READINGS for 2006-04-03

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

FORGIVEN

?Let the one among you who is without sin be the first one to throw a stone at her.? ?John 8: 7

Mon is my all-around man. He is my driver, sound technician, electrician, salesman, cook, guard ? name it! Rizal would fall short of these skills compared to Mon.   There?s another amazing skill of Mon. He gets into trouble ? women, finances, lost property ? and he disappears like Houdini. And guess who gets to face and solve the trouble. His boss. Me! Then like magic he reappears after the trouble is settled. But you know what?s more amazing? Me accepting him back for the umpteenth time. Of course I reprimand him and make him pay for damages he has done and say sorry to all the girls he loved before. Then I embrace him back. Not only because, Mon, improves every time he is given a 22nd chance. Not only  because, Mon really is a big help to us, but mainly because I see in our relationship God?s unending forgiveness for me.
      Like Mon, I have lost count of how many times I have sinned against my BOSS! And though He teaches me hard lessons every time I sin, He embraces me back, again and again. Can?t give up on Mon. God never gives up on me. I am forgiven. I will forgive. Alvin B.

REFLECTION:
Before you judge or condemn, try to think of your own sins.

Lord, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

COMPANION

1st READING

Daniel 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62

This long reading demonstrates the ability of God to work through the most unexpected people. Daniel is not a lawyer or leader of the people but he discovers the truth by means of a method that anyone could and probably should have thought of using. The life of a young woman is saved and two scheming and immoral men are punished for their sins. Let us remember that God sees all that hawe do and one day we will have to give an account for all of our actions.

1 [Dan 13:1] In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 [Dan 13:2] who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 [Dan 13:3] her pious parents had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. 4 [Dan 13:4] Joakim was very rich; he had a garden near his house, and the Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all. 5 [Dan 13:5] That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, ?Wickedness has come out of Babylon: from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.? 6 [Dan 13:6] These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. 7 [Dan 13:7] When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband?s garden for a walk. 8 [Dan 13:8] When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. 9 [Dan 13:9] They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 15 [Dan 13:15] One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only. She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm. 16 [Dan 13:16] Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 [Dan 13:17] ?Bring me oil and soap,? she said to the maids, ?and shut the garden doors while I bathe.?? 19 [Dan 13:19] As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her.  20 [Dan 13:20] ?Look,? they said, ?the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21 [Dan 13:21] If you refuse, we will testify against you that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.? 22 [Dan 13:22] ?I am completely trapped,? Susanna groaned. ?If I yield, it will be my death; if  I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23 [Dan 13:23] Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord.? 24 [Dan 13:24] Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her, 25 [Dan 13:25] as one of them ran to open the garden doors.  26 [Dan 13:26] When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27 [Dan 13:27]  At the accusations by the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna. 28 [Dan 13:28] When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked elders also came, fully determined to put Susanna to death. Before all the people they ordered: 29 [Dan 13:29] ?Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.? When she was sent for, 30 [Dan 13:30] she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 33 [Dan 13:33] All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping. 34 [Dan 13:34] In the midst of the people the two elders rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35 [Dan 13:35] Through her tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36 [Dan 13:36] The elders made this accusation: ?As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two girls and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls. 37 [Dan 13:37] A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38 [Dan 13:38]  When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime, we ran toward them. 39 [Dan 13:39] We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the doors and ran off. 40 [Dan 13:40] Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, 41 [Dan 13:41] but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.? The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. 42 [Dan 13:42] But Susanna cried aloud: ?O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be. 43 [Dan 13:43] You know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.? 44 [Dan 13:44] The Lord heard her prayer. 45 [Dan 13:45] As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46 [Dan 13:46] and he cried aloud: ?I will have no part in the death of this woman.? 47 [Dan 13:47] All the people turned and asked him, ?What is this you are saying?? 48 [Dan 13:48] He stood in their midst and continued, ?Are you such fools, O Israelites! To condemn a woman of Israel without examination and without clear evidence? 49 [Dan 13:49] ?Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.? 50 [Dan 13:50] Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, ?Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.? 51 [Dan 13:51] But he replied, ?Separate these two far from one another that I may examine them.? 52 [Dan 13:52] After they were separated one from the other, he called one of them and said: ?How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53 [Dan 13:53] passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ?The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.?54 [Dan 13:54] Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together. 55 [Dan 13:55] ?Under a mastic tree,? he answered. ?Your fine lie has cost you your head,? said Daniel, ?for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him and split you in two.? 56 [Dan 13:56] Putting him to one e, he ordered the other one to be brought. ?Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,? Daniel said to him, ?beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience. 57 [Dan 13:57] This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you. But a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness. 58 [Dan 13:58] Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.? 59 [Dan 13:59] ?Under an oak,? he said. ?Your fine lie has cost you also your head,? said Daniel, ?for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to make an end of you both.? 60 [Dan 13:60] The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those that hope in him. 61 [Dan 13:61] They rose up against the two elders, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury. According to the law of Moses, they inflicted on them the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor: 62 [Dan 13:62] they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

P S A L M

Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

R: Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me;  3 he refreshes my soul. (R) He guides me in right paths for his name?s sake. 4 Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage. (R) 5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) 6 Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. (R)

G O S P E L

John 8:1-11

This story of Jesus forgiving the woman caught in adultery is one whereby we witness Jesus overturn the present world order and actually empower women as a result. In Jewish Law, women were often treated as the scapegoat for sin. (Where is the man with whom she was committing adultery?) One interpretation of this text is that Jesus is telling us that such a practice must stop. Likewise, Jesus challenges us all not to seek to judge others as we are in position to do so because of our own sin. He is sinless and He chooses to forgive the woman. We must learn this sort of generosity as well.

1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. 4 They said to him, ?Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So, what do you say?? 6 They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. 7 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, ?Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.? 8 Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. 10 Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ?Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you??  11 She replied, ?No one, sir.? Then Jesus said, ?Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.?

my reflections
think
: In what ways are we still treating women as second class citizens? Yes, this reflection applies to women as well!

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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 2Kings 7-9

SABBATH

WHO CAUGHT WHO?

The Gospel episode today, John 8:1-11, always intrigues me. The accusers of the adulterous woman claim that they caught the woman ?in the very act of adultery.? I wonder: Were they spying on her with the intention of imposing on her the death penalty or were they peeping at the keyhole of the room she was in with her client because they desired for her, too? If the scribes and the Pharisees really caught the woman in the very act of adultery, either they must have really intended to stone her to death or it was actually the woman who caught them in their own lust for her. Who caught who?
      If they exerted extra effort to catch the woman in the very act adultery so that she might be stoned to death, the scribes and the Pharisees were not really after her conversion to God and the salvation of her soul. Like mad dogs thirsting for blood, they wanted her dead plain and simple. Such can be man?s inhumanity to man. If it was actually the woman who caught her accusers in their own lust for her, they were guilty of adultery, too. For Jesus said, ??everyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart? (Matthew 5:28). Adultery is not only in the act; adultery begins in the heart.
     When we are rather too quick to point an accusing finger at anyone, let us pause for a really long while and see what Jesus writes on the ground with His fingers. He may be writing down a litany of our sins instead. Then the fingers we point at others are actually accusing fingers pointed at us.
     Who caught who? The scribes, the Pharisees and the woman caught one another. But what intrigues me further though is where was the woman?s client? He, too, was guilty. But no one bothered to catch him. Fr. Bobby T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
Could I be the woman?s client? Am I quick to accuse others but slow to confess my guilt?

?O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.? Amen.

St. Richard of Chichester, bishop confessor, pray for us.




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