READINGS for 2006-04-08

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



? I shall cleanse them (Israelites) and they will be for me a people and I shall be God for them.? ? Ezekiel 37:23

I have a brother who is a recovering alcoholic. Every weekend, he used to go with his barkada on their drinking sprees, which usually lasted until late in the evening. My parents had already advised him several times not to overindulge himself to in liquor but he never listened to their advice. My sisters and I were much affected by his addiction to the bottle. But no matter what we said to him, he seemed deaf to our counsel.
      We had already done our part and nothing happened. Our last resort was to entrust him to God. We prayed hard that God liberate him from his vices. After several years of patiently pleading, God answered our prayers.
      Today, my brother does not join anymore drinking sprees. We?re happy that our loving God has cleansed him of that particular vice. And we believe that as we continue to pray for him, God will answer our ultimate prayer? that our brother himself will come to the Lord and seek genuine and lasting cleansing from the spirits that drive him to the bottle. Neri C.

What destructive behavior do you have that needs redemption?

Lord, cleanse us from all our impurities; purify our thoughts, words and deeds that we may be pleasant to Your sight.



Ezekiel 37:21-28

It is hard to believe that the Jewish people could fall so far away from the Lord after all that He had done for them. But, then again, maybe it is not so difficult to believe this when we consider how far nations, once Christian, have fallen prey to atheistic secularism. While the power of sin is not insignificant, the power of the Gospel is much greater but only if we surrender ourselves to it! Let us pray for the grace to let go of any sin in our lives and take on the freedom of the Gospel and live in its power and grace.

21 Tell them: Thus speaks the Lord GOD: I will take the Israelites from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land. 22 I will make them one nation upon the land, in the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one prince for them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms. 23 No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols, their abominations, and all their transgressions. I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy, and cleanse them so that they may be my people and I may be their God. 24 My servant David shall be prince over them, and there shall be one shepherd for them all; they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees. 25 They shall live on the land which I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where their fathers lived; they shall live on it forever, they, and their children, and their children?s children, with my servant David their prince forever. 26 I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD, who make Israel holy, when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.


Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13

R: The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

10 Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant isles, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock. (R) 11 The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror. 12 Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion, they shall come streaming to the LORD?s blessings the grain, the wine, and the oil, the sheep and the oxen. (R) 13 Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows. (R)


John 11:45-56

The Chief Priests express a fear for the Temple and the Nation of Israel. It is not unfounded as about 40 years later,exactly that would happen, but not because of Jesus but a rebellion among the Jews. Their fear was eerily prophetic though not entirely accurate as to cause. Let us pray that we will have the grace to listen to God in whatever form He chooses to speak to us. Let us seek to be as faithful as we can to all that He asks and commands us to do. Let us  seek to forget our own interests in favor of the interests of the Kingdom of God.

45 Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what He had done began to believe in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, ?What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. 48 If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.? 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ?You know nothing, 50 nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of  the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.? 51 He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53 So from that day on they planned to kill him. 54 So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples. 55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves.56 They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, ?What do you think? That he will not come to the feast??

my reflections
Let us pray for the grace to let go of any sin in our lives and take on the freedom of the Gospel and live in its power and grace.



God?s special verse/thought for me today______________________


Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________





I have a confession to make today. There was a time in my ministry when I used to say, ?No one is indispensable.? Having grown into the ministry for the past ten years, I humbly recognize my arrogance in making such a claim. The Lord showed me that I was wrong. Every one is indispensable. No one is worth doing away with in favor of anything. We are all precious, irreplaceable, important, special. No one is dispensable.
      It was a pity, Caiaphas, the high priest during the time of Jesus, did not learn this indispensable lesson. ?It is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to perish,? he said. Worse, majority of the Sanhedrin agreed to Caiaphas? arrogant claim. This claim took the life of Jesus.
      Many times we are confronted with a choice between one life and another. Many times we want to win another over. Many times we say, ?It is okay to dispense with this guy in favor of the other.? Many times we approach dialogue not as a win-win situation but as a battle where we do anything to win. Many times we sacrifice the life of another to preserve ours. We have not yet learned the lesson. No one is dispensable. Life is indispensable? no matter whose life it is.
      As Holy Week begins tomorrow, we should by now realize that the characters in the Holy Week story mirror each of us. The call to reflection during these days reflects to us our own selves in the story of every character. Their stories are our stories. Their mistakes are our mistakes, too. The lesson they failed to learn, we must learn. Fr. Bobby T.

Who am I in the Holy Week story?

Lord, it is said that those who do not learn the lesson of history are bound to repeat its mistakes. Help me learn the lesson of Holy Week. Help me not to repeat its mistakes. Like You, may I make its mistakes the sources of God?s glorification and man?s salvation. Amen.

St. Julie Billiart, virgin, pray for us.

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