Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Gilbert of Sempringham, February 16,2017
Peter rebukes Jesus for speaking openly about his imminent Passion and Death. For Peter, such suffering does not correspond to the profession he has just made: “You are the Christ.” The Lord responds, “Get behind me, Satan.” To claim Christ without his cross is akin to Satanism. The sign of the unending covenant is the red of Christ’s shed blood.
Dear Jesus, Peter acknowledged You as the Christ but rejected your word that You must suffer and die before the resurrection. Lord, You rebuked Peter and informed your disciples that their discipleship meant taking up their own cross with You. Lord in our desire to be your disciple, give us the grace and the wisdom to follow You and carry our cross and not to lead You as Peter did towards our own human plan. In your Name, we pray. Amen.
God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them:
“Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth
and all the birds of the air,
upon all the creatures that move about on the ground
and all the fishes of the sea;
into your power they are delivered.
Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat;
I give them all to you as I did the green plants.
Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.
For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting:
from every animal I will demand it,
and from one man in regard to his fellow man
I will demand an accounting for human life.
If anyone sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
For in the image of God
has man been made.
Be fertile, then, and multiply;
abound on earth and subdue it.”
God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you:
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.”
The word of the Lord.
Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23
R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – You are the Christ
We all know that faith has been sowed in the hearts of God’s first disciples. Yet in today’s gospel reading, we see them questioning Jesus’ teaching that the Son of man must soon die and willingly submit to the will of God. To follow Jesus means to surrender our lives to Him and willingly submit to God’s will. We cannot be a follower of Christ and then challenge His teachings and the way He wants us to live our lives. Jesus is either GOD and we submit to Him or He is not and we may go our own way.
In today’s gospel, we see Jesus rebuke Peter when he tried to lead Him according to his worldly way and bring Him away from what He believed He should do for the Father. Despite the fact He will give Peter the mandate to continue His work and establish His church, Jesus rebuked him when He said: “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Such act shows that in our work for the Lord we should have no partiality and apply God’s Word to every man.
In Mark’s gospel today, Jesus and his disciples were traveling between villages when He asked them who they believe He is. “You are the Christ,” Peter responded. But as soon as Jesus begun to describe what it means to be Christ – rejection, suffering and even death – Peter was found ambivalent and cold to what Jesus confided to them as he tried to discourage Jesus from talking about it.
In my own life, I am like Peter as I always avoid the most uncomfortable situations. I am not exactly a proponent for self denial and self giving neither do I face rejection and pain with an open heart.
Today my heart speaks that to be an authentic follower of Christ, I have to do more than just offer lip service. It’s not enough to say I am a follower of Jesus as Peter did but I need to live it and accept all that it means.
Our Catholic faith gives a preferential position for the poor as James 2 states, “God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him”. However when suffering and death becomes the center of our life, when sharing and giving to others become more dominant than receiving, we get shaken and try to set our hearts and minds on something else. We try to pretend that we are not after all the people God has called into His service.
Jesus took His place among the poor. He chose rejection, suffering and death over power and influence. Today His invitation to all of us is no different. He wants us to pursue a life of self giving and self denial. He is asking us to bear our cross and follow Him. He wants us to stand next to Him in this life and be His healing balm, His instrument for love and healing. He wants us to deny ourselves and accept death to self by giving way to others and always opting to be last and least of all.
Today, let us resolve to follow Jesus, the true Christ! In our hearts let us deny ourselves and allow God to change us according to His plan and let Him perfect our faith, so that we may be poor in spirit as “the LORD hears the cries of the poor and from distress He saves them.”
Affirm that Jesus is the True Christ by following Him and His teachings, by applying His Word in all our affairs. Let Witness, Worship and Warfare be deeply founded in our lives.
Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom to understand my faith and the strength to do your will. In that way I may find my new life in Jesus Who I proclaim is God and the true Christ, the Messiah. Amen.
Reflection 2 – Who do you say that Jesus is?
Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed that Jesus was truly the “Christ of God” – “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God. Through the “eyes of faith” Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One, consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for “Christ” in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” – both words literally mean the Anointed One.
Jesus begins to explain the mission he was sent to accomplish
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? They were, after all, appointed to proclaim the good news to everyone. Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the reason for this silence:
There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father. He utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a seasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion. (Commentary on Luke, Homily 49)
God’s Anointed Son must suffer and die to atone for our sins
Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God’s work of redemption might be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard this word. How different are God’s thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). It was through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross that Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.
We, too, have a share in the mission and victory of Jesus Christ
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and the power to live the Gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?
“Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb16.htm
Reflection 3 – What’s your personal rainbow?
In today’s first reading, God renews with Noah the covenant that he had made with Adam and Eve. Notice the change, though: He replaced the commandment about not eating from the Tree of Knowledge with a commandment about not eating animal flesh that still has “its lifeblood” in it. This will be further renewed when he makes the covenant of Moses.
God is still renewing covenants today. When we sin, we turn away from God, but he’s always eager to restore the relationship. Since things can never be the same again, thanks to the damage we caused by our sins, we need a new, enhanced covenant.
For example, years ago when a friend betrayed me, I was filled with resentment and wanted to drive him out of my life. However, God wanted me to obey the Christian commandment about loving our enemies. So I wanted to know: “If there’s no indication that this fellow is going to overcome the problems that are harming our relationship, why stay in this mess? It’s hopeless!”
Then one day, as my husband and I were driving to a store, God showed us a rainbow. I said to Ralph sarcastically, “Oh goodie, look at that. A rainbow. God is telling us not to give up. R-i-i-i-ight.” We turned the car in a different direction and there in front of us was another rainbow.
“Okay, I get it!”
The rainbow became a symbol of my new, enhanced covenant with the Lord. By relying on his supernatural love, I could love the troublesome friend unconditionally even while the relationship continued to disintegrate. I could keep trying to help him until God, instead of my resentment, told me to stop. And he did, a few years later, at which time I was able say good-bye in a spirit of forgiveness, knowing that God would try to help him some other way now.
God is sovereign. His plans always succeed, but sometimes people interrupt Plan A, and so he comes up with Plan B. That’s what happened in the Garden of Eden. Plan A was a holy life in paradise. Noah’s Ark was part of Plan B, but that didn’t keep us holy either. Eventually, God gave us Plan J (Jesus). The new covenant is to love as Jesus loves.
Who do you say Jesus is? This is the question for us in today’s Gospel reading. Is he truly your Lord and Savior — in EVERYthing? With EVERYone? If not, this is where a renewed covenant is needed.
We restore our relationship with God in the ark of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Because it’s a sacrament, Jesus is truly present there, in the form of a priest, to give us a new rainbow, i.e., the promise of his supernatural help to love and live in holiness. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-16
Reflection 4 – St. Gilbert of Sempringham (c. 1083-1189)
Gilbert was born in Sempringham, England, into a wealthy family, but he followed a path quite different from that expected of him as the son of a Norman knight. Sent to France for his higher education, he decided to pursue seminary studies.
He returned to England not yet ordained a priest, and inherited several estates from his father. But Gilbert avoided the easy life he could have led under the circumstances. Instead he lived a simple life at a parish, sharing as much as possible with the poor. Following his ordination to the priesthood he served as parish priest at Sempringham.
Among the congregation were seven young women who had expressed to him their desire to live in religious life. In response, Gilbert had a house built for them adjacent to the Church. There they lived an austere life, but one which attracted ever more numbers; eventually lay sisters and lay brothers were added to work the land. The religious order formed eventually became known as the Gilbertines, though Gilbert had hoped the Cistercians or some other existing order would take on the responsibility of establishing a rule of life for the new order. The Gilbertines, the only religious order of English origin founded during the Middle Ages, continued to thrive. But the order came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries.
Over the years a special custom grew up in the houses of the order called “the plate of the Lord Jesus.” The best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor, reflecting Gilbert’s lifelong concern for less fortunate people.
