103:11-12)#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-22032019 … See MoreSee Less
5 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Luke 16:19-31Thursday, March 21, 2019Season of Lent1) Opening prayerLord our God,many of us never had it so good, andso we have become smug and self-satisfied, happy in our own little world.God, may our ears remain open to Your wordand our hearts to Youand to our brothers and sisters.Do not allow us to forget You,or to place our trust in ourselves.Make us restless for Youthrough Jesus Christ our Lord.2) Gospel Reading – Luke 16:19-31 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) Reflection• Every time that Jesus has something important to communicate, He creates a story and tells a parable. In this way, through reflection on an invisible reality, He leads those who listen to Him to discover the invisible call of God, who is present in life. A parable is meant to make us think and reflect. For this reason it is important to pay attention to even the smallest details. In the parable in today’s Gospel there are three persons: the poor Lazarus, the rich man without a name, and Father Abraham. In the parable, Abraham represents the thought of God. The rich man without a name represents the dominating ideology of that time. Lazarus represents the silent cry of the poor in the time of Jesus and in all times.• Luke 16:19-21: The situation of the rich man and the poor man. The two extremes of society. On the one side, aggressive richness; on the other, the poor man without resources, without rights, covered with wounds, without anybody to accept him, to receive him, except the dogs which came to lick his wounds. What separates both of them is the closed door of the rich man’s house. For the rich man, there is no acceptance nor pity concerning the poor man at his door. But the poor man has a name; the rich man does not. That is, the poor man has his name written in the book of life, not the rich one. The poor man’s name is Lazarus. It means God helps. And through the poor man, God helps the rich man who could have a name in the book of life. But the rich man does not allow himself to be helped by the poor man, because he keeps his door closed. The beginning of this parable is a faithful mirror of what was happening during the time of Jesus and the time of Luke. It is a mirror of everything that is happening today in the world!• Luke 16:22: The change which reveals the hidden truth. 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 one. This is a warning for the rich. During the time when the poor man is alive and at the door, there is still the possibility of salvation for the rich man. But when the poor man dies, the only instrument of salvation for the rich man also dies. Now, the poor man is in Abraham’s embrace. The embrace of Abraham is the source of life, where the people of God were born. Lazarus, the poor man, is part of the people of Abraham, from which he was excluded when he was before the rich man’s door. The rich man, who believes that he is a son of Abraham, does not go toward Abraham’s embrace! The introduction to the parable ends here. Now its significance begins to be revealed, through the three conversations between the rich man and Father Abraham.• Luke 16:23-26: The first conversation. In the parable, Jesus opens a window on the other side of life, the side of God. It is not a question of Heaven. It is a question of the life which only faith generates and which the rich man, who has no faith, cannot see. It is only in the light of death that this ideology disintegrates; then appears as what the true value of life is. On the part of God, without the deceptive thinking of the ideology, things change. The rich man sees Lazarus in the arms of Abraham and asks to be helped in his suffering. The rich man discovers that Lazarus is his only possible benefactor. But now it is too late! The nameless rich man is pious, because he recognizes Abraham and calls him Father. Abraham responds and calls him son. In reality, this word of Abraham is addressed to all the rich who are alive. In so far as they are alive, they have the possibility of becoming sons and daughters of Abraham if they know how to open the door to Lazarus, the poor man, the only one who in God’s name can help them. Salvation for the rich man does not consist in Lazarus giving him a drop of fresh water to refresh his tongue, but rather, that he, the rich man, open the closed door to the poor man so as fill the great abyss that exists.