READINGS for 2006-03-30

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

?CLIQUED?

?these works that I perform testify on my behalf? ? John 5:36

Just recently, a friend of mine was ?cliqued?. Let my story explain what that means. This friend was only marginally involved with a Christian community, a key fact not appreciated by its leaders. A member  of that community was good friends with the wife of one of its leaders. This member had something against my friend and told tales about her to that leader?s wife. The wife told her husband who, in turn, took it up with his co-leaders and before long, a full-blown character assassination against my friend was gaining steam.
      I felt really sorry for my friend. Especially because she had not committed acts akin to murder, theft or rape. And she knew that the very leaders that had spoken against her weren?t lily white in character. In fact, they were in the same boat as her? as all of us are? sinners in need of redemption. 
     Now do you know what I mean by ?cliqued??
     When we fall into the trap of believing only those who are accepted into our group ? and closing ranks against an outsider, then we are guilty of ?clique-ing?. And what does this say about our witness? Victoria L.

REFLECTION:
Are you guilty of ?clique-ing??

Thank You, Lord, that in Your perfection, You are merciful.

COMPANION

1st READING

Exodus 32:7-14

It is quite clear that the sin of the people deserves serious punishment but God relents in the favor of mercy and love and gives the people an opportunity to repent and change their ways. Unfortunately, their repentance is short-lived and the saga of the journey through the desert stretches to 40 years of suffering and purification before they reach the Promised Land. Still more unfortunately, we do not seem to have learnt our lesson and continue in sin despite all that God has done for us.

7 With that, the LORD said to Moses, ?Go down at once to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. 8 They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshipping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, ?This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!? 9 I see how stiff-necked this people is,? continued the LORD to Moses. 10 ?Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.? 11 But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, ?Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ?With evil intent he brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains and exterminate them from the face of the earth?? Let your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ?I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.?? 14 So the LORD relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.

P S A L M

Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R: Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

19 Our fathers made a calf in Horeb and adored a molten image; 20 they exchanged   their glory for the image of a grass-eating bullock. (R) 21 They forgot the God who had saved them, who had done great deeds in Egypt, 22 wondrous deeds in the land of Ham, terrible things at the Red Sea. (R) 23 Then he spoke of exterminating them, but Moses, his chosen one, withstood him in the breach to turn back his destructive wrath. (R)

G O S P E L

John 5:31-47

Let us be sure that in all that we do in our lives, we build upon a foundation that will support us. The shifting philosophies and beliefs of the world will not stand the test of time. It is only the truth of the Gospel that will satisfy this criterion. Only the Gospel, and the truth about humanity that Jesus reveals to us through it, is capable of standing the test of time and all that the devil and sin will throw at us.

31 ?If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot be verified. 32 But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. 33 You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. 34 I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have testimony greater than John?s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37 Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the One whom He has sent. 39 You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. 40 But you do not want to come to me to have life. 41 ?I do not accept human praise; 42 moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. 46 For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words??

my reflections
think:
Let us be sure that in all that we do in our lives, we build upon a foundation that will support us.

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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 1Kings 17-19

SABBATH

THE DIFFICULTY OF CHANGING BELIEFS

Humans have a tendency to oppose change. We seem to be much happier when things run according to our expectations and thus we do not seek to be constantly making major changes. I think that this tendency helps us to understand something of the reluctance of the Jewish leaders to accept the radical new ideas that Jesus proclaimed to them. Yes, Jesus claimed and has continuity with the past ? with the patriarchs, the prophets and the traditions of Judaism. However, Jesus reinterpreted much of this in an unheard of manner that challenged the Jewish people to a new watershed of understanding their faith. The extent of this challenge proved to be too much for them.
     Perhaps we can see something similar in the experience of the life of the Catholic Church with the occurrence of the Second Vatican Council. The changes of the Council proved to be very difficult for some people to cope with. Thus they rejected many of the innovations of the Council and worked for a return to the old understandings of the Catholic faith. This is very unfortunate. The Church needed to re-present itself to the world in order to address the issues facing humanity in the late second millennium and into the third.
     We stand at the cusp of this re-presentation with the challenge to take the Church into the third millennium. This is going to require of us a deep faith in the leadership of the Church as we move forward and a level of adaptability to changed circumstances that will make most, if not all of us, feel uncomfortable at times! The Jewish leaders were not willing to embrace the new ideas of Jesus. I will not make the same mistake!
     The next couple of decades will be critical for the Church as it takes to heart and expresses within its life the new ideas of Vatican II. We live at a time when faith is not seen as all that important to our daily lives, at least this is the case in the western world. Let us do all that we can to accept the challenge that faces us and trust that the grace of the Holy Spirit will help us to see it through to the end! Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
How well do I embrace the challenge to change habits and practices in my life that are not in accordance with the Gospel? Am I willing to face these challenges or not?

Holy Spirit, I need you and your grace to grow in holiness. Help me to do away with all that is not in accordance with the will of God so that I will be a better witness to the Gospel.

St. John Climacus, abbot confessor, pray for us.




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