READINGS for 2006-04-04
JUST IN TIME
?Make a saraph and mount it on a pole.? ? Numbers 21:8
In 1975, a couple named Fred and Dorothy managed a self-service gas station in Greenwood, South Carolina. Dorothy had heard that this chain of gas stations was frequently robbed so she thought of a slogan: GOD IS OUR SECURITY GUARD ? ALWAYS ON THE JOB. The next day, Fred placed the message on the lighted board. After a few months, they resigned from their jobs and took off in their trailer. In 1988, Dorothy and Fred met a young couple, Janet and Larry at a church in Florida. One evening, Dorothy invited the young couple for dinner. During their conversation, they learned that Larry had grown up in Greenwood, and had a rough past. He went to reform school for a year, but due to his record, no one wanted to hire him. One night in 1975, desperate for money, Larry stole his father?s gun and car and planned to rob a gas station. Just before closing time, he drove by the station to rob the woman sitting at the window. But before he pulled his gun, he happened to glance at the roof of the building and saw the signboard. The message on that sign made him change his mind?and later changed his life.
Father, Your Word is our stronghold.
It is no small thing to be in the middle of a desert, on foot, and lacking food. No wonder the people are grumbling! Wouldn?t you? At the same time, they have just been delivered from the hand of their oppressors in a remarkable and miraculous way. It is reasonable to expect that they should be somewhat disposed toward trusting that God is not just going to leave them to die in the desert after performing such a miraculous act. I wonder how you and I would respond if we were in the same position?
4 From Mount Hor they set out on the Red Sea road, to by-pass the land of Edom. But with their patience worn out by the journey, 5 the people complained against God and Moses, ?Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!? 6 In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and said, ?We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.? So Moses prayed for the people, 8 and the LORD said to Moses, ?Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.? 9 Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.
P S A L M
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
R: O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
1  O LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you. 2  Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; in the day when I call, answer me speedily. (R) 15  The nations shall revere your name, O LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory, 16  when the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory; 17  when he has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer. (R) 18  Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD 19  ?The LORD looked down from His holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, 20  To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.? (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus begins to prepare His disciples for His death. This is in order to soften the blow when it comes. They will be able to look back and recall these sayings and teachings and see that it was all a part of the plan from the beginning. The perplexed response of the Jews is par for the course. This is John?s equivalent for their lack of understanding of the parables in the synoptic Gospels. The means by which Jesus the Messiah brings salvation to the world is totally unexpected. No one really understood it at all until after He rose from the dead and explained the Scriptures to them.
21 He said to them again, ?I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.? 22 So the Jews said, ?He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ?Where I am going you cannot come?? ? 23 He said to them, ?You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. 24 That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.? 25 So they said to him, ?Who are you?? Jesus said to them, ?What I told you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.? 27 They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. 28 So Jesus said [to them], ?When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I
God?s special verse/thought for me today______________________
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 2Kings 10-12
NOT A ROSE WITHOUT THORNS
The Father did not leave Jesus and yet trials did not leave Him. The Father did not abandon Jesus and yet His persecutors did not abandon Him, too. The Father did not depart from Jesus and yet temptations did not depart from Him, too.
I am a sinner, O God, but depart not from me. Dwell in my heart and let my heart dwell in You. Amen.
St. Isidore, bishop confessor, doctor of the church, pray for us.
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