• Luke 16:27-29: The second conversation. The rich man insists: “Then, Father, I beg you to send Lazarus to my father’s house, because I have five brothers!” The rich man does not want his brothers to end in this place of suffering. Lazarus, the poor man, is the only true intermediary between God and the rich. He is the only one, because it is only to the poor that the rich have to return what they had and, thus, re-establish the justice which has been damaged! The rich man is worried for his brothers, but was never concerned about the poor! 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 by heart. But he was never aware that the Bible had something to do with the poor. The rich man’s key to understanding the Bible is the poor man sitting at his door!• Luke 16:30-31: The third conversation. “No, Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent!” The rich man recognizes that he is wrong, he has committed an error, because he speaks of repenting, something which he never heard during his life. He wants a miracle, a resurrection! But this type of resurrection does not exist. The only resurrection is that of Jesus. Jesus, risen from the dead comes to us in the person of the poor, of those who have no rights, of those who have no land, of those who have no food, of those who have no house, of those who have no health. In his final response, Abraham is clear and convincing: “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead!” The conversation ends this way and is the end of the parable!• The key to understanding the sense of the Bible is the poor Lazarus, sitting before the door! God presents Himself in the person of the poor, sitting at our door, to help us cross the enormous abyss which the rich have created. Lazarus is also Jesus, the poor and servant Messiah, who was not accepted, but whose death changed all things radically. And everything changes in the light of the death of the poor. The place of torment, of torture, is the situation of the person without God. Even if the rich man thinks that he has religion and faith, in fact, he is not with God, because he does not open the door to the poor, as Zacchaeus did (Lk 19:1-10).4) Personal questions• How do we treat the poor? Do they have a name? In my attitude toward them, am I like Lazarus or like the rich man?• When the poor come in contact with me, do they hear the Good News?• Who do I consider are the poor? There are many kinds of poverty. Identifying these kinds of poverty should cause us to expand who we help, rather than limit us to “giving a donation” and not becoming personally involved.5) Concluding PrayerHow blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wickedand does not take a stand in the path that sinners tread,nor a seat in company with cynics,but who delights in the law of Yahwehand meditates on His law day and night. (Ps 1:1-2)#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-21032019 … See MoreSee Less
6 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Matthew 20:17-28Season of Lent1) Opening prayerLord our God,your prophets remind usin season and out of seasonof our responsibilities toward Youand toward the world of people.When they disturb and upset us,let it be a holy disturbancethat makes us restless, eager to do Your willand to bring justice and love around us.We ask You this through Christ our Lord.2) Gospel Reading – Matthew 20:17-28As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third day." Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many."3) ReflectionToday s Gospel presents three points: the third announcement of the Passion (Mt 20:17-19), the petition of the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt 20:20-23) and the discussion of the disciples regarding the first place among them (Mt 20:24-28).Matthew 20:17-19: The third announcement of the Passion. Going toward Jerusalem, Jesus walks in front of them. He knows that He is going to be killed. The Prophet Isaiah had already announced it (Is 50:4-6; 53:1-10). His death is not the fruit of a plan established in advance, but the consequence of the commitment taken concerning the mission received from the Father, to be at the side of the excluded of His time. This is why Jesus speaks to the disciples about the tortures and death that He will have to face in Jerusalem. The disciple should follow the Master, even if He has to suffer like He. The disciples are frightened and accompany Him with fear. They do not understand what is happening (cfr. Lk 18:34). Suffering did not correspond to the idea that they had of the Messiah (cfr. Mt 16:21-23).Matthew 20:20-21: The petition of the mother to obtain the first place for her sons. The disciples do not only not understand the importance and significance of the message of Jesus, but they continue with their own personal ambitions. When Jesus insists on service and the gift of oneself, they continue to ask for the first places in the