READINGS for 2006-03-22

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



?But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.?? Matthew 5:19

My eight-year old patient sits on my dental chair with tears rolling down his cheeks. ?But I can?t, ? he cries,?I?m too scared.? Since I can?t do with his mouth closed, I just watched closely. His Mom then walked towards us, holds his hands and says, ?Kurt, this is good for you. All you have to do is open your mouth so the Doctor can check your teeth.? He swallows hard, looks at me with such intensity, and after fifty-five minutes, twenty mouthwash gargles, and three more buckets of tears, he asks this one simple question:?Just open my mouth?? Then we clean his teeth, do fluoride treatment and get him ready for the orthodontic treatment. I have since done sealants on his molars. Because, hallelujah, his mouth is now open even before he sits. Kurt taught me one powerful lesson that day: Just obey. We may believe in what has been taught us in religion classes. We may remember what our parents trained us to do, what we learn in community, in readings in the mass, in the realizations of our everyday walk with the Lord. But ultimately, knowing is not enough. We are called to obey. Lallaine G.

What area in my life must I still surrender to the Lord in obedience?

Lord, teach me to go boldly when you call. May obedience be my sweet offering. Amen.



Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9

One of the primary communal forms of witness to our relationship with God is the way that we are faithful to His commandments. It is this faithfulness that will stand as a beacon to the nations. If all Christians would embrace the call to live according to the will of God imagine what sort of a witness to the love of God this would be! A corporate witness is much more powerful than the individual one as it seems to be able to feed on itself and drive itself to greater heights.

1 ?Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 5 Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees as the LORD, my God, has commanded me, that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy. 6 Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ?This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.? 7 For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? 8 Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 9 ?However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children?s children.?


R: Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

12 Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion. 13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you. (R) 15 He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word! 16 He spreads snow like wool; frost he strews like ashes. (R) 19 He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. 20 He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them. (R)


Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus is not an anarchist replacing the Commandments with something different. In fact, what He does is strengthen the call to follow the Commandments by demanding that it is done so with love and not just out of duty or blind obedience. This is a much higher and more wonderful call! Let us embrace it with a new fervor driven by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. It is only with His help that we will succeed in this call. Let us not be afraid to cry out to Him for the graces that we need.

17 ?Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys  and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the ingdom of heaven.?

my reflections
think: A corporate witness is much more powerful than the individual one.



God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________


Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________






We live in a world where many people seek to make a name for themselves. This may or may not be a good thing depending on the circumstances around their quest. But one thing is for sure: making a name for ourselves in the world is not the same thing as making a name for ourselves in the Kingdom of God. There are very different criteria surrounding these two quests. In some ways, it might be easier to achieve the latter rather than the former!
     The Gospel today tells us that the primary basis of greatness in the Kingdom of God is obedience to His will. Now we all know that it is impossible to be obedient to God without the help of His grace. We also know that whatever God asks us to do will be accompanied by the necessary grace with which to do it. So, in a certain sense, we can see that it is possible for all of us to achieve greatness in the Kingdom of God by relying on the grace that He gives us in the first place! Could there be anything fairer than that sort of a deal?
     You may protest that it is not as easy as that. It is profoundly difficult to be obedient to God?s will in all things. However, there are times when I think that we might be fooling ourselves in this regard. Is it all that difficult to be obedient to God?s will? Why do we find it so hard to do this? I think that one of the reasons that we find obedience to God?s will so difficult is that we listen too closely to the desires of our flesh as it screams out to us for pleasure, without regard for the costs involved. This can be largely traced back to the influence of the world on our daily decisions. But this is not an excuse for us to put aside the call of the will of God as something too hard or too foreign to the lifestyles around us in the world! This is precisely what it means to be a disciple of Jesus as we make a stand for the truths of the Gospel and against the influences and lies of the world. Fr. Steve T.

What has the greater influence on my life ? the Gospels or the world around me? Am I truly living a life that is a witness to Gospel truth over and against the lies of the world?

Holy Spirit, I need Your help and strength to grow in my conviction regarding the truth of the Gospel, particularly in the moral arena of my life. Help me to stand for the truth and so give a Christian witness to all whom I meet.

St. Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, pray for us.

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