Throughout his life Gilbert lived simply, consumed little food and spent a good portion of many nights in prayer. Despite the rigors of such a life he died at well over age 100.
When he came into his father’s wealth, Gilbert could have lived a life of luxury, as many of his fellow priests did at the time. Instead, he chose to share his wealth with the poor. The charming habit of filling “the plate of the Lord Jesus” in the monasteries he established reflected his concern. Today’s Operation Rice Bowl echoes that habit: eating a simpler meal and letting the difference in the grocery bill help feed the hungry.
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1293
SAINT OF THE DAY
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|SAINT GILBERT OF SEMPRINGHAM|
Saint Gilbert with two nuns
|PRIEST AND RELIGIOUS FOUNDER|
Sempringham, Lincolnshire,Kingdom of England
|DIED||4 February 1189 or 1190
Sempringham, Lincolnshire, Kingdom of England
|VENERATED IN||Roman Catholic Church
(Canons Regular of StAugustine), Church of England
|CANONIZED||1202, Rome, Papal States byPope Innocent III|
Gilbert of Sempringham, CRSA (c. 1083 – 4 February 1190), the founder of the Gilbertine Order, was the onlyEnglishman to found a conventual order, mainly because the Abbot of Cîteaux declined his request to assist him in organising a group of women who wanted to live as nuns, living with lay brothers and sisters, in 1148. In the end he founded a double monastery of canons regular and nuns.
Gilbert was born at Sempringham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, the son of Jocelin, an Anglo-Norman lord of the manor, who unusually for that period, actively prevented his son from becoming a knight, instead sending him to the University of Paris to study theology. Some physical deformity may have made him unfit for military service, making an ecclesiastical career the best option. When he returned in 1120 he became a clerk in the household of Robert Bloet,Bishop of Lincoln, started a school for boys and girls (the existing primary school at Pointon is still named after him) and was ordained by Robert’s successor, Alexander. Offered the archdeaconry of Lincoln, he refused, saying that he knew no surer way to perdition.
When Gilbert’s father died in 1130 he became lord of the manor of Sempringham. In 1131 he founded the GilbertineOrder, and constructed at Sempringham, with the help of Alexander, a dwelling and cloister for nuns, at the north of the church of St. Andrew. Eventually he had a chain of twenty-six convents, monasteries and missions. A custom developed in the houses of the order called “the plate of the Lord Jesus”, whereby the best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor. In 1148 he approached the Cistercians for help. They refused because he included women in his order. The male part of the order consisted of Canons Regular.
In 1165 Gilbert was charged with having aided Thomas Becket when Thomas had fled from King Henry II after the council of Northampton, but he was eventually found innocent. Then, when he was 90, some of his lay brothers revolted, but he received the backing of Pope Alexander III. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and died at Sempringham in about 1190, at the age of 106.
The only religious order of English origin founded during the Middle Ages, continued to thrive, but came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries.
Gilbert was canonised in 1202 by Pope Innocent III. His liturgical feast day is on 4 February, commemorating his death. According to the order of Hubert Walter, the bishops of England celebrated his feast, and his name was added to the wall of the church of the Four Crowned Martyrs. His Order did not outlast the Reformation, however; and despite being influenced by Continental models, it did not maintain a foothold in Europe.
- Iredale (pp.7 & 54) says 1189 but this is probably according to the Old Style calendar, which began the year on Lady Day, in March. By the time England abandoned this, the discrepancies of the Julian calendar had moved it into April by modern reckoning.
- Iredale places this in 1147 (p.4). Again, the difference between Old and New style calendars may account for this.
- Butler, Richard Urban. “St. Gilbert of Sempringham.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 12 Oct. 2014
- Foley O.F.M., Leonard. “St. Gilbert of Sempringham”, Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
- Graham, Rose S. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertines: a history of the only English monastic order (London: Elliott Stock, 1903)
- Farmer, David Hugh (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints (4th ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 209–210.