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Lenten - Easter Cyber Retreat - Final Week

- Fr. Tim Hayes, EGL 1
 
Theme:  Fanning into Flame our Faith in the Word of God Among Us

 
Easter Week: Easter Sunday                 April 24, 2011
 
Today we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and we rejoice with all the Neophytes, those newly baptized and received into Full Communion in the Catholic Church.  We are invited to renew our own Baptismal Vows and to share the Joy of the Risen Lord with all we meet.  Happy Easter!
 
Year A Readings          http://www.usccb.org/nab/042411.shtml
 
Pray today for All devout and faithful souls
 
Pope Benedict's Homily on Palm Sunday:   http://www.zenit.org/article-32342?l=english
 
            http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20110417_palm-sunday_en.html
 
Pope Benedict's Homily on Holy Thursday:  http://www.zenit.org/article-32383?l=english
 
            http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20110421_coena-domini_en.html
 
Pope Benedict's Homily on Holy Saturday:  http://www.zenit.org/article-32406?l=english
 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20110423_veglia-pasquale_en.html
 
From the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini
By The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
 
The Interpretation of Sacred Scripture in the Church
 
Another major theme that emerged during the Synod, to which I would now like to draw attention, is the interpretation of sacred Scripture in the Church. The intrinsic link between the word and faith makes clear that authentic biblical hermeneutics can only be had within the faith of the Church, which has its paradigm in Mary’s fiat. Saint Bonaventure states that without faith there is no key to throw open the sacred text: “This is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, from whom, as from a fountain, flow forth the certainty and the understanding of all sacred Scripture. Therefore it is impossible for anyone to attain to knowledge of that truth unless he first have infused faith in Christ, which is the lamp, the gate and the foundation of all Scripture.” [Breviloquium, Prol.: Opera Omnia, V, Quaracchi 1891, pp. 201-202.] And Saint Thomas Aquinas, citing Saint Augustine, insists that “the letter, even that of the Gospel, would kill, were there not the inward grace of healing faith.” [Summa Theologiae, Ia-IIae, q. 106, art. 2.]
 
Here we can point to a fundamental criterion of biblical hermeneutics: the primary setting for scriptural interpretation is the life of the Church. This is not to uphold the ecclesial context as an extrinsic rule to which exegetes must submit, but rather is something demanded by the very nature of the Scriptures and the way they gradually came into being. “Faith traditions formed the living context for the literary activity of the authors of sacred Scripture. Their insertion into this context also involved a sharing in both the liturgical and external life of the communities, in their intellectual world, in their culture and in the ups and downs of their shared history. In like manner, the interpretation of sacred Scripture requires full participation on the part of exegetes in the life and faith of the believing community of their own time.” [Pontifical biblical commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (15 April 1993), III, A, 3: Enchiridion Vaticanum 13, No. 3035.] Consequently, “since sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit through whom it was written,” [Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 12.] exegetes, theologians and the whole people of God must approach it as what it really is, the word of God conveyed to us through human words (cf. 1 Th 2:13). This is a constant datum implicit in the Bible itself: “No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:20-21). Moreover, it is the faith of the Church that recognizes in the Bible the word of God; as Saint Augustine memorably put it: “I would not believe the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church led me to do so.” [Contra epistulam Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti, V, 6: PL 42, 176.] The Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church, enables us to interpret the Scriptures authoritatively. The Bible is the Church’s book, and its essential place in the Church’s life gives rise to its genuine interpretation.
 
* * * * * * *
Reflection:  On this day when churches throughout the world are full, it is helpful to reflect that the proper locus for reflection on the Gift of the Resurrection of Jesus is not to be found in the mere textual accounts of His rising from the dead.  Rather, the Truth of Easter is discovered in the living Faith of those who acknowledge their belief in the Resurrection.  Just so, reading Sacred Scripture in a context other than a believing community can be interesting, but it does not derive its full significance unless it is part of a shared Faith.  No one can come to the Father except through Jesus, and no one can come to Jesus without reference to the Church.
 
The Church in our day is calling for a New Evangelization.  For this to happen, a new conversion of mind and heart is needed.  We must come to understand that we are not able to believe in isolation.  All Scripture is inspired by God and it is to be understood through the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers who gather to encounter the Risen Lord Jesus through Word and Sacrament.  Easter calls many to witness to the Truth of the Resurrection.  May we plumb the depths of the Word that is proclaimed and come to a knowledge of Truth in our own hearts so that we may by our lives lead others to the Risen Lord that they too may know Him and come to believe.
 
4/25 MONDAY: “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate.” [I Timothy 4:14]
 
What does the Word of God proclaimed this week tell you about the Gift you have received from God through the Sacramental Life of the Church?
 
Pray today for Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
 
4/26 TUESDAY: “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” [II Timothy 1:6]
 
What Sacraments have empowered you to live in response to the Word?  How do you continue to stir into flame the Sacraments and to share the Gift of God you have received?  Are there any Sacraments you need to approach to allow God to rekindle in you what you have been given?
 
Pray today for The souls of separated brethren
 
4/27 WEDNESDAY:  “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.” [II Timothy 2:8-9]
 
What is the nature of your suffering and what are your chains?  How does the world treat you like a criminal?  Are you able to discover the freedom to which you are called in the midst of these constraints?  What is the Word of God being spoken through your response in Faith to the events and circumstances of your concrete situation?
 
Pray today for The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
 
4/28 THURSDAY: “Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.” [II Timothy 2:15]
 
Are you eager to find acceptance from God first?  Are you a willing worker for the Kingdom?  How do you speak the Truth without deviation or compromise?  What truths do you hold with ever fiber of your being?  To whom are you called to speak a word of truth today?
 
Pray today for The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy
 
4/29 FRIDAY: A Day of Abstinence from meat with the whole Church.
 
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  [II Timothy 3:16]
 
What Scriptures belong to you?  Are there particular texts that help you to express your Sight of God, your unique knowing in Faith Who God IS?  What texts express your call, the ministry entrusted to you through Faith?  When you teach, refute, correct and train for righteous living, what texts do you rely on?  What Scriptures equip you for the work assigned to you in the building up of the Kingdom?
                       
Pray today for The souls who are detained in purgatory
 
4/30 SATURDAY: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.” [II Timothy 4:1-5]
 
How do you fulfill your ministry in Christ?  Who charges you to be who God calls you to be?  How do you proclaim the word by your life?  Where do you experience the need to be persistent? Whom are you being invited to convince, reprimand or encourage by your teaching?  What enables you to be self-possessed as you share the Gospel with others?
 
Pray today for The souls who have become lukewarm
 
5/ 1 DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY        Worship with the community and attend the Divine Mercy Devotion in your area or pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
 
Pray for the Neophytes, those newly baptized and received into Full Communion in the Church.
 
 “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”  [Hebrews 4:12-16]
 
How do you find the Word of God as living and effective in your life?  What is the word spoken to you at this moment and to what does it call you?  What is the timely help you need?  How do you cry out for mercy and grace?  Who is in need of the mercy and grace that God allows to flow through your life of Faith?
 
Blessed John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla, pray for us!

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