Posted by: RAM | May 5, 2017

Saturday (May 6): “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of Our Lady
Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 278

First Reading:  Acts 9:31-42
Psalms 116:12-17: How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
Gospel: John 6:60-69
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050617.cfm

Reflection:  Why do some find it easier while others find it harder to accept the claims which Jesus made? Many were attracted to Jesus because he offered them something irresistible – a visible sign of God’s mercy and favor which Jesus demonstrated in his wonderful works of healing, deliverance, and miraculous signs, including the multiplication of the loaves and fish when he feed the five thousand who had gathered to hear him speak. Many stumbled, however, when Jesus made claims which only God can make. Jesus’ discourse on “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” (see John 6:51-59) which pointed to the Last Supper, caused offence to many of his followers.

The blessing of full union with God through Christ
Jesus claimed to be the bread of heaven, the very life of God given to us as spiritual food to sustain us on our journey to our promised homeland with the Father in heaven. Jesus did not leave any middle ground for his hearers. They must either accept his word as divine or reject it as the claim of an imposter. Even the apostles admitted that this was a “hard saying”. This expression meant that it was not just hard to understand, but hard to accept. Jesus pressed the issue with his beloved disciples because he wanted to test their faith and loyalty to him as the Holy One sent from the Father in heaven. Jesus promised his disciples nothing less than the full blessing of eternal life and union with God. Jesus assures his disciples that it is his heavenly Father who gives the invitation and the grace to believe and follow even in the “hard sayings”. Jesus knew that some would not only reject him and his word, but would do so with violence fueled by hatred, envy, and even betrayal by one of his own disciples.

“My words are spirit and life”
Jesus told his disciples that his words were “spirit and life” (John 6:63) – his words came from the heavenly Father who is the Author of life and the One who breathes his Spirit into those who believe in him. Through the gift of faith Peter was able to receive spiritual revelation of who Jesus truly is – the Holy One of God, the eternal Son sent from the Father in heaven to redeem a fallen human race and reconcile them with God.

Faith is a gift and a personal response to God’s revelation of himself
How does God help us grow in faith and trust in his word, even the hard sayings which are difficult to understand? Faith is a gift which God freely gives to those who listen to his word and who put their trust in him. Faith is a personal response to God’s revelation of himself. Faith is neither blind nor ignorant. It is based on the truth and reliability of God’s word. True faith seeks understanding. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said, “I believe in order to understand, and I understand the better to believe.” The Lord Jesus offers all of his followers his life-giving word and Spirit to help us grow in our knowledge and understanding of God.

We can know God personally through his word
Paul the Apostle tells us that it is the work of the Holy Spirit who enlightens the eyes of our heart and mind to understand the truth and wisdom which comes from God (Ephesians 1:17-18). Faith is the key to understanding and experiencing God’s action and work in our personal lives. Paul the Apostle tells us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). We can know God personally, and we grow in recognizing his voice as we listen to his word and obey his instruction. Do you believe, as Peter did, that Jesus has the words of everlasting life and the power to change and transform your life? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith that you may grow in knowing, loving, and serving him as your Lord and Redeemer, Teacher and Healer, Master and Savior.

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Help me to cast aside all doubt and fear so that I may freely embrace your word with complete trust and joy. I surrender all to you. Be the Lord of my life and the Ruler of my heart. May there be nothing which hinders me from trusting in your love and following your will.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/may6.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: Saint Dominic Savio, Patron of choirboys, the falsely accused, and juvenile delinquents  (1842-1857)
Dominic Savio was born on April 2, 1842 in the village of Riva in northern Italy. His father was a blacksmith and his mother a seamstress. He had nine brothers and sisters. His family was poor but hardworking. They were devout and pious Catholics.

When he was just two years old, Dominic’s family returned to their native village of Castlenuovo d’Asti, (Today, Castlenuovo Don Bosco) near the birthplace of John Bosco. Bosco would himself later be canonized as a Saint by the Church and became a major influence on the life of Dominic.

As a small child, Dominic loved the Lord and His Church. He was very devout in practicing his Catholic faith. For example, he said grace before every meal and refused to eat with those who did not. He was always quick to encourage others to pray.

Dominic attended Church regularly with his mother and was often seen kneeling before the Tabernacle in prayer. He even prayed outside the Church building. It did not matter to Dominic if the ground was covered with mud or snow, he knelt and prayed anyway.

Dominic was quickly recognized as an exceptional student who studied hard and performed well in school. He became an altar server. He also attended daily Mass and went to confession regularly. He asked to receive his first communion at the age of seven. This was not the practice in the Church of Italy at the time. Normally, children received their first holy communion at the age of twelve. Dominic’s priest was so impressed with his intelligence concerning the faith, his love for the Lord and his piety that he made an exception. Dominic said that the day of his First Communion was the happiest day of his life.

