READINGS for 2006-03-11

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

PERFECT VS. MERCIFUL

So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. ? Matthew 5:46, 48

During John Paul II?s wake, photos that chronicled his life were constantly aired on TV. Among the many, the picture that caught my attention was the one where John Paul was speaking with Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to kill him in 1981. Agca shot the Pope as the pontiff was riding an open vehicle. Three days later, John Paul II publicly forgave Agca and asked Italian authorities for clemency, if the law allowed it. Nineteen years after serving time, the assassin was pardoned for his crime. If the Pope was pharisaical, he would have insisted Agca get the punishment he deserved. Instead, John Paul II pardoned. When we reflect on the passage, we think perfection is dutiful obedience to rules and norms we come up with in our interpretation of Scripture. But another version of the ?Be perfect? passage found in Luke 6:36 substitutes the word ?mercy? for ?perfect.? In other words, to be perfect in dealing with enemies equates to being merciful. Let?s be perfectionists when it comes to living out our faith. But let?s not forget that the perfection the Lord requires of us is not blind adherence to laws but a merciful attitude in dealing with others. Rissa S.

REFLECTION:
Am I quick to forgive offenses done to me?

Heavenly Father, I want to be perfect as you are perfect. Make me merciful and forgiving like You. Amen.

 

COMPANION

1st READING

Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Obedience to the Commandments is the People of Israel?s side of the Covenant that God made with Moses. The commandments outline for us a basic description of what it means to live within the will of God. Of course, they need to be drawn out as they are applied to the varied situations that we come across in life, but this basis, the Commandments, is unchanging for all time! Let us place our lives under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the teaching authority of the Church as we try to discern the right from wrong in our moral lives.

16 ?This day the LORD, your God, commands you to observe these statutes and decrees. Be careful, then, to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 Today you are making this agreement with the LORD he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees, and to hearken to his voice. 18 And today the LORD is making this agreement with you, you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you; and provided you keep all his commandments, 19 he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations he has made, and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God, as he promised.?

P S A L M

Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8

R: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

1Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart. (R) 4 You have commanded that your precepts be diligently kept. 5 Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes! (R) 7 I will give you thanks with an upright heart, when I have learned your just ordinances. 8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me. (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 5:43-48

Holiness, even perfection, is not an option for the Christian. They are essential to the goal of holiness and eternal life. We can even say that without them we cannot be saved as it is not possible to enter into the presence of God on a permanent basis without them. Let us never get discouraged by our trials and struggles but always place our hope and trust in God?s ability to bring this about in our lives through His grace and love.

43 ?You have heard that it was said, ?You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.? 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.?

my reflections
think:
Am I striving enough to grow in holiness?

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God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________

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T O D A Y ? S BLESSING LIST

Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________

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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 1Samuel 12-14

 

SABBATH

RADICAL CHRISTIANITY

There are very few people who generally enjoy standing out from the rest of humanity. There is something comforting about being one of a crowd. We like the security of believing or knowing that we are not really all that different from everyone else. However, this sort of an attitude can be a problem when it comes to our Christian life.
     Jesus tells His disciples that one of their goals must be to stand out from the crowd... to the point of aiming for radical perfection. Earlier in this chapter we have heard Jesus teaching us that our righteousness must be deeper than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. This is only possible by the grace of God as on our own we will not be able to overcome temptation and sin.
      A Christian must be different from the rest of humanity who do not know Christ. His or her focus must be the promise and reality of eternal life and not the mere pleasures of this earthly existence. The promise of eternal life is the one that undergirds all that a Christian will do and, as such, will govern their lives. Jesus calls His disciples, and we who follow in their footsteps, to be beacons in a world of indifference and mediocrity. He calls humanity to a higher calling ? faith in God and a life lived according to His will.
      This is a call to be radical. This is a call to put aside the cares of the world and focus upon the Kingdom of God and all that it promises to us. This is not easy as it is not as concrete as the pleasures of the world ? the here and now that we can touch and interact with in a physical fashion. If we read the Gospel of John we will discover that Jesus constantly comes back to one theme, namely that He has come to do what God the Father wants Him to do. Here is the key to a radical way of life ? discover the will of God for you and be obedient to it! This is the ultimate secret of the saints. They are no different from you and me. All they have done is exactly that ? listened to God?s word for their lives and done their best to put it into action. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
When was the last time I consulted God regarding what I am doing with my life? Am I truly following His will or am I more concerned with what I want?

Lord Jesus, You lived in total obedience to your Father?s will. I know that He has a plan for my life too. Help me to discover it and to follow it for the rest of my life. I pray that my life will be a radical witness of His love for me and all men and women.

St. Eulogius, martyr, pray for us.





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