Kingdom. The mother of James and John, taking her sons with her, gets close to Jesus . The two did not understand the proposal of Jesus. They were concerned only about their own interests. This is a sign that the ideology of that time had profoundly penetrated the mentality of the disciples. In spite of the fact of having lived with Jesus several years, they had not renewed their way of seeing things. They looked at Jesus as always, with the same look. They wanted a reward for following Jesus. The same tensions existed in the communities of the time of Matthew and they still exist today in our own communities.Matthew 20-22-23: Jesus’ answer. Jesus reacts firmly: You do not know what you are asking for! And He asks if they are capable of drinking the chalice that he, Jesus, will drink and if they are ready to receive the baptism which He will receive. It is the chalice of suffering, the baptism of blood! Jesus wants to know if they, instead of the places of honor, accept to give their life up to death. Both answer: We can! It seems to be a response not given from within, because a few days later, they abandoned Jesus and left Him alone at the hour of suffering (Mk 14:50). They do not have a great critical knowledge, they do not perceive their personal reality. In what concerns the first place, the place of honor, in the Kingdom at the side of Jesus, the one who grants this is the Father. What he, Jesus, has to offer, is the chalice and the baptism, suffering and the cross.Matthew 20:24-27: It should not be like that among you: Jesus speaks once again, on the exercise of power (cfr. Mk 9:33-35). At that time those who held power did not give an account to people. They acted as they wished (cfr. Mk 6:27-28). The Roman Empire controlled the world and maintained it with the force of the arms. Through tributes, taxes, it succeeded in concentrating the riches of the people in the hands of a few in Rome. Society was characterized by the repressive and abusive exercise of power. Jesus had an altogether different proposal. He said: It should not be like that among you; the one who wants to become great among you should become a servant, and the one who wants to be the first one among you will become your slave! He teaches against privileges and rivalry. He wants to change the system and insists on that service as the remedy against personal ambition.Matthew 20:28: The summary of the life of Jesus. Jesus defines His mission and His life: I have not come to be served but to serve! He has come to give His own life for the salvation of many. He is the Messiah Servant, announced by the Prophet Isaiah (cfr. Is 42:1-9; 49:1-6; 50:4-9); 52:13-53:12). He learned from His Mother who said: Behold, the handmaid of the Lord! (Lk 1:38). A totally new proposal for the society of that time.4) Personal questionsJames and John ask for a favor and Jesus promises suffering. What do I ask Jesus for in my prayer? How do I accept suffering and the pains and sorrow which come to me in my life?Jesus said: It should not be like that among you! Does my way of living in community follow this advice of Jesus?5) Concluding PrayerDraw me out of the net they have spread for me,for You are my refuge;into Your hands I commit my spirit,by You have I been redeemed. God of truth. (Ps 31,4-5)#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-20032019 … See MoreSee Less
7 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Saint JosephMatthew 1:16.18-21.24aJoseph, the Spouse of Mary, the Mother of Jesus 1. LECTIOa) Opening prayer:Spirit who moves over the water,calm in us all discordance,the agitated waves, the noise of the words,the whirlwind of vanity,and make the Word which recreates,arise in silence.Spirit who in a sigh you whisperto our spirit the Name of the Father,come and gather together all our desires,make them grow in a beam of lightwhich will be a response to Your light,the Word of the new Day.Spirit of God, the sap of loveof the immense tree on which you graft us,so that all our brothers and sisterswill seem to us as a giftin the great Body in whichthe Word of communion matures.