On the Day he received his first communion, Dominic wrote four promises in a little book. Those promises were:

I will go to Confession often, and as frequently to Holy Communion as my confessor allows.
I wish to sanctify the Sundays and festivals in a special manner.
My friends shall be Jesus and Mary.
Death rather than sin.

The young Dominic graduated to secondary school and walked three miles to school each day. He undertook this chore gladly. While walking to school on a hot day a farmer asked why he wasn’t yet tired. Dominic cheerfully replied, “Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a master who pays well.”

Although he was young, Dominic was clearly different than his peers. When two boys stuffed a school heating stove with snow and rubbish. The boys were known troublemakers and were likely to face expulsion if caught, so they blamed Dominic for the misdeed. Dominic did not deny the accusation and he was scolded before the class. However, a day later the teacher learned the truth. He asked Dominic why he did not defend himself while being scolded for something he did not do. Dominic mentioned he was imitating Jesus who remained silent when unjustly accused.

Dominic’s teacher spoke well of him and brought him to the attention of Fr. John Bosco, who was renowned for looking after hundreds of boys, many of them orphaned and poor. In October 1854, Dominic was personally introduced to Fr. Bosco – along with his father.

At the meeting, Bosco wanted to test Dominic’s intelligence and understanding of the Catholic faith. He gave Dominic a copy of The Catholic Readings, which was a pamphlet that dealt with apologetics. He expected Dominic to provide a report the next day, but just ten minutes later Dominic recited the text and provided a full explanation of its significance. This solidified Bosco’s high opinion of Dominic.

Dominic expressed an interest in becoming a priest and asked to go to Turin to attend the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales. Fr. Bosco agreed to take him.

At the Oratory, Dominic studied directly under Fr. Bosco. He worked diligently and always asked questions when he did not understand something. He renewed his First Communion promises that he wrote in his little book at the age of seven. After six months at the Oratory, Dominic delivered a speech on the path to sainthood. In his speech, he made three outstanding points; it is God’s will that we ALL become saints, it is easy to become a saint, and there are great rewards in heaven for saints.

Dominic’s desire to become a saint troubled him however. He wondered to himself how someone as young as he was could become a saint? In his zeal, he tried voluntary mortification and other voluntary penances, hoping that they would help him to grow closer to Jesus and help him to be less concerned with his own needs. He even made his bed uncomfortable and wore thin clothes in winter. When Fr. Bosco observed these practices, he corrected Dominic. He explained that as a child, what he should do instead was to devote himself to his studies and to be cheerful. He discouraged Dominic from any more physical penances. Dominic’s happy demeanor quickly returned.

At the same time Dominic was developing his reputation as a fantastic student, his health began to fail. He started to lose his appetite and Fr. Bosco became concerned. Dominic was taken to the doctor who recommended that he be sent home to his family to recover. Dominic wanted to stay at the oratory, but Fr. Bosco insisted he go home. Everybody expected Dominic to recover, except for Dominic himself who insisted he was dying.

Before he departed, Dominic made the Exercise of a Happy Death and predicted this would be his final devotion.

After four days at home, Dominic’s health worsened. The doctor ordered him to bed to rest. He then performed bloodletting, which was still performed at that time. Over the next four days, Dominic was bled ten times before the doctor was satisfied he would recover.

But Dominic was sure of his impending death. He implored his parents to bring the parish priest so he could make a last confession. They obliged him and Dominic made a confession and was given the Anointing of the Sick. He asked his father to read him the prayers for the Exercise of a Happy Death. Then he fell asleep. Hours later he awoke and said to his father: “Goodbye, Dad, goodbye … Oh what wonderful things I see!” Dominic fell asleep and died within minutes. It was March 9, 1857 and Dominic was merely 14 year of age.

His father wrote to Fr. Bosco to report the sad news.

Fr. Bosco was powerfully touched by Dominic and he wrote a biography, “The Life of Dominic Savio.” The biography quickly became popular and would eventually be read in schools across Italy. As people learned about Dominic, they called for his canonization.

Detractors argued that Dominic was too young to be canonized and pointed out that he was not a martyr. However, Pope Pius X disagreed and opened his cause for canonization.

Dominic Savio was declared venerable in 1933 by Pope Pius XI, beatified in 1950, then canonized in 1954 by Pope Pius XII.

Saint Dominic is the patron saint of choirboys, the falsely accused, and juvenile delinquents. His feast day is May 6, moved from March 9. Many schools and institutions dedicated to boys are dedicated to him.  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=43

More Saints of the Day:
Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno
Bl. Anthony Middleton
St. Benedicta
St. Eadbert
Bl. Edward Jones
St. Evodius
Bl. Francis de Laval
St. Heliodorus
St. Heliodorus
St. Lucius of Cyrene
St. Petronax
St. Theodotus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

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