FORGIVENESS BRINGS HEALING.

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Thursday 30 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time WORD of the DAY  After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,“Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.             (Matthew 9: 1-8) How shall I live this Word?   Jesus cares about our happiness. Being happy is not something that depends on being able to walk on one’s own legs or in a wheelchair but on having the heart free from all that kills, blocks, and dulls existence. Sin, on closer inspection, produces these effects. The healing of the paralytic should help us understand that Jesus is not a healer who came to solve people’s physical problems, but the “Son of man” sent by the Father to offer us the gift of salvation, the forgiveness of sins. We should ask the Lord to be forgiven even before being healed, because forgiveness,... read more

Who do you say that I am?

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Wednesday 29 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time SAINTS PETER AND PAUL WORD of the DAY  When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so, I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”                         (Matthew 16: 13-19) How shall I live this Word?   On the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the liturgy presents us with the episode of Peter’s confession according to the evangelist Matthew. The characteristic of this story is the long praise, absent in the parallel versions of Mark and Luke, that the Master addresses to Simon, not yet renamed Peter, for having answered the question about His identity well, “Who do you say that I am?”  By saying: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the fisherman of Capernaum... read more

DO NOT BE AFRAID!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Tuesday 28 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time WORD of the DAY  As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”                                (Matthew 8: 23-27) How shall I live this Word?   Jesus sleeps peacefully while all the unleashed elements of nature risk precipitating the situation and determining, in addition to the sudden stop of the crossing, also the end of those who are making it. In the midst of the upheavals of life, the desire to wake Him up for Him to intervene spontaneously arises. Jesus, awakened from sleep, reconstitutes the momentarily disturbed harmony with His Word and asks the disciples, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Here, this is our problem, not being able to activate the sense of faith in the midst of the many crises that history presents to us! Lord, we who thought you were asleep, wake up our faith, increase it, so that we can continue to sow the Gospel in the great and small difficulties we are experiencing, and continue the journey of life with faith, hope, and love. So be it!... read more

Lose all to find all in Jesus!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Monday 27 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time WORD of the DAY  When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other shore. A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8: 18-22) How shall I live this Word?   Many times in the Gospel, Jesus orders the disciples to go to the other shore. Beyond the strict, literal meaning that can be given to this indication, I believe that there is in it an invitation addressed to the disciples to follow their Master with the attitude of one who continually sets in motion, trying to orient, in always a new way, the journey. More or less what the scribe who wishes to follow Jesus will have to do but also the disciple who asks to be able to bury his parent before following Him. The first, if he is truly interested in discipleship, must be willing to question his own certainties and understand that only in essentiality and humility is it possible to learn something more than the mystery of God, man, and the world. The second, if he really wants to enter into an ever-deeper relationship with the Master, he will have to reconsider, without taking... read more

Journey with Jesus…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Sunday 26 June 2022 13th Week of Ordinary Time WORD of the DAY  When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan villageto prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.                    (Luke 9: 51-56) How shall I live this Word?   The beginning of Jesus’ ascent towards the place where His existence will tragically find its fulfillment had highlighted a double resistance. There was that of the Samaritans who did not want to welcome Jesus because He was headed for Jerusalem and that of the disciples, in particular of James and of John, who wanted the Lord to punish the Samaritans who did not accept Him. In truth, it is the disciples themselves who do not welcome Jesus who goes to Jerusalem. It always happens like this. We see, and sometimes we blame, the closure of non-believers towards God, but we do not recognize the non-believer who lives within us. Lord, come to meet us as the night of doubt advances. Give us the grace of opening our eyes to be able to immerse ourselves ever more deeply in the mystery of your person! So be it! The Voice of Joseph Ratzinger, Theologian Both the believer... read more

Mary most Holy, Mother of Jesus and my Mother!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Saturday 25 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY WORD of the DAY  Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him,“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.                     (Luke 2: 41-51) How shall I live this Word?   We must recognize that we have sometimes emphasized Mary of Nazareth and our devotion risks embarrassing her because she was used to step aside to point only to her Son.... read more

I am uniquely loved by Jesus!

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Friday 24 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS WORD of the DAY  Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joyand, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,           ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same waythere will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”        (Luke 15: 57-3-7) How shall I live this Word?   It seems obvious what Jesus says, but the truth is another. No one would put ninety-nine sheep at risk to go in search of a single lost one. What is not taken for granted for us is obvious for God. Each of us is that lost sheep and sooner or later finds ourself lost, therefore it is wonderful to think that we are loved with a love that always risks everything for us. For Jesus, each of us is worth everything. We could ask ourselves why His only and immense joy is to find us, to put us on His shoulder, but the real reason remains a mystery, perhaps because we do not accept being loved without a calculable motivation. Yet, it remains a fact that... read more

A new Prophet

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Thursday 23 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST WORD of the DAY  When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So, they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”and all were amazed. (Luke 7: 57-66/80) How shall I live this Word?   Today the Church asks us to stop and contemplate the birth of John who will see his life intimately linked to that of Jesus. The birth of John, in fact, prepares us for the newness of God who becomes man. In the fact of his birth, we find the whole life of John: conversion and announcement. All relatives and friends must convert; they are called to treat the life that is born in a different way from what they used to do. They can no longer give the child the name of Zechariah. John will be other than his father. The people of Israel are called to welcome a prophet different from those who had guided them up to then since the exit from Egypt.... read more

Gestures of Tenderness please God

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Wednesday 22 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time WORD of the DAY  Jesus said to his disciples:“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,but underneath are ravenous wolves.By their fruits you will know them.Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut downand thrown into the fire.So by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7: 15-20) How shall I live this Word?   Jesus has always distanced Himself from an attitude that is widespread in every form of religiosity: the risk of being tied to the exterior, of making the adventure of discipleship a job, the passion of conversion and new life into an image. The solution that Jesus proposes to the disciples is to look at the fruits, a simple way to be able to measure our faith and our pastoral care. We might therefore ask ourselves what has changed in our lives over the years by recognizing the transformation that the Word of Jesus brings about if we allow it. Really great people can be seen from small gestures. The yardstick of our lives, of our family or community, is not efficiency but love, not profit (not even spiritual) but the joy that comes from knowing that we are loved. This alone allows us to be far from worldly logic, to convert our hearts to His tenderness and mercy. Help... read more

Enter the Gate to Life

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD Tuesday 21 June 2022 12th Week of Ordinary Time WORD of the DAY  Jesus said to his disciples:“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.This is the Law and the Prophets.“Enter through the narrow gate;for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,and those who enter through it are many.How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7: 6/ 12-14) How shall I live this Word?   We are called to judge ourselves and others as God does to us: with kindness and authenticity. The disciples, before judging others, look to their own limitations, recognize the beam that prevents them from seeing well … But, at the same time, they know how to distinguish those around them well. We are called to be authentic and frank, welcoming and available, simple but also prudent and vigilant in order to remain realistic. There are people with whom it is impossible to speak effectively about God. Others who do so only in a polemical and provocative spirit. Others who hide behind the faith so as not to see their own fragility and the path of growth they should face. It is certainly not easy to juggle prudence and availability, but it is possible and necessary if we look at a narrow door that makes us grow in the evangelical spirit, without becoming insignificant or uselessly... read more