(Frère Pierre-Yves of Taizé)b) Reading of the Gospel: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24aJacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.c) A moment of silence:so that the Word of God may enter into our hearts and enlighten our lives.2. MEDITATIOa) A key to the reading:The passage of today’s Gospel is taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew which forms part of the section concerning the conception, birth and infancy of Jesus. The center of all this account is the person of Jesus around which are all the events and the persons mentioned. One must keep in mind that the Gospel reveals a theology of the history of Jesus, and so getting close to the Word of God we should get the message which is hidden under the veils of the account without losing ourselves, as Paul so wisely advises us “in foolish speculations”, avoiding “those genealogies and the quibbles and disputes about the Law, they are useless and futile” (Tt 3:9).In fact, this text is connected to the genealogy of Jesus, which Matthew arranges with the intention of stressing the dynastic succession of Jesus, the Savior of his people (Mt 1:21). To Jesus are conferred all the rights inherited from the lineage of David, of “Joseph, son of David” (Mt 1:20; Lk 2:4-5) His legal father. For the Biblical and Hebrew world legal paternity was sufficient to confer all the rights of the lineage in question (cf.: the law of the levirate and of adoption (Dt 25:5ff). That is why from the beginning of the genealogy, Jesus is designed as “Christ the Son of David” (Mt 1:1) that is, the anointed one of the Lord Son of David, with whom all the promises of God to David His servant, are fulfilled (2 Sam 7:1-16; 2 Cr 7:18; 2 Cr 21:7; Ps 89:30). This is why Matthew adds to the account of the genealogy and of the conception of Jesus the prophecy of Isaiah: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet.: The young woman is with child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel, which means God with us” (Mt 1:21-23 and Is 7:14).Let us stop to say something, on the spiritual reality of adoption, we can refer to the fact that the elected people possess “the glory, the covenants, the legislation, the cult, the promises”, because “they are Israelites and possess the adoption of sons” (Rm 9:4). But we also, the new people of God in Christ receive the adoption of children because “when the completion of the time came God sent His Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law, so that we could receive adoption as children” (Gal 4:4-5). This is the salvation which Jesus has brought to us. Christ “will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21) because He is the “God with us!” (Mt 1:23) who makes us adopted children of God.Jesus is born from “Mary who was betrothed to Joseph” (Mt 1:18a)) who “was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:18b). Matthew does not give the account of the annunciation as Luke does (Lk 1:26-38), but structures the account from the point of view of the experience of Joseph the just man. The Bible reveals to us that God loves the just and many times chooses them for an important mission, protects them and does not join them to the impious (Gen 18:23ff). In the Old Testament we find many persons who are considered just. We think of Noah “a good man, an upright man among his contemporaries” (Gen 6:9). Or also Johoash who “did what Yahweh regards as right” (2 K 12:3).A constant idea in the Bible is the “dream” as a privileged place where God makes His plans and designs known, and sometimes reveals the future. The dreams of Jacob at Bethel are well known (Gen 28:10ff) and Joseph his son, as also those of the cup-bearer and the chief baker imprisoned in Egypt with him (Gen 37:5ff; Gen 40:5ff) and the dreams of Pharaoh which revealed the future years of plenty and of famine and want (Gen 41:1ff).“An Angel of the Lord“ appeared to Joseph (Mt 1:20) to reveal to him God’s design. In the Gospels of the infancy frequently the Angel of the Lord is mentioned as the heavenly messenger (Mt 1:20.24; 2:13.19; Lk 1:11; 2:9) and also on other occasions the angel appears to calm, to reveal the plans of God, to heal and to liberate from slavery (cf. Mt 28:2; Jn 5:4; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 12:7.23). Many are the references to the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament where originally the angel represented the Lord himself who guided and protected His people being close to them (cf. Gen 16:7-16; 22:12; 24:7; Ex 3:3; 23:20; Tb 5:4).b) Questions to orient the meditation and make it relevant:● What is the most important thing to you in this passage? Why?