READINGS for 2006-03-02
BED OF COMFORT
?If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me.? ? Luke 9:23
Each day, I battle with my love of comfort ? the comfort of my bed. I would be too sleepy to wake up for the 6:30 a.m. Mass. I would be dead-tired from work to make it to the 7 p.m. Mass and instead lie down for some rest before dinner. For a year, I battled with this. I even asked friends to ring me up or to text me as early as 5:30 a.m. to wake me up ? only to make excuses for not being able to rise up from bed. Until this Didache assignment came, and I was brought to my senses. DENY YOURSELF. I realized how the devil has managed to seep into my life through my love of comfort, prompting me to make frequent trips to the confessional box last year. Awakened by that realization, I strive now to make my daily Mass a top priority, even if I had to take early baths in the cold mornings of January and February. TessVA
May I constantly be aware, Lord, of all the things in my life that block me from following You ? and may I be ready to give them up for You!
Each of us makes many choices every day. However, the vast majority of these do not have any real bearing upon right and wrong, they are merely choices regarding what we wear, what we eat and so on. However, we are also confronted with having to make choices about issues of right and wrong. It is these choices of a moral dimension that determine our character and make us who we are. Moses sets before the people a fundamental choice: will they choose the ways of God or go their own way. We face this same choice today each time we perform a moral act.
15 ?Here, then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. 17 If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, 18 I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. 19 I call heaven and earth today to witness against you I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, 20 by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.?
P S A L M
R: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
1 Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, 2 but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. (R) 3 He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. [Whatever he does, prospers.] (R) 4 Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. (R)
G O S P E L
In living a truly moral life according to the Commandments and will of God, we will discover that we will often have to deny our own desires as they can get out of order. This is the great challenge that we face each and every day ? not just to determine that which is right and wrong in a particular instance but actually putting into practice the right that we have discerned. It is only with the help of the Holy Spirit, and with careful adherence to the Word of God that we will have any hope of being successful in this.
God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________
Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Judges 5-9
THE CHALLENGE OF MATERIALISM
Secular materialism poses a threat to a life of faith in God because it has a lack of vision. It does not see beyond our earthly pilgrimage into eternity. In fact, in its strongest form, secular materialism denies that there is an afterlife altogether.
Perhaps the most insidious form of secular materialism is found in the way that it has infiltrated the Gospel through a prosperity-based religious life. Yes, God wants to bless us and even to bless us now, however, the ultimate blessings are ones that are reserved for eternal life. It is in heaven where a Christian?s ultimate reward lies and it is this focus that we must ensure we keep in all that we do in our earthly pilgrimage. The prosperity Gospel preachers rely upon the immediate appeal of a wealthy and comfortable life as the means by which they attract people to their flocks. I am not saying that wealth is bad, but that it can never be the ultimate focus.
The further trouble with too much of a focus upon wealth and blessings is simply that it is not scriptural. When the Scriptures speak of the call to discipleship the focus is learning to live a disciplined and holy life. Jesus and Paul talk about taking up our crosses and following God?s will for our lives, not taking up our blessings and living a comfortable and easy life. Let us not be fooled by the promise of many blessings here and now if it is only going to deprive us of or endanger our receiving eternal life. There is no comparison between the two! Fr. Steve T
What is the focus of my life? Are my eyes fixed upon the promise of eternal life or have I been distracted by the lure of wealth and ?blessings? that may or may not last?
Holy Spirit, help me to set my focus upon the promise of eternal life and not to any blessings that will pass away when I die. I want to be a disciple of Jesus and grow in holiness so that I can be sure that I am following the way that He has for my life.
St. Chad, bishop confessor, pray for us.
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