Archive for the ‘Scripture’ category
The Gospel reading for this Sunday includes the story of the Good Samaritan. Here’s a ‘hip’ street version of the story (which takes a while to develop):
If that was a bit too modern for you, here’s a good standard reenactment:
Videos can be helpful, but they are no substitute for actually opening your Bible, and reading and meditating on the words of Sacred Scripture, and reading the teachings of the Popes:
Today, for example, the liturgy invites us to reflect on the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10: 25-37), which introduces us into the heart of the Gospel message: love for God and love for neighbour. But the person speaking to Jesus asks: who is my neighbour? And the Lord answers by reversing the question and showing through the account of the Good Samaritan that each one of us must make himself close to every person he meets: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10: 37).
Loving, Jesus says, means acting like the Good Samaritan. And we know that he himself is the Good Samaritan par excellence; although he was God, he did not hesitate to humble himself to the point of becoming a man and giving his life for us.
Love is therefore the “heart” of Christian life; indeed, love alone, awakened in us by the Holy Spirit, makes us Christ’s witnesses.
4. Jesus Christ once told a parable which I should like to recall at this time. This parable is known even among those of you who do not share the Christian faith. It is a parable which appeals to the hearts of all people of good will, not only to the followers of Christ; it is the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The Gospel of Luke records the parable, telling how a man had been robbed, beaten and left beside the road half dead. According to the Gospel account, “a Samaritan who was journeying along came on him and was moved to pity at the sight. He approached him and dressed his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. He then hoisted him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, where he cared for him. The next day he took out two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper with the request : Look after him, and if there is any further expense I will repay you on my way back”.
The Good Samaritan does not mind that he might be criticized for helping someone whο has “traditionally” been considered his enemy. And he does not ask him any questions : where he comes from, why he is there, where he is going. He asks no questions at all. Very simply the Good Samaritan sees the injured person in need, and he spontaneously helps him up, takes him to an inn, and sees that he receives all he needs to get well again. This is charity ! A charity which makes no exception because of the other person’s ethnic origin, religious allegiance or political preference, no exceptions whatsoever ; a charity which sees the person as a brother or sister in need and seeks only one thing : to be of immediate assistance, to be a neighbor.
May this same charity motivate all of us who live in a world approaching the end of the second millennium ! May it inspire all of us to have compassion for the millions of refugees whο cry out for our help!
Every year on Good Friday, the Pope presides over the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum. Each year, our Holy Father assigns someone different to write meditations for these Stations of the Cross. This year, the meditations will be written by an Augustinian nun.
During Lent this year, I’ve been doing some lectio divina with these meditations as part of my devotions during Lent. Some have proved to be exceptionally fertile for reflection and prayer. They provide an excellent setting in which to contemplate the Face of Christ, to understand his sufferings in a deeper way, and to become more aware of the connections of his passion and death to the rest of Sacred Scripture, Church teaching, and God’s plan for our salvation.
In case you’d like to investigate this resource, I’ve provided links below, listed in order of most favored by me:
2003 = Pope John Paul II (written in 1976 before he was Pope)
2011 = Sr Maria Rita Piccione
Pope Benedict XVI devotes Section Nos. 86 & 87 of his recently released Verbum Domini to the topic of lectio divina, usually translated “divine reading” or “sacred reading.” In “The Love of Learning and the Desire for God,” Dom Jean LeClercq OSB teaches a bit about the history of the lectio part of lectio divina:
What does this consist of? How is this reading done?….in the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, they read usually, not as today, principally with the eyes, but with the lips, pronouncing what they saw, and with the ears, listening to the words pronounced, hearing what is called the “voices of the pages.” It is a real acoustical reading….When Peter the Venerable was suffering from catarrh, not only was he no longer able to speak in public, but he could no longer perform his lectio….This proves how true it was that the act of verbalizing was not divorced from the visual. The latter was accompanied spontaneously by the movement of the lips, and the lectio divina was necessarily an active reading.
More recently, this was taught by Fr Mark Kirby in his instructions for lectio divina:
Lectio…is the sacred text read aloud in order to become the Word heard.
Read the appointed text audibly. Text becomes Word when you hear it.
I suppose that the next best thing to reading the Scriptures yourself would be having them read to you by someone else. When I facilitated a parish bible study, rather than having one of the participants read the chapter aloud, I would have us listen to it read eloquently by Alexander Scourby, employing my 25-year-old cassette tape set of him reading the Scripture. Now, I have the opportunity to upgrade from my old tapes to this recently released CD set:
RSV-CE ! And dramatized by famous actors! Can’t wait!!
In doing a bit of lectio divina on this Sunday’s Mass readings, I spent some extra time on the Responsorial Psalm, finding that Pope Benedict XVI had given a teaching on this one. In fact, it was in only his second General Audience since becoming Pope that he taught on Psalm 121:
 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot be moved,
he who keeps you will not slumber.
 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade
on your right hand.
 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
 The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
 The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and for evermore.
The Holy Father first points out the twofold meaning of the mountains, the second of which would probably be missed by most of us (it never occurred to me!):
The song begins with the Psalmist raising his eyes “to the mountains”, that is, to the hills crowned by Jerusalem: from up there comes help, for there, in his temple, the Lord dwells (cf. vv. 1-2).
However, the word “mountains” can also conjure up images of idolatrous shrines in the so-called “high places”, which are frequently condemned in the Old Testament (cf. I Kgs 3: 2; II Kgs 18: 4). In this case, there would have been a contrast: while the pilgrim was advancing towards Zion, his eyes would have lit on pagan temples that were a great temptation to him. But his faith was steadfast and he was certain of one thing alone: “My help shall come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps 121: 2).
After covering other aspects of Psalm 121, Pope Benedict concludes by introducing us to Barsanuphius of Gaza, from whom he quotes an encouraging litany of blessings.
In the chapter on Psalm 121 in their book “Praying the Psalms with the Early Christians,” co-authors Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey present an excerpt from St Augustine’s preaching on this psalm, which includes this explanation:
How are feet moved?
….nothing moves the feet, except pride: nothing moves the feet to a fall, except pride. Charity moves them to walk and to improve and to ascend; pride moves them to fall….
Choose for yourself him who will neither sleep nor slumber, and your foot shall not be moved.
There are some aspects of my life that are currently a source of distracting anxiety for me. This psalm is truly a reminder to me of the vigilant love that my Heavenly Father has for me. At the same Mass in which I hear/pray this psalm tomorrow, I will have an encounter with Jesus, and receive his sacramental Presence. I will strive to have unfailing trust that He will be with me through the power of the Holy Spirit to guide me through the vicissitudes of life.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been reading and re-reading Msgr Pope‘s “Chronological Sequence of the Resurrection Appearances” of Jesus, which he explains here. It provides a different perspective, much like the “Our Father’s Plan” / Bible Timeline of Jeff Cavins and Scott Hahn did for the Old Testament.