● In the key to the reading, consideration is given to some terms (adoption, angel, dream, just). What thoughts did these raise in your heart? What relevance can they have for your journey of spiritual maturation?3. ORATIOa) Psalm 92It is good to give thanks to Yahweh,to make music for Your name, Most High,to proclaim Your faithful love at daybreak,and Your constancy all through the night,on the lyre, the ten-stringed lyre,to the murmur of the harp.You have brought me joy, Yahweh,by Your deeds, at the work of Your hands I cry out,‘How great are Your works, Yahweh,immensely deep Your thoughts!’Stupid people cannot realize this,fools do not grasp it.The wicked may sprout like weeds,and every evil-doer flourish,but only to be eternally destroyed;whereas You are supreme for ever, Yahweh.Look how Your enemies perish,how all evil-doers are scattered!You give me the strength of the wild ox,You anoint me with fresh oil;I caught sight of the ambush against me,overheard the plans of the wicked.The upright will flourish like the palm tree,will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.Planted in the house of Yahweh,they will flourish in the courts of our God.In old age they will still bear fruit,will remain fresh and green,to proclaim Yahweh’s integrity;my rock, in whom no fault can be found.b) Moments for a prayerful silence4. CONTEMPLATIOThe Christian contemplation of God’s dream, of the plan which God cherishes for the history of humanity does not produce alienation but keeps the consciences vigilant and active and stimulates us to face with courage and altruism the responsibilities which life gives us.#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-19032019 … See MoreSee Less
1 week ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Luke 6:36-381) OPENING PRAYERJust and holy God,our loving Father,you offered us Your hand in friendshipand You sent us Your Son Jesusto go with us on the roadof obedience and loyalty.God, we often hurt this friendship,we act as if we were not Your sons and daughters.See the look of shame on our faces.Forgive us, for we count on You.Accept our thanksfor continuing to take us as we areand loving us notwithstanding our sins.We ask You this through Christ our Lord.2) GOSPEL READING – LUKE 6:36-38Jesus said to his disciples: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."3) REFLECTIONThese three brief verses of today’s Gospel (Lk 6:36-38) are the final part of a brief discourse of Jesus (Lk 6:20-38). In the first part of His discourse, He addresses Himself to the disciples (Lk 6:20) and to the rich (Lk 6:24) proclaiming four beatitudes for the disciples (Lk 6:20-23), and four curses for the rich (Lk 6:20-26). In the second part, He addresses Himself to all those who are listening (Lk 6:27), that is, the immense crowd of poor and sick, who had come from all parts (Lk 6:17-19). The words which He addresses to this people and to all of us are demanding and difficult: to love the enemy (Lk 6,27), not curse them (Lk 6:28), offer the other cheek to the one who slaps you on one, and do not complain if someone takes what is ours (Lk 6:29). How can this difficult advice be understood? The explanation is given in the three verses of today’s Gospel from which we draw the center of the Good News brought by Jesus.Luke 6:36: Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful. The Beatitudes for the disciples (Lk 6:20-23) and the curses against the rich (Lk 6:24-26) cannot be interpreted as an occasion for the poor to take revenge against the rich. Jesus orders us to have the contrary attitude. He says: Love your enemies! (Lk 6:27). The change which Jesus wants to bring about in us does not consist in merely changing something to invert the system, because in this way nothing would change. He wants to change the system. The idea which Jesus wants to portray comes from the new experience that He has of God the Father, full of tenderness, who accepts all, good and bad, who makes the sun shine on both the good and on the bad and makes the rain fall on both good and bad (Mt 5:5,45). True love does not depend, nor can it depend, on what I receive from others. Love must want the good of the other independently of what he does for me. Because this is how God’s love is for us. He is merciful not only toward those who are good, but with all, even with the ungrateful and the evil (Lk 6:35). The disciples of Jesus should radiate this merciful love.Luke 6:37-38: Do not judge and you will not be judged. These last words repeat in a clearer way what Jesus had said before: Treat others as you would like them to treat you (Lk 6:31; cf. Mt 7:12). If you do not want to be judged, do not judge! If you do not want to be condemned, do not condemn. If you want to be forgiven, then forgive! If you want to receive a good measure, give this good measure to others! Do not wait for the other one to take the initiative. You take it and begin now! You will see that it is like this.4) PERSONAL QUESTIONSLent is a time of conversion. Which is the conversion which today s Gospel is asking of me?Have you already been merciful as the Heavenly Father is?What are my limits in being merciful and forgiving?5) CONCLUDING PRAYERHelp us, God our Savior,for the glory of Your name;Yahweh, wipe away our sins,rescue us for the sake of Your name. (Ps 79,9)#dailymeditations www.stswithuns.org.uk/event/dr-18032019 … See MoreSee Less