Avvicinatevi al Signore e sarete illuminati

Dalla «Spiegazione dell’Ecclesiaste» di san Gregorio di Agrigento, vescovo

(Lib. 10, 2; PG 98, 1138-1139)
Avvicinatevi al Signore e sarete illuminati

    È dolce, dice l’Ecclesiaste, questa luce (cfr. Qo 11, 7) ed è cosa assai buona per la vista dei nostri occhi contemplare questo sole visibile. Tolta infatti la luce, il mondo sarebbe senza bellezza e la vita senza anima. Perciò quel primo contemplativo di Dio che fu Mosè disse: E Dio vide la luce e disse che era una cosa buona (cfr. Gn 1, 3).
    Ma a noi conviene considerare la grande, vera ed eterna luce che «illumina ogni uomo che viene in questo mondo» (Gv 1, 9) cioè Cristo Salvatore e redentore del mondo, il quale, fattosi uomo, scese fino all’infimo grado della condizione umana. Di lui dice il profeta Davide: Cantate a Dio, inneggiate al suo nome, fate strada a colui che ascende ad occidente, a colui che si chiama Signore; ed esultate al suo cospetto (cfr. Sal 67, 5). Ha chiamato dolce la luce ed ha preannunziato come cosa buona il vedere coi propri occhi il sole della gloria, vale a dire colui che al tempo della divina incarnazione disse: «Io sono la luce del mondo; chi segue me non camminerà nelle tenebre, ma avrà la luce della vita» (Gv 8, 12). E di nuovo: «E il giudizio è questo: la luce è venuta nel mondo» (Gv 3, 19). Il Signore promise di sostituire la luce che vediamo cogli occhi corporei con quel sole spirituale di giustizia che è veramente dolcissimo per coloro che sono stati ritenuti degni di essere ammaestrati da lui. Essi hanno potuto vederlo con i loro occhi quando viveva e s’intratteneva in mezzo agli uomini come un uomo qualunque, mentre invece non era uno qualunque degli uomini. Era infatti anche vero Dio, e per questo ha fatto sì che i ciechi vedessero, gli zoppi camminassero e i sordi udissero; ha mondato i malati di lebbra e con un semplice comando ha richiamato i morti alla vita.
    Ma anche adesso è cosa veramente dolcissima volgere verso di lui gli occhi spirituali e contemplare e considerare la sua semplice e divina bellezza, essere illuminati e innalzati da questa stessa partecipazione e comunicazione, essere ricolmati di spirituale dolcezza, rivestirsi di santità, acquistare intelligenza, e infine essere ripieni di divina esultanza e sperimentarla tutti i giorni della vita presente. Ciò ha rivelato il sapiente Ecclesiaste quando disse: Poiché anche l’uomo vivrà per molti anni e in tutti questi troverà gioia (cfr. Qo 6, 3). Infatti di ogni gioia è interamente autore il Sole di giustizia, per quelli che lo contemplano. A questi il profeta Davide rivolge la sua esortazione: «Esultino davanti a Dio e cantino di gioia» (Sal 67, 4), e nuovamente: «Esultate, giusti, nel Signore: agli uomini retti si addice la lode» (Sal 32, 1).

RESPONSORIO        Sal 33, 4. 6; cfr. Col 1, 12-13

 Celebrate con me il Signore, esaltiamo insieme il suo nome: * guardate a lui e sarete raggianti.
 Ci ha ammessi alla sorte dei santi nella luce, ci ha liberati dal potere delle tenebre:
 guardate a lui e sarete raggianti.

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me

Genesis 41:52  He named the second Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, • who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. • For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

1 Peter 1:6,7  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, • so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

2 Timothy 4:17  But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.

1 Peter 4:19  Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

 

“Receive the kingdom of God like a child”

Daily Reading & Meditation

Saturday (March 2): “Receive the kingdom of God like a child”

Scripture: Mark 10:13-16

13 And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

Meditation: Do you seek to help others draw near to the Lord Jesus? The parents who brought their children to Jesus wanted Jesus to lay his hands upon them. They knew of the healing power, both physical and spiritual, which came from Jesus’ touch. Jesus, in turn, rebuked his disciples for hindering the children from coming. No doubt the disciples wanted to shield Jesus from the nuisance of noisy children. But Jesus delighted in the children and demonstrated that God’s love has ample room for everyone. 

Pray for the young to grow strong in faith
No one is unimportant to God. He comes to each person individually that he might touch them with his healing love and power. Do you show kindness, interest, and care for the youth you encounter in your neighborhood, home, and church? And do you pray for young people that they may come to know the love of Jesus Christ and grow in wisdom and maturity as his disciples?

Why does Jesus say that we must receive the kingdom of God like a child (Mark 10:15)? In the ancient world children were at the bottom of the social ladder. They had no rights or privileges of their own and they had no means or resources to care for themselves. They were totally dependent on their parents for everything they needed. Scripture teaches us that we are totally dependent on God as our eternal Father and Provider. We owe our very existence to him because he is the Creator, Author, and Sustainer of life. We could not find our way to God if he did not first seek us out and draw us to himself. That is why the Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, to show us the way to the Father. 

The Lord Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death, and to adopt us as children of God – his beloved sons and daughters. Jesus taught his disciples to not only honor and respect God as our eternal Father, but to trust in him with great confidence for everything we need – just as children naturally trust in their parents for all that they need. God gives generously to those who put their trust in him, who approach him with child-like simplicity and humility, and with expectant faith that he will treat them as a loving and merciful Father rather than a cold and stern judge or tyrant. Do you trust your heavenly Father to give you what you need to live as his son or daughter? 

Do you seek to help others draw near to the Lord? 
Our great privilege and responsibility is to live as true and faithful sons and daughters of God and as loyal citizens and ambassadors of his heavenly kingdom. And our chief responsibility is to pass on the faith, wisdom, and gifts which we have received from God to our young people and to those who do not yet know God that they may find true joy and everlasting life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you ready and eager to pass on your faith and experience of God’s action in your life to others, especially to the young who need guidance, encouragement, and the godly example and witness of those who have discovered the true source of happiness in knowing, loving, and serving God?   

“Lord Jesus, may we never hinder our youth from coming to you to receive your blessing, help, and abundant life. Make our youth strong in faith, hope, and love that they may find true joy and fulfillment in following you as their Lord and Savior. And as we grow with age, may we never lose that child-like simplicity and humility which draws us ever deeper into your loving presence.”

Psalm 141:1-3,8

1 I call upon you, O LORD; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice, when I call to you! 
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice! 
3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips! 
8 But my eyes are toward you, O LORD God; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! 

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: When the reception of grace begins, by Basil the Great, 329-379 A.D.

“The apostle praised one [Timothy] who had known the holy Scripture from infancy (2 Timothy 3:15). He also instructed that children be reared ‘in the discipline and correction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4). So we consider every time of life, even the very earliest, suitable for receiving persons into the community of faith.” (excerpt from THE LONG RULES 15)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use.  Cite copyright (c) 2019 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, and author Don Schwager