READINGS for 2006-02-20
PATHWAY OF THE WISE
If you are wise, live a life of steady goodness? ? James 3:13
I woke up that morning regretting why I had accepted the invitation to conduct a weekend retreat. In a way, I was hoping that after I met with the elders of that community, they would discern that I was not the right person to give the retreat for their women members. In so many words, I tried to tell them that I wasn?t fit to be their retreat master. But it seemed that the more I spoke, the more they were convinced that I was a godsend.
The weekend turned out to be a delight. The retreat was a spiritual success, not only for the women but for me as well. The Lord used that service to remind me that His calling for me to be a minister of His Word through preaching, writing and singing ? which I received years ago ? still stands.
The Lord calls us today to a ?life of steady goodness.? That speaks about constancy, persistence and an unwavering commitment to His commands. That?s the pathway of the wise. Rissa S.
Jesus, I want to be someone who follows You constantly, not just when I feel like it. Grant me the grace to live out my commitments to You.
James returns to the importance of the witness of our lives. We cannot underestimate the importance of this in evangelization. Usually the first thing people see or experience in you as the evangelizer is the way you treat them. If the first impression is good, then so much more will the proclamation of the Gospel be convincing. If the first impression is bad, then it will be uphill from there on!
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.
P S A L M
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15
R: The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. (R) 8  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. (R) 9  The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. (R) 14  Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (R)
G O S P E L
Sometimes, no matter how close we are to Jesus, we can fail to do what we should do. The apostles failed to cast out the spirit from the stricken child. Perhaps they took it for granted and were too presumptuous about their ability to do so. Whatever the case, Jesus affirms that there was a greater need for conversion in their lives when he said that greater prayer and fasting were required to cast out the spirit afflicting the boy.
14 When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. 15 Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. 16 He asked them, ?What are you arguing about with them?? 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, ?Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. 18 Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.? 19 He said to them in reply, ?O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.? 20 They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. 21 Then he questioned his father, ?How long has this been happening to him?? He replied,?Since childhood. 22 It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.? 23 Jesus said to him, ?If you can! Everything is possible to one who has faith.? 24 Then the boy?s father cried out, ?I do believe, help my unbelief!? 25 Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, ?Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!? 26 Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, ?He is dead!? 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. 28 When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, ?Why could we not drive it out?? 29 He said to them, ?This kind can only come out through prayer.?
God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________
thank You Lord for: ______________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Deuteronomy 22-24
WHAT TRULY CONQUERS EVIL?
Holiness is the perfection of charity. The more loving we are, the more holy we are. Holiness is not the result of kneeling the whole day inside the church. Sore knees, not holiness is what you get from kneeling the whole day inside the church. Holiness is the fruit of loving prayer and loving deeds combined.
When we are holy, the devil is afraid of us. Of course, he continues to tempt us so that we may fall into sin and be unholy. But strip the devil of his mask and you will see a frightened monster, cower in the presence of a holy man.
This is the experience of Jesus, the Holy One of God. The Gospel today paints this picture in dramatic strokes. Not obtaining what he expected from the apostles, a father brought his son, possessed by an evil spirit, to Jesus. The moment the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into convulsions, and, falling to the ground, the possessed foamed at the mouth. The evil spirit wanted to frighten Jesus and the people around Him. But no fear conquers a truly holy man. Holiness rather conquers all fear. Love conquers all. And holiness is the perfection of love.
The apostles failed to free the boy from demonic possession because their holiness was not equal to the strong force of the evil spirit. They yet had to learn what true holiness meant. They yet had to be perfected in love. Their love had to become perfected still. If we want to free the world from evil, we must strive to be holy. We have to continue loving until our love is made perfect. The reason why there is so much evil in the world is because there is not enough love in the world. Because there is so much insincerity in our love there is little holiness around us. Because there is little holiness around us there is so much evil in the world.
Let us love and we will be holy. Let us be holy by loving. No matter how small our corner in this world, provided we keep on loving, there will always be a corner in this world that evil cannot thrive. Each day, let us conquer evil. Each day, let us love. Each day, let us be holy. Fr. Bobby T.
On what do I base my holiness? Have I conquered evil or have I allowed myself be conquered by it? Whom should I love more so as to free him from evil?
Jesus, heal me. Jesus, save me. I love You, Jesus. Increase my love for You. Amen.
Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto, seers of Fatima, pray for us.
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