Thursday, December 3, 2009

DECEMBER 4 JOHN OF DAMASCUS

"St. John Damascene"
attributed to Nemeh Naser Homsi,
date UNKNOWN
DECEMBER 4

JOHN OF DAMASCUS, PRESBYTER, RELIGIOUS,
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
 

Biographical Information about St. John of Damascus[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. John of Damascus

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
 
2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.
My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard from me through many witnesses
entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well.
Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on
2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-3

St. Paul exhorts his protégé, St. Timothy, to safeguard what the Apostle has given him, the Good News of Christ. He tells St. Timothy to hold fast to the Gospel using the indwelling strength of the Holy Spirit and, to pass this authentic teaching along through those he finds who can also teach it to others. He compares this task, in the final verse, to that of a soldier’s duty to a cause.


CCC: 2 Tm 1:12-14 84; 2 Tm 1:12 149; 2 Tm 1:13-14 857; 2 Tm 1:14 1202
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RESPONSOR1AL PSALM
 
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.
(John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
 

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

 
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
 

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

 
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever,
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
 

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

 
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
 

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise. In this passage we give praise for God’s gift of the Law which guides us in our daily lives. The hymn also extols the virtue of obedience and steadfastness to the Law and its precepts. The passage also reflects the idea that following God’s statutes leads to peace and prosperity.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOSPEL
Long Form
 
Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.'
His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"
 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on
Mt 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents comes to us as part of Jesus’ dialog about being prepared and vigilant. It combines two different but connected logions or morals/teaching points. The first is to use the gifts God has given for the benefit of God, who is represented by the “Master” in the parable. The second is vigilance. This parable, directed at the disciples, exhorts his servants to use the gifts God has given them to the fullest, for the benefit of others (as well as God). It is an exclamation point to Jesus earlier statement: those to whom much is given, even more will be expected” (see also Luke 12:48).


CCC: Mt 25:14-30 546, 1936; Mt 25:21 1029, 1720, 2683; Mt 25:23 1029, 1720
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OR

Short Form
 
Matthew 25:14-23

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'"
 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on
Mt 25:14-23

This shorter form of the Gospel focuses narrowly on the need for the faithful to use the gifts God has given them to the fullest for the benefit of others (as well as God). It is an exclamation point to Jesus' earlier statement: “those to whom much is given, even more will be expected.”


CCC: Mt 25:14-30 546, 1936; Mt 25:21 1029, 1720, 2683; Mt 25:23 1029, 1720
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reflection:

St. John Damascene (or St. John of Damascus) was given great gifts of faith and intellect. His words and music, written in the 8th century, are still as fresh as when they were written. His insights into the truth in God are revered by the Eastern Churches, as well as the Roman Catholic Church. Such a great heart, indeed, demonstrates the lived Gospel of Jesus.

St. John took the words that St. Paul wrote to Timothy to heart. He preserved the deposit of faith for generations to come, faithfully transmitting his own testimony of love of Christ to others. He did this in his spoken word and the writings left behind. In the parable of the Talents, used on his memorial, St. John can be seen as the servant to whom five talents were given. He diligently used all the Lord gave him for God’s greater glory not his own. He also applied his gifts to Holy Mother Church, which he loved second only to the Lord and which was the recipient of his great work.

His life is recalled today as an example to each of us, since we are also called to serve the Lord until he comes. We see in St. John’s shining light the path we should follow – always seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, always working toward God’s plan.

We ask for St. John’s intercession on this, his feast day, that his prayers for us increase our diligence in the Lord’s work so that when we come before that judgment seat at last, we too might hear those wondrous words, “Come, share your master's joy.'"

Pax

[1] Icon of St. John Damascene is attributed to Nemeh Naser Homsi, date UNKNOWN 
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

No comments: